10 Do’s and Don’ts When Planning Your Wedding

by Irene Conlan

Most of us have some strong negative feelings about “do’s and don’ts” just like we dislike other people telling what we must and must not do. but sometimes knowing where the pitfalls are ahead of time keeps us from falling into a hole we can’t get out of.

And sometimes knowing what others did that did or did not work for their wedding helps us make our wedding even more special. As an officiant some of my recommendations are:

1. Do make your wedding a joint venture between bride and groom. Some grooms just want to know what to wear and where and when to show up. Some brides want to call all the shots and make all the decisions. Make your decisions together – you will be doing this for the rest of your lives and this is a good place to start.

2. Do get everything that can get done in advance done as far in advance as you can. You don’t want to discover the day before your wedding that you have forgotten to get your marriage license or that your dress isn’t ready.

3. Do let your ceremony reflect who you are as individuals and who you are as a couple. This can be done with the music, readings, vows and other personal stories and selections you make.

4. Do take into consideration “family tensions” or “sore spots” when you plan your seating. If parents have divorced and remarried and have tension in each other’s presence, be sensitive about how they are seated at both the ceremony and the reception or dinner. This will prevent unnecessary stress and perhaps tears.

5 Do delegate, delegate, delegate. Let other’s help so when the week of the wedding arrives you have time to enjoy your guests and not arrive at your own wedding too tired to enjoy it.

Now how about the don’ts?

1. Don’t think you have to spend more money on a wedding than it would cost you for a college education or a new house. Some of the most beautiful and meaningful ceremonies are in someone’s back yard. It isn’t about how much money you spend but about the love between you. Think about how you can avoid going into your marriage on the edge of bankruptcy.

2. Don’t be shy about speaking up for yourselves. This is your wedding. Just because Aunt somebody-or-other had her bridesmaids in dresses that looked like those in My Big Fat Greek Wedding doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Or because Uncle I-think-I-can-sing-but-can’t wants to sing doesn’t mean you have to let him. Tell them how much you love them and thank each of them for their wonderful offer with a gentle statement that you’ve already chosen the dresses and planned the music (or whatever).

3. Don’t Procrastinate. This is another way to say what was said in #2 Do above. If you want a disaster the day before and the day of the wedding, just put things off. The more organized you are and the better you have delegated those “last minute” things, the more you will be able to participate in and enjoy wedding day.

4. Don’t have unrealistic expectations about having everything perfect. Beautiful? Yes. Perfect is harder. Remember that this is a joyful celebration of love rather than an exercise in perfection. Most of us are not “practically perfect in every way” like Mary Poppins and we make mistakes. The mistake is generally the thing that gives you the fondest memories. I officiated a near perfect wedding and I was aware that everything had gone right. At about that point, a bridesmaid fainted. She was quickly back on her feet and the ceremony proceeded, again, perfectly. There was no way this could be anticipated and prevented. They will talk about it with fond memories for years to come.

5. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages prior to the ceremony. There are enough challenges without having a best man or even the groom (or the maid of honor or even the bride) drunk at the ceremony. Yes, nerves are jangled and tension is high. But you don’t want the officiant to say, when it’s time for vows, “Please slur after me . . .”

About the Author: Irene Conlan is an ordained, non-denominational minister in Scottsdaale, AZ and the Phoenix metropolitan area. She delights in designing unique, custom weddings that are personal and spectacular for each couple.