Over the last few years a slew of “urban legends for wedding planning” have sprung up. Many brides get caught up in these myths as they seem simple enough and, on the surface, sometimes even logical. Don’t be fooled. Dispelling the unfortunately too common fallacies of wedding planning will help you avoid disappointment and disaster.
MYTH: I will not go over budget.
TRUTH: Fact is, you probably will. Almost all brides “forget” to include some necessary expenses and/or incur additional costs at the last minute. Some brides also “fall in love” with certain items and must have them whether or not they were originally budgeted for. Create and work with a detailed budget based on your needs. Start by shopping a reputable Bride Expo and/or call Professional Planners and service providers to get relative wedding costs. As a precaution, take 10% off of your budget total and hold it back for those unexpected expenses-if you need it, it will not push you over the edge, and if you don’t you will have some extra cash for the honeymoon (or bank account!).
MYTH: I have to invite everyone whose wedding I have attended, including distant family members.
TRUTH: In some cultures and families this may be the case but for modern couples there are a new set of “rules.” Throughout your adult life you may be invited to any number of weddings for any number of reasons. Many of these people you grow apart from for various reasons and simply lose touch. A wedding should be about the people who are most important in your lives, celebrating with you. If you do not keep in contact with others whose weddings you have attended, you do not need to include them in your guest list. As for family, many different factors come into play. Depending on the type of family and even your culture, you may be expected to invite everyone. On the other hand, you may only want to invite relatives that you keep in contact with. You should include family members with whom you share holidays or see on a regular basis. You can even try to make a cut-off point like at 1st or 2nd cousins. Of course, as with many wedding decisions, there may be some unhappy relatives.
MYTH: Buffet meals are less expensive than plated meals.
TRUTH: Buffet meals require just as much time and attention as plated meals, and in addition the caterer must make more food as some of the guests may visit the buffet line one, two, or three times before being satisfied. Secondly, there must also be enough china and flatware on hand for these repeat visitors-a guest should never revisit the line with a “dirty” plate. Don’t make the mistake of thinking food stations are the same as a buffet either. Stations are typically more costly and elaborate than buffets.
MYTH: You can cut floral costs by purchasing your own candles and/or containers for floral arrangements, instead of having the florist provide them.
TRUTH: In actuality, these are items that the florist makes little, if any money on. What you end up with instead is a string of problems ranging from containers that cannot stand up to the complexities of the floral arrangements you desire, mismatched containers, votive holders and hurricanes that do not meet fire codes, candles that are scented and irritate the senses, or worse yet, candles that don’t last for the evening. Many brides also like to purchase their own twinkle lights, and miscalculate the number they need, forget adapters and extension cords, and worse yet, for the battery operated strands, forget the batteries.
MYTH: It will be perfect.
TRUTH: There is no perfection, chances are something will turn out differently than you imagine. If the string quartet is set up on the left side of the gazebo instead of the right, let it go. No one but you will know that you pictured it the other way. Plan the best you can, hire trustworthy vendors, and let go. The way it turns out may actually be better than you imagined.
MYTH: Tell the catering manager that your final guest count is actually ten less than it really is since they make extra food.
TRUTH: This is just a bad idea. Quite honestly caterers, and reception facilities have the practice of serving your wedding feast down to an art and typically only make a few “extra meals” (3% to 5% on average). Giving a lower guest count only messes with everything, especially when the catering manager sees that you have those ten extra people included on your floor plan, or on the night of the event when the staff is scrambling trying to find places for everyone. Do yourself and everyone involved a favor and give the right guest count-it is not worth the headache. How embarrassed would you be if ten people (who had responded on time) didn’t get to eat at your wedding?
MYTH: The more guests I have, the bigger the “group” discount I will get from the caterer.
TRUTH: In the world of weddings, the “warehouse shopping” mentality (buying bigger is cheaper) does not apply. More people means more money. The cost of the per-person meal stays the same and the cost of the service, not to mention floral arrangements, linens, cakes, etc., only goes up to accommodate those extra guests.
MYTH: I am going to buy the dress in the magazine. I know it is “the perfect dress.”
TRUTH: Begin your shopping in the magazines, but do not consider it to be the end of your dress shopping. The ads only touch on the numerous styles offered by designers. Use the magazines to get an idea of current gown styles, and to give the bridal consultant at the salon a starting place based on the styles you have selected. Keep an open mind when shopping, what you think may look good on you, may not. You may try on what seems like thousands of gowns during this process, but most brides agree when you find “the dress” you will know. Be patient and don’t rush into anything, most salons have nonrefundable deposits.
MYTH: Registering (for wedding gifts) is easy.
TRUTH: Most couples hold off on registering and then do not allow enough time, assuming they are just shopping. Blocking off a couple of hours on a Saturday for registering will probably not do the trick. OK, the exception is if your fiancé just doesn’t care what you select, or you have been planning since you were twelve. When you get to that store and start matching up china with silverware and glassware and table linens and then debating over stand mixers and food processors or the coffee maker as opposed to the espresso maker, you have the makings of a long day. Plan to spend some time on this task. Besides we have the Internet now, you can do your homework in advance by checking out web sites, and you may even be able to register for some items online.
If you’re new to wedding planning, you may want to attend a popular BrideWord Expo. BrideWorld hosts events where you can meet with dozens upon dozens of wedding professionals face-to-face, not to mention wedding coordinators who can answer your toughest questions. If you can’t wait, you can view local experts now.
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