Wedding Wednesday Q &A #010

It’s time for another round of Q & A, where we round up question from the internet and questions sent direction to me at This week we’re talking about save-the-date, lighting, and where to start!

We’re planning to get married in August 2021. The current plan is for a small ceremony with immediate family (under 25 people), followed by a reception a couple of hours later (inviting around 150 people). Do I need to specify on my save the dates that people are being invited to a reception, not my ceremony? If so, any suggestions on wording?

I wouldn’t worry about specifying that on your save-the-dates. The only information you need to have the save-the-dates is the location of your wedding (by location, I mean the town, not the specific venue) and the date of your event. Everything else will follow later down the line. The purpose of the save-the-date is to literally let guests mark the date on their calendars, so they don’t schedule anything else on your wedding day and can start making travel plans if they are coming from out of town. That being said, if you are sending out information about your wedding website, you might want to include a note there. I’d keep the wording kind, but straight forward. “We will be having an intimate ceremony with immediate family only, followed by a reception to celebrate with all our family and friends. We are looking forward to having you!”

We are planning a small outdoor fall wedding and love the look of having lots of lights above/ around the tables. We are just wondering how to make this happen, and are thinking the easiest way may be to get tent poles and just put the lighting on instead of the canopy. Does anyone have any experience with this or have any suggestions?

I would so strongly encourage you to consider hiring a lighting company to do this set-up! Hanging string lights seems like it will be super simple, but can actually be really challenging to do well. A lighting company can typically rent you all the things you’d need to get the look you are going for and will install the lights for you. It’s often worth the additional cost!

If you are set on DIY this project, I’d encourage you to look for poles that stand independently. These poles tend to be heavier, which you want to prevent things from blowing over. While a tent without the canopy seems like a great idea, oftentimes the canopy serves a structural purpose as well, so by skipping that part of the tent, things will be a little less stable.

I just recently got engaged and don’t know where to start with planning. I already have my venue, it is going to be outdoors at my fiancé’s family farm, other than that, I don’t know what to do. Our wedding is going to be on October 9, 2021. Does anyone have any wedding planners they like or maybe suggestions on when to do certain things or tips and tricks that worked for them?

We have a great email series walking you through the first steps of planning a wedding! For you, I’d definitely recommend looking both into the rental and your catering companies. Since you are doing what I assume is essentially a backyard wedding, you’ll need to bring in almost everything! A good rental company will help you make sure you have everything you need from silverware to generators. The other important vendor to get locked down early is your catering team. They will probably be the largest chunk of your budget and also may have some requirements (equipment, tents, etc.) that you’ll want to book early.

I'm hoping to get some advice on the wording of my wedding invitations. Due to the Coronavirus, we have to drastically limit our guest list. To those friends and family, we aren't able to invite now, we would still like to send some sort of invitation to let them know we are thinking of them and that they were going to be invited. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to word said invitation. If we were having a live stream I'd invite them to watch that but we are unable to do so. In short, what's a polite way of saying: "Hey we're getting married, but you, unfortunately, cannot come, but we wanted you to come."

I’d advise against sending invitations if you aren’t inviting people. It’s very clear that your intention is only to make people feel loved and included, but I think no matter how you word it, it’s going to feel like a slight. I think a great alternative would be to send marriage announcements immediately after your wedding. This will still allow people to celebrate with you, without giving them major FOMO.

My fiancé and I will most likely ask the judge I clerked for to officiate. He and his wife will be invited to the wedding either way, but we haven’t had a long discussion about officiants yet so aren’t sure about that part.

Will it look weird/rude to send a save the date first and ask him later - like he was our backup choice? Or look like we want him to attend no matter what, and it would be nice if he officiated?

I really think it’s fine! I don’t think people expect you to have everything finalized when you send out save-the-dates. I bet he won’t even think twice about it!