Yesterday, I met a woman who was recently engaged. The first thing she asked me was, “What’s the first thing I should do?” When a bride hasn’t been planning her wedding since she was six, the task of putting together the party of a lifetime seems a little daunting. My answer was simple–decide the formality of your event and how big you want it to be. The formality and size play big roles in deciding the venue for the ceremony and reception, which is the next step.
The formality of your wedding should fit your personalities as bride and groom. If you are a relaxed, go-with-the-flow environmentalist, perhaps a casual, eco-friendly, backyard garden wedding would best represent you. If you are a glamour-girl who loves to dress up and go dancing and be surrounded by champagne fountains, you may enjoy a black tie event (the most formal) at the Ritz Carlton. There is everything in between, too.
To determine the size of your wedding, you should think about how intimate you want it to be. Would you prefer to have long talks with those you love and party for a week? A destination wedding with about 20 people is perfect for you. How about a big party that the neighbors will complain about where the dance floor is filled all night long? Invite all your friends and family. Of course, budget plays a part in this decision, too. Yes, a smaller wedding will be less expensive. Just remember, you can still find ways to save money even if you have a couple hundred guests.
Once you’ve figured out about how many people you’d like to invite, start looking for a venue that fits your formality and size. Also begin to make your guest list. Have your fiance and both sets of parents start writing a list with “Must” be invited, and “try” to invite. Then, you can morph those lists to combine one and start trimming it down.