The question was popped and the exhilaration is fresh, but maybe you’re beginning to ask new questions like –“What do I need for a wedding?” and “Where do we even start?” Ultimate wedding planning checklists that break down the planning process to the littlest details can be incredibly helpful. And the advice you get from your bestie, your mother-in-law, and your old high school English teacher is offered with affection. But the most important question to ask is if the wedding you are planning is right for you.
With that in mind, here is a quick list of things you need at your wedding and things you don’t need.
5 Things You NEED at Your Wedding
1) Good Music
From the march down the aisle to the dance party at the reception, music can make or break your wedding’s vibe. In order to ensure the music complements your dream wedding, you need to pick a good DJ or band. It should be someone who can pump up or calm down your guests, someone who can follow your schedule by announcing speeches, dances, and games on time, and someone who you trust to match your vision of the big day.
Photo from Bay Kings Band.
2) Hors D’oeuvres
While your guests are coming to your wedding to support you and share in your love, they would be lying if they said they aren’t also excited to nosh on some good eats post-ceremony. Cocktail hour is the snackers’ time to shine. Ensure that your hors d’oeuvre lineup includes at least one or two bites for each guest’s dietary requirement — which often means a few vegan, nut-free, or gluten-free options.
3) A beautiful table setting
Once cocktail hour wraps up, it’s onto dinner. Dinner tables come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be styled any number of ways. Since everyone will spend at least an hour or two at their tables, you’ll want to make sure that you’re happy with how they look. It’s important that the tablescape fits your vibe. Whether that means tea lights and lanterns scattered across the table, a live flower arrangement in its center, or a simple table runner with a timeless drop-folded napkin at each plate.
Photo from Beaumonde Originals.
4) A comfy pair of shoes
I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. You chose a pair of shoes that, while beautiful, aren’t practical for a night of dancing. Rather than keeping the shoes on and suffering a week of blisters, or going barefoot and getting your toes crushed by fellow partiers, bring a pair of comfy, danceable shoes for the reception.
5) One signature feature
Pinterest is a dangerous place. It can make you feel like everything at your wedding has to be handmade, over-the-top, and 100% unique. But that’s unnecessary and, quite frankly, way too stressful. Don’t worry about a dozen stand-out features at your wedding, just pick one — and then do it right! If you and your spouse love dessert, have an elaborate sweets table and make that a focal point of the dining room. Or if you’re megafans of your alma mater, hire the mascot to come to the reception. As far as this stuff goes, it’s quality over quantity.
4 Things You DON’T Need at Your Wedding
1) Party favors
Even the best laid plans often go awry, and that’s often the case with wedding favors. Nearly all wedding venues would agree that after most weddings, dozens of carefully selected and wrapped favors are left behind by guests. But hold on! There are exceptions to this rule: food. Cookies, s’mores bags, and midnight snack bags are always beloved by guests.
2) An overstocked bar
Sometimes, when the client is in charge of stocking the bar, they go overboard. For your own time and effort’s sake, unless your crowd has a distinct taste for a special alcohol, don’t buy it. Put the fifth flavor of Smirnoff back on the shelf and go back to the basics: one type of vodka, one type whiskey, a few types of wine, etc. (And don’t forget the mixers!)
Photo by Ibrahim Boran.
3) A huge wedding party
Your big day is just that — your big day! So before you bend over backwards, make sure that your own experience takes precedence. All too often, couples, to avoid excluding anyone, form a wedding party so big that it’s entirely unmanageable. Logistically, more than four people on each side can be unruly. Six or seven people each can be unwieldy, and any more than that can quickly become disorderly.
Your loved ones who don’t get asked to be part of your wedding party will understand that it’s not personal. They’re probably more worried about you having a great day than they are about whether they’re in the wedding party. In fact, they can still attend your bach party, your post-wedding brunch, and anything else you want even if they’re not part of the ceremony. And when you weed out your wedding party short list and select your reasonably-sized party, you’re sparing yourself immeasurable stress.
Photo by Camila Cordeiro.
Also, if your heart is set on a medium-to-small wedding guest list, check out these intimate Florida venues. Word of advice: one of the easiest way to reduce the size of your reception without hurt feelings is to have a destination wedding.
4) Anything you don’t want
Ultimately, you and your partner are the only ones who know what you want. Sure, you should hear your event professionals’ advice out, and you can take your mom’s suggestions into consideration, but you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You hate cake? Have ice cream. Never been a fan of the garter toss? Make up a different game to play instead. Your vision is yours and no one, not even this blog post, should stop you from realizing your dream wedding.