Between your friends and family and random co-workers, there is a lot of advice for planning a wedding out there. But there’s one thing you should remember before making any plans!
My best advice for planning a wedding? Remember that it’s about you.
It’s not about your sister-in-law, your best friends, your aunt, or even your parents.
It’s not about the venue or the caterer or the playlist.
A wedding is about you and your partner – your love for each other and the commitment you’re making.
So when it comes down to making decisions, you need to center what matters to you and your fiancé. Let your love, priorities, and preferences guide your choices.
Let’s look at some tough situations that you may encounter while wedding planning – and how to handle them with grace and kindness… and still get what you want!
The Guest List
Deciding how big (or intimate!) of a wedding you want is one of the first decisions you need to make. And then you need to stick with it!
The guest list will drive most of your decisions – and it has the biggest impact on your budget – so this is a big one.
If you don’t want to be surrounded with a bunch of people you’ve never met (aka your parents’ distant relatives or random friends), then keeping your guest count smaller is a must.
I know this can get tricky if your parents are paying for the wedding, but that’s when some open, honest conversation (and being willing to offer a compromise) is important.
Talk to your parents about why the guest list matters to you and your partner. Explain the emotional side as well as the logical side. If you have your heart set on a specific venue that only hold so many people, then the guest count is pretty much decided for you. Remind your parents how grateful you are for their contribution, and make an effort to include their closest friends and your immediate family.
At the end of the day, you and your fiancé should be surrounded by the people you love most. If you wouldn’t travel to attend someone’s wedding, you probably shouldn’t invite them to yours.
Kids? No Thank You.
If you choose to host a kid-free wedding, you may encounter some push-back or awkward situations. But if having an adults-only crowd matters to you – it’s worth standing up for.
You should make sure it’s clear to everyone that kids are not invited. There are a couple of different ways to do that…
- Specifically address the invitations to the adults only. Avoid using a more ambiguous address like “The Bush Family” if you don’t want to include the whole family. “Mr. and Mrs. Bush” should be a clear sign that only mom and dad are invited!
- But because people sometimes don’t pay attention (or ignore what they don’t want to see!)… you can also include a specific number on the RSVP cards. Something like “__ / 2” clearly indicates that only 2 members of the family are invited.
- State that the wedding (ceremony, reception, or both!) will be adults-only on your wedding website. If you want to take an extra step, include babysitting recommendations on your wedding site!
- Make sure your wedding party knows that it’s a no-kids affair and encourage them to remind anyone who may be confused or unsure.
Am I Invited…?
Having to tell someone directly that they aren’t invited to your wedding can be uncomfortable. But as with most things in life, honesty is best.
If it’s a coworker who asks (this tends to happen a lot!) and you didn’t invite anyone from work, you can always just say something like, “I wish we could invite everyone! We had to keep it to family and close friends.”
In other situations, you can use the “I wish we could invite everyone!” line and leave it at that. Avoid trying to over-explain or offer up excuses.
You don’t really owe anyone an explanation, but you’re also a kind person who doesn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings… so it’s tough!
And as far as etiquette is concerned – remember that you do need to invite anyone who receives a “save the date.”
Not Requesting Advice for Planning a Wedding
Find yourself getting a lot of unsolicited “advice” about planning your wedding? That can be so annoying. And it can end up stressing you out!
One of the best responses I ever heard for shutting down any unwanted advice was this: “We’re not requesting feedback at this time.”
It’s hard to argue with that!
So the next time your great-aunt starts telling you how you should have carrot cake because that’s her favorite, you can nod, smile, and kindly say “Thanks, but we’re not requesting feedback about our cake right now.”