Just Engaged and Proposals

How do you decide what kind of wedding to have?

Hi all,

My fiance and I are struggling so much with wedding planning - we have no idea what we want to do. We like every idea and can't figure out how to decide which direction to go in. It was fun at first, envisioning a million different possible scenarios, but it's starting to get stressful. I'm great at taking action and planning things and feel like we're going to do great once we pick a direction to go in and need to actually start booking vendors and and getting things done, but this weird limbo of not even knowing what kind of wedding we want is so overwhelming!

We live in Boston, so one day I want to get married in a chic downtown location in the spring. Then the next day I want a summer wedding on the cape. And the next day I want a fall wedding at a rustic venue with tons of foliage and seasonal foods. And then I think of a sweet winter wedding in the mountains. Or maybe we just say to hell with planning a big wedding, let's just go to the courthouse and then throw a party! But oh, maybe we do want a big ceremony that everyone we love can be part of. We've done guest list drafts from 50 people to 200. I want a long traditional white dress one day and then something short and alternative the next. We want to go retro, then we want modern.  

We can't pick a time of year, or a setting, or a guest list, or anything. It all sounds fun, and we have good ideas for each scenario. 

How do people DO this? How did you decide what kind of wedding to have? Do you have any tips for how to start narrowing down your options when everything sounds like a good idea? 

Re: How do you decide what kind of wedding to have?

  • slj2018 said:
    Hi all,

    My fiance and I are struggling so much with wedding planning - we have no idea what we want to do. We like every idea and can't figure out how to decide which direction to go in. It was fun at first, envisioning a million different possible scenarios, but it's starting to get stressful. I'm great at taking action and planning things and feel like we're going to do great once we pick a direction to go in and need to actually start booking vendors and and getting things done, but this weird limbo of not even knowing what kind of wedding we want is so overwhelming!

    We live in Boston, so one day I want to get married in a chic downtown location in the spring. Then the next day I want a summer wedding on the cape. And the next day I want a fall wedding at a rustic venue with tons of foliage and seasonal foods. And then I think of a sweet winter wedding in the mountains. Or maybe we just say to hell with planning a big wedding, let's just go to the courthouse and then throw a party! But oh, maybe we do want a big ceremony that everyone we love can be part of. We've done guest list drafts from 50 people to 200. I want a long traditional white dress one day and then something short and alternative the next. We want to go retro, then we want modern.  

    We can't pick a time of year, or a setting, or a guest list, or anything. It all sounds fun, and we have good ideas for each scenario. 

    How do people DO this? How did you decide what kind of wedding to have? Do you have any tips for how to start narrowing down your options when everything sounds like a good idea? 
    We started with any must haves or deal breakers. For me it was having my close and friends and family there (which ruled out destination wedding), for him it was time of year (nothing from October to January or late march to mid May, or during the semester). We also knew we didn't want to wait more than a year, so that narrowed down picking a time/location. I would start with anything, anything that you can think we must have/absolutely don't want at your wedding. See if that helps. 
    SP29ernursejshort+sassy
  • Agree with the above.

    What are your must haves?

    DH would have eloped, easily, but I said no, our family needs to be there. Thus, we went with meal and dancing. Because we had a lot of OOT guests, we felt it most appropriate to have an evening dinner and dancing reception, where we could host our guests longer. 

    Our other "big deal" was the date. We were both in school at the time, but I was a little more strapped in than DH was. It was either get married during my school program in August, which would mean +++ planning while in school, or wait until after I finished (which was November). We ended up getting married in January of that year, and that gave us a 2 year and 1 month engagement. Thus we did not want to entertain summer of the next year- too long to wait.

    As for the actual style of the wedding/venue- it all came down to budget. Who has the best package for the lowest price? I happened to really love our venue anyway- close to the lake, and the room was intimate with these large pretty windows on 3 sides. I did not want a traditional ballroom because unless you're having 200+ guests (which we weren't), a room like that feels cavernous to me- I like something more intimate.

    Guest list was our must haves. This was also determined by budget.

    I loved our wedding, but if I were to do it over, just for fun, I'd plan it for the fall and do a brunch or afternoon lunch/tea reception.
    charlotte989875
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    We started with what we didn't want, which was dancing, because we don't dance, and we didn't want people thinking we were not having fun at our own reception by not dancing. So to lessen the expectation of dancing, we opted for a daytime wedding, and the rest fell into place from there. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • Same as the above, my husband and I discussed our dealbreakers (both to have and not to have), which left us with a handful of options and then we took a look at our budget and made an "absolutely must have there" guest list and that left us with an even smaller handful of options (basically two) and we went from there.
  • We started with must haves and deal breakers. We made our lists separate and then came together to discuss. I'm a people pleaser so that helped me to not be a push over. 

    Our must haves and deal breakers were actually quite similar and included really good food, getting married on our anniversary, zero gap, having something really simple with a small guest list.

    From there, we looked at how much we were willing to spend and started narrowing down the guest list/looking at venues.

