Let me just start by saying that getting engaged and preparing to get married has been one of the most exciting times in my life. I’d be lying though, if I didn’t include the fact that it has also been one of the most stressful times in my life.
There were things I knew would be stressful and overwhelming. I mean, I have been a ceremony coordinator at a couple of weddings and even been in charge of the media aspects for weddings that were held at my old church. I have worked on corporate events and meetings for goodness sake. This experience left me with a “How hard can it be?” mentality. I have learned that the answer to that questions is “Crazier than I ever imagined.”
Here are some things I thought I knew would be challenging that I have been surprised at just how much of a challenge they have actually been.
Now, some of it is stuff that is semi-unique as it pertains to Cameron and I, but I am sure somewhere, there are other couples following a similar path as we are. For instance, he is the youth pastor at our church and the son of the senior pastor, so fine tuning the guest list goes a little beyond “Should we invite your high school band teacher” or “Does etiquette require I invite my boss?” A couple of months ago, we thought we had our guest list capped at nearly 300. Then came the questions of do we invite the whole church? If we do, how to do we manage it logistically? And as you can guess, this one jump off point has a trickle down into many, many areas.
We found ourselves having to be even more creative with an outdoor venue that was within our budget that could accommodate potentially 300 people actually coming, not the 200 we initially thought would show up. Is everyone coming to the reception? How will this affect the cake? Do we need more favors? For the sake of word count, let’s just quote Yul Brynner and wrap it up with “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…”
I have been very quiet the past month as I have been learning a lesson in compromise and conviction and practicing how to embrace both. So, today I am going to share a couple things that we have discovered that have helped us out.
Most Important: At the end of the day, we will be married and surrounded by people who love us. This is what matters.
Uber Important: Compromise and Conviction are not mutually exclusive. You can compromise without losing the essence or dreams you’ve held dear. Here are some examples:
- We are inviting the whole congregation, but we are including a perforated RSVP card that will invite people to be part of our day. If they want to attend, they will provide their contact information and how many people, at which point we will provide the address and time for the ceremony. This way, we have a little more control and limit last minute show ups, not to mention having a better idea on how many extra to plan for.
- We are happy to open our arms to include more people, but we have to very important factors to consider: Budget and Dream. While discussing this change with Cameron’s parents, we had to be honest and explain that we did not want to sacrifice quality for quantity. This is the only wedding we plan on having, so we only have one chance to do it. We all agreed that the added people will equal an added expense, not a realignment of the resources we have. In this case, his parents have graciously agreed to help with anything that goes above and beyond, since the addition is necessitated by the family position. In doing so, we were able to compromise without losing our dream.
- Making a reception work with 300+ people can be difficult and expensive. So we decided to host a cake reception immediately following our ceremony for everyone in attendance. Later in the day, we will be having a private reception for family and friends and out of town guests that will be consistent with our theme. This allows us to celebrate with everyone without breaking the bank.
- Speaking of cake, we wanted a pretty and yummy cake, but getting a wedding cake to feed that many people…yikes! So, to save again, we have decided to do a tiered cake for display and either “Kitchen Cakes” or cupcakes to make up the difference. It will still be the same cake, but we will save on the decoration and display costs. Asking your baker of choice about kitchen cakes can easily cut your cake cost in half, allowing for the best of both worlds.
So, while we have not crossed every bridge just yet, I would say we have successfully navigated quite a few without burning any. Anyone else running into special cases that drive you to finding your “happy place”?
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.