Whose wedding is it, anyway?

No family is without a couple of strongly opinionated members, and the bride doesn’t even have to be one of them to create a lot of wedding drama. Mothers and siblings also seem to up the ante on everything from guest list and budget to the color of table linens. Fathers aren’t exempt from creating tension, either. There are all kinds of expectations about the style of the ceremony and who gets to be in the wedding party. And even siblings will find themselves vying over wedding dates, who gets married first, and their parents financial resources.
As we move closer to our wedding, more and more of these issues are making themselves apparent. For the most part, though, my family is very understanding of my limitations, and I am of theirs. I’d like to think I’m pretty no-nonsense about our plans. And where I can be flexible, I think I allow others to give me their input.
On the other side of the coin, I know there are a LOT of brides facing moms who have already decided many details of their daughter’s wedding without their input. Sometimes they are insisting they cut back, but just as often they want something far more extravagant than the bride is comfortable with. And there is the ever-present “bridezilla” who will have this wedding her way no matter what. They are known to trample all over their family’s, friend’s and even fiance’s feelings and budgets.
A lot of brides are at a loss for how to deal with all the unwanted input, and each case is different. If the bride and groom are paying for (almost) everything themselves, they should get the final say. But it’s always important to try to accommodate whenever possible. Good manners go a long way.
If parents are putting up the majority of the budget, well it’s only fair to assume that they’ll want a little more control over where the money is spent. In this case it’s EXTREMELY important for the bride & groom to communicate their vision so they don’t feel run over by an overly eager Mother of the Bride or Future Mother-in-Law. On more than one occasion a MOB or FMIL has taken a lack of input up front as an “Okay” to move forward with their vision.

So how do we deal with some of these issues?
Bridezilla: Usually if you’ve been overindulged by your parents when you were growing up, you have no reason to expect any different now. However, try not to lose focus on the big picture. You may get the big white dress, but the day is to celebrate the MARRIAGE of you and your fiance. You’d like to get the rest of your lives together started off on the right foot, wouldn’t you? Keep your expectations reasonable (perfection just isn’t going to happen), and respect the people who are helping you get to your big day.
Your siblings: So your sister just got engaged too and wants to sneak in her wedding before yours. Arg, indeed. You can try to talk her out of it, you can try to ask your mom to reason with her, but probably neither will change anything. If you have at least 6 months in between, try not to sweat it. Check with your parents to see if their promises to you are still good, and adjust your plans accordingly. If you have to wait a couple extra months, it will be worth it to have the focus back on you AND be the “better person” for not starting WW3.
Your parents: Check above and make sure you’re expectations are reasonable. Talk to your parents about their ideas that you most oppose and offer a compromise. Don’t pout. The only way to ensure your parents treat you like an adult is if you act like one.
His parents: Talk to him and make sure he knows you’re uncomfortable with the situation. Keep in mind his family may have different traditions than yours. Whenever possible, let him handle talking to his folks, as long as you know he’s not going to throw you under the bus. If you have to do the talking, bring him with you. And try to listen to their point of view; they’ll appreciate the effort on your part.

Vendors who mean well, vendors who don’t, and everything in between

Reading all the fine print you sign your name to in all your wedding plans is enough to make anyone’s nose bleed.
(Graphic?)
Still, I read about a woman who signed a contract for a hall that stated $500, and they came back and told them, ‘Whoops, we really mean $3000.’ And even today I was reading over our invoice for the next payment on our venue, which had pricing and due date errors. Thankfully this was indeed an honest mistake and we’re getting a new invoice in the mail.

Anyway, there are a few simple steps to avoid the run-around before and after your I-do’s:

1. Sign your contracts in person. Get a signed copy for yourself and hang on to it.

2. Ask about service charges, travel fees, interest on late balances, and other frequently billed charges that aren’t included in basic pricing. Your vendor should know their business better than you, and what is ordinary to them might cause some sticker shock down the road. Vocalizing this question can help you gather information that might be skimmed over when perusing your contract.

3. GET A CONTRACT. Even if your Aunt Sally is baking your cake, if she’s charging you, get the details down in writing. And in general, even when someone offers not to charge you, it’s best to get something written out so that you don’t get down to the day before and they’re otherwise engaged or even “just forgot.”

4. Check your payment schedule & make sure it’s in your contract. If you’re doing what we’re doing & splitting up your deposit over a couple of dates, get that in writing too. No one likes to get surprise bills and late fees. Or voided contracts… etc.

5. Read your contract before it’s fulfilled. Even if you don’t scour it before you put your name on the dotted line, take some time between now & the day of to read it so that you don’t end up losing more than your deposit.

too much of a good thing

I used to think I needed to write out my issues to try to find some resolution. And yet when I was at my most prolific, I was feeling probably my lowest. I composed every negative thought, allowed bitterness, sorrow and self depreciation to weave themselves into the most beautiful & dark poetry. I thought it was cathartic; that by putting it down, maybe I was getting it out of me. I’m not sure it works that way. I wallowed in the darkness, and rather than walking away, I just stayed there. Sometimes it feels good to feel sorry for yourself, no?
I’m a little sad I don’t write the way I used to. I don’t have to anymore. Did I grow out of it? Did I lose it? I don’t know. I didn’t write it down… I just lived it.

Why does it cost this much?

After crunching numbers last night trying to figure out how to put down our deposit on the photographer we really want, I finally remembered one of the reasons we’re waiting until May 2011 to get married!
We’ve officially committed all of our wedding savings until April 1, 2010 (and that’s no joke!) thanks in part to vendors who have graciously allowed us to “split” our deposits into 2 parts. After that, all we have to think about is food, cake & flowers (I think), and most of those vendors are able to facilitate more than one wedding on any given day.
I’m still a little concerned about how our parents are going to be able to contribute the amounts they originally agreed upon, but like my mom is fond of telling me, they’re all big kids. I know my dad is definitely relieved we’re not asking him to pay for one thing or another. It may seem like a great idea up front, but when one person thinks a photographer should cost $500 and another thinks more like $3000, issues have been known to arrise. Plus it gives me a lot more freedom to pinch pennies one area to splurge on another.
Hopefully tax time will provide a little more relief than headaches. I’ve got my first appointment to LOOK at dresses in February & odds will be that if I don’t have any money to spend, I’ll find something I just love. Wish me luck!

Just wanna dance

After much attempted meeting & rescheduling, we have officially booked Dr.Feelgood’s as our DJ. I’m really excited to work with them; they’ve been so helpful from the beginning. Now we will begin the seemingly never-ending process of picking all of the songs we want for each moment. I’m letting my dad pick the song we dance to for the father-daughter dance. “Just not that Butterfly Kisses,” were my only instructions. But considering he’s been in radio about as long as I’ve been alive, I’m sure he’ll come up with something fun.

the decorator

Somehow with all the other stuff I’m not supposed to be stressing over, Brandon has decided to allow me to do some of the decorating as we try to finish up all the remodeling projects around the house. This may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it is a HUGE relief to have something to keep myself occupied with so I don’t spaz out too much. We’ve got the tile, new paint & drywall for the living room, plus new doors and light fixtures. I think it’s going to look so nice all done! P.S. If anyone wants to come help, give me a shout.