Rules For Planning Your Wedding
Bride-to-be, so now you can indulge your every emotion and whim, right? Not so fast. It's most definitely your moment to be pampered and reign supreme, so maintaining perspective will make the whole planning process more fun and less mentally exhausting. We suggest you follow these 10 sanity-preserving rules:
Rule One - There are people out there who seem determined to make you feel bad about your wedding planning excitement -- cross them off your list of conversation partners.
I can live without lady's slipper orchids.
As you've discovered, there's a big world of amazing, over-the-top wedding options -- from caviar tastings to three-color origami letterpress invitations -- and many of them are jaw-droppingly expensive. If you find that you're being attracted to things that will have your budget bursting at the seams, it's time for a reality check. Ask yourself: What will those fragile flowers (or whatever your expensive obsession is) truly add to my wedding? If the answer is just "impressed glances from five in-the-know female guests," then you're better off spending that dough on something more people will appreciate -- a killer band maybe? -- or, better yet, splurging more on your honeymoon.
Make your wedding budget
Rule Two - I won't make my bridesmaids look like clones.
Every good friend knows that along with the honor of being a bridesmaid comes the obligation to wear a dress in a color and style that's not of her choosing. So your girls accept that, but it doesn't mean they'll submit happily if you force them to wear identical shoes, jewelry, wraps, and hairstyles. In order to have a great time at your wedding, your bridesmaids need to feel attractive too -- something that's impossible if you've micromanaged their looks down to the lipstick hue. (Plus, buying a bunch of matching accessories they may never wear again gets expensive.) And your bridesmaids will look even better if you give them leeway to let their individual styles shine through the blush-colored chiffon gowns you've dressed them in. So let them choose their hair and makeup styles; give them more than one option with accessories like shoes, jewelry, and cover-ups.
Search for bridesmaid dresses by color
Rule Three- I won't invite my second cousin's fling.
When you're putting your list together, a spirit of irrationally warm hospitality might take over, making you inclined to invite all of your single guests' guys/girls-of-the-moment. We know you're thinking: "What if they get married one day? I'll feel terrible if my cousin by marriage wasn't at our wedding." But remember, aside from the (big) expense of inviting every single person with a date, you don't want to celebrate the most important event of your life thus far with a bunch of people you'll likely never see again. Trust us, if you invite cousin Bill's arm candy, she'll somehow wind up front and center in half of the photographs, but he'll dump her before you return from your honeymoon, and you won't remember her name in a year. So make a rule about plus ones (maybe it's "only couples who've been dating for more than a year" or "only members of the wedding party get to invite random dates") and stick to it.
Manage your guest list
Rule Four - I won't obsess over my registry.
Once you delve into the world of fine stemware, charger plates, and exotic kitchen gadgets, it's only natural that you'll want to get even more immersed in it -- and start second- and third-guessing every registry decision. And online options make it all too easy to review and revise what you've asked for at every whim. So give yourself a deadline after which you're not allowed to tinker with your registry -- say, six months before the wedding -- so you can stop fixating on "bone china vs. Limoges?" and start obsessing over seating charts instead!
Find your registry style
Rule Five - I'll loosen up about the rehearsal dinner.
As a bride, it's pretty much your inalienable right to micromanage every aspect of the wedding if you choose to. The rehearsal dinner, not so much. If you're lucky enough to have the night-before celebration thrown for you by the groom's family or somebody similar, everything will go most smoothly if you offer your input only when asked and on a few issues that are super-important to you. If your future mother-in-law sends out invitations you find unbearably tacky or fills the centerpieces with your least favorite flower, keep in mind that everybody in attendance will understand that the rehearsal isn't reflective of your style.
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