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Advice | Manolo for the Brides - Part 10
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Sometimes You Just Have to Roll With the Punches

Something goes wrong at every wedding. Sometimes it’s something small, like an inopportune sneeze in the middle of the vows. Sometimes it’s something huge, like the caterer or the florist disappearing at the last minute. And sometimes it’s a photo op gone really, really wrong!

In the middle of this photoshoot, taken by Jeff Hayford and posted on reddit.com, the bridal party had gone out on a small pier for a formal shot, when the pier collapsed.

Nobody was hurt, but that’s one unforgettable wedding album this couple has. Go check out the photos. They’re priceless. If nothing else, they’ll certainly put any wedding day disaster you’ve been fearing into perspective!

Keeping a Sober Head at Your Reception

You’ve spent the last year arguing with vendors, wrangling wayward bridesmaids, stretching an inadequate budget, tying tiny ribbons on things it’s entirely possible nobody but you will notice, and generally hovering on the precipice of your nineteenth nervous breakdown. Now it’s time to party!

But after all of this effort, you really don’t want to spend your wedding night getting plastered. Well, maybe you do, but if that’s the case, just move along, nothing to see here. If, on the other hand, you have concerns about overdoing the festivities and don’t like that idea, just follow me after the cut for some sage advice on how to have a great time but still keep your head at your wedding.

Five Tips to Keep Your Budget Out of the Red

Finish this sentence:

A) is the root of all evil
B) makes the world go around
C) makes my head spin like the girl in The Exorcist
D) changes everything

Chances are if you’re in the throes of planning a wedding budget – or trying to stick to one – you’re rapidly learning it doesn’t go as far as you’d like it to. With the national wedding budget average hovering in the neighborhood of twenty grand, and some regions (New York and San Francisco, I’m looking at you) breaking into hysterical laughter at the concept that someone could ever throw a wedding on such a paltry sum, it’s easy to assume that you’ll need a sudden lottery jackpot win, or at least a hefty personal loan, to get you to the alter in reasonable financial shape.

Look, I’m not going to sugar coat this. If you don’t have a lot of cash, then it’s a lot harder to put on a significant wedding bash. Everything from clothes to party decorations to food to facility rental costs money. Some of these things may seem to cost more than they’re worth. But there are ways to help you have the wedding of your dreams without winding up in huge amounts of debt. And I’m going to share five of these tips right now.

The Only “Wedding Must-Have” Is Love (and Sometimes Refreshments, Too)

Obviously, I am down with wedding planning books – I even wrote one myself, hint hint – but sometimes when I am flipping through one* I just want to toss the darn thing across the room. The same goes for bridal magazines, and I am sometimes even tempted to chuck my laptop when reading wedding blogs. Why? Because of all the wedding must-haves. The must-have wedding accessories. Must-have bridal beauty products. The must-have entertainment and food and stationery. What do all these things have in common? Apparently, you MUST have them. I’m not sure what happens if you don’t have them, but I can just imagine all the poor brides-to-be who were too scared to find out!

Poo poo to that, I say. Perhaps you’ve noticed a distinct lack of ‘must haves’ here at Manolo for the Brides, and there’s a good reason for that. We’re just not big believers in must-haves, and not simply because our must-haves will no doubt be different from your must-haves and her must-haves and his must-haves. Even among couples, there are clashes when must-haves come up.

Found elsewhere but I think these came froim http://www.thegirlandboy.com

That’s why today, instead of showing you a dress or a wedding cake or some other nuptially-themed doo dad that someone, somewhere is probably telling you that you must have, I just want to remind you that the only real wedding must-haves are LOVE and, if you’re having guests, REFRESHMENTS. I say if, because it’s entirely possible to have a wedding sans wedding guests, and then as long as you’re paying your officiant and not asking him or her to stick around and watch you dance, you’re off the hook when it comes to feeding anyone other than yourselves. And you might not be all that hungry. So mostly love. Heck, even the officiant is not technically a must-have, since not everyone craves a legal wedding – maybe in your tradition, the one you just made up maybe, you just look at your honey and both say “We’re married!” three times and then you are. It’s not for me to say you’re not!

What “wedding must-haves” have you scratching your soon-to-be-veiled/coiffed/otherwise adorned head?

*Yes, I do this, and I consider it a perk of my profession. So there. Oh, P.S., the original source for the pic above said the invites were a combo of personalized designs and stuff from Wedding Paper Divas, who I love.

