A wedding, whether small or large, is an affair that involves hundreds of details. Even an intimate wedding, in which just the couple and their close family and circle of friends participate, has its fair share of challenges. So, you can image how much more complicated it is when you must plan a bigger wedding.
Typically, a large wedding is one where the guest count exceeds 200. If your guest count touches this number, you will have more work planning your wedding. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind when you intend to have a large wedding of this nature.
DO book a venue that can accommodate your guests comfortably
While you still have the challenge of finding a venue that fits your budget, it is also important to find one that will fit your guests. Not only should the venue have space to hold so many people, it should also have adequate facilities to make them comfortable during their stay there.
The venue should have enough space to seat all the guests during the wedding and reception. It should also have sufficient number of washrooms to meet the needs of your guests. Apart from ample parking space, the dance floor should be large enough so your guests can dance comfortably.
Ideal choices are banquet halls, museums, castles and outdoor venues like parks or beaches. You should visit the venue before you commit to it. Seeing it is the only way to recognize whether it is right for your needs.
DO analyze and fix issues which can cause queues at the venue
Always consider the likelihood of long lines at the bar or bathroom. Analyze whether your venue has enough facilities to meet the needs of the number of guests attending your wedding. Your guests will find it inconvenient if it takes them forever for their turn at the washroom. Similarly, they won’t appreciate waiting indefinitely to get their chosen drink, at the bar.
Consider these factors in detail when you plan your wedding. If the venue has limited facilities, consider how you can alleviate issues. Simply arranging an extra lot of portable restrooms at an outdoor facility will help you overcome these issues. You can also have two separate bar setups at either end of your reception space to distribute the crowd evenly. Discuss your options with the venue manager and figure out the right fixes before the event.
DON’T cut down on what is most important to you
There is no question that a big wedding will be more expensive than a small one. However this doesn’t mean you should cut down on what you love. Instead, redistribute your budget to include what you must have at your wedding. You can always let go of certain factors or choose cheaper options for what is less important.
Here is an interesting idea on this post on A Practical Wedding. This couple decided to save on centerpieces and elaborate florals, which can quickly add up to several hundreds of dollars. Instead, they had a cocktail-style party, where everyone could move around and socialize throughout the evening. Since there was no need for a strict seating arrangement in this case, they went with simple tabletop arrangements and saved a huge amount of their budget this way.
DO remember that you still have to meet and greet all your guests
Whether it is a big wedding or a small one, you have to abide by some etiquette rules. This includes how essential it is to say hello to all the people who made the effort to participate in your wedding. Schedule enough buffer time in your wedding day timeline to accommodate this need. Set aside at least two minutes per guest, and it should work well.
Since waiting at a receiving line isn’t usually practical for this huge number of guests, it is a better idea to plan the day so you have opportunities to socialize and meet and greet everyone. Well-wishing guests will understand the practical problems you face with meeting all your guests. So, they shouldn’t complain if you couldn’t meet them personally. Nonetheless, it is best if you try to greet all there and avoid such a situation.
DO consider hiring help
While you can always attempt to pull off a big wedding by yourself, it is a Herculean task. With the number of details involved, you need plenty of time to do this right. Also remember that even small tasks will involve time because of the sheer volume of work involved. Imagine addressing your invitations to 200 guests, and you will realize the time that it will require. Similarly, every small detail will quickly add up in terms of time and energy.
Professional wedding planners have enough resources and staff to handle such weddings. They can make your job much easier, and save you lot of stress. Even if you intend to do everything yourself, consider hiring a day-of planner. While he or she tackles the numerous responsibilities of the day, you can sit back and actually enjoy your wedding. Additionally, wedding planners can get you valuable vendor discounts, which is a big win in the case of a large wedding. More details on how you can make the most of their expertise to snag a bargain are here on this Brides website article.
DO try to skip the little extras
Unless you have a budget that cannot be extinguished easily, it is wise to skip the little extras when planning a big wedding. Although these items will help make your wedding unique, they can also quickly add up with the extended head count. For instance, you will run up several extra dollars if you decide to send out Save-the-date cards in addition to wedding invitations. Similarly, special touches like calligraphy, monograms and personalized wedding favors will be expensive unless you DIY.
