Once upon a time, weddings were incredibly traditional affairs where the protocol, routines and running order of the day were consistent from one wedding to the next. Everybody knew their place, seating plans were easy to sort out, and there weren’t any awkward questions about budgeting or gifts.

Nowadays, with a plethora of different styles, themes and personalities making their impact on the wedding industry, the same cannot be said; it can be tricky traversing the complicated business of planning a wedding.

Here, we look at five common wedding planning conundrums. 

Should I have a child-free wedding? 

Not everyone wants children at their wedding. Inviting kids means a lot of extra planning: how will you keep them entertained; what will you feed them; what if they cry during the ceremony? However, keeping your wedding child-free can also cause friends and family with children to decline their invitation.

You have to decide between the convenience of not having to worry about little ones running around, and the complication of having close ones potentially not coming to your wedding. 

The problem can be approached in several different ways. You might consider only inviting the children of your immediate family, instead of everyone. Another option is to only allow babes-in-arms, i.e. very young babies who are still breastfeeding or entirely dependent on their parents.

If you really don’t want children there, you could even look into setting up a crèche or babysitting service for the parents, so that they know their children are close by and in safe hands. 

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Who should/shouldn’t get a plus one? 

Nobody wants to be looking around their venue at a crowd full of strangers. Giving your guests a plus one is a wonderful idea if your budget allows for food, drink and favours for everyone. If it doesn't, you might want to consider being more strict with your guest list. 

A good rule to keep in mind is that if you haven’t met them, don’t invite them. Your wedding is supposed to be about you, and as such you should be surrounding yourself with the friends and family that mean the most to you.

Forget about your cousin’s boyfriend or your brother’s latest fling; use those spaces on your guest list to invite people that are important to you. You don’t want to be looking at your wedding photos in ten years’ time and wondering who the other people in the pictures are. 

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Can I ask for money instead of wedding presents? 

Back in the day, a couple wouldn’t begin living together until after their wedding. Therefore, the gift list and registry was traditionally comprised of items that would help them begin their life together in their new home.

From furniture to kitchen gadgets, they would receive everything they needed to create a happy home. Nowadays, however, the majority of betrothed couples have either lived together for a while, or live in their own separate homes away from their parents, and already have all of the supplies they need. 

Asking for money instead of presents is something that seems to split people based on their age. Older relatives and friends tend to prefer the traditional wedding registry, while younger people have no problem handing over a card or a cheque.

If you truly don’t need anything for your home, make it clear in your wedding invitations that you would appreciate a financial donation instead, and state what that money is going to go towards. People are much less likely to have a problem if they know that they are helping to fund your honeymoon, or your first mortgage. 

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Do I need to feed my wedding suppliers? 

This is one of the most common wedding queries, and for good reason. Your catering will already be costing you a great deal of money, and it’s only natural to be hesitant about splashing out even more on people who aren’t there as guests.

What you need to remember, though, is that your wedding suppliers are there working for you, and will need a break at some point to recharge. Wouldn’t you rather they stayed close to the action than took a drive to the nearest café for a bite to eat? 

It also depends on how long your supplier is going to be at your wedding. If you’re hiring a photographer or videographer and they’re going to be spending eight or more hours at your venue, it would be somewhat cruel to deny them some food. If, however, your supplier is only going to be around for a few hours, there’s no need to feed or water them.

It’s up to you how you want to feed them, though. Most caterers will offer a discounted price on supplier meals, and will give them a less formal meal than what they’re serving everyone else. Alternatively, you can feed them with the rest of your wedding party, give them a seat at a table and let them mingle a little bit. It’s entirely your choice. 

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How do I ask my parents for financial help? 

Traditionally, it was the bride’s parents who paid for the wedding. Times have changed, however, and more and more couples are opting to pay for their wedding themselves. Groom’s parents are also getting more involved with the cost of a wedding. But how do you broach the subject with your parents or soon-to-be in-laws about them funding your big day? 

The key is to be upfront. Instead of dithering and worrying, meet up with them face-to-face and ask if they would be comfortable with helping with the wedding cost. The worst thing they can do is say no.

Make sure to have your budget estimations with you; some parents prefer to pay for particular items or suppliers, while others will be fine with simply giving you a lump sum. Just make sure that you don’t go into the conversation with expectations or demands. It is entirely their choice, and they are well within their rights to say no.