It has been said that when you marry, you don’t just marry the person, you marry the family. This is true, to a large extent. Your family and your future spouse’s family will be connected from now on, and whatever you do, from the wedding plans that you make to your life together after the ceremony, affects them. That being said, there are certain subjects you will need to discuss with your families and children as you begin to plan your wedding. These include:
- Venue. Will your wedding be held locally? Are your bridesmaids, groomsmen, family and friends local or long distance? Depending on the answers to these questions, you may need to consider travel and accommodations. If you are traveling to your dream destination to be married, consider the cost, and where the bridal party will stay. If everyone is coming to you, it’s a bit easier. Bridesmaids and groomsmen are traditionally responsible for their own expenses. Does anyone in the bridal party or who will attend have special needs to consider with regard to the venue, such as handicap accessibility? If so, you may need to make adjustments to the venue, or choose another. Is the venue big enough? Will the ceremony and the reception take place in the same location?
- Guest list. Try not to let the guest list get out of hand. Start with those closest to you and work outward. Establish a firm limit and stick to it. Be sure everyone is aware of your policy on guests (plus-one only? Are children welcome? This sounds extreme, but it can be an issue for some).
- Budget. Every item on this list will impact the budget, for better or worse. You will probably want to start with the budget in your planning, but be sure it’s on your to-discuss-with-family list, especially the bride’s family, as they are generally responsible for footing the bill.
- Children. Will children be involved in your wedding? If you want children as flower girls or ring bearers, whose children will serve? How will you involve some children and not others without creating tension? You will need to discuss this with your family early to head off any problems and be sure that the children involved want to participate and understand what is being asked of them.
- Cultural/Religious considerations. If your family and your future spouse’s family are of different cultural or religious backgrounds, you may have to adjust the ceremony to include both family backgrounds. Be sensitive to how seriously family members take religious or cultural customs.
While this is your day, and your wishes should come first in planning the ceremony and reception, your family and your future family will appreciate being included in the planning, at least as far as it will affect them. Going the extra mile to make everyone comfortable now will pay off in good will indefinitely.