Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Different Sort of Wedding Planning Checklist

As I've mentioned, I was not one of those girls who sat around with Barbie and Ken dreaming about weddings.  So when the "I'm getting married" realization finally hit, I remember feeling terrified more than excited, because where the freaking frick do you even start (especially if tulle has never really been your thing)?

All I have to say is, the Knot's wedding planning checklists did not help with my terror.

So once we got officially engaged, I decided it would be cruel and counterproductive to send J a similar list.  I also decided that the standard "oh my goodness we're engaged what's our budget who do you want to invite what are your three most important must-haves" conversation would be equally unproductive as a starting point.  Because to me, there were bigger questions than flowers and venues.  Questions that get at the heart of why we want a wedding, and how we want our wedding to feel.  And once we answer that, I feel like the rest of it will all fall into place. 

Instead, I wrote a new wedding planning "checklist".  And we're beginning to savor its questions slowly, over a glass of wine at dinner, as we work through what's really important to us on this journey. 

 Our Wedding Planning Questions
  • Why have a wedding?  Why not elope instead?  Why not have a small intimate party with family instead?
  • What's the best wedding you ever went to and why did you think so?  What do you remember liking best?  What do you think gave you that "feeling"?  How would you describe it?
  • How much would you feel comfortable spending on our wedding?  How much would you feel comfortable contributing jointly? 
  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of paying for all (or most) of the wedding on our own, without parental assistance?  What do you envision is a fair breakdown for parental assistance, if we decide we'd like it?
  • How much would you feel comfortable asking our parents for (each, separately, as a percentage of total?) and for what items (general budget; specific assistance with dress, DJ, rehearsal, etc; or another format)
  • Do you have a ballpark figure for the total amount in your mind (including rings, ketubah, party rental, venue, catering, clothes, honeymoon, rehearsal)? 
  • How does a wedding relate in importance to paying for a house/kids/car/school/other big-life expenses?
  • How many guests do you envision sharing our day?  Do you think your must-invite obligation list would be much larger than half of that? 
  • How do you feel about a smallish wedding (50-80)?  A really large wedding (200+)?  A medium-sized wedding (100-150?)  What are the advantages of any of these?
  • How do you envision the night before our wedding?  The day of?  Are there elements you're really looking forward to?  Things you figure just happen/you have to do?  What about your ideal version of a magical day - how would it go?
  • Which parts of wedding planning are you looking forward to?  Are there any parts you're dreading?
  • What are your ideas for making planning manageable - in the context of our relationship and everyday life, in terms of time invested, in terms of families?  What challenges do you see and what strategies can we use? 
 For the moment, we're actually enjoying this wedding planning thing (if approached in manageable one-hour chunks during which we actually listen to each other.) The Knot can come later (or not. whatever.)


  1. Very nice article... Keep it up... I will be back for more information. pls visit my blog

  2. Love love love...I think we may have been separated at birth ;p

  3. Love this! And as for Evoke's comment above, perhaps we were triplets separated at birth??

  4. I very much love this. My fiance and I have discussed some of these things but I love having it written out like this. We will have much further discussions as the next 9 months pass...

    Thank you.

  5. This is a wonderful list! I would add: What makes us unique as a couple and how can we communicate that to our friends and family? We've been thinking of our wedding as a sort of 'coming out' about who we are as a couple, sharing ourselves and the intimacy of our relationship with our community. That focus has really helped us to make decisions, write our vows, stay sane, etc.


I love active conversations, including (civil) disagreement. I don't love spam or people who use internet anonymity to be rude and disparaging. Spam and rudeness will be deleted.