Planning Guide

19 Problems Every Bride Deals With

Sneaky Savings

Black and White WeddingYou can easily decrease your wedding expenses without changing your special day celebrations in a significant way. Naturally the simplest way is to cut your guest list to save on catering costs, invitations and amount of décor required. You can also reduce your wedding costs considerably by arranging your wedding during an off-peak season or by having your wedding on any day of the week except Saturday. It is also a good idea to have your ceremony and reception in one place in order to decrease transportation costs as well as minimize travel time for vendors who are paid on an hour basis. When choosing flowers for both the ceremony and the reception, select cheaper seasonal ones, for example, garden roses. Instead of serving a full bar, you can offer guests beer, wine and a signature cocktail. There is a new trend to serve comfort foods such as barbecued chicken, mac and cheese, and corn, so follow it to lower your meal costs. Finally you can order a small or two-tiered cake for the cutting ceremony and then offer guests a larger sheet cake brought from the kitchen.

Footing the Bill

Several decades ago there was a certain set of rules about who pays for what. The bride's family used to pay for the invitations, wedding consultant, gown and accessories, as well as all costs associated with reception, including site, food, flowers, photographer, videographer, music, and transportation. The groom's family would pay for the marriage license, bride's bouquet, boutonnieres, rehearsal dinner and honeymoon. Nowadays there are no strict rules about whose parents (or bride or groom) pays for what, so the division of financial responsibilities is rather flexible. Maybe bride’s family would like to pay for the flowers or the band while groom’s side would like to pay for the photographer and music. Just check your agenda and divide the duties trying to make it even.

Picky Eaters

It goes without saying that you can’t take into account every single wedding guest's dietary tastes and preferences. That is why the best option would be to select one or two basic meat entrees and one meat-free entrée for vegetarians, dieters and picky eaters. Another option is arranging a buffet- or family-style meal with a variety of foods that will satisfy everyone's palate, and your guests will be able to choose what they would like most. And don’t worry too much as most people who have specific food requirements usually don't expect that they will be treated in a special way on a wedding reception.

Engagement Party Etiquette

Traditionally it is the bride’s parents who host an engagement party. But nowadays many couples prefer to throw their own engagement parties, so you may follow this new trend as well. And who says that you can’t have several parties, one for your family and one for your friends. As they say, the more the merrier!

Invitation Equality

If you were invited to someone's wedding, it doesn’t mean that you are obligated to invite them to yours. It's your special celebration and only you and your fiancé choose who you want to see on your wedding day. Not to appear rude, you may have a talk with those people, even though it might be a difficult conversation. You can simply explain that your wedding is going to be very small, and you just can’t invite everyone you would like to.

Inviting the Boss

You are not obligated to invite your boss or any of your colleagues to your wedding. If you worry that your boss or co-workers may take it personally, tell them that your wedding is going to be very small and will include only close relatives and friends. It will also probably be a good idea not to share the details of your wedding preparations with employees you work within.  

Tradition Trade-Off

Some couples may feel like skipping traditional trade-off. Discuss this matter with your relatives and decide whether you like it or not. If your family and you have different opinion about this tradition, try to be sympathetic as it is a big event for your parents as well. Take their opinion into account, especially if they share the costs. If you plan a city hall wedding and dinner, maybe you can do that and then have a church ceremony and reception the next day. Or maybe you prefer to have a minister marry you and host the intimate party. Sit down together and discuss what's most important to everyone, and then come up with a plan that will satisfy everyone.

Tasteless Toasts

In order to prevent inappropriate and unexpected toasts on your wedding make sure your event planner, day-of coordinator and/or emcee knows who is delivering each wedding toast and in what order. And also ask your bandleader or DJ to refrain from handing the mic over to any other guest.

Giftless Guests

Some newlyweds may have doubts whether to send thank-you cards to guests who came to their wedding without cards or gifts. All people present at the wedding deserve a handwritten thank-you note even if they didn’t give you a gift. Look at the situation from a different angle. Your guests may have taken time off from work to be present at your wedding ceremony. So be polite and say something like, "Thanks for coming! We are very grateful that you could come to celebrate with us and share our happiness that special day." And don’t forget to include something personal, like how nice they were dancing or how you loved their joke.

