Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hot Springs, Arkansas Wedding - Elopement, Planning a Small Wedding or Grand Affair - Does Size Matter

Congratulations, he has popped the question and you’ve accepted! You receive congratulations from all your family and friends and then they ask…. So when is the big day? They assume, of course, that they need to mark it on their calendar because they will be in attendance. Hmmm, or will they?

At Hilltop Manor Bed and Breakfast we have hosted over 120 weddings in the three years we have been open and have heard and noticed many reasons for people to have different sized weddings. Here are a few trends that I have noticed and a few things you may want to think about when you are trying to decide how large your wedding should be.

#1. Finances – According to costofwedding.com the average wedding cost is $20,398 (not including engagement ring or honeymoon). I hate to mention this first but it is very important to your decision; unless money is really no issue it can become a huge source of stress. It doesn’t matter if you are paying or family is paying what matters is the amount of available funds and the determination of how much is coming from each source and how you wish to allocate it.


Parental Money - If funds are coming from elsewhere, such as parents, then often the parents expect that they get more decision making power then if they weren’t paying. If you and your parents agree on what is important then that is not a problem. However, I have seen many upset bride and grooms because parents that are paying for the wedding are adding stress to their lives since they disagree on: guests; location; amount of time; caterers; and needless to say how much money should be spent on these items. Needless to say the upside is more money to create your special day.

Paying Your Way – This is easy, you get to make the decisions with a much smaller amount of parental guilt (lets face it there is always some) but you may have less money to spend.

Allocation – No matter how much you have, you need to decide if you want to invite more people or if you want to have an intimate or private gathering with more bells and whistles. Here are some categories to think about: potluck vs. caterer; hamburgers vs. lobster; punch vs. alcohol; hall vs. hotel vs. mansion or historic home; boom box vs. disc jockey vs. live band; wild flowers vs. roses vs. exotic plants; dessert platter vs. custom wedding cake; wedding dress off the rack vs. designer; justice of the peace vs. private ceremony or church; and the list is endless.
Hilltop Manor Packages – Check out our wedding packages starting at $500. We can accommodate up to 50 people for your event.

#2. Stress Level – The larger the wedding the more stress you will have, at least that is what I usually see, there are always a few exceptions. The more people you add to the mix the greater the chance that someone doesn’t get along with someone else that is present. The more people you have the more the work load increases – more invites and RSVP’s to go out and keep track of, more gifts, more expense, which all add to more stress. Of course the upside of the larger wedding is that you are sharing your special day with more people and hopefully getting a chance to enjoy their company and create some fabulous memories. Many times it is an event such as weddings that give people the excuse they need to come together and reconnect with each other.

#3 – Number of Times You’ve Been Married and Your Age? – The larger this number is both on marriages and age, the smaller the weddings seem to be. I personally don’t believe that this should matter but it seems to. My opinion is that people should have the opportunity to be happy, no matter what the past held, it is the future that is important. I realize that the younger you are the more your parents may be involved and this becomes, not just your wedding but also a “send off” celebration for their child. This especially comes into play if they are paying for the wedding.

#4 – Your style – Do you love to be the center of attention? Well then this is your big chance, have all your family and friends and enjoy your day! If you feel uncomfortable in the spotlight then perhaps you should elope or have just the closest of family and friends. You will enjoy your wedding more if you are at ease. You can always let friends and family that weren’t present take you out for lunch or a congratulatory beverage in small groups.

#5 – Your Family – What do I mean? Here are a couple of issues.

Are your parents divorced? Can they enjoy the day in the same room together so that you can enjoy your wedding or do you need to worry if there will be a shouting match or someone running to the bathroom in tears? I know this sounds extreme but we’ve had some families with exactly these issues. From parental affairs, to in-laws that disagree, and bridal parties that don’t get along. If this is your situation you know in your heart that it will cause you stress on your special day, you can elope or invite them all. However, you may want to have a private discussion with them before your day, not an easy thing to do, but worrying about an emotional explosion during your wedding is not going to make for a peaceful day either.

Large weddings are expected? Perhaps whenever anyone in your family gets married they always have all the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This is the time that everyone gets together and celebrates. This is easy if you want the large wedding and tricky if you don’t wish to have your family’s normal affair. During this economy you can say it is just too expensive. But don’t forget that this is your day so you need to be sure you enjoy it, stand firm and choose the wedding you and your fiancĂ© want. Be sure it is a day that you want to remember!

I know I haven’t provided any firm answers and that is done for a reason. If the answers were firm then it would be my special wedding day not yours. So instead I gave you some things to think about so that you can create the day you want. Don’t forget this is your day; you and your fiancĂ© will be committing your love to each other legally and in spirit. You love each other, be sure you give your relationship the benefit of a wonderful foundation by choosing the wedding that is right for you.

Don’t hesitate to contact me for a private tour of our facility.

Faith Kraemer
Owner of Hilltop Manor Bed and Breakfast
Hot Springs, AR
501-625-STAY (7829)
www.HilltopManorHotSprings.com

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