Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wedding Placecard Ideas

Wedding placecards are used to indicate which place setting at a particular table has been reserved for a guest. You can use placecards at any style wedding but they are best for very formal or very intimate weddings, or for weddings that feature long tables where seating might be confusing to your guests.

Although they are a wonderful and thoughtful detail, using placecards requires a lot more effort on the part of the bride and groom who must organize seating tables carefully and far enough in advance to write or print a card for each guest.

Place cards are also referred to as escort cards sometimes. These cards are printed with the guests' names and table numbers on them, telling (or escorting) them to which table they have been assigned. Escort cards can be classic flat cards in envelopes or folded tent cards, usually displayed at the cocktail hour or at the entrance to the wedding reception on a special table.

Whether you call it an escort card when it's sitting on a table waiting to be picked up or a place card, since it's already on the table, there are several unique and interesting things you can do to enhance this little token of your wedding.

One way is to attach a wedding favor to the escort or placecard. This little wedding favor can be a chocolate bar covered in a special personalized wedding wrapper, or a small bag of potpourri. Make sure it blends with your colors and style so you can tie everything together.

Another nice touch is to print the menu on the inside of the placecard. Instead of using the regular-sized place card, use a modified wedding program in its place. On the outside fold of the place card, have the guest's name and table number. On the inside, paste a printed menu along with the wedding couple's names and wedding date. Put this "placecard" on each plate as it corresponds to the escort card's assignment number. It will become a nice keepsake from the wedding.

If your seating configuration is complex or more than likely to change at the last moment, consider using the card in envelope format to double as an escort or place card. This way you can print the envelopes well in advance (go ahead and print one for anyone you think may come - it will make life easier.)

Keep a little stack of numbered cards for each table number and just stuff the envelopes with the cards once your seating is firm. Then if you have last minute changes, you can simply open the envelope, switch the table number (and the place cards on the table) and voila - you are the perfect host anticipating all contingencies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Advice for an Informal Wedding

Your informal wedding is nevertheless still a great time of celebration and joy. You want it to reflect who you are, and what you - as a wedding couple - are all about. Whether it's an at-home wedding, or held at a local park, hall, a restaurant or party room, you still want to be sure that what you do at this occasion is what you want to look back on years from now and remember happily.

1. Go with the easiest wedding attire.

Choose a wedding dress that echoes the simplicity of your style. You aren't being extravagant in anything else, so a cathedral trained wedding dress with a nine-foot veil would just seem out of place. Consider the time of day you are having your wedding and dress appropriately. A cocktail length wedding dress reflects the relative informality and is easily worn from afternoon through evening.

You are probably not having a lot of attendants, so let the Maid of Honor and bridesmaids choose their own dress. Give them your color scheme, the length that you'd like them to wear and let them find dresses that are flattering to them and still reflect your informal style. The same goes for the groom, let him choose a suit or something that is indicative of his style so he matches you. No need for a tuxedo unless you really want him to wear one!

2. Don’t try to over-impress.

This is key — if you try to impress people with your fancy wedding and it's not you, you’ll go to a lot of trouble and expense for something that puts on a false front. It’s really not worth it. Everyone has been to fancy weddings, and while they’re nice, they last for one day and they put you deeply in debt.

Unless you want a celebrity-style wedding on a budget, (here is an article that shows you ways to have one) don't try to do too much. If you aren't comfortable with a huge wedding blow-out - don't have one! You want to remember your day your way. Besides, the wedding is a party for you and your guests - you aren't going to have a spread in People magazine!

3. Keep the wedding decorations simple.

Have a few floral arrangements in your wedding colors, some candles with mirrors as centerpieces, some white mini-lights. You can supply aisle runners and flowers. Very minimal, very little trouble, very little expense.

4. Provide simple, elegant wedding favors.

Put some Jordan almonds or custom M & M's in lovely wedding favor boxes that are attached to placecards you've printed with the guests' names.

