Picture from British Cosmo Bride/Photo by Nick Scott
Unless you’re going to city hall to tie the knot, your wedding will probably be anything but simple. Hosting a party for 50 or 100 or 500 people is always going to be somewhat complicated. Your favorite venue may not be available exactly when you want it. The caterer you adore may not normally offer the vegan options that will placate your mother’s side of the family. And it can sometimes feel like everyone from your bridesmaids to your FFIL can’t make a single decision without consulting you!
The good news is that while weddings are almost always chaotic, you can take steps to make yours a little less so. Here are a few tips that may help you stay sane as you walk boldly toward wifehood (or husbandhood, for that matter).
Pay your own way
Taking gifts of matrimonial money from loved ones often means taking their input under consideration as well. Just like too many cooks ruin the soup, too many meddling relatives can ruin a wedding. Footing the bill yourself means that you can do your own thing without feeling an ounce of guilt. Of course, you should say no nicely, but by all means feel free to say no!
Who hasn’t considered sitting down and whipping up two hundred handmade botanical paper invitations? But before you get your flower press out, consider this: The weeks and months between “I will” and “I do” fly by in the blink of an eye. What seems totally doable now may not seem as doable when you have a ton of other to-dos on your plate. Pros are your friends!
Choose a coordinator
I’m not saying you have to spend big bucks on a professional day-of coordinator by any means. A responsible friend or relative with a comprehensive timeline can ensure that you don’t spend your wedding day overseeing the operations of the caterer, the band, the baker, and the florist while simultaneously getting ready and avoiding your future spouse’s prying eyes. Not having to keep track of everything means less to worry about.
Ditch the favors
My informal poll revealed that almost all of your guests will prefer edible favors, but I can guarantee you no one will bat an eyelash if you do away with the bombonieres altogether. It’s one less expense and one less thing to obsess over.
Opt for easy outfits
As tempting as it is to spring for a huge bead-encrusted, poufy gown or a traditional morning dress ensemble, remember that you’re probably only going to wear your wedding day duds once. Choose comfortable clothing that is both easy to put on aaaand easy on your budget. There are plenty of gowns and suits out there that are classically attractive and quite formal. Remember, elegance doesn’t always require embellishment.
Shopping online for invites, ceremony accessories, and even your florals is like walking into the world’s biggest superstore and being told that every price you see is negotiable. If you’re not married *rimshot* to the idea of going shopping with mom and your MOH, you can save yourself a ton or time and money. Naturally, I must plug my book here: iDo lists some of the best wedding vendor and retail sites out there!
Nix the mega-menu
No one has ever starved to death because they weren’t fond of the reception meal, so don’t think you have to satisfy every tummy in attendance. Some people don’t like beef, fish, or the vegetarian dish…so let them eat cake! Limit your menu options to a few dishes, and don’t worry about impressing anyone with haute cuisine. People’s favorite dishes typically involve basic comfort foods, so you really can’t go wrong with something as basic as a Thanksgiving dinner. On the other hand, if you know you’ll have lots of vegetarians in attendance, lose the meat altogether and serve something nearly everyone will enjoy, like a choice of pasta dishes.
Obviously there are hundreds of other ways you can simplify your wedding, from holding it on a Sunday morning — mmmm, brunch — to limiting the number of attendants to cutting the guest list. A reception can be simple AND chic, so don’t think that cutting down on the chaos has to mean serving sloppy joes and Coors Light. Simplifying is about making things easier on you and your spouse-to-be, not going for bare bones broke on the simplicity scale.
Now that I’ve had my say, I’d love to hear how those of you who have planned weddings or are already married have kept things simple!