This might seem obvious right now but once you are waist-deep in wedding planning it's easy to forget about the financial investment you are asking your guests to make to participate in your wedding. Whether it's travel costs to get to your venue or buying an expensive bridesmaid's dress, please keep in mind what you are asking other people to spend for your Big Day.
Not everyone is in the financial position to spend hundreds of dollars to be part of a wedding. These days a reasonably nice gift can easily be $100. That is a lot of money for many people. Add to that travel costs, possibly a hotel for the night, meals, and other incidentals and that's a fairly major commitment. Try your best to make it so everyone who wants to celebrate your wedding can easily make it possible. Yes, you are the star of the show but without all your loved ones there it just won't be the same.
Are there any ways you can save costs? Can you arrange cheap accommodation for your of town guests? Maybe they can stay at a friend's house? Can you compromise a little on your bridesmaid dresses so they are not too expensive? Is there anything that can be rented instead of purchased? Can you find a polite way to let your guests know that expensive gifts, or even any gift at all, is not necessary?
I'm not saying your wedding can't be magical and elaborate. I'm simply suggesting that you don't make it so expensive that some of your guests are unable to be there.
One of my favourite parts of the reception is the speeches. I love hearing the funny stories and the sharing of touching moments. Most people who give a speech are well prepared or at minimum have written out notes. The problems happen when someone decides to "wing it". Those speeches rarely go well.
It's not that the individual says anything inappropriate. That doesn't happen very often. It's that they don't know when to stop talking and they just keep rambling on long after people have lost interest. There's an old show biz saying, "always leave them wanting more". The same thing applies to wedding speeches.
If possible, encourage everyone who will be giving a speech to write out what they want to say. That includes the list of "thank you's" from the bride and groom. You don't want anyone being handed a mic and given free reign to talk as long as they want about whatever comes in to their head.
By all means, fill your reception with speeches from all your loved ones. Those moments are a very important part of the day. You will treasure what is shared (make sure you get it on video!) and be touched by the love and care that is shown toward you. However, having each presenter use prepared notes will make things run much more smoothly and limit the number of times you bury your head in your hands and wish the sound man would cut the power.
In my opinion the most important part of a wedding is that it should be fun! It's a celebration of two people who have fallen in love and are becoming joined together forever. It's time to party!
Of course we all want a wedding that is beautiful and unique and special but when everyone is driving home that night they should be saying to each other, "that was a great day! What a fun wedding!"
That doesn't mean you need to hire a stand up comic as your officiant but you do need to keep thinks light. Don't let yourself get worked up if something doesn't go as completely as planned. This is your big day and your only job is to say "I do" and enjoy yourself.
I remember one beach wedding where a speed boat slowed right down several feet from shore and the passengers started yelling and waving. They weren't trying to ruin the wedding, they were simply having fun (and had probably been drinking a little too much!). It started to bother me because the noise of the boat motor and the yelling was distracting but the bride took it in stride and even waved and yelled back at them! Everyone in attendance laughed and shortly after the boat sped off and the ceremony continued.
It would have been very easy for the bride or groom to get upset and lose focus on what was really important but humour and a fun attitude won.
As I've mentioned before, as much as you plan in advance something WILL go wrong on your wedding day. Please don't give it a second thought. Wake up on your wedding day with the thought, "this is going to be a fun day" and hold fast to that mantra no matter what happens. When you think of your wedding day 10 years from now it should being a smile to your face and any little speed bumps that happened should be long forgotten memories. Remember, have fun!
You may love planning and organizing but on your big day the last thing you want to do is be running around checking on flower arrangements and putting out fires between squabbling relatives. I've been at weddings with and without a wedding planner and if your budget allows it I highly recommend having a planner on-site. Every wedding has at least one thing go wrong and a planner is able to pounce on it and deal with it without you even knowing about it.
Not only does the planner let you focus completely on your wedding but you have a 3rd party that can enforce any of your rules without you worrying about what Uncle Fred or Cousin Susie might say. You are free relax and enjoy being the centre of attention without giving one thought to the administration of the wedding.
