Ask the Experts: "What Are the Pros and Cons of a Morning Wedding?"

Welcome to our latest installment of "Ask the Experts," where our contributor team of wedding planners solves readers' most pressing wedding-planning dilemmas! This week, Aviva Samuels from Kiss the Planner gives us the scoop on the hottest new ways to entertain wedding guests. Do you have a question that you'd like to submit? Email ask@bridalguide.com and we'll do our best to respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.
Q. "My daughter wants to throw her wedding at 11 a.m. on a Saturday due to the cost savings. However, I'm concerned that this forces guests to arrive the night before and makes for a very early start for the wedding party, pictures, flower deliveries, etc. Can you please list the pros and cons of a morning wedding?" - Marien
Photo courtesy of Aviva Samuels

Aviva Answers:

"Hi, Marien. You make an excellent point about guests having to arrive the night before and getting an early start on the wedding day. I completely understand your concerns. Throwing a wedding is a delicate balancing act of making things comfortable for both the guests and host as well.
If your daughter and her fiancé are footing the bill and are on a tight budget, then a daytime wedding can usually make their funds stretch a lot further than a primetime Saturday night. Vendors are typically much more agreeable to offer more value when the timeframe doesn't compete with another potential wedding that they still have the opportunity to book. And a decorator's tear-down fees might also be lower since laborers don't have to work until the wee hours of the morning at a premium rate. Venues have far more availability, and menu costs are far less for brunch or lunch than they are for dinner.

Photo Credit: Leany Ruiz Photography
If your daughter is hosting her rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, then chances are her guests would have to travel in on Friday during the day, regardless of what time her wedding starts on Saturday. And although it isn't ideal that the photos and the party start fairly early in the day, the other benefit — besides being cost effective — is that the party ends early enough for guests to recuperate. They'll have a full day after the wedding is over to explore the hosted city or get back to their routine far sooner before having to return to work on Monday.
I'd also like to note some other perks as well. Daylight hours make for better photos than those taken with a flash after dark. A daytime wedding saves on decorative and functional lighting costs, which can be an expensive proposition. Lastly, daytime functions tend to be more casual than evening events. Therefore, not only are you providing a more intimate experience for your guests, but the setting calls for a simpler tablescape with low floral arrangements, allowing you an even greater cost savings.

The reality is that sharing in your daughter's joy is what her friends and family are traveling there to do. If they love and support her and want to be there with her, they will likely look at it as a small compromise that they are prepared to make. I'm sure their main desire is to share in her very special moments, no matter what time of day they happen to take place."

Etiquette Q&A: "We Already Live Together; Should Our Parents Still Pay for the Wedding?"

Q. "Does it affect the parents’ financial obligation if a couple has lived together prior to the wedding?"
A. Whether or not a couple has lived together before they marry has absolutely nothing to do with who pays for the wedding. And there is no rule stating that parents are obligated to pay. Yes, traditionally the bride’s parents were expected to pick up most of the tab while the groom’s parents usually just covered the cost of the rehearsal dinner. But today, more couples pay for the majority of the wedding themselves (nearly 62 percent according to a recent Bridal Guide survey).
Any financial assistance they receive from their parents is a gift, and how much they receive depends on their parents’ financial situation. Some parents can afford to pay for the entire wedding while others may only be able to contribute a certain amount to cover the cost for flowers, catering, music or photography. If the groom’s parents are better off financially, they may even offer to pay for more than the bride’s.
It’s best to find out early on if parents are able to contribute to the wedding expenses and, if so, how much they are comfortable spending. You’ll then have a better idea of what your budget is and can plan accordingly.

9 Surprising Things That'll Happen on Your Wedding Day

You've booked all of your vendors. You've found the gown of your dreams. But how do you prepare emotionally for everything the big day will have in store for you? Here, check out the surprises that catch most brides off guard. 
1. At some point, you'll feel like you're running late.
You may not actually be running late — but let's face it, you probably are. Even if you're a master planner, things happen — your hair takes twice as long as you budgeted for; your bridesmaid gets lost on her way to your house; you can't find your grandfather for family photos during the cocktail hour. Or, you may just feel like you're rushing through everything because you have so much on your to-do list. After you've plotted out your wedding-day schedule, add an extra hour in the morning. It's worth it to wake up a little earlier to avoid that frantic, stressed-out feeling on your wedding morning.
2. You won't eat.Whether you're too excited, too nervous, or just too busy, sitting down for an actual meal requires serious planning — and we're not just talking about dinner. Make sure you at least eat a hearty breakfast and lunch so that you're not running on empty as you bounce around your wedding reception. (But seriously, try to eat a solid dinner, too — you're paying a lot of money for that meal!).
3. You'll feel a little bit like a superhero.
No one can say "no" to the bride on her wedding day... but with great power comes great responsibility. Use it to your advantage, but don't abuse it. 
4. Something will go wrong.
Maybe it's something minor that no one else will notice — like that the flower arrangement you received for your escort card table is so not what you ordered. Or maybe it's something you'll laugh about later, like flubbing your vows. Whatever the case may be, try to take it in stride and remember that no one is paying as much attention to the details as you are.
5. You'll probably cry.
And they may not be happy tears. Tears of frustration, tears of sadness, and tears of relief (the nightmarish reality of planning a wedding is finally over!) are all equally common. Take a timeout if you feel the tears coming on, and prepare yourself ahead of time by waterproofing your makeup and remembering to pat — not rub — your tears away.
6. You won't spend as much time with your new spouse as you'd think.
On your wedding day, you may not see each other until you walk down the aisle, and after that, you're both going to be torn in about 50 different directions — greeting your own friends and family members, dancing with the other important people in your lives, taking pictures with your crew... and before you know it, it's been hours since you've even spoken to your new spouse. Work it into your schedule to spend at least 30 minutes alone together right after your ceremony. Lock yourselves in the bridal suite, or get your own transportation from the ceremony to the reception rather than riding in the party bus with your bridal party. Take a moment to reflect on the amazing commitment you've just made to each other and celebrate together — there will be plenty of time to celebrate with your loved ones after.
7. You'll be wonderfully overwhelmed by the love surrounding you.
It's not often that you get to see all of your family members and closest friends in the same room at the same time, and they're all there to celebrate you. Make sure you spend a few moments with each of your loved ones — have a receiving line after your ceremony, or make sure to visit each table during the dinner service.
8. The day will fly by.
After months and months of planning, it's amazing how quickly the day whizzes by. Try to soak it in as much as you can.
9. Sex may not be in the cards.Whether it's your first time or your 50th, Hollywood leads us to believe that consummating the marriage is magical, wonderful and, most importantly, critical. But some things are better left on the big screen. You may be too tired, too drunk, too whatever to do it that night. It's okay to save your first time as husband and wife for the following night if you're just not in the mood.
Recent brides, what would you add to our list?