Posts in the 'wedding advice' Category

The High Cost of Wedding Fear

Former BAB advice columnist / current wedding planner extraordinaire Liz Coopersmith, of Silver Charm Events, stopped by to give you guys a boost this week! Guys, there’s no reason to feel fear about or shame toward your wedding. Really, honestly and truly. It should be a very happy time in your life, because hey! You’re in love! And you’re getting married! And yes, there’s a lot of bullsh that can surround a wedding day, but don’t let that get you down. Liz explains why:

steve and bridget

From Bridget & Steve’s Intimate, Beautiful Palm Springs Wedding. Credit: EPLove

I talk to a lot of brides every week, as you can imagine. I’ve watched a lot of you exhibit two very disturbing emotions when it comes to your weddings: Fear and Shame.

It’s in the way it takes me at least a couple of tries to find out how much your budget is.

Or, in the reverse, getting upset that you’re spending so much of your/your parents/whomever’s money on one day, when you could use it on a downpayment on a house, instead.

Or, the sideways look you and your fiance give each other when I ask how you met.

Or, when you tell me how much certain family members need to be kept away from each other, or, kept away from you. And then follow up, five minutes later, by saying it’s not that bad … but seriously, everyone has to be on opposite sides of the room.

Or, how you keep giving in to what your parents or your friends want you to do, instead of standing up for what you want. Are you being a doormat?

Or, not giving into what your parents/friends want you to do, and standing up for what you want. Are you turning into a Bridezilla??

You can’t win, because you won’t let yourself win. You’re ashamed of where you are, so you won’t allow yourself to be happy with what you have, whatever that is right now.

Researcher Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.” Shame is built out of the fear that you won’t be understood. And I’ve noticed that a big reason that people don’t feel worthy of acceptance and belonging is that they don’t really think that they can ever get what they want. Not really.

I understand – there is a lot of pressure to make your wedding the best and most perfect and most beautiful day of your life. And (GASP!) there are not supposed to be any limits – financial, personal, logistical – on the best day of your life! That’s what makes it such a great day, right? Poor people don’t have beautiful and perfect days, only people with unlimited budgets do. You can’t have a beautiful and perfect day if your families are always at each other’s throats, only people with close, well-behaved relatives can. Do you deserve to live happily ever after if you met online and not through a Random Act of Fate? What will happen if you tell the truth? You want to impress your family and friends, and most of all, you want to impress yourself. It is a lot of pressure, and completely unrealistic.

The cost of wedding fear is that it focuses on what you don’t have, and on hiding what’s not there. It’s a waste of time. Plus, it makes you feel like crap.

So, what’s the cure?

1. Be honest, with yourself and with anyone else you’re dealing with, wedding-wise. Just … be honest. The more you try to hide what you’re afraid of, the more control you give it. And, eventually, it’s going to have to come out. Are you worried about being judged and rejected by potential vendors … who don’t know you? It’s business, not personal. If they can’t work with you, for whatever reason, then you can’t work with them. If they are going to be mean or snooty about it, then you really don’t want to work with them, right? Which brings me to …

2. Don’t go in looking for a fight; don’t walk into the room expecting resistance. What you look for, you will find. I’ve met with many brides who will, in one sentence, tell me they have a limited amount of money, and then tell me that’s not enough for them to have the wedding they want, and then ask me, “You can’t work with that, can you?” This is before I’ve even opened my mouth to reply. I get it – you’re rejecting yourself before I get a chance to do it, but don’t assume. Same thing with your family and friends. Tell them what you need and what you want, and then see what happens. Don’t be defensive, just have a conversation.

3. Remember that you are not alone. Not even close to being alone. If you’re facing a wedding planning problem, there are tons of other couples facing the same thing. Find them online and and seek empathy and sympathy. And solutions, too.

