Congratulations on your recent engagement! But I’m pretty confident you have a ton of questions! Here are answers to the most common wedding planning questions WCE has been asked:
1. There is so much information on the internet, family and friends have offered advice, and you are not sure how to weed through all the information that you have come across. Who is right and who is wrong?
Between the outdated guidelines that don’t apply to modern nuptials and the self-imposed ideas that couples pick up about a what a wedding is “supposed to be,” there will never be one big day blueprint that works for everyone.
As you plan your wedding, there are so many things you’ll be told you “have” to do, but the truth is, your big day is just that: YOURS! While I’m a firm believer that you definitely don’t have to wear white, have a wedding party, or cut a towering cake during the reception, I do think it’s worth at least considering some of the long-standing wedding traditions to determine if they’re right for you. And along with traditions come superstitions, which you’re bound to hear about throughout the planning process too.
Trust me, there will be family and friends that claim they are experts in traditions and etiquette, not to mention scare you with superstitions. Let me remind you, stay true to who you are as a couple. The people you will surround yourselves with on your wedding day know you as individuals or as a couple. So, as long as the wedding reflects who you are, it will be the wedding you both had envisioned.
2. Do we have to __________?
I would say 90% of the time when you fill in the blank, the answer is usually “NO”! I have found that couples are nervous about breaking traditions or creating new traditions. Often couples need a planner to remind them it’s your day! You call the shots! If you remember this, you will have the wedding you want! For example, is it ok to not have a garter toss and bouquet toss? Absolutely, you don’t have to! More and more couples are opting out of doing one or both. It’s up to YOU!
3. Where should the focus of your budget go?
This really depends on what’s important to you and your fiancé . It is important to have a discussion with your planner, fiancé , parents (if they are helping financially) about the overall vision for the special day and what it will take to create this vision. For example, if you are a couple that envisions an over the top party with a lively band? Then, your budget will have money that will go towards a spectacular band and a unique bar list.
4. Engaged, but don’t know what do next?
A WCE Planner, has a ton of experience to help guide you every step during the planning process. WCE is with you from start to finish and we put you in the Winner Circle! Don’t be discouraged if your budget does not include a planner. WCE offers different packages so couples have the option to choose a package that is the right fit for their budget and what type of service they are looking for.
If you don’t have a planner guiding you, there are many resources online…read planners blogs for tips, on Tuesday check out social media posts for tips, and look for lists to know what steps to do next. Once you have created a “next step” timeline and budget, this will help guide you through the planning process on your own.
5. Should I send a Save-The-Date?
Couples typically send out save-the-dates a few months after they’ve gotten engaged and have decided on a wedding date and venue.
But they’re hardly mandatory, and for some couples, they might not even be necessary.
Let’s face it: Calendars can fill up fast. One of the benefits of sending save-the-dates is that they alert guests of your official wedding date and location, which is ultra helpful when travel is involved. That way, they can jump on booking airfare and accommodations for the weekend—or at the very least, set up travel alerts to snag future sale fares to attend your wedding, if they live far away, or you’re planning a destination wedding. Even if they live nearby, they can still mark it on the calendar and will be thankful that you gave them a head’s up.
6. When do you send invitations?
We recommend couples mail out their invitations 6 – 8 weeks prior. The RSVP deadline date should be 3 -4 weeks prior to your wedding date, depending on when the final headcount is due to the caterer. This will allow your final headcount to be submitted to the caterer in time (usually a week prior to your wedding) and allow for any last minute adjustments with vendors the week of the wedding.
RSVP deadline date tip: You want to give yourself a week to contact stragglers before your headcount is due and allow you to stay on track with your timeline.
7. Does it matter who stands on what side of the altar?
Quite frankly, if you don’t know, then it can’t be that important. Right?!
Traditionally, the bride stands on the left & the groom on the right (if you’re facing them). The reason for this is so that the groom can hold the brides hand with his left hand keeping his right hand (his sword hand) free in case he needs to defend the bride mid-ceremony.
So, unless you’re having a medieval cosplay ceremony, it really doesn’t matter what side you stand on.⠀LOL! However, if you’re having a religious ceremony, check with your officiant and make sure that changing your positions at the altar won’t go against the beliefs of your house of worship (for instance, brides in Jewish weddings often stand on the right instead).
8. How much does a wedding cost?
No wedding is ever the same and no couple is ever the same either! You have to determine a budget that you are both comfortable with. Once a budget is determined, then you will know exactly how much YOUR wedding will cost.
There are so many factors that determine the cost of each wedding, so it is important to determine your overall budget. Be aware that the added concerns of new variants, new areas of attention for safety precautions, and financial losses from the 2020 season, some vendors are raising their costs.
For example: Flower farms lost acres and acres of product for the weddings that were not allowed, then causing an increase in florals to pay farmers and an increased demand of flowers once weddings began to resume.
9. What is a realistic budget for a wedding?
Your budget is specific to unique factors such as guest count, priorities, how much money you want to spend, etc. Thanks to industry research the average budget in California is about $55,000.
But like all “averages,” there are plenty of weddings on both ends of that number. The best thing you can do is to sit down with your planner and create a custom budget that works for you and your wedding vision. While we do that for our couples, you can also hire us just for a budget meeting. Email us for more details.
