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The 18 planning questions I always get asked

I’ve been writing about weddings for over 15 years now, and, as you might expect, have become the go-to person in my family and friend groups for wedding-related queries—though, despite my expertise, my loved ones don’t always follow my advice! While I’m generally more than happy to answer questions from friends, family members, and people my mother meets at the nail salon, I do find the same questions come up repeatedly. So I’ve decided to publish all the questions and answers I hear most frequently in the hopes that they’ll help anyone who’s in the midst of wedding planning, including those folks my mom meets at the nail salon. Here’s my ultimate wedding planning Q&A.

OMG, I’m engaged! What should I do first?

Well, you’re not going to love this answer: Setting a budget. Ugh, I know. But you really can’t start doing anything fun until you know how much you have to spend. And that doesn’t just mean having the tough conversation about who’s paying for the wedding (you, your family, your in-laws, or some combination of the three) and how much your total budget will be. You’ll also want to divide your budget based on the different vendor categories—WeddingWire’s budget tool and this wedding budget breakdown can help with that.

How much does a wedding cost?

Here’s the thing: How much you’ll spend on your wedding really varies depending on where you’re getting married. The average cost of a wedding usually hovers around $28,000, but it’s usually higher in big cities and lower in more rural areas. The WeddingWire Cost Guide can provide the average cost of a wedding in your area.

How do I create a guest list?

There are a few ways you can go about creating a guest list, but here’s one strategy. Come up with a target guest count, and divide that number in half. You and your partner take one half for your friends and VIPs, and the other half is divided equally between your parents and in-laws. If you need to add more people, you can adjust accordingly. The guest list tool on WeddingWire can be a lifesaver in keeping your list organized. And remember, that you can’t start looking at wedding venues until you’ve come up with an estimated guest count.

Can I create a “b-list” of guests who I’ll invite in case those on my “a-list” can’t make it?

You can, but I don’t recommend it. Your b-listers will probably find out that they didn’t make the initial cut, which can lead to hurt feelings.

We want to have a small wedding and my parents/in-laws want to invite a ton of people. What should we do?

When it comes to wedding etiquette, you’ll often hear me use the phrase “if they pay, they get a say”. So if your parents and/or in-laws are contributing financially, they do get to provide input in your guest list. In this case, I would start by having an honest and calm conversation with your parents (no yelling!), and tell them that you’d like to keep the wedding relatively small and ask for a compromise. You can even bring a favorite venue into the discussion—“We really love this venue but it only holds X people. If we invite too many people, we can’t get married here.”

Written by: Kim Forrest (Wedding Wire)

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