Let the Numbers Game Begin!

You are engaged!Now we begin the numbers game

When do we want to get married and where?  What time of day?  Should it be early afternoon or in the evening as the sun sets?  The first thing you need to decide upon and book (well in advance in some cases) are the venues for your ceremony and reception.  You also need to make sure your officiant is available for your chosen date and time. 

Who do we want to invite? 
How many people do we want to include?  Immediate family for an intimate, low-key affair or a gala for all our friends and family?  This question invariably leads to the ‘budget’ question.
What can we afford?  Now that we have decided to invite everyone we ever knew, can we afford it?  How much will the venue/caterer charge per person?  What about a bar, should it be a host bar?  Should we scale back and put a cap on both sides?  What if my fiancĂ© has more family and friends than I do? Won’t that look awkward at the ceremony?  The truth is, tradition dictates that the bride’s family and friends sit on one side of the ceremony and the groom’s family and friends on the other….but the ‘trend’ is to allow family and friends to sit on either side, wherever they are comfortable. (People will naturally balance out a room if allowed to) If you think about this one, in the next 30-45 minutes, your families will be joined!  What’s important to remember here, is to invite the people you are closest to, the ones who support you, make you laugh and enjoy life with.  Don’t feel obligated to play the numbers game trying to equally match each side.  Work within your budget to minimize stress.
Similar to the guest list, putting together your list of attendants is another number’s game.  I have three brothers and two are married so I can ask my sisters-in-law to stand up with me but my fiancĂ© is an only child – he does however have four close friends he would like to include… As I mentioned above, it doesn’t have to be equal on both sides.  Finding your own balance without feeling stuck trying to conform to an idea of the ideal it truly more ideal. Yes, I used the same word three times in one sentence!  Once again, asking people to stand up with you in your bridal party just to keep the pictures balanced isn’t necessary or wise.  You know who you are closest to, friends and family that have and will continue to be a part of your life as well as your married life.  With that said, gender isn’t playing as much of a role anymore either.  A bride with three close brothers could choose to ask those men to stand by her side.  Likewise a groom with sisters could flip the script and ask his siblings to stand by him.  How wonderful is that?
Here are some standard initial checklist items to help you win the numbers game:
  • Potential dates and times
  • Size and formality
  • Create your budget
  • Reserve your locations
  • Book your officiant
  • Select your wedding party
  • Choose your wedding rings
  • First draft of your guest list
  • Hire a wedding planner to help you put all the pieces together (full, partial or day-of coordination)
  • Are you having an engagement party
  • Shop for your wedding dress and grooms attire
  • Shop for your wedding party attire
  • Book your photographer/videographer
  • Reserve your caterer (if necessary)
  • Book your entertainment (DJ, Live Band, Instrumental for your Ceremony, etc.)
  • Reserve your florist (some variations here…)
  • Order your wedding cake (many variations on this one…)
  • Reserve any necessary rental items (make sure the company you are dealing with is flexible to amend your agreement by adding to or taking away from your initial quote)
  • Register for your gift registry (this is most helpful to your guests)
  • Research and block accommodations for out-of-town guests
  • Plan your honeymoon (another trend is to postpone to your one year anniversary so that you are less stressed and can save more toward it)
  • Mail out ‘Save the Date’ cards (very helpful for out of town guests!)
Now, you are off to a great start!