Ask a Planner

Ask a Planner

We have created this page for all the brides (and grooms) out there that have questions about planning their wedding. We have answered a few of the most common questions below but if yo have any specific questions you would like answered please email them to

I have a tight budget but a long guest list, who should get cut?

Creating the guest list for your wedding can be an overwhelming task and as a rule of thumb, it’s one of the first things you need to check off your wedding to do list. We have gathered a few tips for those of you who are just venturing into this step to help make it easier and less stressful to narrow down your guest list.

  • Don’t feel guilty about not inviting someone to your wedding. A great way to determine which friends to invite is to ask yourself one simple question. When was the last time we had dinner together? If the answer is over a year ago they probably shouldn’t make the list.
  • Who gets a plus one? If the person you are inviting is married or in a serious relationship they automatically get a plus one. It’s also courteous to provide a plus one to your guests who might not know anyone at your wedding. However, it is not necessary to provide plus ones to your single friends. This is also the perfect place for them to mix and mingle with your other single friends!
  • Don’t let anyone guilt or bully you into inviting someone who you don’t want at your wedding, especially if they aren’t the one paying for the wedding. Many people don’t realize that each additional guest will require you to dish out more money for food, decor and might even result in you having to find larger venue.

When should I send my wedding invitations?

Wedding invitations should be mailed six to eight weeks before your wedding date. If you are ordering your invitations you should order them three months before your wedding date.
If you are having a destination wedding you should send your invitations as soon as you book your venue.

Do I have to send save-the-dates?

Not everyone sends save-the-dates and it is acceptable not to. Although keep in mind that a save-the-date is helpful to guests that are coming from across country or over seas, or if you are having a destination wedding. This gives them time to put aside funds and clear their schedules for your big day.

Should I hire a wedding planner?

Hiring a planner is never a bad idea, wedding planners help ease the stress of planning a wedding, take care of the fine details and help you enjoy your day. How large of role they play in your big day is up to you, from set up and take down of decor to conducting the entire event, it is up to you.

Planners also often have many connections in the wedding industry and can point you to the best and hidden gems of the wedding services in your area. Having a planner does not mean giving up control of your wedding, they are there to work with you, and help you accomplish your dreams without going over your budget!

The choice to hire a planner ultimately depends on the scale of your wedding, your budget and your personal preference.

Am I expected to tip all vendors?

Tipping is generally reserved for the employees of vendors and not the owners, however if the owners go above and beyond a tip is a nice gesture of reorganization of their great work.
These are the average standards for tipping your vendors.

  • Wedding Planner: up to $500 or a nice gift (optional).
  • Hair and Makeup artists: 15 to 20% depending on quality of service (expected).
  • Delivery Staff: $5-$10 per person (expected).
  • Officiant: $500 donation to religious institution; nondenominational officiant: $50-$100 (optional).
  • Ceremony Musicians: $15-$20 per person (optional).
  • Photographer/Videographer: $50-$200 per vendor (optional).
  • Reception Staff: 15-20 percent of the food and drink fee (if not included in bill, expected).
  • Reception Band: $20-$25 per musician; $50-$150 for DJs (optional).
  • Transportation: 15-20 percent of the bill (expected).

What should I expect my parents/in-laws to pay for?

In this day and age anything goes and is very much dependent on the financial situations of all involved. Traditionally however the brides parent are responsible for covering the costs of invitations, wedding dress, florals, ceremony, reception, photography/videography, music and music for the ceremony and reception. The grooms parent are traditionally responsible for the rings, rehearsal dinner, marriage license, officiant and honeymoon.

Who is expected to give a toast at the reception?

Traditionally only the best man is expected to give a toast at the reception though it is common for the brides and grooms parents to both toast and at the same time welcome the new family member. The bride a groom may also toast the guests for coming to celebrate their happy day.

What are some creative ways to entertain my guests?

Many guests take the opportunity of a wedding to visit with family and friends and do not require too much entertainment. However if you would like to have some entertainment slow motion video booths are a hot commodity these days, found posted all over the internet after the wedding. Your MC can also host a contest with quiz questions on the couple, or you could hire a comedian or magician.

What should my wedding program say?

Your program should outline the activities of the wedding as well as the time line. You will also want to include the text of any prayers or readings. The names of the wedding attendants, readers officiant and musicians.

When should I start shopping for my wedding dress?

Your wedding dress is one of the first things you want to lock down, it is very important to start looking at least 9 months before your nuptials. You should to leave approximately 6 months for fittings and alterations.

Do I have to pay for my bridesmaid dresses?

No. Traditionally the wedding attendant pays for their own attire for the wedding. This is one of the responsibilities they have accepted to take on in agreeing to be apart of your wedding party. But do keep in mind the budget of your closest friends when looking for their dresses and perhaps there is a dress that cost $120 that will look just as good as the one that cost $400.

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