5. Splurge on the wedding cake!

As long as you serve this as a main part of your dessert, contact your local bakery, or a specialty wedding cake store and get something you will really love. I attended an informal wedding where the cake was a two-tier center cake of traditional wedding cake and two side cakes with carrot cake and chocolate cake, all tied together with the same icing. It was delicious and festive and everyone enjoyed it.

6. Simple entertainment.

If you are going for informality, don't hire a nine piece orchestra! Ask a friend to be a DJ or hire a professional. If you are lucky to have friends who play instruments, have them play at the ceremony and perhaps during your cocktail hour.

7. Simple photography

With today's digital cameras and outstanding places to get your wedding photos put into a wedding photo book, you are freed from the expense of a photographer. Ask someone you know well to be in charge of the photographs and even do the "formal shots." Better yet, place a disposable camera on each table and ask your guests to take pictures. You will get some great candids to add to your photo book.

8. Appoint a wedding coordinator for the day.

You don't have to hire a wedding planner (although that is an option) but do have someone who will ensure that all the details of your wedding are going smoothly. You, your parents, and your immediate family won't have time so having someone assigned to cover all the details just makes good sense. You should have all your details recorded in a wedding planning book that you can hand off to your assigned person to follow. This will enable you to relax and enjoy the wedding, confident that everything is in good hands!

Just because your wedding is informal, doesn't mean that you don't have to pay attention to all the details. They are just less cumbersome than a more formal extravagant wedding. The primary rules are to keep your wedding simple and your guests happy, and you will enjoy your day as much as they do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tips for an Informal Wedding

Extravagant ceremonies, huge numbers of people, food you don't recognize - these things are not for your wedding. You want it to be simple, informal and yet welcoming to all your guests. Don't skimp - it's your wedding after all, but there are many ways you can save and still have an informal, simple and stunning wedding when all is said and done.

1. Keep the guest list small.

If you can pull this one step off, the cost for just about everything else will go down and everything will be fairly simple in comparison. Invite only those relatives and friends who mean the most to you.

I realize that it’s customary to invite everyone your parents ever met and with whom you had a passing acquaintance, but when my cousin got married she limited her guest list to close relatives (the furthest out was first cousins of both parents) and close friends. She could have invited dozens and dozens more and ended up with a list of 150 when it could easily have emulated another cousin's list of 600. She was able to eat, spend time with all her guests and enjoy her day.

2. Use printable wedding invitations.

Traditional wedding invitations have a couple different envelopes, tissue paper, some other paper, and that’s all before you even get to the invitation itself. So printable invitations, from your printer, on stock stationary from an office supply store will save you lots of money and will enable you to personalize each invitation. Just because you are informal doesn't mean you can't be elegant.

3. Keep the wedding reception menu simple - and catered.

The biggest cost is usually food. Keep it to a reasonable level by not having an extravagant, fancy dinner. Remember the rule of three - three courses, three choices, three colors, etc. Keep your desserts simple as well. You are spending a fortune on the wedding cake, so serve it! Ask friends and family members to make some other desserts for the dessert buffet.

Except for dessert, however, make sure you have your wedding catered. Don't expect your family to cook food for 150 or so people and still want any part of you. And face it - you aren't going to have the time either. Hire folks to cook the food, serve it and clean up afterwards. If you are at a hall or another venue - restaurant, bed and breakfast or other locale that caters to weddings - it will be part of your expense.

4. Beat the wedding bell blues - delegate.

Just because your family is off the hook for cooking, recruit them to help you. This will save a fortune on wedding planners. There are many little details that need to be taken care of, and if you try to do everything yourself, you’ll be running around like crazy. Instead, allow others to help out, delegate certain tasks, and when they do them, check them off your list. It makes life a lot easier and less stressful.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about more ways to have an informal wedding that won't break the bank.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Some Unique Wedding Ceremony Ideas

Regardless of your religious affiliation there are numerous creative wedding touches to give your ceremony that special sparkle. Just make certain that if you are having a religious ceremony at a church, temple or mosque, that you discuss each concept with your officiant to make sure you aren't going against any rules.