4. Some things will not change, but they can be worked around. If your parents couldn’t be in the same room with each other before you started planning your wedding, odds are then they won’t be able to on your wedding day. You’ve been managing your family for years, and you know how to deal with them — or not deal with them — so they don’t drive you insane. Keep doing that. The historic house you love is not going to drop their rental rate by a couple thousand dollars on a Saturday night. You are probably not going to win the lottery before then, either. Accept it. You might not have Ivanka Trump’s budget, but you’re not so broke that you can’t have a beautiful wedding day, and the love surrounding you will be free (Aww!). It is what it is. If you can’t afford Saturday night, what about Friday or Sunday? Less guests? What about a cocktail or dessert reception? Figure out what you feel comfortable with and go from there.

5. Use what you have to get what you want and need. You think you don’t have anything, or not nearly enough? You’re so wrong. If you have access to the Internet, you can find a local bridal show and see what’s possible. If you’ve picked your venue, you can ask for photographer and florist recommendations. Don’t know how to do something? Google it. If anything, you have too many choices. Keep looking until you find the best option for you.

6. Be grateful for what you do have. A fiance who loves you, and who you want to spend the rest of your life with, no matter how you met them, or what type of reputation either of you had during the Bush administration. Friends and family that are happy and eager to help, even if they won’t back off (they mean well, I swear). One day to celebrate that with all your favorite people in the world. Pollyannish? Sure. True? Totally.

7. Don’t twist yourself into knots. Many a bride has overextended her budget, her patience, and her good will trying to overcompensate for a perceived lack of … whatever. Pull the brakes anytime you hear yourself saying, “I don’t want them to think … ” or “I know it’s still not going to work, but … ” Full stop. Turn around. Find an option that doesn’t make you hyperventilate. Ask for help if you need it. Take help when it’s offered.

8. Finally, give yourself some credit. You’re sitting there thinking, “HowamIgoingtodothishowamIgoingtodo thisHOWAMIGOINGTODOTHIS?”Look around! You are doing it, the way everyone does it: One step at a time.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith

Liz

Ask Heather: Where Can I Find Bridesmaid Dresses?

Ask Heather: Where Can I Find Bridesmaid Dresses?

Image courtesy of Photo Pink

Dear Heather,

I have no idea where to start for my bridesmaids’ dress shopping. Help!

Apanda

Dear Apanda,

I have a confession to make: I hate shopping for clothing. Therefore, I am probably not the best person to be answering this. Hopefully, though, some of our readers will chime in and leave some comments!

I’m not sure if you’re struggling with something like choosing a color or style, or where to actually purchase a dress. If you’re having trouble with the former issues, I’d suggest starting with your bridesmaids’ skin tones and figuring out what will or will not be flattering. For instance, in general, it takes a special someone to pull off yellow. So, if your wedding colors are yellow and grey, I’d go for grey for the dresses. If you’re deliberating over what style, check out some actual weddings and see if you are drawn to any looks. For more casual affairs, I’d avoid full-length gowns. And if any of your bridesmaids have concerns about certain styles (some folks really don’t like strapless dresses), take that into consideration.

When it comes to shopping for dresses, there are several options. The first option, and the one I chose, is to simply say something to the effect of, “Buy a [color] dress that’s [this material] and [this length].” You can even leave out some of those descriptors. If you’re a bit more particular, feel free to send fabric swatches, or ask that your bridesmaids send you a picture of them in the dress before purchasing it (or make sure the return policy is reasonable). To see what this could potentially end up looking like, just check out the picture at the top of the post. Those are my bridesmaids (and bridesman, who was told “Get a grey suit. We’ll provide your tie.”) The only instructions they received were to purchase a knee-length cool-toned (blue rather than red undertones) purple dress. Bam.

The second option is to simply choose a store and go for it! This can be a David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, Macy’s, Ann Taylor, Gap, Old Navy, or anywhere you shop on a regular basis. If you already shop there, odds are you like what they offer. There’s no reason why a bridesmaid dress has to be purchased at an official bridesmaid dress retailer (whatever that means). If not all of your bridesmaids are local to you, obviously make sure there’s a store available near them, or that the store you choose has an online presence and a good return policy.

