It is an exciting time when you start to plan your wedding and it is only natural to want to tell everyone about it and have them be part of your celebration. STOP! Whereas you are overjoyed and you may sincerely believe that telling a ‘few’ friends about your upcoming nuptials will be no harm, you have to remember that many will be inclined to tell another and another and another. Inviting the world to your wedding is a recipe for an emotional storm, an economic meltdown or both.

Considering that weddings are becoming more and more expensive to afford, it is advisable that you withhold sharing your plans with people outside your closest circle of family and friends until you have determined the basic requirements of your wedding.

1. Decide on the Budget

First things first, you will need to agree with your partner how much you are willing to spend on the wedding. This figure should be realistic enough that you, your partner and perhaps your parents can afford. Do not account for expected contributions from your friends and other members of your families just yet. This is money you do not have any control over and until you have received it, it is unwise to plan on it. DO NOT even consider taking out a loan for your wedding. This seems to be a trend that is catching on in Uganda that you should not be a part of. Starting out your marriage in debt IS NOT the best way to start.

2. Determine your wedding Priorities

Okay….now that you have a rough figure of how much your wedding will cost it’s time to decide what elements of the wedding are most important to both of  you. Is it the music and entertainment? The meal? What you will wear? Deciding early on in the planning process on what your priorities are will help keep you on track on what the important things are.

3. Write your Guest List

Now that you have that out of the way as well, now you need to decide who will be celebrating with you. Balancing your budget against your friends is painful, but it is essential to trim the fat so that you do not go mad because you are planning the happiest day of your life. Determine a number at which to cap your guest list.

In Uganda it is understood that your family will be a part of your wedding – so get those names and numbers down. You however are not obliged to include that long lost aunt you last saw when you were in primary school or that cousin you lost touch with. Remember we are trying to keep the numbers manageable. Almost forgot, now is when you put down the names of those friends that are in your inner circle. Afterall, they are family.

The main rule about cutting the list is not necessarily cut by name, but by having objective standard for inclusion or exclusion. Here are suggestions on how to cut the list;

  • First, make your A- list that consists of all essentials, i.e. the people who must be there
  • Next, make the B-list that contains the not very essential, but somewhat essential people such as coworkers.
  • Decide whether you will invite children.
  • Ask single people not to bring dates.
  • Do not invite people simply to reciprocate for invitations or gifts that they have given to you.
  • Cut out anyone you have not spoken to in a number of years
  • Cut all co-workers you do not socialize with outside of work
  • Cut the heavy drinkers or those prone to rowdy and any anti-social behaviour

4. Send out the Invitations

The general rule of wedding invitation etiquette is that you will need to send them out between 4-8 weeks before the wedding. This will give your guests enough time to respond about whether they will attend your wedding or not. Although in Uganda we are not in the habit of responding to wedding invitations, sending them out early enough will give you enough time to follow up on who will and will not make it.

5. Things to Note

Be flexible in the early wedding planning stages. You will find that your essential guest list is smaller or bigger than you expect. This will affect other wedding planning decisions.

Do not think that small weddings are boring. One of the most memorable weddings I have attended has had only 60 guests but the joy that filled that tiny house was all we needed to forever cherish their day.

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