A couple of places where you are often given free reign are in the wedding program and the processional/recessional. Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing as to how to make your wedding ceremony extraordinary.

  • The wedding program can list more than just the names of the participants. For instance, in a Greek Orthodox wedding there are a number of traditions and ceremonies within the wedding service itself that need explanation. (It takes 45 minutes and has multiple parts, so it's rather complex.) This is where you can explain what is going on to guests who are not part of the faith so that they can fully participate and understand the entire ceremony - even those parts not in English! Additionally the wedding program can indicate special memorials, readings, music and so on that will enhance your guests' participation in the wedding.
  • Even if you are not having a Jewish wedding (where it's tradition), invite your mother to walk you down the aisle with your father. Having both parents (if you are lucky) escort you to your future is a warm and loving gesture. I always feel sorry that the mother of the bride has to sit all alone in the front pew and just witness her daughter's wedding instead of being an integral part of it. I attended a wedding this summer where the bride's parents and her oldest son walked her down the aisle. It was quite moving.
  • Ask the groom's parents to be part of the processional as well. They can lead the procession with the bride's parents ending it.
  • See if it is acceptable to the officiant for you to change places with him (or her) so that you face the guests during the ceremony instead of having your backs to them the entire time.
  • Hand a rose to each of the mothers as you pass them during the recessional. Have them ready at the altar so that you can each pick one up and give it to each of your mothers-in law (your mothers) as you embrace them when you are newly husband and wife. Also publicly thank your parents as a gesture of love and respect.
  • If you are holding your wedding outdoors, have a special wedding canopy set up to designate the "altar" area where the actual ceremony will take place. At the end of the ceremony, have the guests throw grass seed or flower seeds instead of rice. Still symbolizes fertility but it is better for the birds and the environment.
  • Ask a friend or family member to perform a special wedding song during the ceremony. At my friend Cindy's wedding, my then-boyfriend played classical guitar as the guests were seated. It was an elegant touch.
  • If it is allowed, have a friend do a reading of a wedding poem or wedding essay at your ceremony. If it is not permitted, consider having them do a short reading at the reception during the toasts. Send them a special invitation - aside from the wedding invitation - to participate.
Use these little touches to create unique ceremonial aspects to your wedding and you will remember them fondly throughout the years.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Strewing Flowers and the Flower Girls

Since almost the beginning of weddings, brides have been walking on more than air on their way to the altar. Strewing the bridal path with grains, herbs, flowers or even straw rushes (hay) was an important tradition thought to help bring fertility and prosperity to the married couple. In addition to this, young children were commissioned to cover the bride's path with grains on her way to the ceremony to really increase the luck and fertility aspect of the event.

Brides often added herbs such as lemon-scented balm or mint to the mix so that when they stepped on them their aroma was released to please the Gods. In Elizabethan England it became fashionable to scent the home. Lacking chemical air fresheners like Febreeze, the Elizabethans turned to nature. Each day the floors were carpeted (or strewn) with rushes. When a wedding was to occur, rose petals, herbs and such lent their aroma to the rushes and began the custom of "walking on a bed of roses" (sans thorns of course!)

Although flowers and children to toss them are a central part of a bride's planning, some brides choose not to have flower girls. Many feel that children in a wedding will distract from the main event (the bride) while others feel that having children strew flowers is a wonderful addition to their special day. You have to decide for yourself if you want flowers along your path and children to spread them or to just go down the aisle on your own.

Some simple rules of thumb are applicable if you do invite children to be in the wedding party. Remember, even though they are young, they still are an integral part of the events. Let them know from the start that they are as important as anyone else!

Although you may be tempted to consider the youngest members of your families for these positions because it would be so cute, be sure they can handle the responsibilities. Ages 4 to 10 seem to be a good guideline: any younger, it's a wild card; any older, they would be more comfortable in the role of junior attendant.

