The key questions to ask before you prepare to say ‘I do.’.
Your big day may be something you’ve dreamed of for years, but before you begin planning your picture-perfect ceremony there are a few key things that you need to ask yourself before tying the knot.
According to wedding planners, you should consider these:
What is your comfortable budget?
When planning your wedding budget, be sure to include everything – from the big things like flowers, dining-ware and transport, to the little things including stationery like stamps for your invitations – make sure all costs are accounted for.
When budgeting, think in terms of the number of guests. For example, those heart-shaped chocolates at $5 a pop you love may be nice touch, but with 100 guests, that’s an extra $500 you’ve essentially ‘lost’ without realising it.
Regardless of your budget, you have to stick to it; splash for your big day, but be smart in splashing!
Are you willing to accept that your wedding day won’t be all about you?
From debating seating plans, making sure to politely greet the people you’ve barely met before and tending to your guests’ needs, your wedding could fly by in niceties.
We’re not suggesting that you be an ungracious and rude bride – that’s never a good look – but make sure to enjoy the moment with your partner as it passes by so fast.
How much does quality matter to you?
Budgets can be a pain, you absolutely need to have one, even if you have a significantly bigger budget. It’s a fantastic guide to track your spending, but also to fully understand how much certain suppliers charge and compare costs.
As much as it can be tempting to always go for a more affordable option, do consider the quality of what you are paying for and the selected suppliers’ particular skills.
Have you planned for resting time on the day?
It is so important to be a guest at your own wedding, so visualise the whole day and the flow.
For instance what is the logistic from church to the wedding venue? Cars, buses, helicopters?! How far have the guests got to walk from the cloakroom to the ballroom?
What are you planning to do the day before and the day after the wedding? Have you allowed enough time for the guests to check into their hotel if they need to and rest? It is essential to add in your planning resting time as well – it is a party after all.
Let them eat cake, have fun and relax!
Who do you want there with you?
When putting together the guest-list, invite exactly who you want and pay no mind to conventions.
At a wedding, there will inevitably be people that you will have to invite to be polite; accept this from the start especially if you are having a larger wedding or if you or the person you’re marrying are from a culture where weddings are traditionally very big, such as a Latin or Indian wedding.
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Do your guests need a false deadline to RSVP?
If you need an RSVP by 15/07, you might decide to write 30/06 on the invite as some guests will be a bit late in responding.
Also remember, while your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, your guests may have urgent matters to deal with and yes, they have a life too.
Can your friendships handle the bridal party responsibility?
Think very carefully about your bridal party and who you want by your side.
Every bride has had to work through issues with one or more of their bridesmaids and you can obviously never predict if and when this will happen, but definitely bear it in mind during the planning process.
What concessions are you ready to make?
They say marriage is all about concessions, but guess what? So is wedding planning with your significant other!
It’s becoming more common for grooms-to-be to get involved in planning their wedding, or at least heavily contributing to their fiance’s ideas. Always be kind, no matter what, as you don’t want to be arguing over centrepieces or candle choices.
Listen, hear what they’re saying and do your best to find a happy medium.
Do you just want to plan a wedding, or do you actually want to BE married?
Getting married is described by many as the happiest day of their life, but before your trip down the aisle, it’s essential to think of why you’ve chosen to get married.
Beyond the love you have for your partner, what is your reasoning? Make sure that you have said yes to marriage and not just a wedding.
Do you want to have children at your wedding?
There is no right or wrong answer here, but either way you will need to be prepared. If you do want a children-free wedding, make it clear from the start to your guests, leaving no room for ambiguity and give them plenty of notice.
You can stipulate that the ceremony and reception will be adults only and potentially provide a list of babysitters to your guests that they can choose from.
If you would like a select number of children who you are close to to attend your wedding, make the invitations to the parents and plan to have a kids area, with beds – mini inflatable mattresses are fantastic – toys, crayons and if possible a TV or projector. Some will prefer to have a babysitter to mind them during your reception so that the parents can truly make the most of their evening.
A version of this story originally appeared on Grazia UK.
Words: Georgia Aspinall
Photos: Getty Images