wedding planning

Creative Ideas for Saving Your COVID-Era Wedding
Many couples are getting creative to salvage their weddings during the COVID-era of social distancing and outdoor and virtual gatherings.

Many couples are getting creative to salvage their weddings during the COVID-era of social distancing and outdoor and virtual gatherings.

May through October is normally Canada’s peak wedding time. The beautiful weather and summer fun make for a perfect atmosphere to tie the knot–but not during the COVID-era. In April, Canadian officials banned large gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns. Since then, the country has seen over half of scheduled weddings cancelled or postponed. While data showed a decline in COVID cases over the summer, there has been a surge in cases this fall.

If 2020 was supposed to be your year, you joined thousands of other couples who are revisiting the drawing board and rescheduling, redesigning, and rethinking their plans during the COVID-era. Wedding planners encourage moving small weddings to larger venues that will accommodate proper social distancing. Larger weddings may create health risks for you and your guests. It may be best to postpone or re-vision these big events. Before you make your decision, consider going ahead with a wedding redesign that honors your original vision while keeping everyone safe.

Backyard Micro-Weddings in the COVID-era

Even prior to the pandemic, a “micro-wedding” trend had begun to emerge across North America. For reasons ranging from saving time and money to reducing the carbon footprint, couples have begun choosing smaller venues with fewer than 25 guests. Paring down your guest list to just the essentials and choosing a backyard venue with plenty of space may be the perfect solution for preserving your wedding. You can add a larger virtual reception to include your original guest list.

Virtual Celebrations in the COVID-era

You are undoubtedly familiar with the virtual options for gatherings through Zoom and other platforms which have become the norm during the COVID-era. A few creative touches can make your virtual wedding extra memorable.

In addition to the ceremonial elements you want to include, you can involve your guests in the ambiance of the celebration by sending them a pre-wedding guest package. This could include items such as your wedding favors, non-perishable hors d’oeuvres, Jordan almonds, place cards, table decorations, themed napkins or tablecloths, and of course, champagne. Include items that are specific to your original theme and personalities.

Some couples also include optional participation items, such as writing prompts or questions for the guests to answer about their connection to you. You might ask them to share their contributions during the ceremony and then send them to you for your memory book. Virtual weddings involve less physical celebration, so you can be creative with guest participation games and exercises that focus on you — the happy couple.

Stoop Weddings

This COVID-era idea involves supportive neighbors and a ceremony out on your stoop or in your front yard. You can ask your close-in neighbors to lend their front porches and yards to small groups of your friends and family for an evening. Your wedding march may be up the steps instead of down the aisle, and a catered meal can be served to tables spread out on the sidewalks. You may want to use a microphone and speaker to amplify your voices and for the music. Tie it all together with mini-lights and themed yard décor, and enjoy that first dance. You won’t even have to leave the house for this in-person, socially distanced idea.

The Great Outdoors

If you are nature lovers, that outdoor wedding you once considered may be a solution. Outdoor celebrations can be beautiful and memorable. You will want an adequate plan for rain or wind. Multiple pop-up tents will help with distancing. You can begin by researching outdoor wedding venues in your area. From Vancouver Island to Halifax, the Canadian outdoors may be the perfect backdrop for your wedding redesign.

If you’ve concluded that the show must go on even during the COVID-era and you are forging ahead with your wedding, that’s half the battle. Maybe the date is particularly relevant, or a beloved family member is only in the country temporarily. Whatever your reason, redesigning your wedding day can become a fun puzzle for you and your beloved. You never know — your wedding remix may be even more fun and memorable than the original plan.

Wedding Tasks That Can Wait Until Later

couple looking at a mapPutting together a wedding is no small job. Even the most intimate of affairs with short guest lists require effort. With so many different responsibilities to keep track of, you may find yourself a bit stressed out by all the wedding planning. One way to relieve some of this frustration is by thinking about which tasks need to be taken care of right away and which can wait until later. The most pressing matters like time-sensitive decisions are the ones on which you should dedicate your energy. Everything else can happen when you have more time and mental space.

