Survival Hints

Survival Hints
THE ONE THING I LEARNED (July/August 2009) decided to ask just-married Brides and Grooms what advice they would give to a Bride and Groom who were getting married. Their answers surprised us with their insights from their experiences. Enjoy what they shared with us “the one thing I learned”.

“Don’t obsess about making everything perfect. The day will be perfect on its own. A week before the wedding, the site for our after-party canceled, but we found a place that was better than the first. Things might not work out the way you want, but they’ll probably work out better.” – Stefanie L.

“Realize that every seemingly little thing takes lots of time, energy, and money. We wanted to make gift bags for our guests’ hotel rooms. It sounded like a simple idea, but it quickly got crazy. First, we wanted them to look a certain way. Then the hotel wanted to charge to put them in the rooms. Even making a list of the top-five restaurants in the area became a big project. We needed 25 bags – it adds up.” – Jeff C.

“Involve your family in the planning and the whole process will become more special and relaxing. Our wedding was only family, and we all got there early to spend time together on my friend’s ranch. The weather was so nice, and we were all having such a good time horseback riding and playing croquet that on the day before, we changed the time of the wedding from noon to five in the afternoon. That’s how relaxed it was, and it was great.” – Laura G.

“Don’t think conventionally when it comes to the bachelor party. Some friends and I went to Yucatán for a week. We spent six days traveling through the ruins, and it was an amazing way to get my mind of the details of planning, as well as just a great life experience. The best parts were the talks we had over beers – about life, the future, marriage. You don’t get time to bond with your friends like that every day.” – Michael M.

“As soon as we decided to have the wedding at my dad’s home, my fiancé and I and his parents visited them for the weekend so that they could see the site and get excited. It was my dad’s territory, but my fiancé’s family was able to adopt the location too and imagine how the wedding would be. It made planning together more fun.” – Cathy C.

“It was important to us to take the week off before the wedding, to get ready and spend time with our families. But we both run businesses and we just couldn’t take off weeks at a time. So we went on our honeymoon six months after the wedding and it worked out great. We had time to really settle into married life before we took of for our trip. When we finally went to Las Vegas, we were totally relaxed and able to enjoy it.” – Mark S.

“I never thought I’d get married again! Remember that the most important thing is patience. No matter what happens. Even if you disagree, don’t get mad, because you love each other – and that is all that counts.” – Betty CH.

The Calm Before the Storm (July/August 2009)

It’s your wedding day. In mere hours you will be walking down the aisle to exchange vows with your groom. It’s critical as you prepare for that magical moment that you surround yourself with serenity, unconcerned about the behind-the-scene activities that are taking place. Though other folks are hustling and bustling, scurrying around making sure the flowers are in place, or that the wedding cake is in perfect condition on the table, or with the musicians arriving setting up their equipment, you yourself are calm and poised. Here are some hints how to make sure that happens.

First, limit the number of people that are allowed in your dressing room. Keep the list to your bridesmaids, flower girl, parents and the photographer. (And of course, the hair-stylist and cosmetologist should their services have been retained.) It may seem a bit difficult as everyone wants to see you before the wedding starts. Out-of-town relatives may want to pop in to say hi, or there’s a snag in the set-up preparations that needs a quick decision. The last thing you should be doing is meeting all these well-meaning – and loved – people or handling the last-minute problems that can occur.

Designate your Maid of Honor as the keeper of the door. After all, that’s one of the reasons she’s your Maid of Honor, to help you during the hectic-ness of the day. Let her be the one to graciously explain to visitors that you’re in the midst of getting ready and that you look forward to talking to them after the ceremony. If there are problems, have your Maid of Honor – or parent – help un-snafu whatever has occurred. After all, this is your day and their presence is what is needed to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Make sure you have food and non-alcoholic beverages (preferably water) available in your dressing room. It’s important that you have snacks to nibble on, whether it’s high protein energy bars or an assortment fruit, cheese and crackers. You don’t want to be light-headed from not eating, no matter how nervous your tummy might be.

Though your hair and makeup are done, don’t put on your wedding gown until 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. That way should there be any spills of food or drink, it will be on your robe and not your gown.