I must point out though, that I turned two the day before a wedding where I was a flower girl. I did perfectly while an older girl of six broke down halfway down the aisle letting me to strew my flowers all by myself. Age limits depend on the child and her ability to get over shyness in front of a large crowd.

As with anything, children need more practice than adults. Plenty of wedding rehearsal time will relieve any anxiety on the part of the child (and yours, too) and answer any and all questions concerning their roles.

If you do decide to include children in the wedding party, you must remember that even with the best behaved, most reliable child, things can go wrong. Keep your sense of humor and use it to make the day go with laughter.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Muslim Weddings - Customs and Traditions

A wedding is always a happy time for families to celebrate. In the Muslim world, wedding traditions maintain some similarities based on faith. However, there are also colorful, cultural variations from place to place. The various wedding traditions reflect the diversity of the Muslim world. Where I live there is a large Muslim community and several Mosques throughout the city so these ceremonies and celebrations are part of the community.

Like all weddings, the purpose of a Muslim wedding is to join a man and woman in a new life together. The honoring of the Islamic faith during the ceremony is central to this new union. The associated traditions vary according to where the Islamic wedding takes place.

As with any faith, some Muslim weddings are deeply conservative, where the men and women who are invited to attend are separated during the ceremony, and the wedding reception. Other Muslim weddings are more modern and intermingle genders during the wedding reception, which is reflective of any other wedding.

There are certain elements that are basic to all Muslim weddings, no matter what the ethnic traditions are, that enhance the happy event.

All couples must sign a marriage contract or "nikkah" and the groom presents the bride with a "mahr" or wedding gift at the time of the vows.

At the wedding ceremony, the Imam (officiant) delivers a sermon during the vows. Usually, this sermon is addressed to the bride and groom and concerns their responsibilities toward one another. It also serves as a reminder to those who are already married.

After the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom receive friends and family at a Muslim wedding reception called by some the "walima."

No matter where the Muslim wedding takes place (in the US, Singapore, or the Middle East, for instance) each culture adds it stamp on to these basic traditions.

During the sungkem ceremony in a Sudanese wedding, the bride and groom bend forward to kiss the knees of their parents, promising to continue to serve them and asking for their forgiveness and blessings from them.

Moroccan brides change dresses and matching jewelry several times during their wedding celebration. Sometime during the wedding reception, the groom makes his way in a noisy procession to collect his bride. Once there, he is hoisted onto the shoulders of his friends or onto a horse; his bride is carried on a table or cushion. The procession continues until the couple reaches the nuptial chamber.

For couples of Malay descent, costumed children form a festive procession to hand-deliver gifts from the groom to the bride. Wedding guests might receive beautifully decorated hard-boiled eggs, representing fertility.

Turkish wedding customs
include a procession where wedding guests, accompanied by drums and pipes, "fetch" the bride from her parents' home and escort her to the groom's house. There, her mother-in-law greets her with a gift and the groom leads her inside.

No matter what the custom though, the guests, and the families gather together for only one reason - to wish the wedding couple a world of prosperity and happiness in their life to come.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Seating The Guests

While it may seem logical to you, many people - especially the ushers - don't have a clue as to how to seat the guests at your wedding. While many guests show themselves to their seats, especially when the usher is nowhere to be seen, there is a custom to escort special guests to their seats before the wedding ceremony begins.

Even though you may be calling these particular groomsmen "ushers," they may not know how to escort the guests to their seats. I knew one usher who blithely took the groom's great-grandmother up the back stairs of the church to the choir loft because he thought it provided the best view in the house. Then he neglected to tell anyone he had done this. For ten minutes, the bride's father, the groom's father and all the bridesmaids were frantically seeking Nana and there she was, all alone in the choir loft trying to figure out how to get downstairs with her walker.

At the wedding rehearsal, take a few moments to explain to the ushers the protocols of seating the wedding guests. You haven't invited all these people to witness your wedding only to have them miffed before the ceremony even starts!

