As a bride, you have a lot of decisions to make and there are a lot of parties involved in the wedding planning process. You have your parents who may or may not be paying, your friends and their preferences, your in-laws and their unexpected guests, and your opinionated guests who want to do what they want to do. During the wedding planning process, you often times will start to ask yourself "Is this my wedding or their wedding?".
One thing to know and prepare for as a bride is that everyone will have an opinion and want to make suggestions about your wedding, and will somehow make your decisions about them. If you're the only child, the oldest child, or the first in your family or friends to get married, get ready because everyone will want an invite and everyone will start sharing with you things they think you should do with your wedding and your marriage.
Now if you're an indecisive or nonchalant bride and groom, then this post may not be for you.
The below are the top 3 possible scenarios to consider and to prepare for when it comes to your wedding:
As I mentioned in my You Are Cordially Invited: The Guest List post, your budget starts with the guest list. So you need to decide on the guest count so you can decide on what type of venues to look at, food options, cost of invitations, etc.
You: If you and your spouse are paying for everything together then you definitely will have more freedom to do what YOU both want without having to consider everyone else's opinions. Yes your parents are your parents and this is a special occasion for them as well, but this is NOT their wedding and they not paying for it. It is important for the two of you to sit down and decide what is important to the two of you FIRST so that you can get a clearer vision on what you wouldn't mind getting help with.
Advice: My husband and I decided on a number of total guest and split it up in half. He came up with his list and I came up with mine. Whatever we had left over is what we gave our parents to complete. Once my parents' list exceeded their limit, we gave them the option to pay for those "extra" guests when it came to food and they agreed. See, COMPROMISE. Also, be considerate that your parents want to be involved so delegate tasks and communicate with them what you need from them.
Them: This is tricky because if your parents are paying for your wedding, they will definitely expect you to consider (really implement) their opinion and suggestions. Your parents will have your guest list filled with their friends, people who they feel owe them, your old teachers from elementary school, and family members you didn't even know you had. They will also be working with their own budget so that may affect the vision that you have for your own wedding.
Advice: SPEAK UP! You still need to be an adult and remind them of the things that ARE important to you and things you and your spouse find important on your wedding day. Have an idea of what you want so that you can communicate but also find a way to compromise between your ideas and their ideas.
Say what you mean and mean what you say!
I see the "Adult Only" on the invitations more and more from my fellow millennials. In other words, FIND A BABY SITTER. #nooffense Yes I love Baby Jada and Lil John but I don't need them crying, whining, and running up and down the aisle and on the dance floor trying to be cute. Having the ring bearer and flower girl is enough. Weddings are expensive, especially the reception, and Lil John and Baby Jada can't eat that whole $50 plate.
You: It is your wedding, simple as that. If you say no kids, you don't owe anyone an explanation as to why. It will get tricky if you start making exceptions, because people will get in their feelings. If you have a family member protesting and rejecting the invite because of it, girl bye/boy bye...still love you though. The kids can come to the city, just not the wedding.
Them: This is not about you and how you want to witness the special day, because you've watched him/her grow up and how you've been there. I'm sure the bride and groom want you there as well, but you need to respect that decision and not add stress about it. You have advanced notice so there is no excuse.
Advice: Depending on the situation and if you really want that guest there and they legit can't find a sitter, maybe invite them to the ceremony and not the reception? Just a thought! Even though I know the reception is the reward of sitting through the ceremony. #freefood
Remember that YOU are the One Getting Married
Friends/Family with hectic schedules, financial issues, and special preferences on what they want to look like on your special day does not matter. The thing about asking someone to be in your wedding party is that they can say YES or they can say NO. If they say yes, they should know what they are signing up which is to be helpful through the wedding planning process in whatever way the bride and groom sees fit.
You: Confirm your basic wedding details before you start asking people to be in your wedding or their opinion about what they think about the details. Basic wedding details would include estimated date, city location (destination or not), colors, and guest count.
Advice: Set the right expectation of what will be required from your wedding party, such as if you have everything under control and only require them to buy a dress or tux and show up OR if you need them to plan your bachelorette/bachelor party and bridal shower. Communicate to them so that they can know what will be expected.
Them: If you say YES you are agreeing to being available, giving financially, and looking like whatever the bride/groom want you to look like. This is a special moment for your friend and it is a honor to be asked, but if you know that your life is hectic or that financially you can't afford to be in the wedding party; please respectfully decline. It is heartbreaking and stressful to have someone drop out because it puts the bride/groom in a odd situation. (Blog post coming soon)
When making wedding plans, be sure to have an opinion and a vision of what you and your spouse BOTH want. Find out what is important to each other FIRST, then bring in outside parties. When you include other people in the beginning stages of planning, you will notice that it becomes less about the two of you and about everyone else.
Also if you want to stay on a budget, don't make decisions based on the reaction you want your guests to have, what your parents want to happen, and how beautiful you want the photos to be so you can get all the "likes" and "reposts" on social media. The wedding is one day, the marriage is a lifetime. There are people who never make it to the marriage because of falling out over wedding plans and some people start their marriage in debt due to the wedding. Don't let that be you. Enjoy the process!