Have a comfortable chair to sit in so that you’re not perched upon a stool. You need to be able to lean back and rest your shoulders from any tension build-up. Bring your favorite CD’s and CD player. There’s nothing better to sooth frazzled nerves than listening to music that you enjoy.

Stressed Out Bride Survival Guide (March, 2006)

Welcome to one of the most wonderful, strange, fabulous, and weirdest stages of your life. Your engagement. To paraphrase Dickens, it can be the best of times and it can be the worst of times. You’re ready to start your happily-forever-after and yet you still have to make it through this not-yet-spouses limbo period. That means anywhere from six to twelve months or more of planning, preparation, fighting, crying, and dealing with family dynamics. Sounds awful? Not if you follow advice. We say, “Go ahead, enjoy your engagement. We dare you!”

If planning your wedding is consuming your every waking thought, you may be jeopardizing your relationship, friendships or work. If you’re obsessing over the napkin colors or the filling flavor of your wedding cake, it’s time to slow down, take a deep breath and relax. Here are some ways that will help you maintain your perspective.

  • Don’t feel you have to take everyone’s advice. Be gracious when someone offers their 2¢ worth of unsolicited advice but don’t commit. Instead of saying no and getting into a heated discussion, just cock your head slightly, raise your eyebrow and say, “Hmmm, that’s a thought. It sounds like a good idea. I’ll have to think about it.” Then, go ahead and do what you were planning to do anyway.
  • Surround yourself with positive energy. Call your best girlfriend for an impromptu lunch or night out with the strong rule established before of “no wedding talk”. On the other hand, should you be having problems with a demanding bridesmaid, stay clear of her for a while.
  • Pick your battles. It’s the best way to limit outside stress. Don’t make a big deal out of every thing. Agonizing over every little detail puts you under way too much stress.
  • Don’t be a superwoman. Take on less as your wedding day approaches. Don’t volunteer for any extra work assignments or decide to take on hosting a good friend’s baby shower. Let someone else do it. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service for your home and order take-out meals. Why worry about dust balls when you have place cards to tackle?
  • Do get plenty of exercise. Aside from all its other benefits, exercise is one of the best ways to shift a stressed-out mind. Instead of running away, enjoy a brisk jog instead. Imagine yourself literally sweating out your stress.
  • Set aside two-of-you-together time. Have a once-a-week date with your fiancé. He could be starting to feeling neglected or that the wedding means more to you than he does. Reassure him that he’s still number one in your life by enjoying some special romance time together.
  • Plan in spurts. Feeling energetic? Get tons of planning tasks and errands done in one action-packed planning weekend, then take a couple of weeks off.
  • Don’t jeopardize your job. Research vendors through their websites when you’re at home, not work. Employers have ways of tracking what you’re doing online. Have vendors reply to your email inquiries to your personal e-address. If you call, leave a detailed phone message and ask that they call you back on your cell or at home at a particular time.
  • Don’t do everything during your lunch hour. Arrange vendor meetings on weekends or after work.
  • Don’t investigate every wedding planning option out there. Oh, we know. You believe you’re being diligent by cruising the bridal shows and picking up every piece of literature offered. Then what? Are you planning to call all those people for appointments or price quotes? Waste of time! Be choosy; ask two to five recently married women who their top pros were and call those.
  • Take one friend bridesmaid-dress shopping. You may think that shopping with all your girls makes you kind and inclusive, but unless you’re all on the same page style-wise, you’re just setting yourself up for a shopping trip fraught with different opinions. Instead, take one trusted pal on a series of initial dress-shopping forays. The rest of the crew can come on a final buying trip. This is not to say that you should become a bridal diva – do give them a couple of options in an acceptable range. Everyone will be happier. Trust us.
  • Get ready in relative solitude. Perhaps you’ve imagined a host of helpers when you get dressed. Save the sorority soiree for the dance floor. Very likely, this will be the only quiet time of the day you will have. Pick and choose whom you want near you at this critical time.

Editor’s Note: Do you have any survival hints of your own? Write to us and we’ll post it on