In her previous blog post, Hart House wedding coordinator Devon Amiga (Strachan) offered smart tips to save money on your wedding. Today she reveals some of the things you shouldn’t do if you want to preserve your sanity.

1. Short cocktail reception

Whether it’s an attempt to save money or because they don’t understand the flow of a crowd, some couples are tempted to cut their cocktail reception down to 30 minutes. But that just isn’t enough time. If you are trying to save money, it’s better to eliminate this segment altogether (but do ensure that you’ve had all your photos taken before the ceremony, or you and your new partner will head into dinner without any couple portraits). 

One hour is a comfortable amount of time, although some couples with larger parties opt for 1.5 hours. Guests want to feel relaxed, not rushed. Consider everything they may need to do: moving into the cocktail area/room, freshening up in the restroom, having a drink (or two), nibbling on a few hors d’oeuvres, catching up with family or friends, signing your guest book and depositing their gift into the card box, and finding their place cards for dinner seating. There is a theatrical element to an event; it should have a pace and rhythm.

2. DIY to save money

It’s true, DIY costs far less, but is it worth your time and peace of mind? You will spend hundreds of hours organizing and crafting all the details; giving your close family members and bridal party countless tasks; pressuring everyone to perform at an event where they should be celebrating; plus staying up late the night before and waking up the crack of dawn on the wedding day…. Is it worth it? In my experience, too much work makes for a burnt out bride. If you still want to go down the DIY route, here are a few examples of things you can do to add a personal touch without losing your sanity: Hand make your own favours, handwrite your place cards or create a photo wall with at least one image of every guest in it over the years. 

3. Over-ordering food and having too many bar options

In this day and age, catering services generally offer a bounty when hosting a special event. Guests will have snacks at the cocktail hour, bread on the table before the 3-4 course dinner, and a late night buffet. It’s a lot of food, but if you think the caterer will let your aunt take the extra oysters home, think again. Don’t believe me? If you’ve ever known anyone who’s worked in banquet service, ask them where all the extra food goes. Due to food safety standards in Canada, their answer will be: the trash. So order a comfortable amount of food and ensure you discuss portion sizes with your caterer before you book. As for the bar, less is more. Having too many “specialty” items prevents any of them from shining. It also puts some guests into a decision-making standstill, which can hold up lines at the bar. How can you expect them to choose between six wine selections, eight beers, mixed drinks, punches, flavoured water, and five signature cocktails? In the end, you will likely find some selections were hardly touched. A good rule to follow is: three is the magic number, but often two will do.

4. Refusing to create a speech itinerary or have a designated MC

When was the last time you heard someone say, “I went to a wedding last weekend and one speech was 20 minutes long and the guests loved every minute of it?” Don’t ever assume this portion of the evening will work itself out naturally, or that a loved one will just know when to enough is enough. Prepare your speech givers with a 3-5 minute maximum and have an MC  give a signal for a one minute warning. If they can do it at the Oscars, you can do it at your wedding.

Great Ideas?

Have some great ideas for your wedding? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll try to talk you out of them (or not).