Which leads me into my last option – online. There are some retailers who offer bridesmaid dresses online but not in stores. Target is one such store. J. Crew is another. I’m positive there are more out there, but those are the ones that spring immediately to mind. If you have a favorite store, it’s probably worth looking into whether they fit this bill. I’m also a fan of Dessy and ModCloth for dress needs. You could also simply search for “[color] [length] bridesmaid dress” and see what pops up. (Also, check out BAB’s Resources page and look through the banners on our sidebar for more places to find great bridesmaids dresses. – Eds.)

Readers, how about you? What did your bridesmaid selection process look like? Where did you end up getting your dresses? Let us know in the comments below!

BAB Throwback: Summer’s Over! So, What Did We Learn?

Happy Friday, BABs! I hope you’re all nicely recovered after a long weekend, and a short workweek that felt like eternity (or was that just me?). Our darling erstwhile advice guru, Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events, wrote this bad boy back in early September of 2011, but as I was scrolling through the archives I found it to be as relevant as ever. One sure can learn a lot by putting some serious time into other people’s weddings. Sure, some trends have come and gone in the time since, but the solid advice still holds true.

BAB Throwback Summers Over What Did We Learn

From May 25th to September 5th, I coordinated 8 weddings. Here are pictures from half of them, but that’s five full-service, three day-of. Basically two a month. I had the chance to learn a lot and confirmed even more that I already knew. Here’s a few new tidbits of wisdom, in no particular order:

Give up THIS for a year? Hah! That’s funny!

If you find yourself looking at some glorious wedding thing and thinking, “Well, if I gave up Starbucks/the gym/cable for year, I can afford this,” DUDE. Run. Away.

And again I say to thee: Give yourself plenty of time on your wedding day. My most relaxed brides this season were the ones that listened to me and scheduled their prep and pictures so that they had an hour or more to chill before heading down the aisle.  Nothing I like more than a relaxed and laughing bride, and there’s nothing you’re going to like more than being one.

Don’t they look so pretty, waiting for you at the venue where they belong?

You will not need your flowers until you start taking group pictures. Rather than have your florist make a separate trip to your hotel room and then go to the ceremony site to set-up, wait to get your flowers until you get to the ceremony, too. Yes, I have had brides and bridesmaids who’ve left bouquets at the hotel. Guess who had to go get them?

You can’t really see it, but I swear these  are in alphabetical order. (Courtesy of Hazelnut Photography)

Once you finish your place cards, alphabetize them before handing them over. Once you finish your place cards, alphabetize them before handing them over. ONCE YOU FINISH YOUR PLACE CARDS, ALPHABETIZE THEM BEFORE HANDING THEM OVER. Thanks!

If you know that you’re going to have a difficult time with your family, bring back-up. Someone who will confirm what you said, what you want, and who you would feel embarrassed if you all of a sudden went off on your parents in front of. You don’t want to know how many times this summer I stood behind one of my brides nodding, “Oh, no, she’s got it. It’s going to be fine.” It helps.  And remember, if all else fails, find an excuse to walk away before you explode.

Don’t be surprised  if everyone doesn’t make it to the rehearsal. This does not seem to be as big a problem on the East Coast or in the middle of the country.  Of course, no one else has the 405 and 101 and 10 and 5 freeways that we do, and the endless time-sucking fun that occur on them. Might have something to do with it. Odds are everyone will make it to dinner, though.

For the breaking glass ceremony, use a light bulb. If you don’t want a light bulb, believe it or not, amazon.com has the glasses, in any color you want. Remember Charlotte and Harry’s wedding on “Sex and the City”? Sometimes he just can’t break it on the first try. Or the second. And it’s funny, but it’s funnier when it’s not happening to you.

A great trend I’ve seen at a couple of weddings this year — invite all your guests to join you halfway through your first dance song. People love that, and it makes me bounce up and down with glee every time I see it. Nothing rules like a full dance floor, you know?

I have yet to coordinate a wedding where the amount of money the couple put towards the bar did not run out. But it’s usually around the time that you would do last call, anyway, so it all works out. Thumbs up!

So, what did you lean from planning your wedding this summer? Share in the comments below!

