While you may have dreamed as a child of arriving in a horse-drawn carriage (well, that’s a bit extravagant, a white limousine), butterflies or doves released at your wedding reception, a groom’s cake, or fancy little favors for your guests to take home, now that your special day is here, it’s time to be realistic about where to spend your money when planning your wedding.
Start by clearly understanding what is truly important about your day. You’re affirming your commitment to one another and celebrating the start of your new life together (hopefully, you’ll only do this once in your lifetime), and you’ve invited the people you care about most to join you in affirmation and celebration.
Second, spend time together setting an intention for your celebration. I highly recommend that brides and grooms-to-be work on this together. It may be the first major project you’ll work on as a team and create a bonding and certainly educational experience for you. As a practical matter, it will also better prepare you for dealing with the various wedding vendors, saving time, possibly money, and burnout for everyone involved, if you’re clearly on the same page from the start.
Here are some questions to consider as a starting point. Are you casual people, or more formal? Do you want a fancy reception or a “get down and dance” party? Are you inviting only family and friends, or are you extending it to business associates and/or clients? Will there be guests of all ages, or mostly young or old? The answers to these questions will help you define what your venue and catering needs are. They will also act as a guiding star, if you feel providers or family members are leading you off course and out of budget.
Finally, realize that your family and friends will come to celebrate with you. Some of them may have spent a considerable amount of time and money coming to share their day with you. Consider that while they are giving you gifts, your reception is also a thank you gift to them. So while it’s their day, it’s only right to keep in mind what’s important to them. Would you prefer those fancy little favors or an open bar? Watching you pull up in a carriage or limousine, or enjoy a great meal? Keep this in mind as you review your priority list and decide how to spend your money. In this sense, perhaps pigeons, butterflies, luxury carriages or limousines lose importance.