3 Top Tips on How to Handle the Tricky Things
By Felicity Newburry

02 May 2016

From the many weddings we have seen come and go over the years, we’ve noticed that the top three decisions that really have couples stressing out are: 1) choosing the bridal party, 2) settling on the guest list, and 3) deciding on a budget. We (and anyone else) could give you many many tips to help you come to these decisions peacefully and confidently, but in reality, there is one thing for each decision that you really need to know get started. Everything else is up to you! So if you’re standing stuck at these tricky wedding traps, the best thing to do right now is read on to discover that one tip you need to know!

1) Choosing the bridal party

All you need to do initially for this stage is listen to your heart. When you close your eyes, who do you immediately see standing right beside you at the altar? Is it your best friend, your sibling? This is the person your heart is telling you to ask to fill the role of maid of honor or best man. This all may sound cliché, but honestly there’s not room for SWOT lists or pros and cons columns here.

Close your eyes again. Who is standing next to your maid of honor/best man? How many names come to mind? The best advice to follow at this stage is to stop when you start adding people to the wedding party that weren’t in your mind when you first closed your eyes. This means you are very likely falling into the trap of obligation or ‘making up numbers’. Maybe stopping here means you have a very small wedding party, or maybe one of you has more people standing next to them then the other does. If you see your wedding party as being made up of uneven numbers, or is non-gender exclusive (e.g. a man of honor or a brides-man), or is abnormally large or very small and intimate, then so be it! This is your big day and it’s your wedding party - you make the rules!

wedding guests

2) Deciding on the guest list

The best and first tip for this step is to shut down your laptop and get out a pen and paper. Writing down the names of your guests in your own hand rather than typing them up will cause you to think more about the person you’re inviting to one of the most special days of your life.

You and your partner should sit down together and write your own dream list of guests – do you notice that you both keep avoiding writing a certain group of names, or perhaps one of you even forgot to write them down at all? This is telling you something. Did you notice you cringed when writing a few of the names? That is telling you something too.

If you’ve got a predetermined budget, this may help you decide whether or not to cross out the names of those people that you merely feel obliged to include. If you’re giving yourself freedom to invite people without the limitation of a budget, then think carefully about whether you’ll feel comfortable with those people witnessing your big day and whether you would actually miss them if they weren’t there.

This is yours and your partner’s wedding. The guest list is yours to decide. Don’t let the opinions of others change your dream list.

wedding party

Image by Meeko & Redge Photography

3) Deciding on the budget

First things first, you need to choose when you’re going to decide on your wedding budget. The time you decide to do this is in direct correlation with your priorities and freedom.

If you want to decide your budget after you’ve settled your guest list and chosen your bridal party, then this gives you the freedom to include everyone you “wouldn’t mind” having at your wedding. It also suggests that it is far more important to you that your wedding day involves everyone you know than the cost of inviting all these people to your wedding. However, remember that the downside of choosing to do form budget after this stage may mean you have more limited funds for costs such as venue, attire and décor.

If you want to decide on your budget before you settle your guest list and choose your bridal party, you will put financial restrictions on yourselves. However, this will also cause you to think carefully about whom you want to spend your budget money on. Ask yourself this question: who you would sorely miss being at your wedding if you couldn’t invite them due to budget restrictions? This weeds out the people who you may be inviting not because they’re important to you but because you feel obliged to (like your second-cousin-three-times-removed who you’ve only met once at a Christmas party when you were twelve).

Another bonus of deciding on a budget first and foremost is that you are less likely to run into depleting resources for other wedding costs after choosing your guests and wedding party. Because you already knew what money you did and did not have to spend on your guests when you chose them, it is unlikely you will have spent too much, leaving your décor and venue funds to suffer for it.

One final tip: you will NEVER regret spending good money on a professional wedding photographer. Your wedding photos are what last and will remind you of the amazing moments you shared on your big day. Imagine receiving photos that you aren’t proud of or want to show off to your friends and family? In our minds, this, above all else, is worth spending money on.

wedding rings

Image by Amy Schultz Photography