There are things every bride and groom should know, and then there are wedding planning tips that are specific to couples in a certain age range. Yes, you'll probably be inviting guests of all ages to your wedding, but if you're in your mid-20s, for example, there are some unique challenges presented by the general age-group of most of your friends.
So before you start announcing your wedding plans, or signing any contracts, consider the below kernels of wisdom for 20-something couples — putting these things in perspective before you start planning will make the process a whole lot easier... for everybody involved.
1. Don't Neglect the School Calendar
A number of your friends may still be in college, graduate, or professional school, so finding a wedding date that everyone can attend will be pretty much impossible. But keeping the general school calendar in mind will help you ensure more of your besties can RSVP in the affirmative. While your friends might not have school-age children yet, you may have some VIP guests (cousins or other family members) with tricky school schedules to work around as well.
2. Hotels Should Vary in Price
While it's cool to have everybody stay together at the same hotel or resort for your wedding weekend, keep in mind that you need to offer your guests a variety of price points. For many of your 20-something contemporaries, nobody is paying their credit card bills for them anymore, and the actual cost of your wedding weekend could be more than they earn in a paycheck, if you're not careful.
3. Some Guests Might Not Know the Etiquette Rules
Traditional wedding etiquette is fading out, but while you might realize how tacky it is to fail to RSVP, or ask to bring a date to a wedding, not all your younger guests have been privy to the same code of conduct. Expect to have to make a number of follow-up phones calls for guests who haven't told you for certain if they accept the invitation, and be prepared with a polite, but negative, response when your friends ask if they can bring a plus-one.
4. Paper is Still King When it Comes to Weddings
You can do as much as you like with your wedding website, hashtag-generators, and special weddings apps, but at the end of the day, in my professional opinion, you should provide the most important wedding information on actual paper — especially if you want anybody over the age of 35 to actually see it. Your 20-something friends might be happy checking the wedding schedule throughout the weekend from their phones, but your older relatives will feel completely lost.
5. Not Everyone Needs a Plus One
Most of your friends do not require the privilege of a plus-one invitation to bring a date. Unless they're in a serious, long-term relationship, or living with someone, it's perfectly acceptable to just invite your friend without a guest. While your single friends serious might LIKE to bring a date, you have no obligation to extend that invitation — and incur the additional expense.
6. Compromising to Stay Within Your Budget is Crucial
Many 20-somethings just simply aren't able to afford the wedding of their dreams (unless they happen to be independently wealthy) — they just haven't been working and saving up for that long. It's difficult for someone in their 20s to afford day-to-day living expenses while still managing to pay for a "dream wedding" without some help (usually from their parents). Some couples might opt to have extra-long engagements in order to save up for the big day and be able to pay for most of it themselves. Regardless, it's important for couples to remember that they'll have to be open to compromising on what they want as well as setting a realistic wedding budget.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.