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February 9, 2016
Did you know that Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular times of the year for marriage proposals, second only to Christmas Eve? If you rang in the New Year as a newly engaged, 2016 might find you on the threshold of planning your wedding. While every bride looks forward to her wedding day, some embrace the multitude of tasks that must be considered with open arms and are anxious to get started while others may feel like a deer caught in headlights. Where should every bride-to-be begin?
You must know that planning your wedding or any event is a step by step process, each successive step built upon the one before it. Think of it as building a house; what comes first? The foundation, of course, and when it comes to your wedding, the foundation upon which it will be built is based on the completion of two very important tasks: creating your budget and your guest list--even the most extravagant weddings should begin with these because, even if money is no object for you, the guest list dictates how much of everything you will need such as invitations, seating, food and beverage as well as square footage, just to name a few.
The time to establish a wedding budget is almost as soon as your engagement is announced. By tradition, there are those things that the bride’s family is responsible for and those that are the responsibility of the groom’s. Today however, tradition is frequently dispensed with in this area and, as more and more couples establish some career goals before walking down the aisle, many brides and grooms combine budgets and take on the financial responsibility of their wedding themselves. As a wedding planner, I’ve seen just about every scenario ranging from a couple going it alone to a combination of contributors such as parents, grandparents and others especially close to the couple in combination with funds provided by the couple themselves. If you are relying solely or in part on financial support from others such as parents of the bride’s and/or groom’s, have a discussion with them to establish their financial commitment to you and make sure you can count on it.
As you work on your budget, begin compiling your guest list. Both the bride and her family and the groom and his family need to begin their guest lists immediately. I advise couples I work with to break down their lists into sections, family, friends and colleagues—both of the couple’s and their parents. Consider, too, other circles or groups you’re associated with such as your church or clubs you may belong to. This is rarely a task that can be accomplished in one sitting. Set it down and come back to it when you think of names you need to add and give yourself several days or even a few weeks to complete it as you work pulling your budget together. As your guest list begins, take the time to include their addresses. Researching mailing addresses is not a pleasant task to do at the moment you are preparing your invitations to mail. This can delay getting them mailed in a timely fashion and at a time when you have many other tasks to tend to so, get organized—first thing’s first! When both the bride and her family and the groom and his family have completed their list they should be checked for duplications and combined into one list.
What’s next? Next month I’ll talk about the wedding party—of both the bride and groom. They do have responsibilities with regard to your wedding and the road leading up to it. You might want to read it before selecting who they will be. Stay in touch!
Read more on what to do as you begin planning your wedding in our article, “Advice to Rural Brides” in the 2015 Spring Issue of The Ag Magazine at: www.theagmagazine.com