Your wedding day is not the time to be stressed. Having a wedding planner carry that load will make your special day that much more enjoyable.
If you need a local salon to get your hair done on the morning of your wedding I would like to recommend Letaya Salon and Spa on Highway 33 (click this link).
The stylists are very talented and will work with you to make it a really fun and special time together. Whether it is your 4 year old flower girl or 80+ year old grandmother, they can make everyone look and feel their best.
Just remember to book well in advance of your big day.
When you are shopping for a wedding cake one place on your list should be PJ's Party Cakes (click for link).
PJ's has been making fun and creative cakes since the 1970's! In fact, when my wife and I had our engagement party back in the early 1980's we had a PJ's cake! I still remember it after all these years.
It's so exciting these days because the options for wedding cakes is incredible. You can get whatever you can imagine. You can also have a lot of fun with the design and have a very unique and creative cake that shows off your personality perfectly.
The cake is just one more special item than plays an important role in your day.
Here are a couple things I witnessed at a recent wedding that you might want to consider including in your big day;
1. The groomsmen: As each groomsmen walked down the aisle and was greeted by the groom they each had their own unique greeting. One got a high-5, the other got a hug, and a couple had their own elaborate handshake routine. It was very amusing and it set a really fun tone for the upcoming ceremony. It also gave the groom and each individual groomsmen their own special moment in time.
2. First Dance: For the bride's and groom's first dance they performed a fully choreographed dance to "their song". They had obviously been practicing a lot and the final result was fantastic. I can imagine how much fun they must have had going to dance lessons for several weeks leading up to the wedding. Not only would it provide some much needed personal time for the busy couple, it gave everyone at the reception a wonderful dance to watch.
I hope those two simple suggestions get your imagination going and you find your own special ways to make your wedding exactly how you want it to be.
This blog entry might be a little off topic but I wanted to take this opportunity to recommend an excellent book that all married and soon-to-be married couples should read. It is called, "Grow Up" and it's written by Frank Pittman. Here is a link to the book on Amazon.
The introduction is worth the price of the book alone. It is Dr.Pittman gives you the keys to happiness. They are;
1. Forgive your parents
2. Join the team (you'll have to read the book to figure that out)
3. Find some work and some play to do
4. Get a partner to do it with and keep it equal
5. Raise children, wherever you find them
Besides that there are some excellent chapters on how to live as a happily married couple and what your expectations should be of yourself and your mate.
I know you are busy with wedding planning but I hope you will make some time to read this book.
Back when I got married the most common venue was inside a church and most of the time the person who married you was a pastor or priest. Things have changed quite a bit and now it seems like most weddings are held outside and they are conducted by an officiant. The officiants I have observed have done a fantastic job running a ceremony. They love what they do and it shows in the way they conduct themselves and how the ceremony is run.
The only disadvantage of using an officiant is that he/she doesn't know you. That doesn't mean the wedding is any less special but getting married from someone who has seen you grow up or was there when you met as a couple is a really nice touch.
One option you can consider is using an officiant to legally marry you but having someone else run the ceremony. I actually had the honour of doing this for my son's wedding. There are a couple ways you can do this.
1. Meet the officiant the day before the wedding and sign the papers and make it legal. You will need your witnesses there as well. Once married you can have anyone you choose conduct the ceremony.
2. Have the officiant attend the wedding and handle the legal part of the ceremony where you sign the marriage certificate. Everything else can be done by whoever you want.
In my case my son got legally married at a Starbucks the night before the wedding and on the wedding day I ran the entire ceremony from start to finish. The officiant didn't even need to attend the wedding since they were already legally married. I can't tell you how incredible it was to conduct the wedding of my youngest son.
If you are interested in exploring other options for your wedding please consult your officiant. They want nothing more than to make your day special. If you would like someone else to run the ceremony the officiant will explain everything that needs to happen to make it possible.
Here is a link to the BC Government Marriage Commissioners information page.