The entire wedding planning process involves making one decision after another (and there’s a lot of decisions to be made!) There’s logistical questions, like what time should the wedding start and how long do you need to get ready beforehand. And there’s also those style and personality questions, like choosing your music, designing your centerpieces, and picking the flavor of your wedding cake.
In this post, we are going to answer 10 commonly asked wedding planning questions (in no particular order) to help you easily navigate your big day!
It can be hard to keep the attention of a room full of wedding guests, so it is good to look for some less traditional ways to have fun at your wedding. You want to provide a fun guest experience to make your event memorable, right?
One important aspect to consider is the pacing or timeline of the event. Try to be cognizant of activities that might make the night drag for your guests.
For example, if you’re outside doing sunset shots and everyone is inside waiting and waiting for 20 minutes, it might go by really fast for you, but it can drag for your guests, especially if they’re waiting for something like food or drinks. So, keep a good timeline for everyone!
It is also good to have a variety of activities that target different types of guests. For example, the usual stuff includes:
· the garter (for the single guys)
· the bouquet (for the single ladies)
· the anniversary dance (for married guests)
That’s a great way to make sure you get everyone involved.
Outside of the usual activities, we like to suggest things like the Shoe Game. In the Shoe Game, the couple sits back-to-back, each holding one of their shoes. They get asked questions about each other and their relationship (like, “Who is the most affectionate?”), and then they raise a shoe in answer. It is a lot of fun and showcases the relationship to the guests.
Another fun thing to do is to play around with your table numbers. Instead of using “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.,” you can name the tables after things like your favorite musicals, movies, or love songs. You can then use the names to take this a step further — maybe each table gets released to the buffet when they hear a song from the musical or movie. There’s a lot you can do here!
Finally, another wedding activity that we are huge fans of is putting together a scavenger hunt. Rather than having your guests look for physical objects, you can have them seek out a list of things like “find one of the groom’s high school football teammates” or “talk to one of the bride’s sorority sisters.” This gets people to go and talk to people they wouldn’t normally talk to and mingle outside of their comfort zone.
Depending on the type of couple you are, maybe these ideas sound good to you or not. That’s absolutely your prerogative! We see all types of couples, and it is your special day, so take these suggestions with a grain of salt and personalize everything to your own tastes and how you want to engage your crowd.
Most of the recommendations above center around the bride and groom. But what if you don’t like the spotlight?
At your wedding, there are going to be moments where you are the center of attention. It’s unavoidable! But there are some little things you can do to help mitigate the spotlight.
The altar is a big place where you’ll be the center of attention. If you want to minimize the pressure on you, you can shorten your ceremony, so you aren’t in the spotlight for very long. If you find safety in numbers, you can also try to have a larger wedding party up there with you.
Another big spotlight is during the introduction. Often, we recommend having a big, over-the-top, rip-the-roof-off, sports arena-style introduction to set the energy for the night. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Instead, you can just subtly join the crowd during cocktail hour.
Lastly, a lot of dances — like the first dance — can put the spotlight on you. Even if you don’t like the spotlight, we recommend keeping the first dance. But you can shorten the song or combine dances. We recommend having at least 2 minutes so that your photographer or videographer can get good photos, but you don’t have to do a whole four-and-a-half-minute song.
If your parents don’t want to be in the spotlight during their parent dance, you can combine the dances. For example, the bride and her father can dance together while the groom and his mom dance together. It can be more comfortable for everyone when there are multiple couples on the dance floor at once.
This question is related to our answer above for couples who don’t want to be in the spotlight for too long.
Of course, you can shorten any dance songs and personalize your wedding to your tastes. If you hate the spotlight, you might be tempted to only dance to 30 seconds or so, but we recommend dancing at least two minutes.
It is important to note that you don’t need to shorten or edit the song ahead of time if you don’t plan to dance to the whole thing. You can let the DJ know that you don’t want to dance to the full song, and you can give them a signal, or they can help decide then to fade out the song and move to the next activity.
It is hard to give a specific dollar amount for this because it all depends on your area and the services you are hiring. However, we can comment on the types of costs and what value you can expect to get from different vendors.
Regarding wedding planners, there are usually two categories of vendors. First, there are full-service planners that start with you from day one. They do everything from looking for venues, to helping with décor and floor plan — they help you put all the pieces together. Their services are extremely comprehensive so they will cost you a significant amount.
Then there are wedding coordinators. Typically, they start when you are about a month out from your day. They help with logistics, timeline, and vendor communication, and will help with things like your rehearsal. They are less involved, so their services will cost less.
Regarding wedding DJs, there is also a range in pricing depending on what you want. Price will be affected by how much time you need a DJ for and what equipment you need them to bring. Do you need them at the ceremony, or just the reception? Do you need lighting? Microphones? And so on.
With both types of services, you get what you pay for. Experience goes a long way, so you typically get more value from those who have been in the industry a long time. Your budget is also going to depend on what you value — so you should spend more on whatever is most important to you.
With any of your vendors, it is also important to read reviews, talk to them, and get to understand the reasoning behind their pricing. Just because they are more expensive doesn’t mean they are good at their job, and vice versa.
A good rule of thumb is to have three songs for the ceremony, including one for the wedding party procession, one for the bride, and one for the recessional to come off of the altar.
You can add more songs if you have a physically long walk, or if you have a lot of people processing in your wedding party. In that case, you could have one for the parents, one for the wedding party, one for the bride, and one for the recessional — or something along those lines.
Alternatively, if you have a very short walk or a small wedding party, then you can have fewer songs.