Take a look at these responsibilities that don’t need to be addressed with any kind of immediacy. Putting off these tasks until a later time allows you to focus on the more pressing decisions that need to be made.

Buying the Outfit

After getting engaged, plenty of couples want to rush out and find the outfits they will wear when they tie the knot. Though brides are usually painted as being obsessed with finding the right dress, an equal number of grooms are quite particular when it comes to the look, cut, and style of their tuxes. People like to take care of this task early when planning a wedding, but it actually does not need to happen until later. The reason many couples jump into this right away is because it can be fun to shop.

Instead of running to a boutique or scouring online shops, use the earliest part of your engagement period to research different style ideas. Tasks like setting a date, selecting a venue, and speaking with caterers all take priority over picking your wedding attire. Dedicate your energy to more pressing matters, and in the meantime keep yourself tuned into interesting blogs related to wedding style. This will give your later search for your outfit a bit more direction.

Arranging the Seating

Here’s the thing: Seating charts are waking nightmares for many couples. If you both are lucky enough to come from families that get along, then this might not be the case. However, most people have to do some acrobatics when it comes to creating a layout where guests will be sitting far away from individuals who might cause conflict. Despite how involved this task can be, it is far from one of the first things you should be thinking about while planning your big day.

In truth, you need to have your venue booked before you even start thinking about the seating chart. What’s more, you really can’t start creating a layout until you know how many guests will be able to attend. No matter how stressed you are about making the perfect seating arrangement, put this job off until a bit down the line.

Planning the Honeymoon

This might seem like a given, but you really shouldn’t plan out your honeymoon until you’ve taken care of a majority of your wedding tasks. The honeymoon traditionally happens right after the wedding finishes, but this doesn’t mean it needs to be connected to the planning process. A discussion about where you would like to go and how much you both want to spend on the trip is fine. However, you should really delay making any concrete plans for your honeymoon until you feel confident that your nuptials are all set and ready.

After getting engaged, it is natural to feel a rush of excitement and anticipation for all that is in store. In order to maintain your drive and not get overwhelmed by all the tasks that need to be taken on, be sure to focus only on the most pressing matters at first. Pacing yourself in this way will help you see better results and keep your stress levels in a manageable place.

Easy Ways To Save for Your Big Day
One of the best ways to spend your time during quarantine is to think about ways to save for your wedding, especially if it was postponed.

One of the best ways to spend your time during quarantine is to think about ways to save for your wedding, especially if it was postponed.

The last few months have forced many people to postpone or cancel their wedding plans. While this might be upsetting, it is also an opportunity to take a step back and rethink some ideas. Whether you had your plans pushed off due to the current global pandemic or you were just starting to talk about ideas with your partner before the quarantine began, extra time to plan is really a blessing in disguise for some. One of the best ways to spend your time is pondering how to save money.

A wedding is an expensive event. If you want to come out of the pandemic with a clear plan and a pocket full of cash, take a look at these easy ways you can save money for the future.

Evaluate Your Current Expenses and Budget

If you want to save money on the wedding you need to have a plan. You can’t formulate a plan if you don’t have information. When it comes to money, all the information you need can be found in your life and daily habits. What is your income? What is your partner’s income? How much do you spend a month on expenses, and how much can you realistically afford to set aside without tapping into crucial funds? Knowing the money you are starting with and what you’re likely to see from your job can help you forecast.

A wedding budget is also a vital component. You need to set a limit on your spending and stick with it. This will help you control what funds you are applying to which services and evaluate whether or not you are spending too much or too little on anything in particular. The budget will depend entirely on the preferences you share. If you don’t care about the venue but love food, then put the bulk of your funds behind the catering service. Work on this part of the plan in advance, and you’ll see better results with the rest.

