Question: What is important to you on your wedding day? Share it with your partner (and other wedding VIP Investors) - and then discuss the Who, What, When, Where and How. 

Follow-up Question: Are you on the same page when you say “Food is the most important part of the wedding for me?” Willingness to view one another’s perspectives, and educating (in a helpful, supportive and totally non-condescending way) is power to you both.  

Chances are your fiancé and parents have not attended the same events, traveled to the same places or dined at the same restaurants, so don’t assume your parents, your future in-laws and your fiancé are completely aligned. Even you and your partner may need to compare notes — there’s always more to learn about each other, after all!

CJE Tip: If food is most important to you, I've had couples tell me that means it is catered by XYZ favorite restaurant group, it includes innovative cuisine (tartare anyone?), served in four courses on vintage china, with dinner service concluding at 10pm. 

But for your parents, food being #1 means a delicious classic caesar salad followed by a delicious classic surf & turf, all promptly served at 7pm sharp. 

DISCUSS this now! Oooh, I remember when Brent and I discussed where we would be getting ready and where our first look would be. I had to educate Brent that I have worked in every hotel suite in Chicago so 1) I knew I wouldn’t feel like “the bride” getting ready somewhere I have worked so often. 2) I explained what a “first look” was and how with us getting married in November; this time, during the first look, would be the only time of day where we would have any natural light. If we picked a gorgeous space to get ready in, it would double as an indoor light-filled photo location.

After learning my point of view, we together aligned on the gorgeous Airbnb (you can rent here - I mean can you even handle?!) Our first look and family photos took place right in front of a fireplace adorned with flowers. 

Question: What are your top 3 priorities? 

Follow-up Question: Yes, everything is important but no, not everything makes your top 3. Write yours down and be specific and thoughtful about why they’re musts for you. 

CJE Tip: Now, it’s pro/con list time. Present your wishlist to your PIC, then review it with your Wedding VIPs, and use these findings as your collective wedding baseline. 

For Brent and I, the cooperative priorities were:

  1. Getting married in Chicago, so that our Grandparents could attend our wedding.
  2. Hosting a wedding that looked and felt like us. One where our guests felt the love and oh-so-special for being there. This meant an intentionally smaller guest count to align with our budget and “vibe” goals!
  3. Curating a ceremony that celebrated our love story, the beginning, the middle and the start of our next chapter, full circle (literally, we had a ceremony in the round!).

I could go on and on (can you tell?) with best practices, level setting, and why an open line of communication is integral, not only to wedding planning, but to marriage overall. For now, I’ll leave you with these two: 

Communicate your whys and whats more than you think you’ll need to. Be articulate. Spend time thinking things through.

p/c: Dennis Lee Photography

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