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Wedding Planning Concerns and How to Solve Them

Getting engaged can be the most exciting time ever. Just think—in a few short months, you get to throw an epic party and marry your best friend!

While engagement brings feelings of joy and anticipation, many brides-to-be also feel anxiety and stress. The idea of planning a wedding can be daunting, but don’t let feelings of uncertainty dull your excitement. 

Having a game plan can help you overcome those nervous feelings. Read on for our list of wedding planning concerns and how to tackle them.

Budget concerns

One of the first things you and your fiancé should do when you start planning a wedding is talk about your budget. What exactly can you afford? Consider going over the following: 

  • Determine where the money is coming from. Will you and your partner be footing the bill yourselves? Will you take out a loan? Will one or both of your parents be helping? It’s no longer expected that the bride’s parents shoulder the cost of a wedding, in fact paying for a wedding is a group effort in many cases, but it’s helpful to figure out who exactly is paying for everything before you start making any plans. 
  • Tally up everything you want to include in the wedding. Try to list out everything you think you’ll want for the wedding. This includes rings, flowers, wedding wear for both partners, food, venue…the list goes on. Once you’ve got your list together, try to estimate what the cost might be. If you’re unsure, Google it and then tack on a little extra to cover yourselves. Do this for every item on the list.
  • Eliminate unnecessary expenses. Did your budget surprise you? If you find yourself feeling a little nervous about the amount of money you’re going to spend, consider whether there are items you can do without. Or, figure out what’s not a high-priority, but would be nice to have if you find you have money leftover. 
  • Don’t rack up extra credit card debt. It can seem like an easy solution to put a few things on a credit card and pay them back after the wedding, but try to limit your credit card purchases. The last thing you want is to start off your marriage buried in debt! 

Picking a venue

After you and your fiancé have The Budget Talk (which should happen directly after you decide to get married), you should probably try to book the venue as soon as possible. But where do you start, and how do you find the best place for a good price?

  • Do your homework. Google, Pinterest, or ask friends to compile a list of wedding venue possibilities. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket—you may have your heart set on one venue and then find out they’re too expensive, or they don’t offer something you want. It’s better to have a few options picked out and narrow it down to the best one. 
  • Book appointments and ask questions. Be sure to get the details from the venue owner or manager. Exactly how much will it cost? When do they need the payment by? What’s the food situation? Are there extra charges for things like a coat check? How long will you have to set up and tear down before and after the wedding? 
  • Make sure your date is available. If you and your partner have your hearts set on a specific date, make sure it’s available before you sign any paperwork or put down a deposit with the venue! 
  • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Non-traditional and outdoor weddings are becoming more popular. Get creative when you’re searching for wedding spaces! Consider beaches, camp grounds, parks, and other outdoor spaces! Just do your research on what permits you may need to use a public place. 

Your guest list

Guest lists can be nerve-wracking, because it may feel like you have a long list of people you have to invite before you even get to the people you want to invite! Plus, if either you or your fiancé have large families, the guest list can easily become crowded. A few common questions on the guest list:

  • Do we have to invite every family member? You should try to include as much family as you can. Of course, you don’t have to invite anyone you really don’t want to. But that long-lost cousin who lives in Australia and probably won’t make it anyway? We’d be willing to be she’d still appreciate an invitation, even if there’s no way she could come. 
  • Do we have to invite our bosses and co-workers? You absolutely do not have to invite bosses, supervisors, or co-workers. Be aware that if you invite some and not others, it can create drama. If you do invite some co-workers, and not others, ask your co-worker to keep it low-key to avoid hurt feelings or invite only cohorts from your department. 
  • Do we have to invite plus-ones? The general rule of thumb is to invite a plus-one if the couple has been together for over a year. It’s a nice gesture to allow extra guests if you have the space and food to accommodate—but it’s certainly not required!
  • How many people should we invite to our wedding? The guest list will depend entirely on your budget and your venue. Your best bet is to try to nail these two down before you start inviting people. Another helpful practice is to have an “A-list’ and a “B-list.” The A-list is for guests you absolutely have to invite, and the B-list is for runners-up you can invite after a few A-listers decline or can’t make it. 

