Wedding 911

Help!

Hi! In the past week I have become engaged, and my fiance ended up getting a new life changing career. So, I am kind of doing this on my own. I don't know where to start or anything! I don't know when we will have the wedding yet.. Depending on his availability with this new career, it could be October 2015 or sometime in 2016. 

What am I suppose to be doing right now? I really want to ask my best friend for help, but should I ask her to be my Matron of Honor yet, or wait? Do I ask all of my bridal party now, or wait until I have more decided?

I do know that the wedding needs to be as inexpensive as possible. And we will probably have 500+ guests. I feel like this is going to be really hard because my family lives out of town, so my Mom isn't here to help me plan this huge wedding... Help! 

Re: Help!

  • beetherybeethery So sayeth the fuckin' Pope. member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    500+ people is going to be a nightmare and I do not recommend continuing with that guest list. Figure out your budget, and pare down the guest list accordingly.
    --

    I'm the fuck out.

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    jenna8984mrsk616
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    We invited 275 people (225 came) and it was work. Throwing a party for that many people is not easy, especially if you are doing it by yourself, ie without a wedding planner.

    Be prepared to spend your entire reception doing table visits.

    BabyFruit Ticker
    Knottie60347605
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Hi! In the past week I have become engaged, and my fiance ended up getting a new life changing career. So, I am kind of doing this on my own. I don't know where to start or anything! I don't know when we will have the wedding yet.. Depending on his availability with this new career, it could be October 2015 or sometime in 2016. 

    What am I suppose to be doing right now? I really want to ask my best friend for help, but should I ask her to be my Matron of Honor yet, or wait? Do I ask all of my bridal party now, or wait until I have more decided?

    I do know that the wedding needs to be as inexpensive as possible. And we will probably have 500+ guests. I feel like this is going to be really hard because my family lives out of town, so my Mom isn't here to help me plan this huge wedding... Help! 

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Sorry but for 500+ guests, it's going to be expensive! I mean you could do it, but you wouldn't be able to serve a meal. 

    You and your husband need to figure out a budget that you and him can afford and start from there. I would highly recommend cutting down your guest list. 
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  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    KikiMira said:
    Sorry but for 500+ guests, it's going to be expensive! I mean you could do it, but you wouldn't be able to serve a meal. 

    You and your husband need to figure out a budget that you and him can afford and start from there. I would highly recommend cutting down your guest list. 
    The OP might be able to serve a meal. Expensive/ inexpensive are relative terms.
    BabyFruit Ticker
    doeydo
  • arrrghmateyarrrghmatey member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    edited December 2014
    KikiMira said:
    Sorry but for 500+ guests, it's going to be expensive! I mean you could do it, but you wouldn't be able to serve a meal. 


    Dollar Menu at McDonald's!

    1) Take a deep breath and smile. You're engaged to your best friend. Yay!
    2) Set a budget. The both of you. Not just one person can do this. Make sure your FI is involved.
    3) Work on that guest list. PPs are absolutely right. Sure, you may ideally wish to invite 500 people, but that is an insane number of people to accommodate.
    4) Pick out an ideal time of the year you'd like your wedding to take place that is not too specific (i.e. winter 2015, April 2016) and start looking at venues. If you're too specific on your time frame, such as having a specific day or weekend in mind, you may end up crossing off a lot of venues due to unavailability. Keep in mind that the time of year may also affect your budget (peak wedding season vs. off-peak).
    5) Congrats!!

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    Knottie60347605jmcgal068ChemFanatic25rcher912
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited December 2014
    1.  Set date.
    2.  Set your total budget.  This is the amount of money you have to spend on your wedding.
    3.  Set guest list.  500 people is ridiculous.  Get real.  List your close relatives and your very closest friends.
    4.  If you are Catholic, talk to your priest immediately about what you need to do to get married in the Catholic church.
    5.  Find venue.  The venue MUST satisfy #1 through #3.

