Open thread on unsolicited wedding advice

A lot of people are planning weddings in Iowa this year. Use this thread to share any advice you’ve got for the happy couples. I’ll go first.

Unless you’re having a very small wedding (fewer than 30 guests), just invite everyone you want to. Small weddings are lovely, but you only get that atmosphere if you keep it really small. Once you’ve got 50 or 60 guests, you might as well just have a big wedding. They’re fun and festive. If budget is an issue, there are lots of other ways to cut costs that won’t hurt people’s feelings. Seriously, if you’re in doubt about someone, invite that person.

For keeping expenses down:

Consider a morning wedding with a luncheon reception.

Consider getting married on a Friday or Sunday.

Consider asking friends to help prepare food for the reception.

Consider mix CDs instead of a live band.

Spend less on whatever it is you don’t care about (e.g. booze, flowers, big photo package).

If you’re having a big wedding, make sure the acoustics or sound system in the room will allow people to hear the ceremony.

Consider decorated cupcakes rather than a large cake (much faster to serve to large groups).

Don’t let other people tell you what kind of music is appropriate for a wedding reception. Play music you and your future spouse like, whether that’s jazz or ethnic or sappy or upbeat love songs.

Don’t feel that you have to compromise your values regarding food to please your wedding guests. In other words, if you are vegetarians or you really love a certain kind of ethnic cuisine, serve that and let your friends and family deal with it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Something is bound to go wrong with the logistics, flowers, music, etc. 90 percent of your guests won’t notice any little hiccups, but 100 percent of your guests will notice if you flip out over something trivial on your wedding day.

I leave you with one of my favorite songs for happy couples:

About the Author(s)


  • I am in the process

    of planning a wedding right now.  I am planning on making my own invitations – even buying pre-fab materials cuts cost by more than 50%.  I bought my dress the day I tried it on, securing a 20% discount on my dress, the tuxes, and the bridesmaid dresses.  I am having my reception at a country club that does not charge a facility fee.  I have found that individual desserts, although far less time consuming, are not very cost effective.  I do have a friend that used a cardboard wedding cake for the cutting ceremony and then just served a simple sheet cake – creative frugal idea that is growing in popularity.  Instead of mix CDs, a lot of couples are having “iPod receptions” where you just rent speakers to hook up to an iPod and create prefab playlists.

    I appreciate your tips about just doing what you like – I am getting bombarded from all sides with what is “acceptable” and I just want to do my own thing!

    • congrats, and those are all good ideas

      A friend of mine opted out of the traditional wedding dress and wore a very attractive suit she can use again. She spent well under $1,000 on the whole outfit.

      I didn’t make my own invitations, but I cut out useless stuff like that extra envelope inside the outside envelope.

      They didn’t have iPods back when I got married, but of course that makes a lot of sense.

      Seriously, ignore the people telling you what you have to do. I got flack for registering for too many “practical” items that weren’t “pretty” enough. I had already inherited china, crystal, silver and everyday dishes from my mother, so it would have been ridiculous for me to register for that kind of thing. We registered for things we could use, and mostly we do use them.