Take Down Your Debt

Extra time is a blessing for many reasons. Maybe your credit score is not exactly where you would like it to be. Improving your rating takes time, and time may be all you have right now. If you have existing debt preventing you from getting your financial status into a better position, try to pay down some of this right now. Make higher payments to pay off the premium over the interest, and see if you can work with lenders to get better rates based on good habits you have established over the years.

The reason this is helpful is you might want to consider opening up or using an existing credit card for wedding expenses. If you have a specific card that you use to cover a good chunk of the payments, then you will have a really easy way to both track your budget and know exactly how much you have spent and on what. While this is a great step to take for some, it might not be right for you. Putting money toward your debt when you need it for other expenses is also a fine and sensible decision.

Look for Local Deals

Going local with your vendors is a smart move because it helps you engage with your community in a meaningful and productive way. What’s more, you might be able to save money by doing this. Ask one of your vendors for recommendations, and this might lead to you finding an array of other excellent vendors that offer great rates, all because you asked a person with connections who likes to connect others.

It can be difficult to find ways to save for a wedding, but it can be a little bit easier when you have a quarantine keeping you from going out and spending. Think about your strategy and develop a plan that works for your future nuptials.

Smart Tips for Your Wedding-Day Suit
If you plan to wear the always fashionable suit at your wedding, read on to learn more about the various options to gain a better understanding.

If you plan to wear the always fashionable suit at your wedding, read on to learn more about the various options to gain a better understanding.

Suits are a classic wedding attire choice. With the right cut and tailoring, they can be expertly fashioned to flatter a wide range of body types. If you plan to get married in a suit but aren’t familiar with their design details, take heart. Understanding the anatomy of this timeless ensemble can assist you in making the best apparel choice for your big day.

Suiting 101: A Basic Breakdown

Esquire writer Hans Aschim diagrams a suit’s components in a May 2018 piece. As a key detail, jacket lapels define the suit’s overall look. Most fall into one of three categories:

  • Notch, the classic tightly angled lapel
  • Peak, cut out and point up to the shoulders
  • Shawl, a smooth lapel with no notches

Vents are constructed in the back of a jacket and permit the wearer freedom of movement. A single vent in the center is the most common. Meanwhile, double-vent styles place one on each side seam and can be more comfortable for some individuals.

A suit’s drop refers to the difference between the jacket’s chest measurement and the trousers’ waist size. The average drop is usually 6 inches, but that number can be higher for folks with wider shoulders and narrower waists. Conversely, it can be lower in portly individuals with larger waistlines.

Finally, the “break” refers to the amount of trouser fabric hem gathering at the shoe. He Spoke Style describes the various trouser breaks typically available and the looks they create. No break or a slight break style are modern and fashion-forward, while medium and full breaks tend to be more conservative.

Looking Great Begins With Correct Suit Fit

Tailors can expertly alter a garment to your dimensions, but there are key areas in which proper fit is essential in the first place. As Art of Manliness points out, jacket shoulders are notoriously difficult to alter. It’s also hard to modify a trouser seat that’s too loose, fix sleeves attached at an incorrect angle, or make extreme adjustments to a jacket’s closure or bottom hem.

GQ’s editors discuss an ideal fit in an October 2015 article. Many wearers overestimate their jacket sizes, so you should select yours as true to your body size as possible. Your jacket’s shoulder seams should end right at your shoulder blades. Make sure that the jacket’s lapels lie flat on your chest when it’s buttoned. Ideally, the jacket should also fit snuggly around your torso. Your trousers must sit at your natural waist, with legs that aren’t baggy or excessively wide and hems ending around the tops of your shoes.

Pay Attention to Vital Details

Structure and fit are important when you’re shopping for suits. To guide you in fine-tuning your look, Martha Stewart Weddings provides some useful tips. First, you should choose items that align with your typical style. Super-trendy selections aren’t usually a good idea unless they’re already part of your everyday fashion. Next, keep in mind that neutral shades such as gray, tan, navy, or black easily complement or match other colors. Choose your fabrics according to the season, saving wool and cashmere for cooler weather and lighter options such as linen and seersucker for summer. If you find the world of alterations a little confusing, the editors recommend carrying a “cheat sheet” to help you communicate with your tailor. Jackets should nip at the waist but avoid pulling on its buttons. Ask for shirt sleeve hems that extend ¼ inch below your jacket sleeve when your arms are at your sides. Ideally, trouser hems should graze your shoelaces.