    This is the order you should do things.  Do not skip any steps.  After you have set all these things, then you may think about your bridal party.  Remember, your bridesmaids do not have to do anything except show up, sober, in the chosen dress and walk down the aisle with you.  They pose for photos, too.  That is all that is required of them.

     These are the styles of weddings you can have:

    1.  Elope.  Go to a courthouse and get married.  No guests.  No reception.  (Yes, this is a REAL wedding!)
    2.  Private wedding.  Arrange for an officiant to marry you.  If you are religious, this can be done at your church with just immediate family only.  Afterwards, you take them out for lunch or dinner.
    3.  Small wedding.  You will need invitations, chairs for your guests, and refreshment afterwards. This style of wedding is best held in the afternoon.  Cake, coffee and punch are served at the reception.
    4.  Larger wedding.  You might want to serve a meal.  Brunch is less expensive than dinner,  Alcohol is optional.  Dancing with either an IPOD or a professional DJ is usual.
    5.  Most expensive: Evening reception, expensive venue,  tuxedos, full open bar, full dinner, dancing, limousines, the works.  This style of wedding has been popular since the late 1970s.  The word "budget" does not describe this style of wedding.

    Don't start with a pre-conceived vision of what a wedding should be.  You have many choices.  Where, on this earth, will you find a venue that can handle 500 guests?  Rent a stadium?  Sheesh!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    1.  Set date.
    2.  Set your total budget.  This is the amount of money you have to spend on your wedding.
    3.  Set guest list.  500 people is ridiculous.  Get real.  List your close relatives and your very closest friends.
    4.  If you are Catholic, talk to your priest immediately about what you need to do to get married in the Catholic church.
    5.  Find venue.  The venue MUST satisfy #1 through #3.

    This is the order you should do things.  Do not skip any steps.  These are the styles of weddings you can have:

    1.  Elope.  Go to a courthouse and get married.  No guests.  No reception.  (Yes, this is a REAL wedding!)
    2.  Private wedding.  Arrange for an officiant to marry you.  If you are religious, this can be done at your church with just immediate family only.  Afterwards, you take them out for lunch or dinner.
    3.  Small wedding.  You will need invitations, chairs for your guests, and refreshment afterwards. This style of wedding is best held in the afternoon.  Cake, coffee and punch are served at the reception.
    4.  Larger wedding.  You might want to serve a meal.  Brunch is less expensive than dinner,  Alcohol is optional.  Dancing with either an IPOD or a professional DJ is usual.  Now we are getting expensive.
    5.  Most expensive: Evening reception, expensive venue,  tuxedos, full open bar, full dinner, dancing, limousines, the works.  This style of wedding has been popular since the late 1970s.

    Don't start with a pre-conceived vision of what a wedding should be.  You have many choices.  Where, on this earth, will you find a venue that can handle 500 guests?  Rent a stadium?  Sheesh!
    Actually a lot of venues (such as hotels and large banquet halls and the like) can handle 500 guests.  H and I could have fit 500 guests in our venue.  I mean we did have it in a stadium but the lounge/club level would have been conducive for 500 people.  But I sure as hell would not have wanted to visit 50 or more tables.  Hell to the no on that one.

    CMGragainKnottie60347605jmcgal068
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    1.  Set date.
    2.  Set your total budget.  This is the amount of money you have to spend on your wedding.
    3.  Set guest list.  500 people is ridiculous.  Get real.  List your close relatives and your very closest friends.
    4.  If you are Catholic, talk to your priest immediately about what you need to do to get married in the Catholic church.
    5.  Find venue.  The venue MUST satisfy #1 through #3.