We are obviously partial to wedding DJs, but weddings can be fantastic with either DJs or bands. But there are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing between the two.
The first thing to consider is space. A DJ is just one person, while a band can be up to five or seven people. Some wedding venues are pretty small, so it is important to consider if there is space for an entire band.
Another thing to note about bands is that they will take breaks. During their break, there might be complete silence. So, it is important to ask if they provide background music during breaks or not.
If you do hire a band, it is important to note if you are hiring a wedding band or not. If they specifically do weddings, they will probably help MC the night and understand the flow of the wedding. However, if they don’t typically do weddings, they might not do any MCing. Wedding DJs typically provide MCing.
Finally, bands are limited by their setlist. They’ll play the music that they know, but they won’t be able to take requests or play a range of genres. If you are a huge country music fan and you hire a country wedding band, maybe that works well for you! But if you want to request Beyonce, they probably won’t be able to play that for you. Conversely, a DJ will be able to play any song in any genre for you and really cater to your crowd.
Many people get nervous about how to deal with an uneven number of people in their wedding party.
How will you pair people up going down the aisle? That’s usually the main concern. But we promise it is really simple to fix, so don’t stress!
First of all, you don’t have to do pairs. A lot of times we start with the officiate, then the groom with his mom or both parents, then the bridesmaids. If you have more bridesmaids than groomsmen, you can also double up and have two women with one guy, or vice versa, or pair a bridesmaid with an usher instead. Or sometimes it is nice to showcase each individual as they walk down the aisle.
Introductions with uneven numbers is another place that people get nervous, but that’s an easy fix too. One option is to bring out all the bridesmaids and then all the groomsmen at once and play a fun gender-centric song for each. Or again, it can be fun to bring out individuals and let them shine.
We get this question more than we want to. Planning a wedding is hard in the first place, but to plan a wedding when you’ve lost someone is tough.
However, there are a lot of great ways to appropriately honor someone who you’ve lost and incorporate them into your special day.
One thing we’ve seen is to have the officiate say something and carry guests through a moment of silence or dedication during the ceremony. Another thing to do during the ceremony could be to save a seat for that individual and place a flower, photo, or personal effect on their seat. That can be very simple but powerful.
Another option is to include a memorial table at the cocktail hour or reception. The table could include some candles, photos, and other significant personal items. You can also save a seat for them at the reception, in addition to the ceremony.
Lastly, some people like to have a significant dance or dedicated song for the person they’ve lost. For example, a bride might wish to dedicate a father-daughter dance to the father they’ve lost. This can be a very heavy moment, but it can also be very cathartic and important to you.
If you want to honor someone special but don’t want to have such a heavy moment, there are ways to create light-hearted moments as well. For example, you can dedicate their favorite upbeat song instead, and get your guests dancing and singing their hearts out in honor of something they loved. This creates a special, emotional moment but it doesn’t have to be so heavy.
Getting the party started is always a major challenge! In our experience, a lot of this responsibility falls on the DJ. Guests are often shy and look around, wondering who will go out on the floor first.
One little trick we do is start with a slow song. Then we’ll announce something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, our newlyweds would love to share a slow song with everybody. So, if you’re here with your sweetheart, come on out the dance floor.” That usually gets the majority of your guests out on the dance floor!
Right after that, we’ll announce that the dance floor is open and we’ll play an upbeat timeless classic! If you get enough people dancing early on, they’ll typically stick around for longer.
Another great tip to get the party going is to place a variety of music, including many timeless songs that multiple generations know. This will get the highest number of guests to have a good time — even the grumpiest of uncles!
In a way — yes! If you care about the music that your DJ is going to play, then you should absolutely send your DJ both a “must play” list and a “do not play” list.
Maybe you need to hear a specific song by Ed Sheeran, or maybe you don’t want to hear any 70s music or do any line dances. Getting specific like that can help you craft the experience that you want for you and your guests.
However, be mindful that the DJ only has a few hours to fill, so they won’t be able to play an entire 9-hour playlist. They can use it as a guide for their set list, but they can’t guarantee certain songs unless you are specific about what you really want to hear.
We saved this question for last because it is a big one for us.
We view hiring a DJ as a very personality-based decision. It’s not like choosing flowers where what you see is what you get, or a caterer where you can taste the cake — instead, you’re choosing a person and their personality, so you want to know what you’re getting. Nothing is worse than hearing about how a DJ ruined a wedding because he got drunk, forgot the couple’s names, or made inappropriate comments to the guests.
So first, we always recommend talking to your prospective DJ and getting to know them personally. Next, check reviews and feel out their online reputation. Are they good communicators? Can they answer your questions? Do they ask about what is important to you and your wedding? Do they allow you to pick your own music and provide preferences? These are all important questions to ask before hiring a wedding DJ.
It is also important to note that there are wedding DJs and club DJs, and both have very different skill sets and priorities. Typically, you’ll want a wedding DJ so they will MC for you and play the music you want. However, if you are looking for a club vibe at your wedding and just want to dance, a club DJ might be more appropriate.
The most important thing is to find a DJ that aligns with your priorities and who cares about your special day. And that applies to all wedding vendors! Your wedding is an important, personal day. You have a lot invested in your day, so it is important to find vendors who are invested in you too.
Find more answers to your wedding FAQ’s by browsing through our previous posts here!
And if you are looking for more guidance with wedding planning, you can visit our shop where we have some downloadable forms, including a music planner and a wedding planner to help guide you.
Happy wedding planning!
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