Wedding Planning: Modern Ideas And Advice To Keep Your Wedding Simple

This article includes tips and ideas on how to plan a simple wedding.

"Modern Ideas and Advice to Keep Your Wedding Simple." There's a concept. Looking at the media, bridal magazines, talk shows, one might conclude that a simple wedding is a thing of the past. However, for the bride (or couple!) who wants a simpler wedding, there are a number of ideas to consider.

The simplest wedding is, undoubtedly, before a judge, or minister, in the courthouse, or at the minister's home or church, with either just immediate family, or no one else, present. This may be more correctly called a "ceremony," but the end result is the marriage. Or, if a couple knows they are taking an exotic honeymoon, and would rather spend their money on the honeymoon, they can get married at their destination. Going to Jamaica or the Grand Caymans? What's more romantic, or simpler, than a beach wedding at sunset? The bride just wears a beautiful dress, tucks a gardenia blossom in her hair, and she's ready to go. Couples wanting to take advantage of this option are well advised to make their plans far in advance, so as to be simpatico with the laws and regulations at their honeymoon destination.

For the bride or couple who want a simpler wedding, with more of the traditional trappings, this too, is possible.

The first thing the couple should think about is paying for most, if not all, of the wedding themselves. If they do, they have complete control over it. This may also be more incentive to keep things simple! It may require a lot more advance planning, but it is worth it.

The couple should get their heads together over the event. Is there one thing they both want they are willing to spend money on? Are they willing to have simple refreshments at the reception in order to have a show-stopping cake, for instance? An atmosphere of give-and-take is crucial here.

The couple should also decide what they can absolutely do without. Here are some suggestions: have an afternoon wedding. This means a sit-down dinner or buffet reception is not necessary. Neither is dancing, which foregoes the need to hire a band. With the advent of 12-CD changer players, appropriate music is easily obtained, and always available.

The wedding itself presents many opportunities for simplification. If the couple are members of a church, getting married at their church makes the most sense for a simple wedding, since they probably will not have to rent a facility. If they do, renting a church is still the most sensible option. This is because churches do not require as much decoration or preparation for use. Seating is always available. Some churches even have candelabra on the premises which may be used, rather than the couple having to rent such items. However, they should rent dripless candles. These are worth every penny, and require no clean-up.

Decorating the church can be very simple. A tulle bow on the front pew, for the mothers, a bowl of flowers on the altar, or in front of it, ivy or other greenery twined around the candelabra, borrowed ferns on each side, and the church is decorated. Remember to tape the owner's name on the bottom of the fern pot.

Minimizing the number of attendants is another way to keep a wedding simple. Having no more than three bridesmaids and three groomsmen, including the best man, is a wonderful way to simplify a wedding. Children are precious, but weddings are simpler when they are not included in the ceremony. Not having a flower girl means that no one has to go in after the ceremony and vacuum the aisle. This is a blessing.

The bride should also think about choosing bridesmaid's dresses the attendants can wear again. Choosing two-piece dresses, for instance, and colors that are appropriate for any time, such as navy, etc"¦ will simplify the fitting process. This in turn, will allow the bride and attendants more time to plan other things. The bride should also inquire if the bridal salon has an agreement with a tuxedo-rental establishment for discounts. Some of these businesses work together. This means a more "one-stop-shopping" experience for everyone.

Trimming the guest list is also a way to simplify the wedding. More than 150 or so guests is not a simple wedding. Trying to seat and feed more than that number of people is a logistical nightmare. So, keep the guest list small.

Invitations are another area where the couple can simplify and save money, too. Most stationery stores have sample books chock-full of invitations and other favors, such as matchbooks and napkins. Matchbooks are not a good idea, but ordering napkins and invitations at the same time, from the same retailer, is a good idea. Couples may get a discount, and if something goes wrong, they can probably fix it at the store.

Couples should order luncheon-sized napkins, not the tea-sized napkins and luncheon-sized ones. Luncheon-sized napkins are larger "" big enough to wipe the fingers comfortably on. There is no need for the 4 1/2-inch square tea napkins. Just order more of the luncheon napkins. Keep one for the bride's memory book, by the way.

Order simple invitations. Cream-colored stock with black lettering, in easily-read print, is a simple, elegant solution. Don't worry about foil-lined envelopes, bows on the invitations, or other such frills and furbelows. They are not necessary and cost more. And, if the couple is not having a fancy reception, RSVP cards are not necessary, either. More money saved, and one less thing to worry about. Simple invitations are not expensive, and modern times aside, a lot of computer-printed invitations are tacky. Clear labels with the bride's return address, or envelopes engraved with that information are time-savers, but nothing says pride and good manners like a hand-addressed invitation. At the very least, the recipient's name and addressed should be handwritten, if not the return address. The exception to this rule is when no one in the family writes an attractive, legible hand. But if at all possible, invitations (and certainly thank-you notes) should be hand-addressed.

Now that the wedding details have been ironed out, what else about the reception? Here's a novel idea: don't serve alcohol. That may sound like the shocker of the century to some people, but it isn't. Not really. An alcohol-free wedding is by its very nature, a simpler one. The couple doesn't have to worry about Uncle Fred not being able to drive safely, or Aunt Tillie telling family secrets because she got tight. Plus, the couple will save an enormous amount of money. Liquor "" even beer and wine "" is an expensive proposition, and not necessary. I promise everyone will live if liquor is not served.

An afternoon wedding also negates the need for elaborate food. A classic Southern afternoon wedding reception features cake, nuts, mints, cheese straws and punch. It may also include finger sandwiches and fruit. The couple can rent glass plates and cups, or the church may have these available. However, for ease of clean-up, many decorative plastic plates and cups are available, and are not expensive. These are especially good for guest lists including many children. If plastic breaks, the couple need not worry about replacing the glassware. Plus, no dishes to wash. Pile everything in a garbage bag.

When a couple thinks about simplifying a wedding, these are some good suggestions. Talking about what is an unnecessary worry and/or expense will help a couple quickly find ways to have a simple, but still elegant, wedding.

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