Wedding venue

Surviving a Large Guest List
Trimming the guest list at a wedding can be a difficult task, but by keeping in mind a few important points, you should be able to reach a number that is just right.

Trimming the guest list at a wedding can be a difficult task, but by keeping in mind a few important points, you should be able to reach a number that is just right.

Big families can be wonderful. When you have a lot of relatives, you have a lot of people you likely can turn to when you need advice, guidance, a laugh, or an idea of where your genetics might take you later in life. Despite how nice it is to have plenty of kith and kin, it can also pose a unique problem when the time comes to plan your wedding. Whether both you and your partner come from large families or just one of you does, fitting everybody in might require some ingenuity.

Though it can create many headaches throughout the process, it is entirely possible to survive the experience of planning for a large guest list. Take a look at this advice and see how you can get through the ordeal.

Budgetary Concerns

Inviting a lot of people to your wedding means the total cost of your event is going to be substantial. You need a lot of money to fit all of those bodies into one space, feed them, and make sure the majority of them are enjoying themselves. Before you get too far into planning, you need to make sure you can actually afford to invite everyone on your list. Making cuts to your guest list is definitely going to be a stressful task, unless, of course, there are some relatives you really don’t want to come.

Once you’ve gotten through this step, take a moment to breathe. While it won’t be a walk in the park, everything else you need to do to see success is going to be a bit easier.

Spacious Venues 

Now that you have a guest list, you need a place to put them all. Choosing a venue for the reception might be a lot easier now that you’ve got your full list. If you have a ton of names on the list, then there might be only a limited number of spaces available for you to rent. You may not be able to pick your dream venue, but you can still get all of your guests together for your big day in a suitable location.

Beyond having enough space to fit everyone, you also want to make sure you can fit them comfortably. You don’t want the entire space to be packed with tables and chairs, as it can make it impossible for your guests to get around without knocking into each other.

Talking Points 

As one of the guests of honor, you are going to need to spend a large chunk of your wedding chatting with the friends and family members who came out. The more people at the event, the more time you are going to have to spend bouncing from table to table. You’re definitely not going to be able to talk with everyone, but you can easily make an appearance at every table by setting aside an hour of the reception to make your rounds.

Seeing success with this task is going to come down to timing it out right. If you give yourself an hour to see everyone, then make sure you keep things moving. Don’t get stuck on one person for too long, and be sure your partner can keep with the pace. You may feel bad rushing through, but your guests will be happy to get a little time with you.

Time Constraints

Finally, remember that having a lot of guests might delay things. Waiting for everyone to arrive can take an eternity, so take into account the fact that you might need to start later than you’d like. Being prepared for a delay will make it far less stressful on the big day.

When you’ve got a lot of guests coming to your wedding, you need to plan it out just right. By taking your time and thinking through all angles, you’re far more likely to see success and enjoy the experience all the while.

Eight Money-Saving Tips for Your Wedding

money-saving ideas for your weddingGetting married is not cheap. According to Weddingbells.ca, a top Canadian wedding planning website, couples can expect to spend an average of $31,685 on their nuptials, including the engagement ring and honeymoon. Many people assume the cost will be less; two recent Canadian surveys concluded couples think they will spend approximately $15,000 to tie the knot. The huge discrepancy can lead to increased stress and large credit card bills after all is said and done.

Be Realistic

Setting a realistic budget before you begin the planning can help you keep better control of the costs and avoid impulse purchases. If you have your heart set on a certain wedding dress that is more than you planned to spend, recognize that you may have to eliminate something else to make up the difference in your budget.

Location Matters

The location of your wedding can have a big impact on the price tag. According to Toronto Life magazine, Ontario is the most expensive province in which to tie the knot. Here is a complete list from most to least expensive:

  1. Ontario
  2. Manitoba/Saskatchewan
  3. Quebec
  4. Alberta
  5. British Columbia
  6. Atlantic

Toronto is the priciest city for nuptials, followed by Vancouver and Quebec.

Keep It Casual

Having a wedding that is more informal can be key to keeping costs down. A few suggestions are a more causal menu instead of a sit-down dinner, and skipping tuxedos and formal dresses for the wedding party.

Try an Alternative Venue

There is no rule stating receptions need to be in a hotel ballroom. Other venues to consider that are frequently less money are the homes of friends, parks, beaches or church reception halls. The same applies for the ceremony. Often, there are fees that must be paid for the use of a church and clergy to perform a service. It is very easy these days to get ordained online; a friend could do it and perform your ceremony someplace other than a church.