 

BAB Throwback: To See Or Not To See … That Is The Question

Yes, I know. The first look has been a Thing for a few years now, and granted this post was originally published Nov. 12, 2010. However, the debate is still real, y’all.

BAB Throwback to see or not to see that is the question

From the moment you put on THE dress, you’ve been anticipating the look on his face when he sees you at the end of the aisle. You’re going to look so beautiful, and he’s going to be so proud, and happy, and excited to see you. You two are going to be grinning at each other so much you can hardly hear the minister pronounce you married.

It’s tradition, and it’s the way that most brides think that they’re going to see their grooms for the first time. But more and more, I’m watching couples decide to go with another alternative — The First Look.

Here’s how it works: Your photographer usually begins about three hours before the ceremony, starting with shots of you putting on THE dress, make-up, hair … all the “getting ready” stuff. While you’re doing that, your photographer’s second shooter is over with the guys, taking their pictures, and then about an hour or so into it, everyone meets in the middle for pictures of the wedding party and family. And that’s when you see each other for the first time.

Most photographers make it into a special event, at a secluded place where it’s just the two of you. And once they get that special shot of him seeing you for the first time and you two smiling at each other like whoa, you can hang out together and talk, and get to spend some time alone. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, that’s going to be hard to come by for the rest of the day, trust me. Then you finish photos with the rest of the gang.

Real Wedding: Summer & Peter's Family-Friendly Destination Tahoe Beach Wedding

From Summer & Peter’s Real Wedding. Credit: Lauren Lindley Photography

Practically speaking? It’s a real time saver. Most of your pictures are done before the wedding, which means you can join your guests for the cocktail hour and enjoy those appetizers you’re paying $X per person for. There’s less family wrangling because it’s a little easier to tell everyone to show up early at an appointed place and time rather than try and track them down after the ceremony. If you’re a blubberer and worry about crying your way down the aisle so much that you worry your guests, the first look might be for you. And since you can make that moment between the two of  you special, these are the reasons why brides of mine have done it.

Emotionally speaking? Well … that’s up to you. Not all of my brides want to do a First Look, because that moment walking down the aisle is just too important and vivid for them. I have one bride that won’t talk about the color of her dress in front of her fiance — that’s how excited she is about him seeing her from the end of the aisle. And I’m grinning as I write that, because that love and anticipation is really what that first moment is all about, no matter where and when you choose to do it. Which is just cool, you know?

And if you do want to wait, of course, it’s fine. You make it work like everyone’s always made it work — separate wedding party pics before the ceremony, and then use the cocktail hour for family pics after the ceremony. Have your wedding planner or a friend bring you a sample of cocktails and apps during the photos, and then join your guests at the reception. Like with most wedding things, (and in life, actually), whatever it is that you mind is what matters. I’m not “Team See” or “Team Not See,” I’m team YOU. Either way, I’m probably going to tear up when it happens. Like always.

So, which team are you? When is your intended going to first see you on your wedding day?

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Ask Heather: Tipping Vendors – Who and How Much?

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Image courtesy of Randy Hershfield

Dear Heather,

I’m reading mixed messages about tipping vendors! Help!

Tiffany

I’d like to know about the vendors as well! Photographer, DJ, baker …

Charlie

Dear Tiffany and Charlie,

I’m of the opinion that the only vendor you truly need to tip is your wedding planner, ideally around 40%.

Okay, just kidding. Well, sort of ;)

Technically, you don’t have to tip any of your vendors, in the same way that tipping waiters, waitresses, baristas, hair dressers, etc, is not required {Eds note: TIP YOUR SERVERS/BARTENDERS at restaurants, damnit. They live on that shit.}. But it’s a really nice thing to do and it helps you to not look like a jerk. One thing to watch out for, though, is whether a tip is already included in your contract. Caterers will often include a gratuity in their fees, so unless they provide truly exceptional service, watch out for tipping twice. Note that “service fee” and “gratuity” are two different entities, though. The former usually goes straight to the company, whereas the latter is distributed among service staff.

