Did you ever imagine there would be so many wedding planning questions before you started? Well, luckily for you we’ve gathered the ones that come up most often, and have all the answers right here. So without further ado, here’s our take on your most pressing wedding planning questions.
Do I have to invite my mam and future mother-in-law to my hen do?
The straightforward answer is ‘no’. You don’t have to invite anyone you don’t want to your hen party – but if it’s the chief bridesmaid doing the inviting, make sure to tell her you’d rather just keep it to the girls. If, however, you actually want to have the mams there, it’s a good idea to adjust your activities accordingly. Make sure to speak honestly with your chief bridesmaid – she doesn’t have to reveal all the plans she’s made, but she could make sure they’re suitable for women of all generations. Another alternative is to split your day into two. A nice early afternoon with dinner and theatre, shopping, pottery painting or wine tasting for everyone, then you move on to the clubbing and general mayhem without the mams.
Why do I have to wait so long for my wedding photos?
Because professional photographers want to make sure you’re impressed with the final product. Also, they need some sleep after a wedding too, so they can’t quite go from the reception straight to their computer and start editing. Ask your photographer how many photos they’ll take on an average wedding day, and you may just be surprised – in 6 hours, it could be as many as 1000. They then all have to be sifted through to choose the best several hundred, then all those have to be edited and prepared for printing if you’re having an official album. Then, the album has to be produced. Generally, you’ll receive a link to an online gallery first, then the actual photos later. When booking your photographer, ask what is their average turnaround time, and then check reviews online to make sure they’re not infamous for being late. We promise, however long the wait is, it’ll be totally worth it!
Image from Laura & Mohanid’s real wedding by Couple Photography – Ros Byrne
My bridesmaids and groomsmen aren’t an even number match – what to do?
Don’t worry, it’s not a problem in the least! Someone who was really into maths made up that rule – but you don’t have to follow it today. After all, you and your other half may have different ideas of how many people you want to stand up with you on your wedding day. Take a look through our real weddings, and you’ll see plenty with two bridesmaids and three groomsmen, etc. So, what to do? If they were going to walk down the aisle in pairs, that’s simple to solve – just send them down in a single file. If you’re worried about the pictures, it’s really no problem – nobody will even notice. If it’s about them joining you on the dance floor for your first dance, mix in the family – for example, have the best man dance with your mam. Believe us when we say, it’s a much smaller deal than you imagine. Weddings are so individual nowadays, nobody will even bat an eyelid.
I’ve told tons of people about my wedding – do I have to invite them all now?
Only if you have unlimited budget and a buffet reception! Otherwise, not at all. It’s natural for brides-to-be to talk about their weddings to people who show any degree of interest, but it doesn’t automatically translate into an invitation. The only exception to this is someone who’s done something towards your wedding – say, a work colleague knows a great cake-maker and will be able to get you a major discount. Or, a friend of yours has helped a lot with DIY. We would advise, however, to keep your wedding chat at work to a minimum. Colleagues don’t like to hear every last detail about your planning, ideas and finance problems, knowing full well they’re not going to be there to see it.
Image from Laura & Moritz’s real wedding by Emma Russell Photography
Will my guests be disappointed if they don’t get favours?
Ah, the favours, the favours. They evolved from five simple sugared almonds to complicated arrangements that give many brides sleepless nights. Here’s a question – before you got engaged, did you ever go to a wedding thinking ‘ooh, I wonder what the favours will be?’ Probably not! So the answer to your question is ‘no’. Think of all the money you’ll save that could be better spent elsewhere – you could put it towards the bar tab, or the food! However, if you really really must have something, there are some very inexpensive alternatives. A sweet table is a hit at every wedding, and if you buy your candy in bulk, you’ll save loads of money. A cupcake at every table setting. A lottery ticket. A bowl of fruit for a centrepiece. We promise, the guests will remember the love celebrated at your wedding far more than the lack of favours.
Do I have to have a chief bridesmaid?
You may think we’re really skewing the tradition here, but the answer is no, you don’t have to have a chief bridesmaid. This is a scenario that comes up surprisingly often. Many girls are in a situation where they’re unable to elevate one person out of a group of friends. Or, they have two or three sisters, and can’t pick one. Or maybe they simply don’t want to, because everyone in their wedding party should be equal. It’s totally ok! Have three bridesmaids and instead of giving the bigger responsibilities to one person, just share them among the group. You may want to say, ‘but, there will be a best man!?’ So what? There can be a best man, he doesn’t have to be paired up with someone with a title of chief bridesmaid. No worries.
Image from Maria & Sean’s real wedding by Tomasz Kornas Photography
I’m terrible at DIY but really want some at my wedding – what to do?
You have several options. Pick one super simple thing – like confetti cones, because all you need is some pretty paper and glue. Or, appoint a craft-savvy person to be your DIY guru, but you have to reward them handsomely for their time. DIY takes many hours and asking someone to do it for nothing in exchange for an invitation to your wedding isn’t a fair trade-off. Or, set aside a chunk of your budget and buy pre-made stuff on Etsy or eBay, there are tons of options on both. Or, set an iron-clad DIY schedule to do for a group of people – like your bridesmaids, family and even your other half (don’t let them get away without doing any!). Or, finally, find a local crafts class or meeting on social media and join them to learn a thing or two, then really Do It Yourself.
Do I have to follow every single wedding tradition there is?
Wedding traditions are lovely and carry the weight and solemnity of the occasion with them. However, it is 2015 and weddings have changed so much since your parents and grandparents got married. There’s much more freedom of expression and individuality, and what goes with it – some departure from tradition. We believe you should only do what you want on your big day – so if you think those cake-cutting photos are cheesy, you really don’t want a first dance, or the best man doesn’t want to make a speech, it’s completely ok! So many brides don’t even wear white anymore. Choose only the things you want, and nothing else.
Image from Sarah & Vinnie’s real wedding by Olga, Mrs Redhead Photography
I have absolutely no idea what colour scheme or wedding theme I want?
Here’s a question back – how soon is your wedding? If it’s a year or more away, don’t worry at all, you have loads and loads of time to find something you love through real weddings, Pinterest, and on our decor and colour inspiration pages. It’s very unusual for a person to have absolutely no idea what they like – and it doesn’t have a to be a colour or a theme. You could like sport, travel, books, live gigs, or TV – they’re all a fantastic starting point for everything. If all else truly, truly fails, go for a classic white wedding, or at least make white your base – it’s so easy to liven it up with another colour once you get the inspiration. And if you happen to go through with your wedding and find your dream theme afterwards, you can have a super spectacular 1st anniversary party. Yes!
How do I stop fretting over everything that could go wrong on the day? I’m randomly crying over things I never thought I’d cry over – like napkins! What’s going on?
You’re in charge of a big party you’re going to be a star of, that’s what’s going on. Don’t worry! Even professional wedding planners get nervous planning their own weddings – because it’s an important day. If you feel like crying, try to think rationally. Ask yourself, why do I feel this way, and what can be done about it? Most of the time, the answer is to simply ask for help. Ask anyone who’s interested, basically. Ask your other half to get more involved. Take a break from planning for a week or two – no wedding talk, no looking at Pinterest, no fretting over the to-do list. One of the biggest problems is the total wedding immersion – you may feel like all you’re doing is eating, sleeping, going to work and planning a wedding. Nobody could keep up with all that every single day. There are very few things that could go wrong on the day that can’t be rectified. If you want extra reassurance, just ask your wedding venue – we bet they have a backup plan for EVERYTHING, including the DJ not showing up, and rain on your outdoor wedding day.
Main image from Sinéad & Shane’s real wedding by Emma Russell Photography
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.