Suits are a perennial sartorial staple, with a wide range of customization options for nearly any wearer. With carefully chosen details such as cut, fit, fabric, and color, this expertly tailored garment is an important foundation of your wedding-day look.

Planning for a Wedding? Use These Financial Tips To Save
If you are planning to wed in the near future, consider these financial suggestions in order to help you save and budget for your big day.

If you are planning to wed in the near future, consider these financial suggestions in order to help you save and budget for your big day.

Recent financial reports state the average cost of a wedding in Canada is about $29,450, according to WeddingWire. This number is quite high, especially when considering that younger couples make slightly less income than previous generations when weighted against inflation. Whether you plan on holding a lavish event or an intimate gathering, it is important to save enough money for your big day. If you’ve still got a bit of time before you walk down the aisle, it is wise to look into different tactics for setting funds aside. Explore these financial suggestions and learn how to save for your upcoming wedding.

Setting Financial Goals and a Budget

Having a general desire to save money is often not enough of a motivator to turn the idea into a reality. Therefore, financial experts often suggest setting goals to see greater success. Having a tangible objective to work toward can make it a lot easier for you to measure the process and determine whether or not you’re on the right path. In this scenario, your ultimate goal is to save for your wedding. To simplify matters even more, set smaller goals along the way, like saving enough for a venue deposit and similar early planning expenses.

As you create goals, you also want to set a budget for the event. Without a firm budget to work from, you run the risk of spending way more than you can afford. Do not let the national average of almost $30,000 per wedding intimidate you. It is entirely possible to set a much smaller budget and still have a fantastic event. To be as accurate as possible with your budget, talk to your partner about topics like how many guests to invite, specific traditions that need to be included, and whatever else will dictate your available funds.

Existing Debt 

There is a rising issue with debt in Canada at the moment. In 2019, financial experts reported that roughly 47% of Canadians claimed to be living with unmanageable levels of debt. If this sounds familiar, you may wonder how it is even possible to pay for a wedding. While you shouldn’t let your financial obligations hold you back from making important life decisions, paying down your existing debt can be a good idea. Making higher consistent payments and paying off whatever possible can improve your credit score and increase your odds of being approved for a loan.

On the topic of credit cards, it can also be useful to look into the various reward programs you are enrolled in. Putting wedding-related purchases on cards with advantageous reward systems can do wonders for your finances. For example, it is entirely possible with some credit companies to earn enough points on wedding purchases to pay for the expenses related to a honeymoon. Take a look at your credit cards and see which option will yield you the best long-term results to make the most out of your available finances.

Making Adjustments

To accommodate a big expense like a wedding, you need to make adjustments to the way you go about your everyday routine. The less you spend on a daily basis, the more you will have to work with for your wedding. If you and your partner order food a lot, make a concerted effort to cook at home instead. Find the changes in your routine that will yield the biggest results. You might not be able to pay for the whole event with the money you save from cutting back on to-go coffee, but the additional funds will help.

Though it might seem impossible to save enough money for the wedding of your dreams, there are strategies that can improve your odds. By creating a budget early, you will be able to make the right adjustments to your spending habits in order to accommodate the many expenses related to your big day.

Excellent Reasons To Delay Your Honeymoon
There are many smart reasons to delay your honeymoon, from reducing anxiety to putting yourself in a better financial place.

There are many smart reasons to delay your honeymoon, from reducing anxiety to putting yourself in a better financial place.