There are some folks who maintain that if a person owns their own business, there’s no need to tip them since they’ve already charged what they wanted for their service. As a business owner, I think this is nonsense. The fees I charge are based on how much time I think I will invest in doing a particular event times an hourly rate I think is fair. If I go above and beyond a couple’s expectations, a tip on top of that amount is always appreciated. And I always try to exceed expectations.

With all of this said, there are still no official guidelines. In general, I’d definitely go with 15-20% for your hair stylist and make-up artist. Those are two of the most often tipped pros. If the gratuity is not already included in your catering bill, I’d also go for 20% of your food bill, to be split amongst the catering staff (host, waiters/waitresses, etc). Bartenders also deserve a tip, but if you intend to provide a tip, perhaps you could politely request that they not have a tip jar on the bar, to avoid double-tipping. Other folks to maybe tip include photographer, videographer, transportation, musician/DJ, officiant (often ends up being a donation to their place of worship), and planner. Alas, I cannot tell you exactly what to tip, since every single person tips differently. Give my best friend and me the exact same restaurant bill and we’ll likely tip the waiter a different amount. So, the exact amount is up to you, but if anyone goes above and beyond expectations, they deserve a little something extra.

As you likely are realizing, tipping really adds up! In addition to forking over some cash, another way to show your thanks is with gushing, enthusiastic reviews posted on sites like WeddingWire. If your vendors aren’t listed on any review sites, go ahead and email your appreciative feedback to them and give them permission to post it on their website (social media shout-outs are great, too!). Every review you give one of your vendors increases the odds that the next couple who comes along will hire them. And never underestimate the value of a well-written thank you note with an excellent photo of you and your new spouse. Trust me – vendors will be touched by the gesture. Especially if it’s accompanied by a glowing review. *Ahem.*

Which vendors are you planning to tip? Has the amount you’ll need for tips been a shock to your budget? Let us know in the comments below!

Our Readers Spill What They Wish They Knew On Their Big Day

While I never, ever want someone to regret their wedding day, like many other events in your life, there will be takeaways that you wish you had been able to implement. And, doing what we do here at The Broke-Ass Bride, we try to help — help with shopping, inspiration, tutorials, ideas and, of course, advice. Because we’ve been doing this for a minute (or, you know, since 2008), we know one of our most valuable resources is you, darlings. So, of course, we hollered out on our social media platforms to see what y’all had to offer up to our BABs-to-be.

What's the No. 1 thing you wish you had known before your wedding day

Timing is Everything:

 I wish I’d known just how fast the time would go by! I would have made the ceremony earlier so I could breathe!

- Ashleigh

[I] wish I knew I wouldn’t have time to speak to everyone “naturally”. I wish we had gotten up and walked around to each table during dinner and thanked everyone for coming.

- Tricia

That I really needed a timeline! Because of delays caused by other people, I was an hour late to my own wedding!

- Kimberly

Communication is Key:

I wish I would have known how to better communicate to my husband all of the things he needed to get done, without feeling like I was being a nag. I’d been telling him the whole time, but about three days before the wedding, he totally freaked out about how much he had to accomplish.

- Heather

Family First: 

I wish I’d better planned a moment with my dad before he walked me down the aisle.

- Stacie

Your family will expect certain things of you, but they won’t tell you directly. Make sure you communicate as well and concisely with them as possible to be clear about your intentions, and — especially to family — send thank-you notes. Your friends may be cool with less formality, but your family may not be.

- Christen

Make Good Choices:

Do not serve asparagus at your wedding…your bridesmaids will thank you later…. Lol

- Shane

[I wish I knew] How much actual work goes into the details. I’m not very detail oriented, and without a lot of help, things would have gone bad very quickly. … Realize that weddings make people planning/helping with them crazy, and try not to hold this craziness against them when all is said and done.

- Elizabeth

Remember What It’s All Really About: 

Every day since would be better and more important than the wedding day.

- Tyke

Despite what goes wrong, if you end up married to the person you love at the end of the day, the wedding was a success.

- Elizabeth

What about you, married BABs? Anything to add?

