Planning a wedding ceremony can feel overwhelming. It's one of the most important rituals of your life, and you want it to be perfect. The best way to beat the stress is to organize your priorities, spot potential conflicts in advance, and plan around the things that matter most to you.
Build Your Wedding to Scale
Do you want a big wedding? If you want more than 50 guests, you need to account for your army of attendees as you plan. Although you may know an adorable little chapel downtown, it may not be able to hold 200 guests (or their cars) comfortably. The same considerations apply to the number of chairs you'll need to rent for an outdoor ceremony. Keep in mind that costs grow with the guest list, including fees for additional seating, food, or valet services.
Traditional vs. Personal
When you imagine your big day, maybe you envision yourself dressed in a puffy white dress walking down a church aisle on a white runner littered with flower petals. Maybe you don't. What does your future spouse imagine? Figure out what traditions you want and which you'd rather skip before reserving venues or scheduling photo ops. This ensures that you don't realize at the 11th hour that the groom will see you in your gown before the ceremony and ruin the surprise or that there isn't room for a first dance in the reception hall.
What is the foundation of your relationship with your future spouse? Will Grandma faint if you don't abide by orthodox rules? If you and your husband/wife come from different religious backgrounds, you should sit down and discuss how to navigate those choppy waters before any plans are set in stone.
Choosing the Specifics
Indoors vs. Outdoors
Every venue has its own unique charm, but it also has its own drawbacks. There's nothing like the sun shining on your wedding, but there's nothing like a freak storm blowing away the flower girl, either. On the other hand, finding an ideal indoor venue can be tricky, especially if you have a particular theme in mind. The family church may provide a free venue for your vows, and it's weather-proof, so that can be a good option for a religious ceremony. If you'd rather have your ceremony amid the beauty of nature, take care that your outdoor venue has an indoor option, like a nearby building or tent you can use, just in case the weather turns bad.
Picking Your Vows
Essentially every religion provides a general script for participants in a wedding ceremony, and civil officiants will often have a standard script that they use, too. These are all perfectly fine, but they aren't for everyone. Some people prefer to write their own vows; instead of talking about sickness and health, they might reflect on their relationship and growing love. The vows are the central element of most weddings, so make sure you're both prepared to recite vows that you're comfortable with.
Weddings present the perfect opportunity to embrace both ancient traditions and flamboyant personalities. If you have Celtic heritage, you may skip the traditional tux for a groom dressed in a kilt. Brides usually wear white, but the tradition isn't as old as you probably think it is, and you have a full rainbow of colors to choose from. Always think about how your gown (or lack thereof) could work with your wedding ceremony and whether it will make sense with your venue. If you're going with a laid-back ceremony in someone's back yard, something super-ornate with a huge train might not fit well with the look, and you're not going to want something light and breezy if your ceremony is in the winter.