My suggestion is that you have photo prints of each important guest made and placed in a coordinated seating plan. Go over it with the ushers ahead of time. It doesn't cost a lot to have prints made and for you to sketch the rows where these guests are to sit, but it can save huge fusses later.

Place this chart at the back of the ceremony site near the guest book as a reference so that there is no confusion. It's not that you don't trust the ushers to recall your instructions, but they may not know who everyone is and this will help them make things go smoothly.

There are several permutations of seating that occur for different religious wedding ceremonies.
Most prominently, in Christian weddings, the bride's family sits on the left side of the church while the groom's family is on the right. Reform and Conservative Jewish weddings are just the opposite. Orthodox Jewish weddings segregate the men and women from sitting together at all.

The first row of the ceremony site is reserved for parents, the second for siblings, the third for grandparents and other close relatives. After that, ushers may seat guests as they arrive from front to back. Closest relatives should be seated last and separated from the rest of the guests due to their relationship. Guests who arrive late at the wedding ceremony should quietly sit at the back and don't need to be escorted by ushers.

Plan ahead now and save against seating headaches later!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Inviting and Caring for Out of Town Guests

Weddings bring together a wide range of people who were and are important in your life. Relatives, business acquaintances, college friends, and childhood sweethearts are all key participants in creating a magical wedding day you will never forget. In today's mobile age, however, you can't be sure that all the people who mean so much to you live within a short distance of your wedding site. (This is especially true if you are having a destination wedding or one that is a weekend away from home.)

If you are planning for out-of-town wedding guests, you need to make arrangements for their accommodations by reserving a block of rooms at a nearby hotel. If your reception is at the hotel you will probably be able to get a nice room rate for the wedding as well. Even if it isn't at the hotel, you might want to be sure that it is within easy access of the reception site.

My cousin, who attended Michigan State University, had his reception at a special site on campus, but he and his bride arranged for all of us to stay at a hotel within walking distance so that once we were there we didn't have to worry about driving and parking. This made it much easier to have a good time. Even after the reception ended, we all attended several after-reception parties at the hotel thrown by the parents, the attendants and even in the bridal suite where Chris and his wife still celebrated hours after the wedding reception was over.

Another thing you should consider before even sending out the wedding invitations is what your out-of town guests can do while they are at your wedding. For instance, you might want to include in the invitation packet an itinerary of events that will be taking place before and after the wedding day itself.

Traditionally, out-of-town guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner and any post-wedding luncheons that may be held. So be sure to include that in the itinerary along with any additional events you are having. You may arrange for any sight-seeing or golf outings to while away the hours before the actual event. My cousin had an excursion to a local casino for lunch as a choice for his guests, as well as a trip to a local beach and park for his guests with children.

Speaking of invitations, you should probably start to address your wedding invitations three months before the wedding. Ideally, wedding invitations are sent 8 weeks before the wedding – allowing guests several weeks to make travel arrangements and arrange time off from work if necessary, before sending them back to you.

Remember, you'll need to get them back in advance so you can start labeling placecards, make final head counts, etc. Ask for an RSVP date three weeks before your wedding if you sent them on time. At a minimum, send them out six weeks in advance and set an RSVP date of two weeks before the wedding.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Country Inn Wedding Celebration

A country inn (bed and breakfast, inn, etc.) is usually a place filled with history and designed for comfort. Inns come in all shapes and sizes and are situated everywhere - town, country, old farm house, mansion and everything in between! Some used to be taverns, others converted private estates. Your job is to find the right inn and determine just what you want to do.

If you are inclined to celebrate your wedding at an inn, you are likely to experience a highly creative, warm and cozy event - whether formal or casual - since the owners of these inns generally have a flair for design and love to entertain. They own an inn after all! They will help your wedding planning and keep it simple and stunning!

(Hint: When you decide what inn to use, go and stay for a night and see how it feels. Compare several.)

