We typically have short engagements as compared to the rest of the world. 4 months is about the average that we see here at the Eldredge Manor. So let’s say that you want a beautiful reception, and the cultural hall, no matter how much you spend on decorations, doesn’t cut it for you. The problem is that the great reception centers are already booked for your weekend date and that the only ones available are cheesier than the cultural hall! In fact, you find out that your specific date was actually booked before you even met your fiancé! Funny as that sounds, it is not uncommon. Engagements for those outside our culture are anywhere from nine months to two years. Your man was just arriving in the mission field!
Well all is not lost if you follow our 4 – step plan:
First, don’t set a date. I say this because if you get your heart set on a specific date, you most likely will be disappointed – especially in the summer months. Temples will be full and any good reception center will be booked. Start first by booking a reception center with and open mind about your date. Good reception centers are truly harder to reserve that Temple sealing times. Receptions from 7:00 to 9:00 in the summer and 6:00 until 8:00 in the winter seem to work best for the majority of your guests.
Second; choose a weeknight instead of a weekend. I say this for two reasons. The first reason we have already gone over – better reception centers will already be booked. The really cool reason however, is that in our culture, weeknight events are much better attended than weekends. That is in your favor! Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings are all better attended than Fridays or Saturdays. In fact Thursday evening events typically have 22% better attendance than that of a Saturday! That’s 1 in 5 more guests! Plus you get the weekend for your honeymoon – longer honeymoon!
(If you get engaged around Christmas or even Valentine’s Day, work even quicker. Reception centers take lots of reservations around those times and dates go very quickly. If you have the chance, reserve your date prior to, or just a day or two after those holidays to get the best chance of finding a date open.)
Third; now reserve a sealing time. Sealing times can be morning or early afternoon. Keep in mind that if you are having a luncheon after your sealing, you should schedule your luncheon to begin 3 hours after the sealing time – 2 ½ at some of the smaller temples. Luncheons typically last about 1½ hours. Sealing times between 9:00 and 11:00 seem to work best for scheduling all that is involved. (However, even with a sealing time as late as 1:00, there is still ample time for a luncheon, photos and reception. The luncheon can begin at 4:00 and will be over at 5:30. Then it is on to take photos with the reception beginning at 7:00.)
Fourth; now reserve a time and place for the luncheon. This can be tricky depending on the sealing time. If you decide on a place with multiple brides and luncheons going on at the same time, there is usually never a problem. But if you want a private room and facility, there will be some time restraints. For example, here at the Eldredge Manor, we serve only one luncheon at a time and only until 3:00pm making the latest start time for a luncheon at 1:30. So, at a facility like ours, you need to have your sealing time preferably around 10:00. However, if you have booked your reception here also, then the 3:00pm ending time no longer matters since it will be the same bride and party staying for the remainder of the day and evening.
I hope this helps. We have observed over the years the struggle that most LDS brides have when it come to the logistics of scheduling. Following our 4 – step plan should eliminate what always seems to be the most frustrating part of the planning process – well maybe with the exception of the dress!