On Marriage: 15 Things I Would Go Back and Tell Myself Before Getting Married

A funny thing tends to happen, even if just momentarily (you know, before you snap back into real life) once that big ol’ sparkler lands on your finger: The party becomes the goal and we forget about what it all really means. I did. So when I read this piece on The Huffington Post and found myself nodding along in agreement, I knew that it might be something worth sharing. Guys, No. 6 is SUPER ESPECIALLY important. Trust me, OK?

On Marriage 15 Things I Would Go Back and Tell Myself Before Getting Married

Some of my children are getting to the age where they are beginning to think about marriage. Of course, I always try to project a few words of wisdom where they seem appropriate without saying too much. Even so, I think that as parents, we almost always say too much. I try to keep it to the point where though I might be irritating, I’m not damaging our relationship. If I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would make sure that I understood 15 different things about getting married.

  1. Marriage, if it’s done right, is for a long time. Make sure you’re doing something that will make you happy for a long time.
  2. Find someone who is accustomed to dealing with the same types of situations you are. If that’s where to go on your next cruise, so be it. If your history has been trying to figure out how to keep the utilities turned on, marry someone who can relate.
  3. As your relationship began to get serious, you were probably amazed that someone so awesome really cared about you. Marry someone who feels just as lucky because you care about them.
  4. Marry someone who believes in being fair. Be wary of those who claim to want things that aren’t very important to them, so they can give up inconsequential things when it comes down to compromising. Don’t expect your spouse to do things you aren’t willing to do and avoid anyone who expects you to do things that they wouldn’t do.
  5. It’s great if you can both get along with each other’s friends and family, but make sure you are both more committed to your own relationship than to other friends and family. (That includes children when and if they come.)
  6. Choose to spend your life with someone that you get along with. Arguments should be infrequent, and even if serious, they need to reach resolutions rather be ignored. You won’t get along with each other better simply because you get married. In fact, you probably won’t get along as well as you did before you got the certificate.

To continue reading the rest of the 15 Things, click on over to HuffPo.

Ask Heather: When’s the Right Time to Say Thank You?

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Image courtesy of Creature Comforts

Dear Heather,

I just got a notification that a wedding guest pledged a large amount of money towards my honeymoon fund registry. This person is a new friend of my fiance; I’ve only met them once. Do I thank them right away or just send a thank you after the wedding, which is in two months? Is it weird to call them now and thank them? I’m not sure about the “proper” way to go about this. If it were a close family member or close friend, I would feel more comfortable calling them right away to thank them, but I don’t know how to handle this particular situation.

Leia

Dear Leia,

I don’t know of anyone, anywhere, who would object to being thanked for a gift, nor do I think it’s possible to thank someone too soon. If you don’t know them well, though, it might be a little awkward for them to be called by you and thanked profusely. However, I see nothing at all wrong with having your fiance give them a call to say thanks.

Regardless of whether your fiance calls them or not, though, I suggest writing them a lovely thank you note tonight and mailing it as soon as possible. Make sure your fiance contributes to the note, since these are “his” people. This way, they know their contribution was received and appreciated, and you’ll have one fewer thank you to write after the wedding.

For other folks in a similar situation — I’m a huge fan of opening wedding presents as they are received and writing the notes right then. As I pointed out to Leia, it lets the gift givers know that their present was received, and it takes a task off of your to-do list for when you return from your honeymoon. I’m also in the “divide and conquer” camp when it comes to thank yous — if someone is closer to your future spouse than they are to you, hand over the pen. There’s no reason why one person should feel obligated to write every single note.

Did you open your presents the moment you received them? (If not, how could you resist?!) How did you handle the timing of your thank you notes? Let us know in the comments below!

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz: Managing Your Wedding Expectations & Owning The Wedding You Can Afford

Got a question for our wedding planning guru Heather? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

BAB Throwback: Ask Liz: Managing Your Wedding Expectations & Owning The Wedding You Can Afford

 

Via.

