You and your fiance are planning your wedding day and there are so many questions running through your mind. "What about this? How about that? Ugh, I don't know anymore!" I get it. It's stressful, exciting, and there are so many things to think about. Below are some common questions that engaged couples or brides typically ask (some that I've asked myself when I was engaged) so I hope this helps you get started with your wedding planning journey. Grab a beer, sit back and enjoy!
I just published our wedding podcast episode here if you'd like to tune in to hear about our wedding experience as a bride and groom, not necessarily as a wedding or event planner.
1. How much does a wedding cost?
I know you're going to hate this answer but it really depends on where you're going to get married and how many guests you are planning to have. Every wedding and couple is different with the budget they are comfortable in spending. In California, the average cost of a wedding is about $32,000. What can you spend with cash and how much can you realistically save? Remember, the more guests you have, the more expensive your wedding will be. If you want to learn how to save for your wedding, check out my blog post here with downloadable templates.
2. Should we have a first look?
Many couples go for this option to get pictures out of the way and save time so you absolutely can, but it’s not the right fit for traditional couples. The pros: taking photos earlier, easing pre-ceremony nerves, and get tears out before the ceremony. I thought about the first look, but my husband really wanted to save the first look for when I was walking down the aisle. There's something about that traditional aspect we wanted to keep. I did end up doing a first look with my dad which was super priceless, and a fun first look with my bridesmaids.
3. Do we need to invite plus ones?
This is always a tough decision for couples because each guest costs money and you want to make everyone happy, but you have to be realistic. The good rule of thumb is to invite plus ones if they're married, if they're in a serious relationship, or if your guest won't know anyone else at your wedding. Extending a plus-one to everyone in your wedding party is a courteous move and they definitely deserve it, but each circumstance is different so talk to your partner about it. You also don't need to invite kids if you want it to be majority adults only.
4. Should we have an open bar?
Many guests may expect an open bar but don't feel pressured to do this as it can really be expensive. If budget is an issue, consider an open bar for the cocktail reception only, or assign a dollar amount limit on a hosted bar. Once that number is reached, guests can start picking up their tabs. For our wedding, we opted out of an open bar because our location was extremely far and we knew how our family and friends can get when they're drunk. Both our moms actually kept telling us not to have an open bar so we "listened" to them. ;) We still provided champagne for our guests as they arrived and for the toasts during dinner so there was a bit of alcohol included.
5. Do we have to do ___?
You don't have to do anything you don't want to do! The great thing about modern day weddings is that you don't have to follow all traditions if you don't want to. It's up to you as a couple. So no, you don't have to do a garter or bouquet toss. You don't have to wear a white wedding dress. You don't have to wear a veil. Your bridesmaids don't have to wear matching dresses. Do what feels good and right for you both as a couple. My husband and I can sometimes be on the more traditional side, so yes, we did the whole white dress, bridal party matching, etc. but we didn't like the garter or bouquet toss so we did an alternative. Read more about the alternative in this blog post here.
6. What elements will make the biggest impact on your wedding day?
If you're thinking about ambiance, lighting sets the mood for any event. Soft amber lighting is classic and flattering - you can never go wrong with it. Having candles as part of your design makes the setting more romantic. My favorite element that I try to add with any of my events is the element of surprise. When your guests are caught by surprise, they leave with a memory of how they felt. We surprised our guests with fireworks and they still love to talk about it!
7. Where should I focus my budget?
This is really going to depend on what you and your fiance's top 3 most important aspects of the wedding are. Ours was photography, videography and catering. We knew that we could save on everything else but we definitely wanted to splurge on photos, our wedding video and the food our guests can enjoy. Does decor matter to you more than food? Does the venue matter most? Think about what you can and can't live without, and that'll help you both budget better.
8. When should I send out my invitations?
Nine weeks before the wedding date and setting the RSVP deadline four weeks before the wedding date is ideal. Typically, your head count is due a month or two weeks the latest before your wedding date. By setting the RSVP deadline four weeks ahead, it'll give you time to chase down the procrastinators.
I hope this helps you, party people! Let me know if you have any other burning questions that are in your mind right now by commenting below or chatting with me on my site. Know that you're not alone with your mind racing all over the place. Chat with someone you trust instead of only Googling answers. I'm here for you!
With love & confetti,