    This is the order you should do things.  Do not skip any steps.  These are the styles of weddings you can have:

    1.  Elope.  Go to a courthouse and get married.  No guests.  No reception.  (Yes, this is a REAL wedding!)
    2.  Private wedding.  Arrange for an officiant to marry you.  If you are religious, this can be done at your church with just immediate family only.  Afterwards, you take them out for lunch or dinner.
    3.  Small wedding.  You will need invitations, chairs for your guests, and refreshment afterwards. This style of wedding is best held in the afternoon.  Cake, coffee and punch are served at the reception.
    4.  Larger wedding.  You might want to serve a meal.  Brunch is less expensive than dinner,  Alcohol is optional.  Dancing with either an IPOD or a professional DJ is usual.  Now we are getting expensive.
    5.  Most expensive: Evening reception, expensive venue,  tuxedos, full open bar, full dinner, dancing, limousines, the works.  This style of wedding has been popular since the late 1970s.

    Don't start with a pre-conceived vision of what a wedding should be.  You have many choices.  Where, on this earth, will you find a venue that can handle 500 guests?  Rent a stadium?  Sheesh!
    Actually a lot of venues (such as hotels and large banquet halls and the like) can handle 500 guests.  H and I could have fit 500 guests in our venue.  I mean we did have it in a stadium but the lounge/club level would have been conducive for 500 people.  But I sure as hell would not have wanted to visit 50 or more tables.  Hell to the no on that one.
    Our venue (a library) could have held 500. But we dont know or like 500 people. So that solved the issue pretty quick!
    BabyFruit Ticker
    Maggie0829thespeshulestsnowflakejmcgal068
  • Hi! In the past week I have become engaged, and my fiance ended up getting a new life changing career. So, I am kind of doing this on my own. I don't know where to start or anything! I don't know when we will have the wedding yet.. Depending on his availability with this new career, it could be October 2015 or sometime in 2016. 

    What am I suppose to be doing right now? I really want to ask my best friend for help, but should I ask her to be my Matron of Honor yet, or wait? Do I ask all of my bridal party now, or wait until I have more decided?

    I do know that the wedding needs to be as inexpensive as possible. And we will probably have 500+ guests. I feel like this is going to be really hard because my family lives out of town, so my Mom isn't here to help me plan this huge wedding... Help! 
    Congratulations! Is your fiance available at all to start discussions of budget and generally what kind of a wedding you want to have? Wedding planning should really begin between your future husband and yourself, not your mom or your best friend. 

    Here are some places to start. 
    • Determine your budget. You need to decide how much money you can (and are willing to) spend on your wedding.  This will dictate what type of wedding you can have and how many guests you can afford. You need to make sure you can afford to properly host all of your guests. This means they do not pay for anything (no cash bars or pot lucks!) and they all need seating and food appropriate to the time of the day (no mealtime wedding receptions without meals). 
    • Begin guest list planning. Figure out your VIPs and then start making additional groups/cut-points. For example, your parents are probably VIPs, but your third cousin-twice removed is probably not. 500 people is a huge wedding. HUGE. You don't have to invite everyone you and your family knows. It's ok to make cuts to the guest list. There are some key etiquette points to remember when it comes to guest lists. Do not split couples: if the person you want to invite is in a relationship (doesn't have to be married), you need room for them and their significant other. Do not split up families: don't invite your 5 year old nephew because he's adorable and not his 12 year old sister. 
    • Determine what is most important to you and your fiance in a wedding. Is it important to be married in a church or outside? Do you both want a large wedding? What kind of officiant is important to you? And prioritize other parts. For example, a seated plated dinner (no buffet) with alcohol served all night is more important to us than flowers or other table decor or a big cake.
    • Figure out what date (at least approximately) works for you and your fiance. You can't book venues or vendors or know when it's time to ask bridesmaids until you know when you're getting married. 
    There is plenty of time between now and December 2015 or later. You need to focus on figuring out what you and your fiance want in a wedding before you start diving into details or enlisting help from your best friend or mom. Even if he's out of town, talk with your fiance and get on the same page. Once you know what you both one, you can start the leg work of figuring things out. And I do mean "you" not "you and your mom" or "you and your best friend". Your best friend may be willing to offer some help, but this is your and your fiance's job, not hers. Even if she's MOH she has no responsibilities to co-plan a wedding with you. Don't ruin a friendship by assigning your work to her. There are many cautionary tales on this site about what happens if you ask your bridal party too soon or expect them to do work for you. 