A honeymoon is the long-awaited vacation most couples look forward to when planning the ins and outs of their weddings. Though this trip marks the first official adventure a couple embarks upon after tying the knot, it can also cause a lot of frustration and stress. Planning a wedding can take a lot out of a couple, and trying to plan a honeymoon on top of it all can often seem like a daunting, if not outright impossible, task to accomplish. One way to alleviate some of the headache is by opting to take a delayed honeymoon.

By pushing back your vacation, you stand to benefit a lot more from the rest and relaxation involved, and give yourself peace of mind that the honeymoon will not end up getting cancelled due to the economic shutdown currently facing most countries. Consider these reasons to delay your trip, and see whether or not this choice is a good fit for you.

A Chance To Save

The biggest and most logical reason to delay your honeymoon is financial. By waiting a bit to go off on your trip, you and your significant other are given a longer stretch of time to save money. Since weddings can be incredibly costly, you might feel like you don’t have enough budgeted to go to the destination you truly desire. Setting back your departure date can help you find the cash you need to turn your honeymoon into the dream adventure you and your partner imagined.

Most couples receive a significant number of cash gifts for their weddings. By delaying your trip, you will have a better idea of how much money you received from your friends and family members. Take a sum of money from your gifts and set it aside as your honeymoon budget. This will give you a nice chunk of change to help you start saving for your excursion. Once you feel like you’ve been able to set aside enough additional funds, it is time to begin planning for your honeymoon.

Time To Focus

Planning two events at once can be a lot to accomplish. Even the most organized of individuals might feel overwhelmed trying to contact vendors, select floral arrangements, create guest lists, and plan a vacation to another country. You want your honeymoon to be well thought out, meaning you need to devote your full attention to making it worth your while. When your attention is split between planning a wedding and a honeymoon, it stands to reason both events are going to fall short of what you are aiming to achieve.

Delaying your journey gives you the opportunity to separate your wedding from your vacation. Whether you opt to delay your departure by a few weeks, a few months, or even an entire year, you can benefit greatly by moving it back a bit. Doing this will help you dedicate more time to planning every detail of your trip. The extra time might even give you the chance to find deals and discounts you would have otherwise missed out on by rushing right into the trip.

Enjoy Your Lives Together

Finally, pushing back your honeymoon is ideal because you will actually have a bit of “real” time with your partner. While your vacation might be a great way to unwind after the chaos of planning your wedding, it will only be a matter of time before you’re thrust back into your daily lives. By delaying your trip, you and your partner are given the chance to live together as a married couple for a bit. This can make the experience even sweeter, as it gives you both something to look forward to together.

Your honeymoon is a crucial event following your big day. Before planning your vacation, take time to think about whether you might be able to benefit by delaying it for a little while after your wedding has occurred.

 

To Your Health! Combating Stress Before Your Wedding
Effectively combating stress during the wedding planning process is essential so that you remain healthy and keep your immune system strong.

Effectively combating stress during the wedding planning process is essential so that you remain healthy and keep your immune system strong.

Let’s face it: Wedding planning is both fun and stressful. You have budgets to follow, vendors to hire, deadlines to meet, and details to wrangle before you can pull your big day together. Illness makes achieving these goals more difficult, so it’s important to do what you can to remain healthy. Stress is often a contributing factor when we get sick, so combating stress can help you stay healthy in the months before you tie the knot.

Good or Bad Stress?

Medical professionals describe two types of stress: good stress and bad stress. The former, also called eustress, can prepare us to handle positive events and challenges. Healthline lists several examples, including starting a new job, having a child, purchasing a home, and of course, getting married. Nervous excitement is a telltale sign that you’re experiencing eustress, and the key is making it work for you. Healthline suggests getting regular exercise, trying new activities, and edging yourself out of your comfort zone. These practices can help you use the extra motivation and energy to accomplish your goals.

Stress and Your Health

When many people talk about stress and its negative impacts on health, they’re referring to distress. Canada.com’s body and health section mentions several common stress-related health issues such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, weakened immunity, mental health issues, and even heart disease. Distress also puts people at risk for gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, teeth grinding, strokes, and eating disorders.