Narrow Down the Guest List

Taking the time to really scrutinize your guest list and only inviting people who are an essential part of your life is another way to cut costs. A good way to approach the task is to ask yourself if you think you will be close to this individual five years after the wedding. Also, don’t hesitate to make it clear to your guests if you don’t want them to bring their children along. There are many gracious ways to communicate this message.

Do It Yourself

Many couples are getting creative and finding ways do certain elements of their wedding themselves or are enlisting the help of friends, rather than paying for these services. Some examples are taking your own pictures, baking the cake, and making your own flower arrangements and decorations.

Postpone the Honeymoon

Waiting to take your honeymoon may also save money. Delaying it can give you more time to pay off wedding bills and save for a trip, rather than having to put it on a credit card and pay interest charges.

Prioritize

Deciding the most important components of your wedding in advance can help you stick to your budget. If there is a band you must have, or a reception venue you can’t do without, make a note of it. Eliminating items like over-the-top invitations or expensive goody bags for guests to take home after the party may make it more feasible to have what is really important. Most guests will not miss little extras (or even the big ones), even though they may seem necessary to you at first.

A wedding is a joyous occasion and does not need to result in a mountain of bills. Following these eight tips can help you avoid spending more money than you planned.

Canadian Wedding Trends for 2015

200469678-0012015 is a great year to get married, no matter the season. For Canadian couples planning their nuptials, there are many fun and stylish wedding trends to consider incorporating into their weddings. Some are tried and true classics and others are more recent additions.

Non-Traditional Reception Venues

Having your reception in a formal ballroom is no longer a must. More and more couples are seeking out less conventional spaces such as galleries, museums, lofts, restaurants and outdoor areas. Avoiding a hotel ballroom can also make way for a greater variety of catering options. Many hotels insist you use their in-house services if you use their venue.

Innovative Menus

Food options for Canadian weddings have substantially evolved over time. Instead of a sit-down dinner or buffet, many couples are opting for more innovative alternatives. Some hire food trucks to cater their reception or hold events at independent restaurants. Serving sustainable, locally sourced cuisine is also becoming more important for a number of couples. Another popular trend is to provide comfort food like mac-n-cheese and BBQ rather than serving a more formal meal. The progression to more casual dining has also impacted desserts; cupcakes, macaroons and other bite size sweets are favorites. However, don’t assume food trucks, comfort food and smaller desserts means the tab will be lower.

Pastel Garden Flowers

Feminine pastel colored wedding flowers such as peonies, hydrangeas, freesias and lilacs are very en vogue. They can often be found all mixed together in bouquets and centerpieces which can create a fluffy light look with lots of texture and depth.

Pretty Stationary

A wedding is one of the few occasions where people still mail invitations. The postal service and stationary companies are undoubtedly happy this trend has endured the test of time.

No Formal Ceremony

A popular alternative to a formal ceremony at a church or synagogue is to use a justice of the peace or clerk of the court, and have only a handful of witnesses. There are also websites where people can easily get ordained online so another option is to have a friend or family member officiate the service. After the vows are done, couples may throw a big party at a later date.

Smaller Wedding Parties

The downsizing of wedding parties is a trend that has picked up steam. Many brides are now opting for one to four attendants and any more is increasingly uncommon. Couples are marrying later in life and attendants are typically older as well.

Different Bridesmaids Dresses

There are many more alternatives for bridesmaids’ dresses these days. Instead of picking one dress for everyone to wear, some brides pick a color and let their attendants choose the style of the dress. This often results in dresses that are more figure-flattering. Another option is to pick a dress style and let your bridesmaids’ choose the color they want to wear.

2014 Canadian Wedding Trends

The Annual Reader Survey from Weddingbells.ca (link) provides interesting information on Canadian wedding trends. Here are some of the statistics:

  • There were approximately 162,056 weddings in 2014 in the Great White North.
  • The average cost of a wedding was $31,685. July and August nuptials are a little pricier.
  • In Canada, the average age of a bride is 31 years old.
  • The top month in which to get engaged is December; 18 percent of Canadian grooms propose then.
  • August is the most preferred time to marry with 25 percent of couples choosing that month to tie the knot.
  • There are an average of 128 guests per Canadian wedding.
  • Since 2010 the Bahamas has been the top honeymoon destination for Canadian couples.

These are a few trends that can provide inspiration when planning your big day. A wedding is a once in a lifetime event and should reflect the unique style of the happy couple.