    Good luck planning! Stick around on this site. I've learned a lot of great information, especially about etiquette and proper hosting.  
    doeydoKnottie60347605jmcgal068[Deleted User]
  • Ok, ok. I mis-spoke food could be served. You could do mcdonalds as one person pointed out, pizza.... There are many options for feeding people. 

    I meant, to what I think of food at a wedding, probably wouldn't be possible. 
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  • What is an OP?
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer

    What is an OP?

    OP- original poster

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    Knottie60347605
  • Knottie60347605Knottie60347605 Omaha member
    First Comment
    edited December 2014
    Thank you for all of the information! I had no clue what the MOH was suppose to help with, so thank you for informing me! I would have felt silly because she is quite a  bit older than I am, and already knows all of this stuff. 

    We have a very big family that is very close. We had 60 people over for Thanksgiving, not including any of my family since most were out of town. So I know it is going to be big! The plan so far is to do everything as relaxed and laid back as possible. We are wanting to find a barn that is big enough, because Iowa weather is very unpredictable. If all else fails, my Stepmother has a lot of land that would be perfect... I just really don't want her too involved if possible. 

    We are thinking about doing a pig roast, having kegs and asking some members of the family if they mind bringing a dish and a bottle instead of a present... Is that rude, or unacceptable? 

    Oh! What is the etiquette for close friends that want to help? With our large group of friends, we have people already contacting us about doing hair, engagement pictures, DJ, singing, officiating, photography and more. Do I pay people, or let them do it as a present if they offer? 

    Thanks!
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Thank you for all of the information! I had no clue what the MOH was suppose to help with, so thank you for informing me! I would have felt silly because she is quite a  bit older than I am, and already knows all of this stuff. 

    We have a very big family that is very close. We had 60 people over for Thanksgiving, not including any of my family since most were out of town. So I know it is going to be big! The plan so far is to do everything as relaxed and laid back as possible. We are wanting to find a barn that is big enough, because Iowa weather is very unpredictable. If all else fails, my Stepmother has a lot of land that would be perfect... I just really don't want her too involved if possible. 

    We are thinking about doing a pig roast, having kegs and asking some members of the family if they mind bringing a dish and a bottle instead of a present... Is that rude, or unacceptable? 

    Oh! What is the etiquette for close friends that want to help? With our large group of friends, we have people already contacting us about doing hair, engagement pictures, DJ, singing, officiating, photography and more. Do I pay people, or let them do it as a present if they offer? 

    Thanks!
    Rude.  Weddings should be hosted not potluck affairs.  You need to host your guests fully and that means providing all food and beverages and all other to your guests free of charge.

    For the second bolded.  This would be a case by case basis.  You should always assume that you will be paying them their going rate.  To assume other wise would be rude and entitled on your part. So talk to them like you would any other vendor.  Discuss prices and what they will provide.  Now if they insist that what they will be giving or doing for your wedding will be their wedding gift then you can accept, but you better be writing a super nice thank you note and getting them a kick ass gift for their time and help.

    weddingcactusJCbride2015fwtx5815
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Don't ask anyone to bring anything or cook anything. It's very rude to ask guests to pay for and prepare their own thank-you for attending your wedding.

    As for people who volunteer to help, if you really want their services then I'd treat them like paid vendors and get signed, written contracts with them and pay them reasonable compensation for their services at arm's-length rates. If you want them to just attend as relatives and friends, then I'd gently turn down their offers of help and tell them that you appreciate their offers, but you want them to relax and enjoy themselves, and they can't do that while also working your wedding. But by no means would I expect anyone to provide professional quality services for free at your wedding.
    [Deleted User]
  • edited June 2015
  • All the other PP's have made excellent points. No potlucks, 500+ is going to be a nightmare no matter how you slice it, no assuming BM's will help you plan.