Dear Liz,

I really like the idea of asking a friend to be a stage manager for the wedding, or possibly hiring a professional as a day-of coordinator. The venue where we’re getting married has their person, who is the one managing both the catering and the venue logistics.  She said she wouldn’t recommend bringing a planner in, since they tend to be grumpy,  and she’s got it covered. Should I just trust that she’ll do what we want?  We have a meeting well ahead of the rehearsal to discuss exact timing for the ceremony, for example, and her staff will even set up all the centerpieces and escort cards if we leave them there. Or, should I risk stepping on her toes and bring in someone who’s just focused on us? Am I worrying too much, or should I just appreciate the level of service the venue is offering?

Signed, 

Day-of Dilemma

Dear Dilemma,

I’ve worked a few weddings where after a couple of meetings I kind of think, “Okay, well, why am I here?” And the answer is “insurance.”  Having someone there who, as you say, is just there for you, and be your advocate in case the things you’re really worried about (whatever those are) go wonky. You don’t want to worry about anything, you want to enjoy the day, and you feel that having her there will make that happen. From your venue manager’s perspective, however, that’s great as long as they aren’t going to question her at every turn or try and fix a system that’s not broken.  This is probably what she meant by the word “grumpy”! So, be very clear with your friend – if you do decide to “hire” her – as to what her responsibilities should be. I’d focus on three things: Vendor management on the day of, bridal and wedding party wrangling, and break-down – what needs to get tossed, sent back to whatever company it came from, or carried away by friends and family. That’s always a scramble at the end of the night, especially if you have a deadline to get out of the space. But, most of all, make sure she asks the venue coordinator how she can facilitate what is already being done. How can she help them help you?  That’s the way that everyone wins.

Dear Liz,

How do you manage inviting groups of people like colleagues, sports groups, etc, when some are close friends but you don’t really care about inviting some other members (and much less their partners who you’ve only met once and were incredibly rude)? How do you compromise between keeping an intimate atmosphere at your wedding and not ruining your life at work afterward?

Signed, 

Picking Teams

Dear Teams,

If you really, truly do not want someone at your wedding, do not invite them. It’s your wedding, you don’t have to make any excuses before or after, and you may be worried about expectations that they don’t even have. “If I invite one member of the soccer team, I have to invite them all.” No, you really don’t. For the most part, people know where they stand with you. But, if you feel that in your particular circumstance, it’s going to cause problems for you that you just don’t want to deal with, then you have to change the way you look at it: You invited them because you “had” to, but you don’t have to hang out with them all night. Like relatives you haven’t seen since you were 12, you can stick them in the corner, go by and say Hi at some point, and enjoy the rest of your wedding. But seriously, if you are going to resent that they are there at all, and that’s going to color how you feel about them on either side of your wedding day, DO NOT INVITE THEM. Now is the time to be honest with yourself.

Dear Liz,

My in-laws expect a very traditional wedding and with our current financial situation, we are in no place to pay for it. I’ve had to cut corners here and there to stay respectful, and also to keep up proper etiquette. Do you have any words of wisdom for dealing with pushy in-laws who refuse to offer any help or monetary contributions, just endless criticism?

Signed, 

A Pain in the MIL

Dear Pain,

Own your wedding: “I love what we have planned, this is the wedding that I want.” “But you need to have a four-tiered wedding cake! “No, I want cupcakes instead, and I love the ones from this bakery. This is exactly what I want.” And then, change the subject to something non-wedding related, or get away from them. You love your wedding, you love everything you have planned. “How could you like this?” “This is what I like.” Smile while you’re saying it. If they get belligerent, “I understand how you feel about it, but I don’t want that, this is what we’re doing, and I love it.”  Do NOT apologize, do not let the words “I’m sorry” cross your lips.  It makes you sound guilty, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. Do not say, “Well, it’s all we can afford,” because that could put them on defense and then you’ll never get rid of them ! Affirm what you’re doing, that you’re doing what you want, and then get the hell out of dodge.

How did you decide who to invite from your office? Are the parental units giving you a hard time about your wedding choices? Let us know (and feel free to vent your own wedding woes) in the comments below! And, if you’d like to find out a little more about me and my part of wedding world, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,