Ten Rules to Live By

Advice for brides while planning a wedding.

by HCTG staff writer Patrick Totty

1. Remember, your mother is only a temporary enemy.

Ben Janken Fine PhotographyAt times it may seem like your mother’s desires are not aligned with yours, and that she has completely lost sight of the fact that this is your wedding. Don’t despair. Eventually, because she is an oxygen breather like you, she will inhale that big gulp of air and calm down. When she does, take a deep breath yourself. Then you can begin restoring the natural balance between you, going from Raving Neurotic Bitch Dictator vs. Resentful Trembling 3-Year-Old back to Loving Mother and Competent Daughter. One day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, you can sit down to afternoon tea and laugh your butts off over the whole thing.

2. Have a little respect for Daddy’s credit card.

Someone has to pay for the most important day of your life, and if that person happens to be your father, don’t max out his credit card just because you can. After all, if you don’t leave him enough money for his retirement, he might have to come live with you!

3. Stick to recognizable food and your reception will go well.

“Recognizable” doesn’t mean you can’t slip in a little tofu or some whole grains. Just make sure that whatever you’re serving looks familiar enough to eat. Avoid questionable presentations (hmmm, perhaps that salmon mousse does look a little off-putting with the fish head and tail attached), anything with tentacles, and sauces that have been color-enhanced to match the mauve tablecloths.

4. If you feel you must invite old boyfriends, invite only the ones who can’t attend.

Ponder this one, grasshopper. There is great wisdom here.

5. Don’t forget: that man in the corner is your fiancé.

While you may have intended to plan the entire wedding yourself, consider including him in the process. Because he loves you, he’ll tag along with you to the florist, caterer, photographer and wedding planner. And because he loves you, he’ll forgive you for saying stream-of-consciousness things like, “Oh honey don’t you just love this it’s so adorable how does it look on me oooh I just have to have it!” Even though he probably won’t share your boundless enthusiasm for picking out party favors or linens, he’ll do what he can—chauffeur you around and say “uh-huh” a lot, despite the fact that he really doesn’t understand much of what’s going on.

6. It’s OK to wear comfortable shoes under your long wedding gown.

Really, nobody will ever know if you wear flats. People will say your gait is remarkably relaxed and that you look radiant (who wouldn’t be radiant when her toes have been liberated from pointy pearl-encrusted torture devices?) You can always change into your stilettos for the garter ceremony, where tradition requires only a brief exposure of your shapely leg and prettily clad foot. Once the garter ritual is over, you can revert to your comfy footwear, having completely avoided any podiatric pain.

7. Be realistic—most men won’t care if your tablecloths are seafoam or sage.

With the exception of No. 4 (which only your fiancé would really care about anyway), try to remember that fussing over a wedding is mostly a girl thing. It’s not that guys don’t appreciate the effort or the symbolism, it’s just that they know they’re nowhere near as good at weddings as women are. If your husband-to-be really isn’t interested in becoming your planning assistant, don’t call off the wedding. After all, this may be the one time in your mate’s life when he’s willing to concede expertise to somebody who’s more qualified.

8. Never hire a wedding planner whose accent intimidates you.

Even worse, don’t hire one you can’t understand. Remember Martin Short’s heavily accented wedding planner in Father of the Bride? Nobody could quite figure out what he was saying and everyone was too cowed to ask. They gave him carte blanche and he did deliver a gorgeous wedding, but he also took the parents to the cleaners in the process.
So beware of relinquishing total control to the coordinator, or you might end up with just the trip to the cleaners.

9. Don’t write your own vows unless you’ve won a Pulitzer.

Millions of people spent hundreds of years reaching agreement on the “in sickness and in health” stuff. But, if you must boldly go where most women haven’t gone before, make sure you: 1) Don’t use “really, really, really” as a way of expressing intensity; 2) try not to say “I,” “me” or “my” more than 80 times as it will set off alarm bells in your groom’s mind; 3) keep the speech under 45 minutes because some guests will need a bathroom break after all that champagne.

10. This is about more than just you.

Marriage is a public celebration that involves you, the man you marry and both of your worlds. As much as your nearest and dearest care about the artfulness of your event, they care even more about having a meaningful experience. If you smile and roll gracefully with the punches on your Big Day, everyone will bask in your graciousness and go home savoring the lovely time they had.

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