First and foremost – spend as much time planning your MARRIAGE as you do your wedding. Go over to the emotional board and look at the “should I call it quits?” or “I can’t believe we are divorcing after only 2 years” type threads. Invest in the marriage before you get to the wedding.
Next – I speak as a 2 time bride, 4 time MOB, and a retired supply sergeant from the Army. LOGISTICS IS EVERYTHING. PERIOD. Ignore your logistics and you will have a discombobulated, disorganized wedding where things and people aren’t where they should be, when they should be. (Yeah, I know, have the wedding you want, be true to yourself, yada, yada, yada. do that while ignoring logistics and you will have a wedding that disappoints you).
Logistics rule #1 – set your budget. KNOW where that money is coming from, when it is coming and from whom. Don’t say, “Oh, we should be able to save 15G over a two year engagement.” Run your numbers with your income and SEE if that money can be saved apart from your emergency fund and regular savings. If you can’t truly see it, it won’t be there.
Logistics rule #2- NOW make your guest list. Consider leaving 5-10% wiggle room for engagements, new friendships, new relationships amongst your friends so that you aren’t leaving SO’s out of the mix.
Logistics rule #3 – you know how much you have to spend, you know how many people you will invite, NOW you go find your venue. It amazes me that in the years I have been on forums (since my first DD got engaged 9 years ago) the number of posts about there isn’t enough room at the venue for everyone, you need to break down tables to have a dance floor (uber rude pet peeve of mine), etc. If you know how much you can spend and you know how many people, you CAN choose the right venue. It might not be your dream venue, but it will fit your guests comfortably. If you have to have your deam venue and it is to small for your guest list – cut your guest list.
I also highly recommend a DOC if you can afford it.
Stay away from Platinum Weddings, David Tutera, and all the other stuff on TV. That stuff is scripted, over the top, and not reality. Do not get caught up in those kinds of expectations.
Be kind to your guests and consider their comfort. Comfortable guests stay longer. Uncomfortable guests are looking for the first chance to leave without looking like a jerk.
I have been following a thread on the knot that I will link. It is about the worst wedding you ever attended. So much of the issues with these weddings would have been solved with good logistics! You have to plan everything through. If you are gonna take pics after the wedding, make sure your guests aren’t standing around the venue waiting for you with no food and drink.