Do's and Don'ts of Wedding Planning

I'm the one in the middle!

I hear you just got engaged. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part-planning that big day. Some of us grew up hearing that our wedding day was going to be the best day of our lives. We might have had it mentally planned out by the time we were ten (I didn't), but now it's time to put the pedal to the metal and actually start putting things together. I'm no expert, but here are some tips that helped me when I was getting married.

Do decide what is important early on. A good rule of thumb is to pick three things that you absolutely must have on your wedding day, and 'rank' the rest. For me, it was the dress, a religious ceremony and having my friends and family involved. Having this sort of 'ranking' can help you decide where to put the most money so you don't end up spending a lot on things like fancy pew bows or party favors that don't matter much to you.

Don't dress your bridesmaids up in ugly dresses. I know some people say that bridesmaids' dresses are supposed to be ugly so the bride can look better in comparison, but that's completely false. As you can see from the picture above, mine were really nice.

Do look to your friends for ideas, but-
Don't let people fix the problems in their wedding through yours. Your friends probably just want to save you any trouble they had, but some people take it a step too far and give advice that sounds more like they are talking to themselves than to you. They mean no harm; in fact, they usually don't even realize they're doing it. Case in point-a friend of mine told me that, since we were going to have dancing, I should have a sit-down dinner rather than heavy appetizers at the reception. She gave the fact that people left her wedding reception early (and the upset it caused her) as the reasoning. I see her point, but there are two problems with that.
      1. Our definitions of 'heavy appetizers' were different. Hers involved cake, fruit, cheese and crackers-things you'd expect to find after church during coffee hour. Mine-and that of the catering company-involved cake, short ribs, new potatoes, salads and an extensive 'make your own sandwich' station. Hers was a snack where mine could easily be made into dinner. Also-
      2. Hers was at 2pm and mine was at 5pm. People left our reception after only a couple of hours, but we were fine with that because they had to put their kids to bed and we were exhausted!
I said all that to say that you have to take everyone's advice with a grain (or shaker) of salt. Even if you are not as easily influenced/naïve about weddings as I was, it's not hard for an overwhelmed bride to be swept along with the tide.

Do use whatever connections you have. If your mom knows a photographer from bowling or your friend's father is a priest, don't be afraid to ask. Also, don't just think of the wedding. My stepsister was a manager at a very posh beachfront restaurant and had some of her coworkers join her in making our rehearsal dinner. I didn't even think of that-that was my parents' doing. They paid for it, after all. Which leads me to my next point-

Do be realistic about the budget! One thing I've noticed about a lot of 'bridezillas' I've seen is that they went into their wedding day expecting it to be some fairy-tale setup with no expense spared but, when they realized that most families can't afford to have Billy Joel play the wedding march under an archway of gardenias, they thought their lives were over. This is a slight exaggeration, of course, but you get the point. Be realistic about what you can afford and find a way to work within your budget. That's where the 'ranking' I mentioned earlier comes into play.

Hopefully now you have an idea of how to make the planning of your wedding day a little less stressful. Things might not go perfectly, but that doesn't mean it still can't be the best day of your life.

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