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Bridezillas: 3 Reasons Nobody Wants to Be Part of Your Day

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (116)

    We’ve all seen them. The bridezillas of the world. Whether watching them on the latest reality show or encountering them in a bridal boutique, with their demanding and unrelenting ways, they are hard to miss. Here are three attitudes that will discourage others from wanting to participate in the big day:  

1.      “It’s my day!”
In all truthfulness, the big day is one that should be important to both you and the groom. This day is also one that perhaps your mother has dreamt about for some time or your dad has envisioned sharing that special moment with you during the father-daughter dance at the reception. I have been in many a bridal consultation and witnessed, a bride so unrelenting and unreasonable in her demands that those around her cower and tiptoe to keep her happy. This really takes the enjoyment out of planning and results in the groom steering clear of any involvement; which in turn exacerbates the bride who feels that she is doing all of the work. Your wedding day should be the day when both sets of parents are proud to present you to the world as the new Mr. and Mrs. such-and-such. Don’t spoil this moment for them by being a selfish princess!

2.     “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event”
There will be other days, you will discover that are just as (if not more) important than your wedding day. College graduation, the birth of your firstborn, a dream vacation, retirement: these are all special days in your life. Many brides use this phrase as an excuse to recklessly abandon all common sense. For example, does it really make sense to spend $11,000 on a wedding gown when your annual income is only $24,000? This money could be better spent as a down payment on a house or a chance to pay down debt to make the marriage transition smooth.  Yet I have seen this happen time and time again. Brides today have so many options, and choosing a simpler wedding can help you reach your financial goals, rather than be a hindrance to them. Remember there is life after the wedding, and you don’t want it to be a stressful one.

3. “It’s the end of the world, if this doesn’t happen the way I want it to!”
Actually it is not the end of the world. Life will go on as usual. Be flexible enough that if something doesn’t go according to plan, you can adapt without causing undue stress to yourself and others. For example, if your two year old niece fails to drop any of the petals you meticulously color-coordinated down the aisle, but instead bolts to the front of the church the minute she sees her mother-it’s okay. Regardless of what happens, the guests will think she is adorable anyway, and you can concentrate on making a stunning entrance with your walk down the aisle.

   Your wedding day should be a day that you, your man, and your family anticipate with excitement, rather than exhale a huge sigh of relief when it is finally over.  Learn to compromise, doing so will make others want to make you happy as well. While there will be other special days, focus on making this day a memorable one for everybody without giving in to reckless spending in order to make it unforgettable.  And remember that if things don’t go quite as planned, you and everybody else can still have an amazing time. And that’s really all that matters.
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Taking the Hassle Out of Your Wedding Day

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (479)

Two of the most common complaints I hear from brides are “How can I get everything done?” and “I’m so stressed!” While a certain level of stress is to be expected, there are a number of ways to reduce some of the anxiety associated with your big day.
1. Focus
It is so easy to get distracted while attempting to do a task. For instance, you set out to contact a couple of DJs, but in the process, you ended up looking at bouquets on Pinterest. To avoid this common pitfall, make an effort to do nothing but say, contact DJs in your area. Completely shut out and ignore any alerts from emails and Facebook statuses until the job is done. Multitasking can actually prolong your time, since you are trying to do several different things at one time. I have found it helpful to set a timer for 15 minutes and devote that time to tasks like answering emails and another 15 minutes to returning calls.

2. Plan
While this may seem elementary, writing everything down in a notebook will ensure that you are not forgetting something and will give structure to your ideas.  Taking it a step further and actually putting a date beside the activity in a planner, will keep you from procrastinating.  Also, it helps to have sticky notes available in places like your car so that you can jot down notes when your notebook isn’t handy.

3. Just Do It
Speaking of procrastination, once you have decided on a time and date to accomplish something, follow through with the task. If it is a task that you have been dreading, do that activity first, and save the thing you enjoy doing for last.

