BRIDES AND BOUQUETS 2008
Trends and tips for the big day and beyond
By Nicole Reino
Copley News Service
A DRESS IS NOT JUST A DRESS
You hit all the bridal shops and then that one hits you -- the dress you envisioned. And, the price matches what you entered into column C on your Excel spreadsheet. The question is: Did you include alterations, cleanings, accessories and preservation in that wedding dress category?
If you didn't, it's time to go back to your budget and factor in those additions. These extra items can cost up to the same amount as the dress itself. It's better to consider them from the get-go than to break the bank in the end. (CNS)
Having your wedding at a venue that is not typically used for vows and tray-passed hors d'oeuvres is pretty common these days. I wouldn't go so far as to say guests expect you to forgo the church and hotel ballroom, but they're probably not going to be too shocked if you take your event off the beaten path. They will be shocked, however, if you forget about adequate lighting, seating and bathrooms.
If you plan on having your day in a spot that isn't set up for weddings, know that there will be additional logistics involved. You may need to rent power sources, restroom facilities, tables, chairs, glassware, silverware, linens and heat lamps. If you're getting married in a spot that contains historic artifacts or animals, liability insurance will be of utmost importance. And, if nearby parking is scarce, consider hiring a valet service. (CNS)
HAVE A PLAN B (C AND D)
When you begin planning a wedding, it's easy to completely focus (obsess) on Plan A. Plan A is the one you've dreamed about since long before you got engaged, put your deposit on and have nurtured like a newborn baby.
The problem with Plan A is that it's flawed. It's based on the idea that everything can be controlled.
While the chances of a natural disaster, such as a forest fire, might be small, you need to know what you would do in the event of one.
Think of Plan B (maybe even C and D) as an insurance plan -- something you won't likely use, but if you need to, you'll be glad you have. Having alternative plans for the major details such as the venue, officiant, food and transportation will save you a lot of stress if the worst-case scenario comes to life.
Consider the old saying, "Hope for the best, plan for the worst." That's not pessimistic, it's realistic. (CNS)
DON'T EXPECT PERFECTION
Nothing is perfect -- not even a wedding. Minor or not-so-minor, things will go wrong. The florist may show up two hours late; the ring bearer may throw a tantrum; the sky may open up; the officiant may call you and yours by the wrong names. Guess what? It's OK.
Even if a wedding could be perfect, flower arrangements and weather wouldn't make it so. Your wedding is about commitment to and love for each another.
As long as you and your spouse-to-be show up and say your vows, feel confident that your wedding was a success. (CNS)
BREAK THE KID-FREE NEWS POLITELY
It's OK to tell guests that their kids aren't invited to your wedding. But before you tell them, recall the saying you learned as a child: "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." Consider these tips:
-- Address the outer/inner envelopes of the invitations in a way that makes it clear children aren't included. For example, "Mr. and Mrs. Jim Klein" instead of "The Klein Family."
-- Tell your relatives and friends about the "no-kid policy" and have them spread the word.
-- Offer to help out-of-towners arrange for baby sitters at their hotels.
-- Whether the rule is "no kids" or "nobody under the age of 21," stand your ground and don't make exceptions. If someone asks if they can bring their 5-year-old along, courteously explain your preference.
-- Some people may decline the invitation to your wedding because their kids aren't invited. Understand and accept it.
Source: TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com (CNS)
In the past, cruises were often associated with retirees and senior citizens and overlooked by honeymooners. Today, newlyweds are realizing what a bargain and stress reliever cruises can be.
Unlike self-planned trips to the mainlands, cruises are fairly free of logistics. There are no rental cars, hotel rooms or doctorates in public transportation needed. The only thing to worry about is having enough expansion room on your belt and pants for the 18 meals a day you will consume.
But, hey, if you're like most couples, you probably didn't eat at your wedding or during the six months before the big day. A few trips to the buffet could do you some good. (CNS)
ALL RECEPTIONS NEED NOT BE EQUAL
Regularly attending weddings typically begins in one's mid-to-late 20s, when friends and family members of similar age start to tie the knot. After a while, all these weddings can run together. If you're currently planning a wedding, here's a way to reduce the "deja vu factor" in your guests: Personalize your reception.
If you and yours are avid ballroom dancers, hire a professional dancer to teach guests how to do the foxtrot during the cocktail hour. Or, if you're the couple known for having some killer vocals, why not set up a karaoke machine at the reception and let the guests have a go at it? Just remember: Allowing your friend who has had "a few too many" sing his rendition of R. Kelly's "Bump N' Grind" is not really appropriate when Grandma is in the room. (CNS)
INVITE WISELY AND COURTEOUSLY
When you sit down to write your guest list, don't censor yourself. Write down every person on the planet you'd like to attend your wedding. Now give yourself a reality check and write the guest list according to your target number (which will be determined by your budget and how many people the venue can hold). It's inevitable that you'll have to cut some people from the list. However, there's nothing wrong with creating an A list (those who must attend) and a B list (those you'd like to have attend but cannot extend an offer to in the first round).
Invite approximately 10 percent more guests than your target number because 10 percent to 20 percent of those invited will most likely decline. If it turns out that more people decline than originally anticipated, start inviting from the B list. A word of advice: Don't call the B-listers up and say, "You're second-round picks. Can you come to the wedding?" Politely send them invitations. If it's really close to the wedding, make a phone call and tell them how much it would mean to you if they were able to witness your special day. (CNS)
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