Wedding Planning Basics
Planning a wedding is all about setting and adhering to priorities. In every decision, there must be some clear understanding as to what is most important to you in creating your dream wedding and not losing sight of your budget while attending to the sensibilities of friends and family. For most couples the first thing is to set the date and make sure that date is available at your chosen venue. In the case of a church wedding you will have to consult with your pastor, priest, rabbi or other chosen officiant to ascertain if he or she is also available. Other considerations, such as selecting a caterer, music, flowers, and so forth can usually be left until later in the process.
Choosing who to invite to each of the various functions of your wedding stands as the most difficult, and often emotional stages of planning, so a few guidelines are in order. It is best to start with at least two lists, one from the bride’s side and one from the groom’s side. Within these initial lists, one should separately mark those persons who absolutely must be invited, as opposed to those who are more casual or business acquaintances. In many instances, an invitation serves merely as a token of respect or notification of the wedding with full knowledge that the person invited will not be able to attend. Invitees who live close by are more certain to attend while wedding invitations to relatives or friends who live far away and would be unlikely to be able to attend serve as an important social formality. However, when inviting your long lost cousins from Stockholm, be aware they may unexpectedly accept. An available tool in preventing such surprises is to invite to only the wedding ceremony those who are distant from you both geographically and emotionally. Of course, one may always merely send a wedding announcement rather than a full blown invitation to avoid an awkward situation. An invitation to your wedding is considered a compliment regardless. Unless you have an unlimited budget, sanity should prevail in the decision process.
Friends and family should certainly be asked to the wedding reception as well as the church or other chosen location. If the wedding is held in an extremely small venue so that only a few intimate friends and family may attend, announcements should still be sent to all uninvited acquaintances. The wedding reception may present the most complicated series of decisions but in this case the assistance of a wedding planner can prove invaluable. He or she will provide you with expert guidance on setting realistic goals and expectations and balance those with your available resources.
The rehearsal dinner for your celebration may include the wedding party, their significant others, family members, and close friends. This might include grandparents, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, etc. If the list seems to be getting out of hand, one can invite only the wedding party and direct participants, although in some cases this could pose a significant breach of etiquette.
A bachelor’s dinner and a bridal luncheon are often included in the series of events surrounding the wedding ceremony. For these, at least, the rules are fairly universal and understood. The bachelor’s dinner is usually hosted and arranged by the best man and includes any groomsmen and their close friends. Often, the bridal luncheon becomes a spa day with the bridesmaids being treated by the bride’s family to various beauty treatments with hors d’oeuvres or other goodies as one sees fit. Needless to say, these functions are limited specifically to the bridal party and not to sisters, brothers, friends, or relatives. Thankfully, this limits the possibility of unintended slights.