4. Delegate
If you have a Type A personality like me, it is extremely difficult to let somebody else take the wheel. However, giving a task to a dependable person, not only makes the other person feel that they are an integral part of the planning process, but it also frees you up to spend your energies elsewhere. This is actually the perfect time to include your future in-laws! To ease your mind, it is okay to give your assistants a deadline and to inquire on their progress.

A once-in-a lifetime event calls for resolute organization. Deciding to focus on each task separately, putting your thoughts on paper, and actually doing each chore and asking others for help will ensure that your day is as unique and enjoyable as you want it to be.  
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Becoming the Marriage Magi

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (301)

   “I’ll give you all of me, and you give me all of you” John Legend promises his love in his latest wedding song. Although romantically poetic, those of us who have been married or in a long-term relationship for any length of time know that our best actions are not always reciprocated in the way that we feel they were given. Take for instance my most recent experience:          

   So there I sat at a busy intersection in the middle of rush hour with an overheated car, two crying babies, and an impatient five year old. Here I was trying my best to be the supportive spouse and everything had gone wrong. My day had gone pretty smoothly, before I found myself at the intersection. I had managed to clean the kitchen, bathrooms, do three loads of laundry, scrub floors, all in between nursing the twins. Then at 2:45 that afternoon, my phone rang. To my annoyance, my husband on the other end of the line, asked me to take a tuxedo back to the store from a wedding we had attended the previous weekend. To say that I was miffed is an understatement. Three hours and four jugs of water for a leaky radiator later, I finally made it back home. I had a very terse speech prepared for Mike the minute he walked through the door. However, when he walked in and laid his lunch box on the table, the words refused to come. His eyes were beyond weary and his arm was bandaged from cutting metal. “Babe, thanks for taking the tux back for me, you’re the best,” he said. My heart melted as I realized that he had had an equally challenging day, and if I could do something to lighten his burden, then I was okay with that.      

       “Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections” Legend continues. Sometimes, the imperfections that we thought were endearing as newlyweds can become downright aggravating as time goes on. But embracing these “flaws” and giving 100 percent of yourself to their needs is so rewarding, because there will be times when your spouse is the only one giving 100 percent of themselves to you. It has been said that people fall into three categories in every relationship: givers, matchers, and takers. Givers tend to care for the needs of others, matchers keep score and make sure that they always receive something in return, and takers contribute nothing to the relationship and their main focus is themselves. Obviously, the most successful relationship is that of the giver. Feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of can derail the energies of the giver. When this happens, talk to your spouse about it (read my post “Five Ways to Handle Conflict in Your Marriage”).

  No relationship can work without both parties making an effort to give emotionally and physically to the other spouse. Sometimes that means putting your phone or tablet down and just listening or recognizing when your spouse needs a hug. In short, be there. With the holidays, just days away and the New Year fast approaching, decide to make a conscious effort to give yourself completely to your relationship. Marriage is so much happier that way.

What are some ways that you give to your spouse, tell me in the comments below?
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Five Ways to Handle Conflict in Your Marriage

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM Comments comments (255)

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” my mother used to admonish me. This is true in almost every other situation, but marriage. Sometimes, you have to “put it all out there” and say what’s on your mind. “Don’t go to bed angry,” I was advised at my bridal shower, but for years, I was master of the silent treatment.  If my husband said or did something that I didn’t agree with, I would go days without speaking or say the bare minimum, hoping that I could hold off long enough that he would beg me for forgiveness. In doing so, I often became blind to many of my own faults, in my quest to get him to admit his. In my stubbornness, I would often forget about why I was mad in the first place, or I would realize that the matter was not as big as I had made it out to be. Seven years later, I am revealing five things that Mike and I have put into place to ensure that the channels of communication remain open during a disagreement.

1.       Listen:This is often the last thing that I want to do, especially if I think that I’m right. But I have found, however, that if I listen (I mean really listen) to what my husband is saying, then I can see where he is coming from. In our case, we “give each other the floor” each person gets a chance to give the details from his or her perspective completely uninterrupted.  This brings me to my next point......................................

