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by Siobhan Flaherty Haber and Jane Miller Rennert


We may be a bit jaded, but we still get misty when we witness two people pledging their commitment in front of those that they care about. Weddings are not just a rite of passage; a wedding is the ultimate way to demonstrate love and (in our minds) an excuse to throw the biggest, most extravagant and most expensive party you will ever have.

Planning your wedding can be the most wonderful and the most stressful experience imaginable. There's something about weddings that unearths the most deep seeded insecurities in otherwise happy and content people. Everyone has heard horror stories about brides who go off the deep end and become raving &!@!$#*&!@!!! on their wedding day. (In our wedding planning experience we've never seen such a creature, but if, in fact, they do exist we are sure they are driven to it by some overly demanding future in-law.)

There's already so much written about the nuts and bolts of how to plan a wedding (how to create a budget, when to hire the band, how to do the seating chart, etc.), so the following tips are more for your general peace of mind and to help you to feel confident and in control on your wedding day.

  • Double check everything. Call all of your major vendors (caterer, photographer, band, etc.) at regular intervals just to check in -monthly or bi-monthly if you're planning a year or more ahead, but in the final weeks try to touch base weekly. Even if you don't have anything new to tell them going over the details again and again will ensure that any miscommunications will be caught ahead of time and you will know every detail by heart as you approach the big day.

  • Know when to give in. We're not sure why, but weddings tend to bring out the worst in people, especially the parents of the bride and groom. Choose your battles wisely. Don't compromise on the things that are MOST important to you, but bend a little on less important issues to make your future in-laws happy. Remember, your wedding is one day, but you have to live with these people for the rest of your (or their) lives.

  • Share the joy. Not to perpetuate male stereotypes, but we find grooms frequently do not want to partake in the wedding planning process! Do not expect anyone, even your future spouse, to be willing to discuss chicken versus salmon or lilies of the valley versus roses for eight hours a day. However, dividing up the tasks, sharing half the responsibility each, will ease the burden.

  • Stay on budget. Before you even begin planning you need to figure out how much money you can comfortably spend and a rough estimation of how many people will attend. This will help you to intelligently determine every choice you make about your wedding. Once you've figured out your budget stick to it. Though $10,000 worth of flowers decorating the aisle may sound beautiful, it's not worth being indebted to your credit card company for the next 10 years. Remember, you and your spouse may want to buy a house or have children in the future.

  • You can't control the weather. In other words, not every detail of the event will turn out the way you envisioned it. It may pour; your brother may get too drunk to give a toast (or worse he gives the toast anyway); the cake may be yellow, not "cream"; you may trip during your first dance. There isn't much you can do to prevent these sorts of problems from arising, but your reaction to these problems will make a big difference. If you have a great sense of humor and focus on enjoying the day so will your guests.
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