10. Should you do a first look?
This is a tough decision for many couples. If you are more traditional, then it is best to see each other for the first time when the church doors open. Otherwise, if you are interested in breaking away from tradition and allowing more time for photos and time with your guests, then a first look would be a good option. I can say that I have never had a couple regret doing a first look, however I have had couples that wish they did do a first look to allow more time for photos and mingling with guests.
11. Do you have to invite your cousin’s girlfriend that you don’t know? (+1’s)
You most definitely do not have to invite plus ones. However, if your budget and the venue capacity do allow it, then it is a nice gesture. It is nice for your guests to celebrate your marriage with the ones they love by their side.
Although we love to break some traditional rules, it’s always best to invite both parties in a married couple, even if you’re closer with one person than the other, or if you’ve never even met someone’s spouse.
Also, any couples who are engaged, live together or who have been dating over a year should get a plus-one.
It’s safe to say that you don’t have to allow a plus one for guests that are casually dating and single guests that you’re not close to and will know other guests at the wedding.
12. Should you hire a band or DJ?
Music can seriously make or break a reception! No joke! It is important to hire a talented band or DJ (or both!). You need to consider what type of entertainment suits your personal taste, budget, space allowances, guest demographics and killer dance moves best! Of course, there is nothing like a live wedding band to get a crowd excited and create a sense of sophistication.
Now-a-days, DJs are artists in their own right, offering balanced and eclectic mixes of musical styles for all ages. The songs played will sound exactly as you want them to, encouraging sing-alongs and improvisation. Tough, tough decisions! Consult with your planner if you are having difficulty deciding.
13. Do I have to invite kids?
There’s no rule that says you must!
You need to ask yourselves is your wedding going to be “family-friendly” or “adults only”?
Trust me, I know you don’t want to offend any of your guests, the thought of having infants, toddlers, or even older children in attendance at your wedding ceremony and reception can present a few challenges.
Just asking children to be a part of your celebration (as participants, attendees, or both)—can definitely impact the big day. That’s why, before you finalize your guest list, you should consider whether or not you want to invite them.
Something to consider: decide early on whether or not you will invite kids, is it within your budget, are you providing childcare, are you willing to offer kids activities, does our venue allow kids, is the environment kid friendly (open bar?), does your venue require security if kids are in-attendance, and can you rely on the parents to control their kids?
WCE TIP: Are the two of you willing to compromise? While you may not want your wedding to be overrun by children, you could make a few exceptions here and there—say, for your maid of honor who has a child, or for children within your families. That way, you avoid upsetting close relatives but don’t have too many children in attendance.
14. Do I have to have a Covid plan?
Think of Covid safety as the new wedding trend!
Unfortunately, COVID-19 precautions don’t seem to be going anywhere and any time soon. Gatherings can be a place of spread if we are not careful so I do anticipate we will see Covid precautions like mask requirements, socially distanced dancing, temperature checks, negative tests, proof of vaccinations and/or others. Remember these precautions are to protect you and your loved ones, but they are also in place to protect the staff and vendors making your celebration come to life.
For your international wedding, make sure that you and your vendor partners are all aligned when it comes to cancellation policies, rescheduling and/or potential travel bans. But also consider when are you communicating that to guests? And also consider domestic destinations.
15. Ok or Not: Asking guests whether or not they have been vaccinated or will before the wedding?
I think it’s OK to ask guests whether they have or will consider being vaccinated before the wedding (that is if they are medically cleared).
16. Is proof of vaccination going to be a thing?
I definitely think this is going to be thing for many couples but not the vast majority. While everyone’s safety is always a top priority, this is a hard ask until 100 percent of the population is medically cleared for a vaccination.
17. When should couples book their wedding vendors?
Booking vendors 12 to 15 months out is becoming the norm. I suggest you get your team of vendors in place as soon as you are engaged and then take a deep breath while you gather inspiration and work on the guest list.
18. Is it ok to ask for a negative test 72 hours prior to your wedding?
Even if you’re fully vaccinated, some couples and venues are now requiring all guests and vendors test negative for COVID before entering into a ceremony or reception. With mass-produced rapid tests that are reliable and speedy with results, you may be able to still safely throw your wedding without concerns about the Omicron variant.
19. Should you have a backup plan if you’re getting married in 2022 or beyond?
We get it: about half of all weddings from 2020 were postponed through 2022. It’s the busiest wedding season ever and while many couples have dreamt and then mourned, then dreamt again for this day to arrive, incremental changes might be required. This could include a slight difference in your ceremony setting or a bigger dance floor. Maybe it’s time to once again bring out the wedding masks, a relic and take-home favor from 2020. Whatever the scenario, you’ll do yourself a favor by being flexible and readying yourself for any pivots necessary. Omicron doesn’t mean your wedding won’t happen. This most contagious variant yet simply requires understanding and slight problem solving if needed.
20. Can you expect to pay more for your 2022 wedding?
The costs of weddings will increase year-after-year naturally but the pandemic impact on the wedding industry has caused a higher increase for 2022.
There is a demand for more staffing, logistical changes, hiring more experienced staff, salary increases in specific counties, increased insurance rates, the lack of goods with an increase in demand and the most common is the financial obligations to stay afloat.
Yes, the cost of a wedding in 2022 will be higher than a wedding planned in 2019. It doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Hire a wedding planner! You’ll save money because your wedding planner has the experience and insider knowledge to guide you through all your decisions and what your best options are including what’s cost-effective and/or a good value and what you may not need at all.
Not to mention, if you give your planner a budget they are most likely to stick to a budget than you would because of their knowledge of how to plan a wedding.