If you are interested in just hosting your wedding reception at the inn, you don't have to worry about accommodations - except maybe a room for the night after the reception. However, if you are making a weekend of your wedding, you need to think of taking rooms for the bridal party and other guests. You will also need to determine, depending on how many guests you plan to invite, what other accommodations are nearby.

Some inns require you reserve the entire space or a large block of rooms as part of your wedding weekend package. Get all your information up front - pricing, requirements, restrictions. Make sure you read your contract for details. Don't be afraid to ask questions about local vendors, florists, bakeries and even caterers. The inn owners should be able to accommodate you and they do know their area better than you do.

Book early if you want a particular weekend for your wedding. Like any other wedding venue, popular inns are reserved early. Negotiate a weekend package price. Since most inns are privately owned and operated, they may be happy to offer you discounts for a series of events - rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, wedding reception and post-wedding brunch.

Make use of what the inn has available - an antique table to hold your guest book or placecards, eclectic china for your tables, special arrangements with florists in the area. Mix antique linens and prints with different textures for your tables to carry out your eclectic theme.

Create a welcome gift basket for all your guests that features local snacks, a nicely designed itinerary for the weekend, a wedding program, and a list of other suggested activities for them to do in the area. Ask the inn for help in coordinating sightseeing, golf or even an antiquing trip for guests.

Include a photo print of the inn with your wedding invitations, wedding programs, or welcome cards. Personalize your celebration and focus on your stunning venue!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Relaxed Summertime Wedding

Since we have just reached the halfway point in summer, let's talk about weddings that make the most of this season. You can create the kind of wedding that will be enjoyed and remembered pleasantly by all your guests as a beautiful summer day.

Think of this type of wedding as the best that summer has to offer - multi-blooming flowers, sunlit fabrics for linens and bridesmaids' dresses, and garden-like settings (even indoors) will encourage your guests to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the day.

Your wedding invitations should be focused on a summer theme - not for the heavy winter white and formal embossed printing, but a more summery flowered invitation. This will convey your relaxed summer day.

For your wedding gown think light and airy. Even though other seasons are gaining in popularity, summer remains the biggest season for weddings. There are many different styles and types of summer wedding dresses on the market so I suggest that you find one that is in keeping with your relaxed summer theme. Over 75% of dresses that you'll find are sleeveless and/or strapless, making them perfect for the season. Look for light fabrics such as organdy, linen, chiffon, crepe, georgette, or light-weight silk, so as to not add too much bulk.

Bridesmaids' dresses should be light as well - perhaps tulle or organza or dotted swiss - to bring out the theme of relaxed summer style. Most importantly, don’t try to fight your hair in the summer: straight hair will get straighter and limper, and wavy hair will get wavier and frizzier. Hair swept up by a professional who will design a long-lasting style are one of your best bets; or just allow the bridesmaids to go with their natural styles and don't worry about it. Relax, it's summer!

You can't go wrong decorating your wedding venue with an abundance of flowers. There are so many varieties in season you may have a tough time narrowing your choices down! An airy summer look is achieved with mostly white and light colored flowers such as roses, stephanotis, white phlox, elegant white calla lilies, huge and fragrant casa blanca lilies, hydrangea, and Shasta daisies.

Provide pastel flower vases with a rose or other flower at each place setting as both evocative of summer and as a take-home wedding favor.

To carry out the summer abundance idea, attach your placecards to a pear or a peach - whichever reflects your color scheme best. This again evokes summer and provides a stable holder for the placecard - especially if your reception is outdoors!

A relaxed summer wedding can be elegant and fun - and without all the fuss you find in more formal affairs.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

KISS Second Weddings

Let's talk about the second time around. Statistically, 50% of marriages end in divorce. (Just to keep a proper perspective, that means that 50% do NOT end in divorce as well!) Even if it doesn't work out the first time, that's no reason to give up the search for love and for someone with whom to share your life! (Donna Ennis' I Do Take Two site is an excellent source of second wedding ideas.)