    But you said your mother was out of town so she can't help. That's not necessarily true. I mean, it depends on if your mother wants to help or can't help, but out of town doesn't remove her from the running. I'm planning a destination wedding and my mother and I live on opposite ends of the country, and neither of us live close enough to my venue to plan anything in person. She still has been immensely helpful with tips and links, and she's also taking care of the hotel room blocks for us. You don't need to be physically present to assist.
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    [Deleted User]
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Given that your fiance is busy, here's another suggestion.  It's not YOU planning this wedding, it's not you and a friend, it's you and your fiance. He must be a decision-maker. 
    One good way to go about this is to first, find out if he has any non-negotiables. Some men love handling the music. Others want to ensure the booze (if you have it) is top-notch.  Others get into flowers.  Your FI may say you can handle everything, but don't trust that. He has an opinion, for sure. Find out what it is. 
    If you find 10 venues and narrow it down to three, tell him about the three and ask what he thinks. If you can't decide between a barn with wildflowers or a hall with a more glamorous look, ask him. Set aside time to plan so he can get in the right mindset; don't just randomly toss questions at him.

    I give you this advice because for me, DH was very, "Planning a wedding is the bride's job." I'd ask him for an opinion, he'd say something like, "Whatever you want," I'd say what I wanted and he'd get a pooh-face. Clearly, he had opinions he wasn't expressing. It took awhile to get him to realize this was not the bride's job, but the couple's job. From there, everything was great and we decided things together although I did a vast amount more research than he did. If I asked him random wedding questions he'd get overwhelmed, but when we said, "Let's figure out our songs on Saturday," he was ready to go and make decisions at the scheduled time. 

    Good luck! 
    ________________________________


    flutteringinfl[Deleted User]
  • Beware of the friendor  (http://offbeatbride.com/2013/04/friendors) treat them like a vendor. 
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  • Thank you for all of the information! I had no clue what the MOH was suppose to help with, so thank you for informing me! I would have felt silly because she is quite a  bit older than I am, and already knows all of this stuff. 

    We have a very big family that is very close. We had 60 people over for Thanksgiving, not including any of my family since most were out of town. So I know it is going to be big! The plan so far is to do everything as relaxed and laid back as possible. We are wanting to find a barn that is big enough, because Iowa weather is very unpredictable. If all else fails, my Stepmother has a lot of land that would be perfect... I just really don't want her too involved if possible. 

    We are thinking about doing a pig roast, having kegs and asking some members of the family if they mind bringing a dish and a bottle instead of a present... Is that rude, or unacceptable? 

    Oh! What is the etiquette for close friends that want to help? With our large group of friends, we have people already contacting us about doing hair, engagement pictures, DJ, singing, officiating, photography and more. Do I pay people, or let them do it as a present if they offer? 

    Thanks!
    It sounds like your first step really needs to be to start figuring out your guest list so you know just how many people you wish to invite. 500 is a LOT of people, but there are many "Knotties" here who can be really helpful in suggestions on how to host guests on a budget. 

    As already mentioned, it is rude to ask your guests to bring food (potluck) or beverages. The purpose of the reception is to host your guests and thank them for attending and supporting your wedding. By asking them to bring food to feed your guests, you are essentially asking them to throw the party for you and host themselves. Additionally, not everyone is comfortable feeding a crowd (especially 500 people!). And finally there are the logistics of food safety for 500 people bringing dishes of food needing to be kept warm or cold appropriately so you don't end up food poisoning your guests. 

    As an anecdote about potlucks, I was invited last summer to a potluck wedding. I was incredibly uncomfortable and opted not to attend because I did not feel comfortable attempting to put together a dish for a lot of people I didn't know. If I had RSVP'ed yes, I was going to be assigned a dish so that you wouldn't have everyone bringing the same thing and the thought of having to cook some unknown dish (which I may have had no experience cooking) was just too much. So I ended up skipping out on witnessing the wedding ceremony that I would have liked to attend because a potluck reception made me uncomfortable. This was before I'd even come to The Knot (or read wedding etiquette books) and learned that it is officially rude. So even your guests not up to speed on wedding etiquette may feel like I did. 