Rather than splurging on these items, it is better to save your budget for the more essential parts of the wedding. Better quality food and drinks, for example, will be more appreciated than these elements.
DO consider repurposing and reusing items to take your budget further
Certain items in a wedding are non-negotiable, like the flowers. However, they are expensive as well. To get the best bargain on such items, we suggest that you consider using them to the greatest extent possible.
Take the advice of event planner Kristen in this article on the She Knows website. You can get your money’s worth for the flowers at your wedding by putting them to more than just one use. Take the flowers off your arbor and use them in centerpieces. Or put your bridesmaids bouquets into vases and use them at your cocktail table after the ceremony.
All you need is an organized friend or professional planner to handle these details. It will save you more money than if you have to use more flowers for the purpose. And, more importantly it will also lessen scope for wastage of wedding resources. Other options are to choose centerpieces that double up as wedding favors and choosing non-perishable décor items that you can reuse after the wedding.
DO consider a bigger bridal party
Consider yourself lucky if you have a number of friends and family members who want to be closely involved in the wedding. With a little tact and foresight, you can use their help to the most at your wedding. The benefits of having a bigger bridal party are immense. This gives you more people who will assist you on and before the wedding day. For a bigger wedding party, this means you have many hands to help you handle the various details.
Your bridesmaids and ushers will be valuable in helping guests find their way around, on the day of the wedding. They can also assist with tasks like helping the photographer round up the right people for each wedding shot. You can request their assistance with setting up the venue, distributing favors and meeting and greeting guests. Nonetheless, the extent of success will also depend on the personalities of the people in your party. Choose wisely, and enlist the help of each person for tasks they are best suited for.
DO allow enough time between events
The logistics of planning a successful wedding timeline can be challenging when you have a huge wedding party. The flow of the event will be affected by the number of people there. Although this can be sorted out to a great extent by making multiple arrangements for dining and washroom facilities, it may not be enough.
We also suggest you plan your wedding timeline at a relaxed pace, with more buffer time for special moments. This will allow people to move to settle in comfortably and be ready for the next event on the timeline. Avoid packing in a tight schedule and make sure you consider the distance and space they have to maneouvre to be in place for the next important part of the day. This will ensure your wedding timeline progresses as expected and that the day winds up on time.
DON’T risk booking unreliable vendors
Whether your wedding is big or small, unreliable vendors can totally ruin the show. Nonetheless, the chance of fixing a goof-up is tougher when the guest count is higher. It is simply impossible to find a replacement at short notice who can cater to such a large crowd without prior notice. This can end up as an emotional and stressful disaster, and spoil all the fun of your special day.
Hence, make sure that every vendor you hire for your wedding is reliable and has always delivered the service they promise to. Apart from online reviews, also ask for references before you commit to a contract. If you have a wedding planner, he or she will be able to suggest reliable vendors for various jobs. They will also have likely alternatives if any of the plans go south. Finally, ensure your vendor contracts contain practical solutions as emergency plans, in case of cancellations at the last minute. Make sure you can work with their solutions before you decide to be optimistic and sign up for the service.
DON’T forget to account for all the extras
There are many extras that you may miss adding into your budget. Many couples overlook factors like tipping and gratuity, wedding dress alteration charges, extra costs at the venue for service etc, when planning their budget. Although some of these may seem insignificant, it can quickly add up when you consider the head count at your wedding.
So, make sure you discuss all overheads before you book a service. Also calculate these factors so you can create a practical budget. When booking a service, mention to the vendor what your total budget is, so they can direct you to the service accordingly. Also, don’t hesitate to cross-check and ask whether you will have to pay anything above and over the mentioned amount to get the service you book.
All said and done, your wedding is a special celebration of the day you and your partner become husband and wife! It is a special moment, that should be celebrated with all those who matter in your life. If this means having a big wedding, so be it! The challenges pale in comparison with the joy of the celebration. Just make sure that every moment counts, you stand by every decision you make and enjoy this special day in your life.
For all that you need for your wedding day, from your all-important wedding dress to dress alterations, attires for the bridal party, wedding favors and more, come visit our Best for Bride shop. With four locations and an impressive inventory of everything wedding-related, every modern bride can find all that she needs for her special day. Find more details about our wedding dress collections, services and more at the Best for Bride website here.