Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

Quickie Question: Best Advice? Worst Advice?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

When you’re getting married, there’s one thing there’s no shortage of: advice.

From magazines and TV shows to old friends to business associates to random strangers in the street, everyone’s got an opinion on the right and wrong way to do things. And the sight of an engagement ring or that Google search you did on local venues is enough to make most of them think you want to hear their opinion.

You’ll find a lot of chaff among the wheat. I have known people who were advised to avoid things that mattered to them or have things they can’t stand. I was personally advised that my marriage would be doomed if it wasn’t performed by a clergyperson… never mind that I was an atheist and Mr. Twistie was more of a teetering agnostic. Nineteen years later, we still don’t believe in or follow any organized religion and spend little time worrying about an afterlife. Also? We’re still very much happily married. My feeling is that shared beliefs, or at minimum a strong understanding of and respect for differing beliefs is a lot more important than what the specific beliefs are.

I was also advised variously to have a cash bar (I don’t charge my friends for drinks at my party), ignore the needs of known vegetarians coming to my wedding (which, as it happens, included the Matron of Honor and her husband), make Mr. Twistie have a wedding ring and force him to wear it to prove he’s married, and to hire a DJ to play out in the woods with no electricity source because it’s less hassle than a live band.

Yeah, those things were not happening.

But among all that chaff, there really was some wheat to be found, too.

The three best pieces of advice I got were:

1) Keep your sense of humor handy.
2) Something will go wrong, but it’s only a disaster if you let it be one.
3) Remember that there will be other, better days in the future.

What about all of you? Have you gotten a particularly ghastly piece of advice? One that might be good if you were having a very different wedding? One that was truly helpful?

Tell me all about it!

It’s Okay To Enjoy This

Friday, September 28th, 2012

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.

Getting As Close As You Can to What You Want

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

There are times in the wild and wooly roller coaster ride known as wedding planning when finding the sweet spot between what you want, what you can afford, and how much things cost can feel a bit like this:

Or even this:

Frankly, it’s not easy to find a balance, and the tighter your budget the smaller the window you have to try to fit through.

Still there are things you can do, both in allocating your funds well and in vendor negotiation, that will help you wriggle through with a minimum of misery, embarrassment, and red ink. Read on to find out what to do… and what not to do.

Tasty Is Always In Good Taste

Friday, September 14th, 2012

This is a pretty typical wedding meal. Hunk of meat, blop of starch, spears of veggies.

Is there anything wrong with that? Not really. It’s all edible, it’s all reasonably safe. Done well it can even be quite delicious. But is it truly what you want to serve?

I think that’s a question that just doesn’t get asked enough in bridal circles. You go to have a tasting with the caterer, and chances are you’ll be offered a red meat option, a chicken or fish option, and – if you ask for one – a vegetarian option. The meat will have sauce. The vegetables will be the currently popular ones. The veggie option will almost inevitably be pasta based.

Again, nothing wrong with that. I’ve eaten dozens of such meals and lived to tell the tale. But what if it doesn’t meet your needs or your tastes?

Before you accept the expected, sit down and think about how you want to feed your guests. Really consider whether you want to serve standard options or whether you want to do something else. After all, if you’re committed vegetarians, do you really want to serve meat at your wedding? Are you a carnivore who believes your vegetarian friends deserve more than a stuffed mushroom and some tomato-sauced penne for dinner? Is there nothing you hate more in life than steaks and chicken breasts, but nothing you love more than cheeseburgers? Do you fear losing your foodie rep if you serve the same old, same old? Do you hail from a cultural background where the old standards of USAian wedding food would cause nothing but confusion and consternation from your family and guests?

And if you decide the standard is not for you… what the heck do you do next?

Do Your Bridal Dreams Still Fit You?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

We all have childhood dreams. Many of us had dreams as children about being brides. Not every girl dreams of that, certainly, but I would guess that a strong majority do.

Some of those dreams are still strong and vital when we do grow up and find the person we plan to spend our lives with. Others… not so much. It never crossed my mind as a child that one could marry without a veil, and I think my seven-year-old wedding gown dreams included a lot more skirt and a lot more sparkle that I would ever have tolerated at thirty, when I did tie the knot.

When I dreamed of my wedding back in the late seventies, I saw the men in flowing poet’s blouses. In the early nineties when I did the deed, they all wore various versions of tuxes except for one of my brothers and my father who were decked out in their kilts. Nary a poet’s blouse in sight. Okay, one, under my brother’s corduroy jerkin worn with the kilt. Otherwise… not so much.

As a child I dreamed that everything would simply magically appear at the right moment. As an adult, I built that wedding by hand from scratch over the course of a year and a half, carefully counting every penny along the way. The closest thing to magic was how delightful the day wound up being with my closest friends on hand, talented and low-key professionals taking care of the couple things I couldn’t do by myself, good food, and a very reality-grounded dream coming true.

So when I read The Bride I (Never) Wanted to Be at the Etsy Wedding Blog, I felt a kinship with Meg Keene, the author and blogger of A Practical Wedding.

Sign Me Up

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

(Illustration by Ryan Ray Photogtaphy via Style Me Pretty)

There are a lot of details involved in planning a wedding. You’ve got to worry about clothes, venues, menus, flowers, chairs, linens, vows, organizing attendants, music, favors, decorations… the list goes on and on.

But have you considered signage?

After all, you have people coming from far away who don’t know where your reception hall is, and it can be hard to pull over and consult the little map that came with the invitation when you’re not sure whether you’ve made a wrong turn or not. A few pretty pointers with balloons and/or crepe paper ribbons in your wedding colors will help people know they’re going the right way. Of course it never hurts to have your names and the date on there, too, in case someone else is getting married around the same spot or one of the signs is missed when the clean up crew goes to take them down again.

(Illustration via Rustic Wedding Chic)

Once you get to the wedding itself, there are still good reasons for signage.

Good Advice for All Of Us, Not Just Introverts

Friday, August 31st, 2012

I’m going to come right out and say something I don’t very often: I’m an introvert.

I’m not shy, really. I have no problem getting up in front of a crowd to sing, act, dance, or get married. In point of fact, I’m also a bit of a show off, so many people don’t twig to the fact that I’m also profoundly introverted.

I need time alone or I rapidly become irritable. I have been known to shoo even my nearest and dearest and Mr. Twistie from the room when I need that alone time.

But the fact is that weddings – you knew I’d get around them them eventually, right? – are rough on introverts in a lot of ways. Why? Because there are so darn many people involved, and they all want your attention right now.

If you’re an introverted person getting married, or you know and love someone who is, please do yourself a favor: head over to A Practical Wedding and read this lovely guest post on how to survive your wedding week as an introvert. It’s good advice that’s valuable even to a non-extrovert who might get overwhelmed.