    I think previous posters also nailed it when they said you need to expect to pay friends/family for their services. Start the conversation with that expectation and be pleasantly surprised and thankful if they offer it as a gift. But know that if you become dissatisfied with the services, you may put yourself in a very stick situation. It's much easier to cancel with a vendor when you've determined that you do not like the service they will be providing when it's a simple business agreement and not a lifetime friendship or blood relationship. For example, what happens if you sample your aunt's catering and realize that she can't cook and the food tastes horrible? Or if you see your best friend's cake and realize it's lopsided and will probably fall over before the reception? 

    One of my friend's had her friend make a cake for her wedding and by the time the cake arrived it had fallen over and looked so disgusting that the bride and groom threw it in the garbage when not a single guest would touch it. Unfortunately the bride and her friend hadn't quite come to agreement on the price either, so after the wedding the bride ended up paying several hundred dollars for a ruined wedding cake because she wanted to keep the friendship. 
  • Thank you for all of the information! I had no clue what the MOH was suppose to help with, so thank you for informing me! I would have felt silly because she is quite a  bit older than I am, and already knows all of this stuff. 

    We have a very big family that is very close. We had 60 people over for Thanksgiving, not including any of my family since most were out of town. So I know it is going to be big! The plan so far is to do everything as relaxed and laid back as possible. We are wanting to find a barn that is big enough, because Iowa weather is very unpredictable. If all else fails, my Stepmother has a lot of land that would be perfect... I just really don't want her too involved if possible. 

    We are thinking about doing a pig roast, having kegs and asking some members of the family if they mind bringing a dish and a bottle instead of a present... Is that rude, or unacceptable? 

    Oh! What is the etiquette for close friends that want to help? With our large group of friends, we have people already contacting us about doing hair, engagement pictures, DJ, singing, officiating, photography and more. Do I pay people, or let them do it as a present if they offer? 

    Thanks!
    It sounds like your first step really needs to be to start figuring out your guest list so you know just how many people you wish to invite. 500 is a LOT of people, but there are many "Knotties" here who can be really helpful in suggestions on how to host guests on a budget. 

    As already mentioned, it is rude to ask your guests to bring food (potluck) or beverages. The purpose of the reception is to host your guests and thank them for attending and supporting your wedding. By asking them to bring food to feed your guests, you are essentially asking them to throw the party for you and host themselves. Additionally, not everyone is comfortable feeding a crowd (especially 500 people!). And finally there are the logistics of food safety for 500 people bringing dishes of food needing to be kept warm or cold appropriately so you don't end up food poisoning your guests. 

    As an anecdote about potlucks, I was invited last summer to a potluck wedding. I was incredibly uncomfortable and opted not to attend because I did not feel comfortable attempting to put together a dish for a lot of people I didn't know. If I had RSVP'ed yes, I was going to be assigned a dish so that you wouldn't have everyone bringing the same thing and the thought of having to cook some unknown dish (which I may have had no experience cooking) was just too much. So I ended up skipping out on witnessing the wedding ceremony that I would have liked to attend because a potluck reception made me uncomfortable. This was before I'd even come to The Knot (or read wedding etiquette books) and learned that it is officially rude. So even your guests not up to speed on wedding etiquette may feel like I did. 

    I think previous posters also nailed it when they said you need to expect to pay friends/family for their services. Start the conversation with that expectation and be pleasantly surprised and thankful if they offer it as a gift. But know that if you become dissatisfied with the services, you may put yourself in a very stick situation. It's much easier to cancel with a vendor when you've determined that you do not like the service they will be providing when it's a simple business agreement and not a lifetime friendship or blood relationship. For example, what happens if you sample your aunt's catering and realize that she can't cook and the food tastes horrible? Or if you see your best friend's cake and realize it's lopsided and will probably fall over before the reception? 