Quick Tip: Don’t Forget Your Wedding DAY Timeline

What comes next? People are starting to complain! How did I even get here?

Brides lucky enough to have a full-time planner handling the big day deets and those who’ve hired wedding day coordinators can stop reading because they don’t have to worry about who needs to be where when. The rest of us? Need a plan. And that plan is the wedding day timeline – not to be confused with the wedding planning timeline – a list of happenings, times, and possibly people that gives you a general outline of how the wedding day will play out.

While some couples play it fast and loose with the wedding day timeline, some wedding day timelines are broken down in five minute increments. Especially during the reception when you may be moving from first dance to father-daughter dance to mother-son dance to dinnertime pretty quickly. This will help you and your wedding party keep it together, of course, but it will also be helpful for your mc so she or he doesn’t miss any cues.

Why do so many people forget about the wedding day timeline? Probably because we do – and by we, I mean wedding experts. We get so immersed in the planning side of things that we forget that the planning is leading up to an actual event that also needs attention. So that’s my tip: Make sure that you either make yourself a wedding day timeline spreadsheet in advance of the big day or choose a wedding planning workbook (like the Ultimate Wedding Workbook) that includes one!

Pretend the Wedding Is On a Wednesday

Wedding day stress is inevitable, or so people say. After all, it’s weddings that make perfectly lovely women turn into bridezillas. Weddings bring out the worst in people. Wedding vendors are all out to get you. Something terrible will go wrong. Men hate weddings. Or so people say, right to your face when you’re planning a wedding and just looking for some support or a little enthusiasm. Not me or Twistie, but definitely lots of people – probably the same people who, when they hear you’re pregnant, start ranting about how they tore from HERE all the way to HERE. Right.

Skip the stress by fudging your internal deadline

Here’s a wonderful antidote to wedding day stress that came up in a recent Brides.com post: Pretend your wedding is on a Wednesday. In other words, check off as many wedding planning to-dos before the Wednesday that’s before your wedding. Do the things that most brides and grooms do on Thursdays and Fridays before Saturday weddings on Mondays and Tuesdays. It’s probably one of the best wedding planning tips I’ve ever read. It’s the easiest way to make sure that on the night before your wedding, the only thing you have to worry about is getting a good night’s sleep.

Wedding Maps and Getting to the Church (or Whatever) On Time

Even if you’ve planned everything perfectly down to the tiniest detail, your wedding day isn’t going to go smoothly if you can’t actually get to the ceremony or the reception. Some locales have more complicated layouts than others, construction and road closures can screw up the best laid plans, and some addresses are just plain difficult to find. You may be surprised at how difficult your venues are to find for your wedding guests – or even your limo driver! Knowing where you’re going and what’s local can make your wedding day that much less stressful for you and your guests.

How can they have closed every road leading to the chapel?!

Wedding Directions Aren’t Just for Guests
Maybe you’re getting married in your hometown, but lots of couples don’t. And to those brides and grooms I say do a few test runs so you know the lay of the land. Do you know how to get to your ceremony venue? Can you navigate from the ceremony space to the reception venue? Even in the event of a road closure? If you needed to send out your MOH for emergency, last minute supplies, could you tell her how to get to an ATM, a drug store, or a florist’s shop? Unless you just can’t get there prior to the big day – because you’re having a destination wedding, etc. – drive around the locale you’re getting married in until you no longer need a map.

Will Your Wedding Maps Be Accurate?
Speaking of maps, have you actually driven the routes you’re suggesting your wedding guests take from the ceremony to the reception? As mentioned above, if you can, get in the car and check the accuracy of your directions before printing them up and putting them in your wedding invitations. When that isn’t possible, is there someone local who can do it for you? Couples having destination weddings may be able to call their venues to confirm the accuracy of directions. Don’t assume that your limo driver will be 100% sure where your wedding venue is – your knowing how to get there may make all the difference!

Your Wedding Maps Are Here – Double Check Them
You’ve driven around the city or town where your wedding will be held. You’ve driven the routes that make up your wedding directions. And now your wedding maps have finally arrived! Time to assemble your wedding invitations? Not quite. First, you need to proof your wedding map one last time. Mistakes happen! For example, my wedding invitation proof were error-free, but my wedding invitations arrived in the mail with a really lame typo. Your wedding maps may contain some slight oops, and reputable companies will replace them for free as long as you catch the error.

What steps are you taking (or did you take) to ensure your wedding guests can find your ceremony and reception?

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