Newly Engaged? Brace Yourself for 10 Scary Surprises

Those dreamy articles in the wedding magazines represent someone’s fantasy of the perfect wedding. The reality may seem a little scary at first; but with proper preparation, you can navigate around the pitfalls of planning a wedding, and make your own fantasy come to life.

1. If you’re looking for an outdoor venue for a weekend wedding ceremony, and your wedding date is less than a year away, you’re probably already out of luck. Garden venues tend to book up at least 12 to 15 months in advance. Book early!
2. Getting married at home may cost you MORE, not less, than booking a church/temple and banquet hall. On-site catering is expensive. Rented chairs, tables and linens are expensive. Tent rentals are expensive. And rented dance floors can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Shop and compare, then decide whether a home wedding is for you.
3. Your groom may spend months being passive, almost inattentive, to your planning efforts, only to take an interest at the last minute and demand lots of expensive and difficult changes. Protect yourself by forcing him – yes, forcing him – to take a more active role in your planning right from the start. Any disagreements on décor, entertainment, meals and so forth are better addressed while there are still months, not days, to reach amicable compromises.
4. Do you know why you’re marrying him/her? If you’re having a church or temple wedding, your priest/rabbi/minister may ask you to declare such important information as why you chose your mate and where you see your marriage going in 10, 20 or 40 years. 
5. You don’t really need to make an appointment with a store to join its gift registry. No self-respecting store clerk is going to let you and a fat commission check walk out the door, just because you made it a little inconvenient for her. But you’ll get much friendlier service if you follow proper etiquette and make an appointment.
6. Your guests will remember how comfortable (or uncomfortable) you made them feel. If your ceremony will be outdoors in the summer heat or rain, or the autumn chill, providing such essentials as sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, fans, umbrellas and throw blankets will go a long way toward ensuring your guests have a positive memory of sitting through your ceremony.
7. Small town weddings may require big city vendors. Most small towns don’t have event vendors capable of handling every phase of planning a big party or reception. It’s better to pay a few extra dollars for experienced professionals, than trust a small-time photographer, DJ, florist, baker or planner who usually books bowling banquets to put on a truly professional wedding celebration. 
8. Once you start planning your wedding, it will consume your every waking moment. You’ll find that you can’t just book a venue, take a couple months off, book a DJ, take a couple more months off, book hotel rooms, etc. Web sites like Wedding Wire have 16-month planning timelines, and you’ll be surprised to see that there’s a lot of work involved, and it’s easy to fall behind if you get lazy.

9. Your food and cake tastings should always be held at least a week apart. Give your stomach time to stretch back into shape, and give your taste buds time to savor all the flavors a little at a time. 
10. The best way to cut your costs, is to invite fewer people. Yes, there are ways to substitute cheaper booze, cheaper food and other wedding essentials. But a smaller guest list means less space to rent, fewer meals to prepare, and best of all, more time to spend with each guest.

Take it from experienced wedding planners. Getting control of your wedding planning early will take a lot of the stress out of your planning experience, and leave you free to enjoy those special moments that you’ll remember when you’re both old and gray.

To learn more about Fourth Estate Audio’s incomparable service, call me at 630.654.4440. I’m here to help.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2015 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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