    One of my friend's had her friend make a cake for her wedding and by the time the cake arrived it had fallen over and looked so disgusting that the bride and groom threw it in the garbage when not a single guest would touch it. Unfortunately the bride and her friend hadn't quite come to agreement on the price either, so after the wedding the bride ended up paying several hundred dollars for a ruined wedding cake because she wanted to keep the friendship. 
    A pig roast and kegs sounds fantastic.  It's one of the ideas I'm floating around for my own wedding.  (Though for 500 people, you're going to need a couple really big pigs!)  You can get sides in bulk at places like Costco; that seems like the kind of place that would sell 5 gallon buckets of coleslaw and potato salad.  Outdoor wedding in a field sounds good, but you're going to need a Plan B in case of inclement weather.  You also need a chair for every butt, you can not suggest people bring blankets to sit on for a picnic-type feel.

    Honestly, I think you're going to have to make some serious cuts to your guest list.  If Thanksgiving was 60 people and you didn't even invite your family, you get 60 members of YOUR family on the guest list, add in 50 friends for both of you and you have your guest list down to 170.  I'd aim for that; between 170 and 200 guests.  And just memorize the phrase, "I'm sorry, but we just couldn't invite everyone we wanted."
  • Congratulations!

    You and your fiancee just need to make a few big decisions.

    1. How big is the budget?_______
    2. When approximately is the Wedding? (Fall '15)
    3. Where is the Wedding? (Hometown IA)
    4. Religious ceremony or civil?_______
    5. How many guests? About 500
    6. How fancy? Rustic
    7. Booze? Kegs
    8. Who is doing most of the planning? Bride
    9. Where are you willing to compromise? _____

    Get a good wedding planning book. Make sure it is sturdy with pockets for vendor handouts and blank pages for notes.

    Find the reception location. Find the ceremony location /officiant. Find a non holiday weekend at least 8 months out that works for both. Check your work schedules. Check that the people who must be at you wedding will be able to attend. Congratulations, you've set the date. (We did not do any of this, we picked a date 1st and it made for lots more stress.)

    Make sure the ceremony location and reception location are near each other and enough hotel rooms to accommodate your out of town guests. ( I slept in my car after one rural wedding. Never again!)

    Not everyone thinks potluck is evil, I am happily going to one tonight. But I think they are more of a budget small wedding option. I also think they are very impractical for 500. That doesn't mean family can't help, but it has to be planned and you need to have a back up in place. (If your relly making the wedding cake for 500 breaks a leg, what are you going to do?

    Hall locations, check the country fair grounds, historical societies, church halls, schools, veterans clubs. You may also want to check with the local companies that do pole barns and quansits. Someone might have a new one they would rent out and wait a few weeks to use. (If you do a private barn, don't forget the biffys.)

    Good news is if you do rustic, you can borrow hay bale seats and lots of other decor.

    If you want to order the fancy wedding gown and any bridesmaids dresses, you need 8 months. 1 month to find and order the dresses. 6 months to have them made and shipped.1 month for alterations. Schedule alterations when you order the dresses.

    Wedding fairs are useful but be careful. Don't sign any contracts there. Don't go alone. Wear practical shoes. AND ONLY GIVE OUT YOUR WEDDING EMAIL.

