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How (and Why) to Chill Out for Your Wedding


See Natalie Nunn. See Natalie Nunn throw things – hissey fits in particular – at her wedding. See what a bad idea that is.

I had – blessedly – never heard of Natalie Nunn before she showed up on Bridezillas. For two weeks now she’s been screaming on my television about how she shouldn’t have to pay for her wedding because she’s rich and famous and has people pay her to show up at parties… and there’s another week with the actual wedding to go.

She also, apparently, doesn’t have a clue what a wedding reception is.

She’s actually not the worst person on the show this season. It’s true. There was the woman on the Bridezillas staff who threw her dog (and real soulmate!) into the wedding cake because she was honked off that her groom had bought a birthday cake from a grocery store bakery section, scraped off the Happy Birthday, and written an apology on it.

Yeah, tell me that wasn’t scripted… which only makes it worse.

But this article really isn’t about Bridezillas or trying to figure out who was the worst of the worst of the season. It’s about the thing that makes so many of these women entirely lose their minds (well, in the actual spontaneous moments of the show) and make other brides and grooms all over the world lose their collective marbles whilst planning their weddings: stress.
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Good Advice and Bad Advice About Money


It ought to go without saying that all wedding budget advice is not created equal. That certainly is the case when the question is who is going to pay for what!

Just this morning I felt myself compelled to read an article at Gal Time about the ‘new rules’ for who pays for what.

The author of the piece, Analorena Zeldon, consulted two experts, Andria Lewis (wedding planner with fifteen years’ experience) and Jodi RR Smith (author and etiquette expert) about how couples should broach the divvying up of expenses between themselves and their parents.

On the upside, the article not only assumes the couple will take some responsibility for some expenses themselves (and has a convenient breakdown of who pays for what when the two of you are paying for it all), but also that the bride’s parents might choose for a variety of reasons to opt out entirely.
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It’s Okay To Enjoy This

As I was meandering the wedding blogs, I ran across this entry at A Practical Wedding and realized that I know precisely how this lady felt.

Sometimes between the Wedding Industrial Complex and the Strip It All Down Gang, it can be hard to strike a balance between not going broke and admitting you’d like something that resembles the sort of wedding you’ve been dreaming of, even if it doesn’t involve mason jars in a field.

But the truth is you’re the ones getting married. You’re the ones who are going to look back at the photos and you’re the ones who have to love what you do.

Planning a wedding isn’t an easy thing, necessarily. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of things turn out to have hidden meanings for a lot of people. And yes, there will be times when you probably get extremely frustrated with some aspect or another of the work involved. It isn’t always fun.

But if you aren’t enjoying any of it, if it is making you frustrated all the time or if you begin to think one more mention of signature drinks or orders of ceremony will make you explode… then it’s time to take a good, long look at what you’re doing and why.

Because the truth is that this should mostly be a happy time. This should mostly be a happy process. If it is constantly making you crazy or unhappy, then you’re not doing it the right way for you.

Finding your way may wind up annoying or upsetting or just plain confusing other people. But you know what? That’s okay, too. Why? because you’re the one getting married, not them. Let them find their own way when the time comes or have their fond memories of how they did it. You don’t have to apologize for choosing to go glam or hire a planner to do most of the work or spend weeks making fiddly bits to go in mason jars in your field of dreams.

If you have the money, the time, and the will to do it that way – whatever way that is – then you go right ahead and do it.

Why? Because this is how you want to do it. Because this is how you will get the maximum enjoyment out of the process. And this is how you will be as relaxed as possible when the moment comes to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

So enjoy… your way.

Kid Week: Keeping Small Guests Happy

Welcome to day four of Kid Week at Manolo for the Brides! Enjoy your stay.


(Illustration via Yuba City Wedding Photography)

There’s an art to keeping wedding guests happy, but it’s really not that difficult once you know the trick: think like a guest. Think about what has made you feel welcomed and happy, and then do those sorts of things. Think about what made you feel bored, confused, or unwelcome and avoid those things. It isn’t 100% foolproof, of course, since where one person finds something charming and inviting… another finds it hokey or off-putting. Still, thinking of the comfort of other people puts you well ahead of the game. A much higher percentage of people will come away having enjoyed themselves if you’ve made their happiness a priority.

The thing is, that goes double with children.

They’re smaller, so their physical needs may be more demanding. They have less patience and stamina, so one needs to consider pacing and opportunities for rest. They’re less experienced, so their concerns about things that are too unfamiliar need to be addressed.

But don’t panic. A few simple choices can help you make sure even your youngest guests feel welcome and special.
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How to Cope With and Reduce Wedding Stress


Planning and throwing a wedding is a stressful thing to do.

You’re making a major life change and throwing what will mostly likely be the biggest, most elaborate party of your life, and doing both while navigating huge, conflicting expectations from the most important people in your life.

No wonder a lot of brides have meltdowns and so many grooms shy away from doing more than saying ‘yes, dear’ in the planning stages!

Nevertheless, it is actually possible to reduce the stress involved and even have a really good time planning and attending your own wedding. And as it would happen, I have a few suggestions.
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Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Find Me a Photographer


This is the gypsy matchmaker from The Sims 2. Give her enough money, and she’ll find your Sim a life partner to make him or her happy. If you don’t have the simoleans for that, though, you can purchase a vial of Love Potion 8.5 to give your Sim a leg up in any potentially romantic situation.

But if you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’ve already found that certain, special someone. What you need is a little help finding the right vendors to make your day everything you’ve dreamed of.

OneWed.com has been helping couples find those vendors for some time now, but they’ve just launched an intriguing new free Matchmaker function called MatchMake.

You simply answer a set of questions about your wedding as regards the aspect you’re looking for help in (venue, catering, photography, transportation, etc.), and it pops out a list of vendors that best match your needs.

For instance, last night I sat down and played with the venue selection to see what I came up with. I gave them some real challenges (venues that feature purple, outdoor museum space, room for 150 for $500 or less) and they managed to come through with some options that – while not exact – did feature a fair number of the aspects I asked for. And I did some runs on the catering options, too, with similar results.

I really appreciated the fact that the questions included some fairly non-traditional options in the answer pool. For one thing, the religious affiliation question included the options of ‘atheist’ ‘Pastafarian’ and ‘Scientologist’ as well as more traditional possibilities such as ‘Catholic’ ‘Jewish’ or ‘Hindu’. Also, you could choose up to three. Options for the mood of your venue included things like ‘quirky’ as well as ‘romantic.’

All in all, I found this an encouraging place to look for the right vendors when you don’t know where to start.

The downside? Well, thus far it only shows vendors for the New York and Chicago areas. Bummer for those of you getting married in Maine or Texas. Still, as I said, this is a new program. I fully expect it to expand.

In the meantime, the site as a whole is brimming over with inspiration and options for the rest of us, including lists of local vendors in all walks of wedding planning, complete with user reviews. It just doesn’t weed out the ones that won’t work for you at all. Yet.

Who’s In Charge?


When it comes to planning a wedding, everyone has an opinion.

You may be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t get a lot of unsolicited advice or unreasonable demands from friends and family… but what if you’re not so lucky? Who has what rights in these questions? What can you do about it?
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