The (Other) 4 Cs of Wedding Planning
Written by Gloria Schulz, Gloria Schulz Events | Photography by Glorianna Chan, Glorious Moments Photography
If you opted for a diamond for your engagement ring gem, you probably are familiar with the 4Cs of diamond shopping. The concept of the 4Cs was created in the 1940s by Robert M. Shipley, the founder of GIA, as a way to characterize a faceted diamond. These four tenets being: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. This amalgamation of the four characteristics then determines the overall quality, and therefore price, of a faceted diamond.
I’ve developed a similar 4C methodology to consult when planning your wedding. It doesn’t gauge overall value and isn’t universal across the globe, but it can help serve as a guide on how to approach your wedding planning. Likely, you haven’t planned a wedding before, so let this framework give you a starting point for how to approach your wedding decision making. So without further ado, I present to you my 4Cs to consider when wedding planning.
C is for Choices
The first wedding planning “C” is Choices. From the very start, you will be making choices, and some of them will be difficult! Once the word is out about your engagement, people will be congratulating you and asking you a million questions. “What’s the date?” “Where’s the wedding?” “Who’s going to be in your wedding party?” “What are you going to wear?” “Am I invited?” It can be a little overwhelming as you make the choices that will determine the answers to such questions.
And on top of all that, you may not even know what choices you will have to make. Each vendor, venue and wedding come with choices to be made, some of which you might not have ever considered, so don’t be afraid to ask. Especially when it comes to your vendor contracts! There may be some industry lingo in there that you don’t understand, and that is OK. When in doubt, always ask; no question is too silly. Believe me, we’ve heard it all!
C is for Compromise
Next up, the ever-tumultuous Compromise. This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous “C,” Choices. There’s the age-old adage that a happy marriage is all about compromise — and a happy wedding is no different. Obviously, this is a very nuanced discussion, sometimes compromise is great, sometimes it isn’t and ultimately you should do what feels right.
All that being said, when it comes to the choices you make while wedding planning, you will likely have to settle on some compromises. Are there dream floral centerpieces you’ve seen on Instagram that are simply out of your budget? A good compromise is to design your bouquet inspired by them, rather than having multiple huge installations. Or maybe your mother has always dreamed of you walking down the aisle in the family heirloom gown, but a modern and sleek dress is what you’ve had your eyes on. Compromise by wearing one look for the ceremony and having another look for your reception.
The list of examples goes on, but the lesson here is that choices will be made, and many of them will be compromises. Head into your planning process with an open mind and be prepared to think outside the box for alternatives that are just as dreamy. A good wedding planner will be more than happy to pitch in with solutions, as well!
C is for Creativity
Now for the fun part, the third “C” is Creativity. Be creative when thinking about your overall wedding day vision, there are no rules that dictate what you have to do! Getting creative with how you will execute your wedding day will likely be the part of the process you enjoy most. Part of that comes with establishing the little details that will personalize your wedding day. As a couple, you have many things in common, and you can highlight that in the little details. Maybe you have a special pet or you both love the movies or a certain type of music. You can incorporate these little details to make your wedding unique.
Some of my favorite ideas are cocktail napkins with your fur babies’ photo on them, a guestbook that is your favorite bottle of wine or a coffee table book of the place you love the most. In one of my recent weddings, the bride made a personalized crossword puzzle for her guests to work on, filled with questions about the couple. This made for great cocktail hour entertainment and I’ll definitely be recommending this touch to my couples moving forward! Be creative and think outside the box — I guarantee your guests will love these special touches.
C is for Couple
The fourth “C” is, of course, for Couple. This is the day about the two of you, the couple. First dating, then engagement and now marriage, it is time to celebrate your history and future. A wedding is about your relationship, your new family and your new life together. Celebrate this milestone with those who are closest to you both! Through all the vendor contracts, last-minute changes and boutonnieres, remember what the real reason is for the day: your love story, your marriage and your new beginning together. Keep that in perspective when the planning starts to feel overwhelming.
Keep in mind that everyone has an opinion, and you will hear them all! You will be inundated with unsolicited advice and requests. Whether it is your mom, sister, bridesmaid, aunt or friends, they all will tell you what they think you should do. And guess what? You don’t have to do what everyone else says. We are here to tell you that it is your day and it should be how you envision it with your partner. Yes, you may have some people contributing to your wedding budget and they will want to control where the money goes, but keep in mind what the day is really about. And that is the two of you and how you want to start the next chapter together as a married couple.
Planning a wedding is an exciting time for you as an engaged couple. It is a whirlwind of venues, vendors, florals, cakes, dresses and, most of all, a milestone celebration of your love. I can offer up a bevy of advice and guidance, but the most important one of all is to enjoy the process. It is a marathon, not a sprint. So take a breath, trust your wedding planner and vendor team to lead the way, and enjoy the ride.
FEATURED IMAGES VENDORS
FLORAL & DESIGN Pollyanna Richter Weddings
CAKE Cakes By Anna
TABLEWARE The Prissy Plate Company
FURNITURE Collection Furnishings
LINENS BBJ La Tavola
STATIONERY Bea Calligraphy
LOCATION Cator Woolford Gardens
More To Keep In Mind
Keep the wedding planning easy and simple with the 4C method in mind. And with that framework in mind, I offer you three further suggestions on how to approach the planning process:
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PLANNER
You may love to plan and consider yourself a planner-type, and that’s great! But you probably already have a full-time job and wedding planning takes up a lot of time. Hiring a professional will save you time and money, and will also open you up to a world of contacts with some of the best vendors in the industry. Unless you want to spend your weekends scrolling through vendor websites and reviews, let the planner take this item off your to-do list.
DON’T TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE
This is your wedding. Not your mom’s or your sister’s. Yes, you want everyone to enjoy the event and have a good time celebrating, but keep in mind that this day is you and your partner’s. Avoid tension and any hostility when need be (refer back to the “C” of compromise!), but remember that your happiness is the priority. You won’t please everyone, so don’t sweat trying to.
Enjoy the planning process and seek guidance when you don’t know the answers. There are questions that you likely won’t know you’ll need to answer yet, so don’t be afraid to broach them as they come. Do not assume anything, especially when it comes to what is included in certain pricing, so ask for a breakdown of everything. Did you know some caterers charge $5 per slice of cake they cut? Or that if you want a champagne toast there will be a charge for that too? Make sure you know what you are paying for!
This includes asking yourself questions. When in doubt, refer to this question: Do we want it or do we need it? This will help you make a decision quickly and responsibly.
About the Author
Gloria Schulz is the founder of Gloria Schulz Events, an Atlanta- based custom wedding planning and day-of coordination company.
After assisting with weddings for a few years, Gloria left her 19-year career in customer service and launched Gloria Schulz Events in 2019. Now with seven years of weddings under her belt, she and her team are ready to help you create an enjoyable experience both before and on your wedding day.
Gloria Schulz Events | gloriaschulzevents.com