It's super easy to get distracted by the fun stuff- shopping for dresses, setting up your registries (if you consider 8 hours with a scan gun fun) and selecting flowers and decorations, but the real first thing you should do is sit down with those who will be involved in the wedding planning and ask yourself the Who, What, When, Where and How of your wedding.
Here's the deal, the worst case situation is that you and your fiancé have been living in a bubble of love, potentially semi-oblivious to the 20 2nd cousins (and their spouses) on your dad's side who are all expecting to be invited to your wedding.
Suddenly the intimate wedding of 50 that you imagined in your mind looks more like 175 and the cute little loft you found just doesn't work. Well, I don't need to extrapolate the nightmare of your first go-round of that conversation with your parents!
Want to avoid wedding drama and wedding stress? The same way people say no business should launch without a great plan, no wedding should get underway without asking everyone some of these important questions. I promise, it’s better to hash this stuff out on the front end than deal with it when you're waist deep in your plans and have to change things. So crack open a bottle of wine (or some of the harder stuff), get your family together to celebrate and, of course, talk turkey.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Start Wedding Planning
1. How are you paying for this?
Are you two doing it on your own or will your families help? If they help, how involved will they expect to be?
Will they want veto power over certain decisions? Can you live with that? If everyone is chipping in, will you be planning by committee? How much are you realistically working with? In order to avoid wedding budget mistakes, this is the most important thing you have to figure out before you start planning your wedding.
Ask each set of your parents to make a list up of first choice guests and make up your own list as well. See if this list feels right, or maybe too large for what you were imagining your day being. You’ll probably revisit this list a few times and keep in mind that whomever is footing the bill will probably be less inclined to make cuts to their list. Assume that you will have about 85% of those people you invite attending and keep that number in mind as you budget and shop for venues.
3. When are we going to have this thing?
Consider vacation time, weather, travel schedules, sunrise and sunset (especially key for Jewish ceremonies held on a Saturday night), hotel rates and holiday weekends. Choosing your date, or even the season you'll get married, will have a big impact on your planning.
In the city where you now live? Is that more expensive? Does that matter? In your hometown? Is that accessible for your guests? The location of your wedding will also majorly affect every other decision you make.
5. What is this day going to look like?
What is it going to cost? Is there going to be a ceremony on site? Is it religious?
Will it be in a house of worship? Will we want to transport guests between two locations? Is it a whole weekend, or just a day? Is it formal? Casual? Hipster trendy or timelessly elegant?
Only after asking yourself these five very important questions, should you begin to actually start planning, meeting with potential vendors, or putting down any sort of deposits. Avoid the drama and heart-ache of changing plans mid-engagement by getting these tough questions out of the way in advance.