Although a second wedding can be a full blown affair with a formal wedding gown, a gazillion bridesmaids and groomsmen, and 500 guests, the trend today is to keep it simple (smaller) and stunning! One of the advantages of this is that you can spend less and still have a lovely and intimate wedding that is more personalized and meaningful, especially for the bride and groom!

For many second time brides, a full blown wedding gives them a feeling of deja vu. They don't want to go through all the turmoil, planning and stress again. This time around they are seeking to place their emphasis on the relationship, their vows and their guests. In fact, many second weddings are often surprise weddings where the guests are invited to one type of event and a wedding happens instead.

From the wedding invitations and decorations, to the favors and second wedding venue, this wedding can be a more elegant and intimate affair than a blow-out first wedding. You set the tone. Having a destination or honeymoon wedding is always an option, but even a smaller wedding held at a local bed and breakfast, private home or garden, or a local historic site can provide the intimate backdrop that a huge venue for many guests may be unable to attain.

Even the wedding attendants can consist of one attendant each for the bride and groom - a Maid (or Matron) of Honor and the best man. Many times the second wedding party includes children from a previous marriage who stand up with their parents on this special day, thereby blending the families from the beginning.

In many cases, the second wedding also entails an older bride and groom who have had experience - both negative and positive - with marriage. They know what they are getting into and how to refocus their priorities. Many times with younger brides and grooms, the wedding is the ultimate goal and suddenly, there you are, married and with no clue as to what that means!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More Wedding Stresses Solved!

The other day we discussed those nasty stressors that take so much energy from you during your wedding planning. Here are some more stress points and how to deal them!

  • People who expect to be paid and want as much from you as possible.
Dealing with wedding vendors can be a big pain. These are folks who want to make money. It's their job to try and pressure you into purchasing a more expensive option than your wedding budget allows. If you are tempted to accede to their demands, go home and sleep on it.

If it's not in your budget, you have to make sure that they understand it's nothing personal, you just don't have the money. Getting away from them to make the decision and not having to stare into their puppy dog eyes while saying "no" is much easier – and less stressful!

Just tell them: "that's not really in my wedding budget, I'll have to go home and see if I can move some things around and get back to you."

  • "And in this corner…"
We all have them, those lovely folks – either our parents, relatives or even friends – who are divorced, divorcing, breaking up or just fighting – and they don't want to sit together. My grandmother didn't talk to her husband's cousin for years and at all weddings and such, they had to be separated for the comfort of the other guests.

So you have to take preemptive action. Sit down with them to say: "I'm so glad you're coming to my wedding. I hope you can do me a big favor. You fight so much, and I really want the focus of our wedding to be on love. Do you mind doing everything in your power to be civil just for that one day?" Remember, if they do bicker at your wedding, you'll probably be so caught up in everything else, you won't even notice.

  • And what are the the greatest stressors of all? You BOTH are!
Weddings are stressful, and the person you will be around the most is soon to be your other half. Too often you hear: "He's not doing anything to help with the wedding" and, "she never talks about anything other than the wedding." Avoid this with some simple planning.

Sit down with a wedding planner (the book, not the person) and divide up the list of tasks into bride's responsibilities, groom's responsibilities, and what you are going to do together. Each of you will know that you have creative control for what's on your list, and what you are responsible for. (That doesn't mean you won't discuss the task, but you will have the responsibility of getting it done.) Post the list in prominent locations in your house(s) and agree to have check-in meetings once a month or so about where you are.

Next, sit down with a calendar. Figure out when you have time to schedule a couple of hours each week to deal with wedding stuff together. A lot of it will be fun - checking out potential venues, eating cake at tastings, and practicing dance moves.

Then schedule a NO WEDDING night. This is perhaps the most important thing to stop you from stressing each other out. One night a week, neither of you are allowed to mention the word wedding or anything wedding-related. This can be a date night, or just a relaxing at home together night to remind you why you're going through all this craziness in the first place!

Soon we will talk about other ways to lessen the stress and increase the fun in planning your wedding!