Just like positive stress, the negative kind also manifests emotionally. It usually kicks in when we perceive that the demands on us are greater than our ability to handle them. We experience symptoms such as a faster heart rate and rapid breathing, but Mayo Clinic describes other physical responses such as blood sugar spikes, decreased hunger, and altered immune responses. When experienced repeatedly over a long time, it increases the probability of getting sick.

Tips for Combating Stress

Bad stress can come from many sources. Global News’ Meghan Collie reveals that workplace-related stress is so common that the World Health Organization considers job burnout as an official medical diagnosis. Planning a wedding can feel like a full-time job, especially with so many to-dos and deadlines. It, too, can lead to burnout for the same reason: the demands placed on us appearing greater than what we can handle.

Brides writer Stefania Sainato offers several useful suggestions for combating stress related to your nuptials. First, you and your partner should decide on the three most important aspects of your event and tackle those first. Deadlines are another stress-inducing detail, so set reasonable ones for completing items on your wedding to-do list. That means including some extra time for emergencies or other unexpected events. Getting assistance from friends, family, and wedding party members helps you feel less overwhelmed. Finally, consider hiring professional help if you’ve got room for it in your budget. A professional planner or day-of coordinator can also ease your load and accomplish some of your planning tasks.

Self-Care in Stressful Times

While you’re taking steps for better wedding planning and combating stress, don’t forget about helpful self-care practices. Sainato stresses the importance of taking a break. Stepping away from planning lets you clear your mind and enjoy some well-deserved downtime with friends, family, and your partner. Exercise can help you release some of your pent-up anxiety, so choose fun activities that match your physical abilities. In the meantime, be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat a well-balanced diet with a wide range of nutritious food.

Whether good or bad, planning a wedding can increase your stress levels. There’s no shame in feeling overwhelmed, but you do have ways of fighting back. Recognizing when you’re stressed out and taking steps to mitigate it will help you stay healthy before and after the big day.

Tips for Planning Your Own Bachelorette Party
Some brides may choose to spare their friends the hassle and plan their own bachelorette party, in which case it is important to consider these basics.

Some brides may choose to spare their friends the hassle and plan their own bachelorette party, in which case it is important to consider these basics.

There are a lot of moving pieces involved with throwing a wedding. These days, it is normal for a bride to pass some pressing duties off to the groom, family members, or her bridesmaids. In fact, events like the bachelorette party are traditionally handled by members of the bridal party. Many couples, however, don’t like making such intense demands of their friends. If you decided to plan your bachelorette party on your own, you may need a bit of guidance to help you cover all of your bases. Look over this checklist to feel more prepared.

Pick a Bachelorette Party Location

The first step is to select a destination for the event. Do you want a local gathering or somewhere a bit farther away? In the past, it was typical for a bachelorette party to take place a few nights before the wedding and remain somewhat small. Now, some brides are extending the event into affairs that take up entire weekends and involve vineyard tours, karaoke bars, and drag-themed restaurants. Before moving forward, determine exactly what kind of experience you hope to get from your party and where you want to travel.

Create a Guest List

After deciding on the location, it is time to create a guest list. You’re probably already sick and tired of guest lists from your wedding planning experience, but this list will be much shorter and easier to manage. As a rule, you should definitely invite all of the women in your bridal party and any immediate family members like sisters. Beyond this, try only to invite friends or relatives who were invited to your actual wedding. While many bachelorette parties are exclusively “for the women,” there’s no reason for you to turn away any of your close male friends.

Budget Discussion

In many cases, the bridal party will cover the costs related to a bachelorette party. However, handling the event on your own means many people might assume you are footing the bill. Since you have an entire wedding to pay for already, you might want to be realistic about your bachelorette party budget. Ask the friends you invite what they can afford to do and work from there. It doesn’t make sense to plan a trip to Naples for a “women’s weekend” when half of your friends can’t afford the flight.