Your wedding party

Some brides have had their bridesmaids picked out since before they got engaged—and some have never given it a second thought. There’s also the issue of groomsmen; who will your partner pick, and how can you include everyone you want to include? Here are some common questions and concerns:

  • Do the wedding parties need to be even? Suppose you have 6 bridesmaids picked out, but your partner only has 4 groomsmen (or vice-versa). Should both sides be even? The answer is no. It’s better to have the people you truly want in your wedding party, rather than scrape together a group of so-so friends in order to hit the right number. 
  • I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding 2 years ago, but I don’t really want her to be a bridesmaid in mine. In this situation, do you have to include your friend? Again, the answer is no—not unless you want to. This also applies to friends from high school, friends from college, friends your mom thinks you should include: you can choose who you want to be in your bridal party.
  • Does the bridal party have to be all-female? Traditionally, the bridesmaids are all women and the groomsmen are all men. Don’t feel bogged down by tradition, though. It’s becoming increasingly more common to include close friends or family members of any gender in both sides of the wedding party. Talk to your fiancé and do what works for you!
  • How do I deal with the drama? If drama comes up because you didn’t ask so-and-so to be your bridesmaid, try not to take it personally. If the issue comes up, reassure your friend that you still value them as a friend even though you didn’t choose them as part of the bridal party. More on this here:

Save the dates

In general, it’s a good idea to do save-the-dates in advance of your wedding invitations. It’s okay to announce your engagement on social media, but this shouldn’t be a substitute for a physical save-the-date or invitation. A good rule of thumb is to send out save-the-dates 4 months in advance of the wedding (unless you’re having a destination wedding—then you’ll want to send them 8–10 months ahead of time). 

Not knowing what to do, or when

Planning a wedding can be really tough! How do you know what to do, or when to do it? It can all seem very overwhelming. 

Don’t be afraid to ask a friend, trusted relative, or your maid of honor for help. Not only can they help point you in the right direction, they can also help take some work off your plate. 

There are also many wedding planning resources online, try searching when you first get engaged to give you some ideas. 

Worrying you’ll forget something

This is a common fear brides have when preparing for a wedding. It’s understandable! There’s a lot to remember. 

Having a checklist will help. There’s something about writing it down that helps your brain relax—after all, you won’t feel the need to remember everything if you know it’s written down!

Second-guessing your choices

So you’ve picked out your colors and decorations early, and everything is all set. Great, right? 

It’s tempting to think “Maybe I made the wrong choice,” or “Maybe I won’t like the same thing in 6 months on the wedding day.”

Try not to entertain this kind of thinking. Once you make a choice, try to focus on the positive: it’s done! There’s one less thing on your checklist! 

To avoid making choices you may not like down the line, try to avoid super-trendy items that may go out of fashion. Always check the return or refund policy on anything you purchase, and save all your receipts, too!

Heading towards the big day

It’s normal to have a few wedding planning concerns when you’re prepping for your special day. The best ways to prepare are to have a game plan, map it out ahead of time, allow others to help, and relax! 

Everything will fall into place, and in the end, you get to marry your best friend! Keep your eyes on the prize and try to enjoy your engagement! 

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Leave a comment

Brianna Mason
March 12, 2018 09:21

This was very helpful! There’s much more that goes into a wedding than you realize!

March 12, 2018 09:19

This was very helpful. Creating a budget is very stressful right now with me and my fiancé- trying to have a beautiful but affordable wedding at the same time sure can be tricky.

Jen Guberman
February 21, 2018 20:26

Great advice for brides! My current struggle is finding a venue! I don’t want a barn, and that’s primarily what they have in NC. I want to keep the wedding fairly local, and somewhere with a great rain plan! Research has definitely been important. :P

February 11, 2018 00:03

In regards to the family on the guest list; how should I plan numbers when all my extended family lives out of state (Minnesota to Utah)? Of course they should all get invites (my parents wouldn’t allow it any other way) but this is the difference between having 20 family members attend and 150 family members attend. Just very frustrating…

Stephanie Huggins
February 09, 2018 11:12

Thank you! I feel better about it all.

Anna Massey
February 07, 2018 09:33

This was super helpful in giving me my first ideas on how to plan our wedding effectively!

Alicia Bowman
February 07, 2018 09:14

Totally agree with the budget! Make sure to do your research and stick to your guns. DIY-ing a lot of your centerpieces and reception decor can help A LOT

Courtney Coker
February 07, 2018 07:47

This is a very cohesive list of major wedding planning concerns! I have a venue that my fiancé and I have our hearts set on, but not everyone is on board with it because of the distance. We have a working spreadsheet going with pros and cons of each of the venues we are looking at, though, which is super helpful in making the final decision.

Jaclyn D
February 06, 2018 18:10

Definitely struggling with the +1 dilemma. The guest list is by far the hardest part!

February 06, 2018 15:44

I 100% agree with the section on wedding budgets! It’s easy just to pick a number you’d like to spend when planning a wedding, but look around and send out some price requests first. Weddings can be EXPENSIVE, even if you’re being frugal. Make yourself an excel spreadsheet, and put down EVERYTHING you can think of, and how much you’d like to spend (relative to your budget). If something ends of being more expensive (or cheaper) than you originally plan, you’ll be able to see where your wedding budget can use some adjusting.

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