    Remember to discuss things with him before signing contracts.
  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Congratulations! You and your fiancee just need to make a few big decisions. 1. How big is the budget?_______ 2. When approximately is the Wedding? (Fall '15) 3. Where is the Wedding? (Hometown IA) 4. Religious ceremony or civil?_______ 5. How many guests? About 500 6. How fancy? Rustic 7. Booze? Kegs 8. Who is doing most of the planning? Bride 9. Where are you willing to compromise? _____ Get a good wedding planning book. Make sure it is sturdy with pockets for vendor handouts and blank pages for notes. Find the reception location. Find the ceremony location /officiant. Find a non holiday weekend at least 8 months out that works for both. Check your work schedules. Check that the people who must be at you wedding will be able to attend. Congratulations, you've set the date. (We did not do any of this, we picked a date 1st and it made for lots more stress.) Make sure the ceremony location and reception location are near each other and enough hotel rooms to accommodate your out of town guests. ( I slept in my car after one rural wedding. Never again!) Not everyone thinks potluck is evil, I am happily going to one tonight. But I think they are more of a budget small wedding option. I also think they are very impractical for 500. That doesn't mean family can't help, but it has to be planned and you need to have a back up in place. (If your relly making the wedding cake for 500 breaks a leg, what are you going to do? Hall locations, check the country fair grounds, historical societies, church halls, schools, veterans clubs. You may also want to check with the local companies that do pole barns and quansits. Someone might have a new one they would rent out and wait a few weeks to use. (If you do a private barn, don't forget the biffys.) Good news is if you do rustic, you can borrow hay bale seats and lots of other decor. If you want to order the fancy wedding gown and any bridesmaids dresses, you need 8 months. 1 month to find and order the dresses. 6 months to have them made and shipped.1 month for alterations. Schedule alterations when you order the dresses. Wedding fairs are useful but be careful. Don't sign any contracts there. Don't go alone. Wear practical shoes. AND ONLY GIVE OUT YOUR WEDDING EMAIL. Remember to discuss things with him before signing contracts.
    Actually, lots of us love potlucks, just not for weddings.  You can't control the temperature or quality of the food, over a long period of time, leading to possible food poisonings.  Also, what do out of town guests do??  They probably don't have access to cooking facilities in their hotel room.  

    Also, receptions are a thank you to the guest for attending the wedding.  I'd never thank someone by asking them to provide for the event.  For example, if I asked you to help me move houses, and offered beer and pizza after, you'd be not happy if I asked you to bring a 6 pack to share, or pay for one of the large pizzas I ordered.  

    OP, if you truly are going to have that many people, or even if it's smaller, check out the budget board.  There will be tons of tips there on scaling things down.  Most everyone else here has given you good advice on getting started.  

    rcher912esstee33levioosa[Deleted User]
  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    OP, the best advice I can give is to stick around! Lurk on the Etiquette board.



    Anniversary
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    rcher912
  • Thank you for all of the information! I had no clue what the MOH was suppose to help with, so thank you for informing me! I would have felt silly because she is quite a  bit older than I am, and already knows all of this stuff. 

    We have a very big family that is very close. We had 60 people over for Thanksgiving, not including any of my family since most were out of town. So I know it is going to be big! The plan so far is to do everything as relaxed and laid back as possible. We are wanting to find a barn that is big enough, because Iowa weather is very unpredictable. If all else fails, my Stepmother has a lot of land that would be perfect... I just really don't want her too involved if possible. 

    We are thinking about doing a pig roast, having kegs and asking some members of the family if they mind bringing a dish and a bottle instead of a present... Is that rude, or unacceptable? 

    Oh! What is the etiquette for close friends that want to help? With our large group of friends, we have people already contacting us about doing hair, engagement pictures, DJ, singing, officiating, photography and more. Do I pay people, or let them do it as a present if they offer? 

    Thanks!
    How would you ever have parking and bathroom facilities for 500 people at your stepmom's or at a barn?  Do you realize how big a barn would have to be?  Have you thought of the costs to rent tables and chairs for 500 people?  You CANNOT ask all those people to provide the food for your wedding.  The reception is your thank you to them for attending and they don't provide the food for their thank you.

    500 people creates an incredible number of logistical nightmares when you are trying to use someone's property or a barn.
  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    A portapotty for 500 people?
    A potluck for 500 people?

    Yeah. Don't see where that could fail. At all.

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    southernbelle0915thespeshulestsnowflakeslothiegal[Deleted User]
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