Invites

Unlike a bridal shower or the wedding itself, you don’t need to be very formal about the way you invite people to your bachelorette event. In fact, informal might be the way to go. Send out a group text to the people you want to invite and tell everyone to get back to you ASAP about whether or not they can attend. If you want to be more thorough about the task, consider using a website or app designed for group activities. A simple Facebook event page, for example, can keep everyone informed and updated throughout the process.

Consider the Logistics

Finally, think about the logistics of the trip. If you plan on going away for the weekend, you’ll want to arrange in advance for accommodations and food. Book your hotel or Airbnb in advance to guarantee everyone has a place to sleep. You may also want to book a reservation at a restaurant if you are traveling with a larger group. When you travel by plane, you will also need to think about transportation. Whether you rent a car or simply use Uber the whole time, you want to have it all planned out in advance.

The decision to plan your own bachelorette party can be a rewarding one. Give yourself plenty of time to coordinate the details and put together a fantastic celebratory event that you can take pride in.

Speaking With Confidence: Tips for Wedding Readings and Toasts
While being asked to speak at a wedding can make many people nervous, a little preparation can give you a boost of confidence in your speaking role.

While being asked to speak at a wedding can make many people nervous, a little preparation can give you a boost of confidence in your speaking role.

Your friends are getting married, and they’ve asked you to play an important part in their special day. Perhaps you’re one of the honor attendants or you’re giving a reading during the ceremony. The prospect of getting up and speaking in front of a bunch of people, even if they are friends and family, can make you feel anxious or even panicky. Fortunately, you can conquer your fears and give a great speech, reading, or toast by following some helpful advice.

Consider Your Content’s Structure

Whether you’re writing a toast or giving a ceremony reading, the structure of your content plays an important role in its delivery. The Knot’s Maggie Seaver suggests that toasts and speeches should be kept short and simple. Citing public speaking expert Jennifer Hester, Seaver describes a general format that you can follow: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them.” This formula keeps it simple and creates a clear beginning, middle, and ending in your speech.

Next comes the hard part: what to say. Huffington Post’s Kelsey Borresen shares useful recommendations from Simon Bucknall, author of “The Best Man Speaker: The Definitive Guide to the Best Man Speech.” Focus on positive personal attributes. Perhaps you admire your friend’s sense of humor, selfless generosity, or optimism during tough times. If you’re stuck for ideas, Bucknall suggests interviewing friends and family members. Don’t forget to take notes: You’ll need them later when you’re writing your speech. Also, stay away from touchy subjects or potentially offensive humor. The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself or the couple when speaking publicly.

If you’re giving a ceremony reading, you’ll use a somewhat different approach. Wedding Wire’‘s Lindsay Pietroluongo stresses the importance of studying the reading text. Understanding its meaning is crucial: You’ll not only know what you’re saying, but you can also appropriately stress key words, phrases, or lines for emphasis.

Practicing Speaking Makes Perfect

Now that you have your content well in hand, practicing speaking is key to polishing your delivery. Brides’ Elizabeth Mitchell recommends frequent rehearsals to help yourself know your content, become familiar with the words, and fine-tune details such as speed and annunciation. The goal is not to eliminate your nervousness entirely, but to harness it and make it work for you. Non-verbal elements such as gestures and tone of voice make up a large part of how we communicate, so letting your emotions naturally come out makes your words come alive and your delivery more genuine.

As you rehearse your speech or reading, other tools and tips can aid in your preparation. Pietroluongo suggests practicing speaking in front of a mirror. Besides helping you remember to look up at your audience, you can also pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and movement. Both Seaver and Mitchell recommend recording yourself and listening to the playback for filler words such as “um” and “uh,” excessive throat clearing, and other trouble spots. Also, consider rehearsing in front of a friend or family member you trust to provide honest feedback.