2.      No Dramatics This is important to me, because I tend to clam up and become defensive when someone is shouting or has raised their voice at me.  On the flip side, my husband has expressed his annoyance, when I begin to cry because from his perspective, the last thing he wants to do is to make me cry. So we have agreed to keep our emotions in check when telling our side of the story. This is not the time to blame the other party or point fingers, but to simply state the facts from your point of view.

3.      Three’s a Crowd One of the worst things to experience is to discover that your “business” is “out there".  I have found that Mike and I can handle anything together as a team, but when outside forces weigh in and give opinions, a situation can go from bad to worse in ten seconds flat! As a precautionary measure, we try to avoid arguing in public or within earshot of others. We also do not tell our individual friends or family about any disagreement that is ongoing. If counseling is needed, there should be an appropriate and qualified person to help mediate disputes.

4.       Transparency:  “Honesty is the best policy” and in no case is it more appropriate than in marriage. No matter how ugly the truth is, it is always best to go ahead and reveal it to your spouse than try to cover it up or to offer up excuses as to why you behaved a certain way. Not only does dishonesty belittle your spouse, but it also builds a level of mistrust in the marriage. When you are both vulnerable and everything has been laid on the table, then healing can begin and a remedy found.

5.      Kiss and Make UpProbably the most refreshing feelings, is to know that you can begin with a clean slate with your spouse.  I cannot stress how important forgiveness and letting go is in a marriage. In fact, there is no point in staying married, if you cannot learn to forgive and, yes, forget! Try to keep from replaying the same hurtful episode for your spouse to hear every time you argue. If the same offense is committed, then that is the time to try and figure out together how to keep it from happening again, and to put obstacles in place to avoid the same pitfalls the next time.*

Always a work in process, marriage is by no means easy; but by committing to follow these 5 steps in handling conflict, your marriage and home will become a place of harmony, as well as a peaceful haven for both of you.  

*Note: There is never any excuse for physical or psychological abuse, and is often necessary to remove yourself from this kind of situation, contact the appropriate authorities in these cases.
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Sixty Years of Togetherness

Posted on September 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (261)
My grandparents recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They had a blast re-living so many memories they had shared together. As I looked over our large group of family members that included their four sons and their spouses, three goddaughters, twenty grandchildren, and nineteen great- grandchildren, I couldn’t help but realize that this is what living and marriage is all about. It’s not about how much you spend on a wedding, or if the guests will enjoy the calamari versus blackened salmon more, or if you honeymooned on an exotic island. It’s about creating that special bond with your spouse that no one or thing can break. It’s about creating a memorable journey together that will have its ups and downs, but one that you can face as a team. It’s about instilling your values into your children, and making sure that your grandchildren are taught the same. It’s about letting them know about your struggle, and the obstacles you’ve overcome together. Children should not have a rosy outlook on marriage, but they should not think of it as torture either; their view of marriage should be a realistic one.

So today, I honor my grandparents who raised four incredible sons and impacted the lives of their grandchildren.  The difficulties they faced, drove them together, instead of apart, it made them dig their heels in a little bit deeper and hold onto each other a little tighter when all hell was breaking loose around them. I guess I’m saying all of this to simply remind myself and you to not “sweat the small stuff” and to keep in mind that your actions and words will continue to impact your relationship even after the big day is over and the guests have gone home. Remember to choose your battles and your words wisely. So have fun planning a fabulous wedding, but don’t let it overpower the energy that you put into building a lasting marriage and legacy.

