MYTH: The cost of the gift (received from the invited guest) should be equivalent to what the per-person cost of the meal is.
TRUTH: No. No. No. An invitation to a wedding is not a trade out. A guest is not expected to know what you are spending per-person, much less be forced to spend that amount on a gift. The bride or groom does not get to dictate the price range of their wedding gifts.
MYTH: You have one year to write thank you notes.
TRUTH: A widely held belief that a bride and groom have one year to send thank you notes to their guests is beyond comprehension. Will you even remember what you received as wedding gifts in one year? The confusion comes from the notion that a guest has up to one year to send a gift. In actuality, the newlyweds should attempt to get out their thank you’s within a few weeks of returning from the honeymoon (a couple of months is really the maximum). Thank yous for gifts received before the wedding should be sent promptly, this goes for engagement, shower, and wedding presents sent to the home.
MYTH: You can save thousand of dollars with heavy duty negotiating or sponsorship of your wedding.
TRUTH: Weddings are big business, and in Southern California where we have perfect weather for almost the entire year, there is very little off-season. Talented and respectable vendors may offer slight discounts for off nights, like Thursdays, last minute bookings, and weddings in “off season” months like January, but for the most part you are not going to be able to talk them into shaving thousands of dollars off of their price. Most vendors are usually willing to negotiate with their packages, exchanging one thing for another, for example an 18 x 20 framed engagement photos for some extra pages in your wedding album. And just to touch on sponsoring, there are vendors who will do it, but it is probably the tackiest idea ever thought of. Unfortunately too many people think this is a good idea after seeing stories of it on national television. Everyone buys into the idea. Even some celebrities “sell out” their weddings for perks and freebies.
MYTH: Guests prefer open seating because they can sit with whomever they want.
TRUTH: Guests want direction. If you know your guests, you will most likely be seating them in compatible groups anyway. There is nothing worse that being the couple that doesn’t know anyone and having to walk around looking for an empty spot or having to break up your group or family because of a lack of table space. On that same note, a “singles table” is usually a bad idea. A wedding is not the place for the “Dating Game.”
MYTH: Friends and others can do the job of real wedding professionals.
TRUTH: The name says it all; they are wedding professionals, not carnival experts, or meeting planners or portrait photographers at chain stores. Hiring real professionals takes your wedding to that next level, and their experience provides skill, competence, and sophistication. For example, a photographer who shoots products or even posed family portraits may be skilled and talented but shooting weddings is a whole different ball game. Wedding photographers know how to get the shots they want, get them quick, round up family, and keep the party flowing. Wedding professionals understand the flow of events and important timing elements on a wedding day. They are familiar with the emotions that go into the day and usually have a special knack for dealing with the bride, groom, wedding party, families, and even guests.
MYTH: Getting married at an off-site location will save money.
TRUTH: It can, but very rarely does. Off-site locations have so many additional expenses-valets, rentals, insurance, cleaning fees, security deposits, etc.—in addition to normal wedding expenses. While anything is possible, as a rule off-site weddings typically go over budget or cost more upfront that weddings held at traditional venues, and if you do end up being close to your budget, chances are you have done a lot of the work yourself and are too exhausted to enjoy yourself. Off-site venues also lend themselves to the use (and expense of) a wedding coordinator to manage all of the logistics. If this is your dream, just read all of the fine print and know what you could be getting yourself into from a planning standpoint.
MYTH: A vendor who is featured on television or in a magazine article must be respectable and be among the best of the best.
TRUTH: People end up on television and in magazines for many reasons. Many of the quotes, advice, and features you read in magazines usually incorporate the publication’s advertisers into them. Most television shows are not looking for the wedding vendor, but rather they are searching for a particular look and someone who can perform on camera. Do your homework-don’t let Hollywood glitz blind your judgment.
Holly Lefevre with Patty Andersen, Kelly Meyer, Lisa Vorce, and April Whitney.
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