Don’t Forget Your Script

As confident as you may feel right before the big day, it’s still a good idea to bring written notes or a copy of the reading with you. This isn’t a poetry slam: No one’s expecting you to memorize. By making an outline or jotting down notes or photocopying your reading, you’ll give yourself some visual prompts and avoid either rambling or drawing a complete blank.

No matter whether you’ve spoken in front of a crowd once or a hundred times, it’s natural to feel nervous. Giving a ceremony reading, speech, or toast is an honor, and you want to do the best job possible. Remember to practice, mind your content, and above all, relax! You’ve got this. With preparation and a little confidence, you’ll do fine.

3 Ways To Avoid Annoying Your Wedding Guests
Read up on three ways to avoid annoying your wedding guests and ensuring a pleasurable experience for all who grace you with their presence.

Read up on three ways to avoid annoying your wedding guests and ensuring a pleasurable experience for all who grace you with their presence.

Designing your wedding takes plenty of work and planning. It’s a shared effort involving you, your partner, and your vendors, but another party helps make the magic happen: your guests. You may not think of your special day as a collaboration between you and those invited, but they bring atmosphere and expectations to the party. Alienating them is the last thing you want to do, but some couples do things that upset friends and family or that permanently sever relationships. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way, so pay attention to a few common offenses that some nearlyweds commit and that you will want to make sure to avoid. 

Guests Spend More Than You Think 

Forbes contributor Dani Pascarella reveals that the average wedding guest spends about $430 to attend. That usually includes gifts and attire, but these expenses can double or even triple if the happy couple’s tying the knot out of town. Including travel and accommodations, destination wedding guests spent about $1,440 each in 2019. Pascarella discussed weddings in the United States, but those figures in Canadian dollars work out to $600 spent on local nuptials and $2,000 for destination affairs.

Set a Sensible Dress Code

In a February 2019 Insider piece, Madison Vanderberg retells outrageous tales of horrible wedding demands from entitled ‘zillas. One bride composed a very detailed dress code with colors, hem lengths, and textures, as well as a laundry list of items her female guests were forbidden to wear. Guests already face challenges when choosing what they’ll wear to a wedding, but pressuring them to fit ultra-specific requirements can backfire horribly.

At the same time, you shouldn’t leave your friends and family without any guidance. Wedding Wire Canada’s Alice Prendergast mentions the confusion and panic they may feel if there’s no dress code mentioned in your invitation. She offers advice to help guests figure out what to wear, but you don’t want to put them in that predicament. Vox’s Constance Grady provides a helpful guide to common terms like “black tie” and “wedding casual,” with illustrations to match. If you like, you can even include this or another useful link on your wedding website.

Consider Hosting Your Wedding Locally

Destination wedding guests spend more than half of their total expenses on travel and lodging. Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary bemoans the steep costs of attendance, but money is not the only issue. On the U.S. version of Wedding Wire, Kim Forrest mentions that 39% of surveyed wedding guests admitted that they didn’t like making travel and accommodations arrangements. People with the luxury of paid time off end up using it on travel, and those without vacation days must choose between attending the wedding and being able to pay their bills.

Between requesting time off, researching prices, and booking transportation and lodging, you may want to avoid the hassle. You can still create a fun and original experience by staying local but choosing a venue, date, and theme that fit your wedding’s vision.

Pay Attention to Ceremony Length

One of your most difficult tasks is selecting which elements to include in your wedding ceremony. You both may desire to customize your vows, incorporate family or cultural traditions, and include special music and readings. At the same time, you don’t want to make your ceremony too long. BridesJaimie Mackey suggests keeping it to 20 or 30 minutes in length. You’ll be able to incorporate meaningful elements without boring your guests or causing them discomfort. Wedding Wire Canada offers some useful guidance for structuring your ceremony.

Designing a wedding can be equally exciting and challenging. It’s a balancing act in which you create an event that both reflects you as a couple and is enjoyable and relaxing for your guests. As you plan your big day, avoid common missteps and remember to practice common courtesy and think of your loved ones’ needs as well as your own.