Six Practical Tips for Your Wedding

Last week, we talked about one of the most contentious issues surrounding marriage: whether to use a prenup. Now let’s talk about happier subjects — planning the wedding itself — and by the way, congratulations and best wishes!

A wedding can be whatever you want it to be

Remember that it’s your day, and you get to make it whatever you want. I still remember the excitement of my proposal to Ben and the anticipation of our wedding day. Marriage equality was still new then, so we faced fewer conventions and constraints than our straight friends.  For instance, some of our friends never had a typical engagement, where one person gets down on one knee and asks, “Will you marry me?” They decided together that it was time and started planning.

If it’s time for you, you’ll want to start by talking to your partner about what you want in a wedding.  You’ll want to come to an agreement about how many people to invite, what kind of ceremony to plan and how much you want to spend. Ben and I started by writing down our individual preferences, then sharing them.  We kept the things we agreed on and compromised on the rest. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s what you want, not what other people tell you it “should” be.

Book your venue early

Where will you start the rest of your life together? You’ll want to begin thinking about venues well ahead of time. The nice ones book up well in advance, especially in big cities like Chicago. Make sure your setting fits the type of ceremony you plan and can accommodate the number of guests, music, food and other elements you want to celebrate your marriage.  Bear in mind that most people get married on Saturdays — a Friday or Sunday date may be significantly less expensive and easier to book.  And shop around. Some people fall in love with the first venue they visit, but most people need to see several places before choosing.

It’s okay to fight

Planning a wedding is stressful. You may find yourselves arguing about the ceremony itself, the venue or even the guest list. That’s okay. If things get heated, remember why you’re getting married (because you love each other) and have faith that you’ll get it figured out eventually. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from planning and do something else that you enjoy to relieve some stress.

Don’t forget the photographer

A confession:  I almost didn’t hire a photographer for our wedding. If all our family members and friends would be taking pictures, why should I pay someone to duplicate their efforts? We were already paying a bundle — while also trying to put together a down payment on a house.  Luckily, Ben wasn’t hearing any of that. He was adamant about the photographer, and I’ve never been so happy to have been so wrong. We ended up getting a great photographer who captured the day perfectly. And now, we get to relive the moments and share our photos with people that didn’t get a chance to come. It’s a day that you will never forget. It goes by in a blink. Make sure to have someone there capturing it for you.

Try to enjoy the process

It’s been four years since Ben and I got married, and the time has flown by. Yet even now, hearing Ben say he enjoyed “everything about that day” really makes me happy. Yes, there will be stress and hard times, but try to do all that you can to enjoy the moments of the planning process.

So that’s my two cents on the practical side of getting married. I’ve also offered tips for the personal financial side as well. I hope those of you getting married in the next couple of weeks have the happiest of weddings.