Budgeting Bridesmaids

Typically brides are not required to pay for the maid dresses and accessories. Still you’ve got to be considerate as your maids are going to wear this dress for a few hours only, so don't make them buy the most expensive dress, not to mention jewelry and shoes. You had better select a reasonably priced dress or look for the dress together to find the one which fits both their style and budget. In case you would like them to wear something pricy, you may share the dress costs.

RSVP Radio Silence

If some guests don't RSVP, some couples may have doubts whether they will be present at the wedding celebration. The best way is to call them and ask. They may just have forgotten to send you the response card. If you don’t feel like calling, then assume that they're coming and make sure there's enough food and seats for them. It's better to have an extra plate and a seat than to have disgruntled guests who wonder where to sit!

The Date Debate

Sometimes you may encounter with such an embarrassing situation: you invited your friend and her boyfriend (by name on the invite), but they recently broke up and now she would like to come to your celebration with the guy you don't like. What is the best way to tell her no? As you mentioned her ex boyfriend’s name on the invitation, you have every right to say no as invitations in which people are invited by name are usually nontransferable. Though it might be a difficult conversation, try to explain that you don’t get along very well with the guest and that you would rather limit your wedding party to very good friends and family. You may also mention that she won't be the only one coming solo.

Registry Rules

Word of mouth is the best way to let people know where you have registered. Make sure your parents and close friends know about it and can always let guests who inquire know as well. You may also add the link to your wedding web page in your invites where your guests can find info about your registries. If people do ask you where you're registered or what gift you would like to receive it is okay if you to tell them the names of the stores. Don’t worry about it too much. Some guests will ask and let others know.

Bridal Shower Guest List

If you are in doubt who you should invite or not invite to your bridal shower, limit your bridal shower list to your closest female friends and relatives. Of course, you should invite your fiancé’s mom, sisters and other close female friends and family. You don't have to invite every woman who you have invited to your wedding ceremony and reception. But you may send a shower invitation to your far-flung guests even if you know they won’t be able to come. This way you will show them how important they are to you and that you would be pleased to see them there.

Odd One Out

In case there's a black sheep in your family, you shouldn't feel obligated to invite him or her to your wedding, though you should definitely think this matter over rather seriously. Before making a final decision it would be a good idea to talk to your parents and siblings to find out what they think about it. If you or your closest relatives would be unhappy about his or her presence on your wedding day, then you don't need to invite that person. On the other hand, if his or her presence isn't going to be a big problem for you personally and his or her not receiving the invitation might even add problems, then do invite. Keep in mind that even though you’ve invited this person it doesn’t mean that he or she is going to come.

Planning for No-Shows

Even though from 10 up to 20 percent of guests who were invited to the wedding may actually fail to show up, you shouldn’t budget for the cost of how many people you think will surely come. You will save a great deal of headache if you do count on all guests in your list to make it. Imagine the situation when more guests than you planned showed up and you will have to scrounge up seats and plates. To avoid this nightmare, limit your guest list to a size you can afford, and until every last RSVP card ( or phone call ) has been received, do assume that they're all going to come.

Hungry Vendors

Naturally it would be nice to feed your wedding professionals, such as the wedding photographer and the band, especially if they're going to be working a six-hour ceremony and reception. But if your photographer expects a meal, it should be included in his or her contract. Also keep in mind that caterers are likely to prepare more food than is needed, "just in case," so there is going to be plenty of food for your wedding professionals as well. Or you can arrange a quick platter for the photographer, musicians and others.

Plus-One Problems

If you are on a tight budget and can’t afford to invite all single guests and give all them plus-ones, we recommend dealing with this problem on a case-by-case basis. It goes without saying that you should invite the long-term partners of your unmarried friends and relatives, while the rest single friends and relatives can be invited without dates. If they feel disappointed, explain them your concerns. And don’t forget to carefully consider where to seat your single guests at the wedding table so that they won’t feel embarrassed surrounded by numerous couples.

No Kids Allowed

It's completely legitimate to have an adults-only (18 and up) guest list especially if you plan an evening wedding party. Usually parents of young children will be pleased with the chance to spend a night out without the kids. Still when organizing an adults-only reception think about how to invite parents without hurting their feelings. You can tell your parents and other close relatives and friends, so they can let the guests know. Then address people invited to the wedding as "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe" which would stand for just the couple, if you mention "The Doe Family" it means that their kids can come too. Most guests will notice this and will send their RSVP for just themselves. If they plan to show up with kids, talk with them and explain that your decision to invite only adults is motivated solely by "budget constraints".