    In the end, we had our wedding on our anniversary, at our favourite restaurant, without a wedding party and with 50 people helping us celebrate. Our ceremony and reception were very 'us' but our guests were front and center in our plans.


  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited December 2016
    slj2018 said:
    Hi all,

    My fiance and I are struggling so much with wedding planning - we have no idea what we want to do. We like every idea and can't figure out how to decide which direction to go in. It was fun at first, envisioning a million different possible scenarios, but it's starting to get stressful. I'm great at taking action and planning things and feel like we're going to do great once we pick a direction to go in and need to actually start booking vendors and and getting things done, but this weird limbo of not even knowing what kind of wedding we want is so overwhelming!

    We live in Boston, so one day I want to get married in a chic downtown location in the spring. Then the next day I want a summer wedding on the cape. And the next day I want a fall wedding at a rustic venue with tons of foliage and seasonal foods. And then I think of a sweet winter wedding in the mountains. Or maybe we just say to hell with planning a big wedding, let's just go to the courthouse and then throw a party! But oh, maybe we do want a big ceremony that everyone we love can be part of. We've done guest list drafts from 50 people to 200. I want a long traditional white dress one day and then something short and alternative the next. We want to go retro, then we want modern.  

    We can't pick a time of year, or a setting, or a guest list, or anything. It all sounds fun, and we have good ideas for each scenario. 

    How do people DO this? How did you decide what kind of wedding to have? Do you have any tips for how to start narrowing down your options when everything sounds like a good idea? 
    What you want vs. what you can have are two different things.  Here is how you plan a proper wedding:

    1.  Figure out your total budget.  This is the money you will have to spend for your wedding.  Do not count on money from relatives or others unless they volunteer it, and then it must be a specific amount.

    2.  Write up your guest list.  Include guests from both sides.  Write everyone you might want to be a guest at your wedding.  Now add ten, just for safety.  It will be easier to make cuts from this list, later, if you need to, than to add extra people on.

    3.  Now, looking at #1 and 2, figure out what kind of wedding you can afford.

     The cheapest wedding is a simple afternoon ceremony followed by a cake and punch reception.  This is perfectly proper and traditional, but it is seldom seen these days.
    You can have a morning ceremony followed by a nice brunch reception.  This can be casual or very formal, depending on venue and style.  We served mimosas at daughter's reception and saved a lot of money.
    The most expensive wedding is the evening ceremony with tuxedos, open bar, full dinner and dancing.  This is a relatively recent trend.
    Remember, if you are having guests at your wedding, your first consideration is their comfort.  They will be your guests, not your audience.

    A little advice:
    Do not choose your wedding party until about ten months before your wedding ceremony.
    Read a good wedding etiquette guide book.  I like Miss Manners Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding.  It is a fun read, and very realistic.
    Be careful reading wedding magazines and watching wedding porn (Say Yes to the Dress, etc.) on TV.  These shows are for entertainment and profit the wedding industry.  They are completely unrealistic!

    Congratulations on your engagement.  Take your time and enjoy it.
    .

    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    short+sassyernursej
  • Keisha84Keisha84
    Third Anniversary 100 Love Its 10 Comments First Answer
    member
    edited December 2016
    Congrats on your engagement! 

    I struggled a bit when I first got engaged, I was unsure of how I wanted my wedding to look. First thing we did was a budget. That knocked a couple ideas off my list. Realistically I could not afford the downtown venues I loved. Next was the guest list. Having a guest list of 300 people knocked off the quaint wineries I was eyeing. Next was logistics. How far would everyone would have to travel, was there a hotel close by etc. That narrowed down what venues I would look at. 

    Next I looked pictures of dresses. This sounds silly but looking at dresses I realized I wanted a formal affair. I loved the look of converted barns, but the dresses I was leaning towards were suited more to a formal affair. After that everything will fall into place

    Depending on when your wedding is, take the time and view different venues. I looked at a lot of venues online and got pricing for them. There were a few places I thought was the one until they told me the price and what the package included. Try not to stress and have fun with the process!!
  • atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    When H and I started planning, we had already been to so many weddings that we kinda started with what we DIDN'T want (e.g. huge centerpieces or really any flowers, videographer, cocktail hour reception, anything outdoors between June and Oct or from Nov-mid April, etc.).  Then we settled on a budget, and then we prioritized what was important: photography, open bar, food, guest comfort.  We did a lot of research on catering options and photographers before we even made a guest list, picked a date or a venue, because those were the biggest hits to our budget in our region.  Once we knew roughly what cost to expect from a number of different vendors, we put together a rough guest list and started looking at venues that fit our remaining budget and the number of people we wanted to invite.  Since the venue had to have a plan B in the event of inclement weather, and we didn't want a long engagement, this really limited our options.  Everything kind of just fell into place from there for us, but we also kept it really simple. And we came out under budget! 

    I will say that the wedding I envisioned when we got engaged was not the wedding we ended up planning, but I have no regrets.  

    Good luck and congrats on your engagement! 


    "And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
    --Philip Pullman

    ernursej
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