10 Wedding Don'ts and Do's
Streamline your planning by knowing what merits a commitment - and what you can cut
When it comes to wedding planning, some details are expendable while others, let’s face it, truly are essential. Here, the experts offer 10 bridal don’ts and do’s that can help you save money, time and your sanity.
You don’t need to be a slave to wedding magazines.
These bridal bibles may serve as inspiration, but they also are chock-full of unrealistic timelines and checklists and ads for expensive products. “No magazine can tell you that ‘X’ percentage of your budget must go to a specific item, or that you even need that item in the first place,” says Brooke Sheldon, owner of Lilybrooke Events in Kennebunkport, Maine. Instead, allow your event to take shape based on personal taste and the unique nature of your guests, location, venue and vendors.
You don’t need elaborate invitations. “The heavier the invitation, the more expensive the postage,” says Anja Winikka, editor for TheKnot.com. She advises skipping unnecessary extras like invitation liners and enclosure cards, and, if you’re a less traditional couple, you can even have your guests RSVP via e-mail or on your wedding website.
You don’t need to mail a map. Most guests forget to bring them anyway, or they prefer to use a more detailed mapping website, such as Google Maps or Mapquest.com, notes Sheldon.
You don’t need fancy favors. Rather than splurge on a bunch of mini-items, donate to your favorite charity on behalf of your guests, suggests Winikka. “Most guests will be happy to help a good cause rather than take home another mini-picture frame.”
You don’t need to follow the rules. “Weddings have many traditions,” says Sheldon. “Chose the ones you want and ignore the ones you don’t.” For example, feel free to skip the bouquet/ garter toss if you think it’s outdated, or personalize the tradition of walking down the aisle by marching to your favorite Metallica song played by a string quartet.
You do need to research marriage license requirements.
Read up on the rules for the location where you will get married well in advance to make sure you can meet them in a timely fashion.
You do need to practice dancing. Hone your hoofing with both your husband-to-be and your father, says Sheldon. “It’s so important – why wing it?” You do need to provide gratis alcohol.
“Even in a recession, a cash bar is simply not acceptable,” says Winikka. If you have a tight budget, limit the hours the bar is open or go wine- and beer-only with a signature cocktail that matches your color scheme.
You do need a real photographer. “Friends can’t shoot your photos, unless, of course, they are professionals,” says Winikka. Your pictures are the most lasting keepsake of your wedding, so you want to ensure they are both comprehensive and the best quality possible.
You do need to greet all your guests. Most guests will likely have traveled from far away, at great expense, so if you don’t have a receiving line, be sure to visit each table during dinner and thank your loved ones for attending, says Sheldon.