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Food for Thought

Posted on May 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (284)

Whether you are planning a wedding or party, you can count on the food to consume at least fifty percent of your budget. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. Here are 5 tips to consider: 
1. Lighten the Menu
If you are planning an early afternoon meal, you can cut costs by serving things like miniature sliders, salad, and fruit instead of a full course meal. For dessert, serve cupcakes or an elegant parfait or truffle. Another option is to serve appetizers such as cheese and crackers or kabobs. Also, think about ditching a seated meal that way your guests can mingle while munching on appetizers. Most people do not expect a heavy meal when an event is in the early afternoon, so take advantage of this by serving lighter food.
2. Cook Your Own Food
This is an option many people forget about. Round up a couple of trustworthy family members and friends and have them help with preparing the meal. Delegate an item to each person, that way no one feels overwhelmed by this responsibility. You can make the food presentation more uniform by renting chafing dishes and serving the food in them.
One final word on this- some venues such as hotels and country clubs require that you use their caterer, so double check before booking your event.
3. Count the Costs
Most people assume that a plated meal is pricier than buffet style. This is not always the case, in fact in some cases, a buffet meal is more expensive because guests are serving themselves and tend to pile more food on their plates as a result. So compare the costs of both options before making a final decision.
4. Have a Display Cake
Specialty cakes like wedding and anniversary cakes can be expensive and many of your guests will be so full from your meal that they won’t eat cake. “Dummy cakes” or “display cakes” are perfect for this reason, while still giving the bride and groom an opportunity to take traditional pictures. Have a large sheet cake or two in the kitchen that can be cut and served for guests.
5. Don’t Leave Your Guests Hungry
In your quest to cut costs, avoid sacrificing quantity. Nothing is more embarrassing than running out of food at an event. Your guests can be very forgiving of many things, but the fact that your event did not have enough food for everybody will be seared in their minds for a long time. As a rule of thumb, it is always better to have more than enough food than not enough.  
Final Thoughts
Consuming more than fifty percent of a budget, food costs can be overwhelming. By having a lighter menu, preparing your own food, or comparing costs to name a few, you can avoid the sticker shock of a costly event.
Happy Planning,
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Location, Location, Location

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 8:18 PM Comments comments (504)
When it comes to deciding on a venue, location is key. One important question to ask yourself- do I want the ceremony and reception at two separate locations or at one site? There are advantages and disadvantages associated with both options. Here are a few other factors to keep in mind when choosing the perfect bridal real estate.
1. Consider your guests.
Besides finding a venue that is within your budget, accommodates your guest count, and provides the services you need, you should also consider how far the venue is from the interstate and guests' hotels. Regardless of what you decide, you don't want to unnecessarily burden your guests with excessive travel times.
2. The perfect venue can come in many forms.
For budget-conscious brides, consider community centers and social clubs, church fellowship halls, or a back-yard wedding.  Check websites like Craigslist for affordable venues as well. Also, don't forget to compare the services that many places offer. It may be well worth it to fork over a little extra money if the venue offers an on-site DJ, hostess for the reception, a bridal suite, or clean-up after the reception for example.
3.Think outside the box.
Most weddings take place during the summer months and on Saturday. For this reason, many places offer significant discounts to couples hosting their wedding on a Friday, Sunday, or during "off-season" like November.
Locating the perfect site for your big day can be a daunting task, but by keeping an open mind and researching multiple venue options, you can save money, time, and eliminate unnecessary stress.
Happy Planning!
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First Things First

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (217)

So you've met Mr. Right and he swept you off your feet, popped the question, and gave you a gorgeous ring; and now it's time to plan one of the most important days of your life. Even though most women have dreamed of their wedding day since childhood, reality sets in and suddenly you are bombarded with decisions about save-the-dates, flowers, choosing a venue, and much more. It's no wonder many brides become overwhelmed! One thing to keep in mind is that not all the major decisions have to be made at one time. Take a little time to brainstorm and make a list of everything that you would like to incorporate into your day. For example, such a list might include orchids and manzanita branches, live music, an outdoor wedding, and Maggie Sottero gown. From here, you can decide what's important to you and what your budget might look like. After all, this is you and your sweetie's first opportunity to present your own unique styles and tastes to the world as a couple; and doing a little each day and jotting notes down when something comes to mind will help keep you organized and ensure that your day is everything that you want it to be. Browse through our photo gallery to get some ideas.
Happy Planning!
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