Real World Challenges for the Modern Bride – and How to Solve Them

You’ll be surprised at some of the strange obstacles you’re going to encounter as you plan your wedding. Your families, your bridal party, your guests, your vendors – they’re all potential sources of conflict. So here’s a short list of headaches you’d be wise to prepare for.

Your weight. You found the perfect gown and had it fitted, six months before your wedding. Then you let the stress of planning drive you into the arms of Haagen Dazs and Fannie May, and you’ve packed on an extra 10 pounds, so your gown doesn’t fit anymore. Solution: arrange your last fitting less than a month before your wedding — enough time for your tailor to made final alterations, but not enough time for your weight to change dramatically. 

The gown you bought vs. the gown you just saw, and like better. More brides than you know have come across this little problem. After shopping for weeks, you just can’t find a gown that really knocks your socks off, so you just buy one that’s the next best thing. Then, you see a gown in a magazine or a salon, and say, “THAT one! I want THAT one!” If you follow the advice in the last paragraph, and wait until closer to your wedding to have your gown altered, it’ll still be brand new and untouched, and you should have no problem returning it, so you can buy the one you really want. 

What to do with the kids. You can bet that many of your adult wedding guests, and perhaps even some of your attendants will have small children. You have to make a decision — do you want kids at your wedding, or don’t you? if you do, this article will show you how to keep them entertained and out of everyone’s hair. If you want your wedding to be adults-only, this article will help you explain your decision as part of your invitations.

Possession-rich and cash-poor. If you’ve already lived together for awhile, you probably already have most of the basic requirements for setting up housekeeping. What you could really use, is a little financial help. To ask for it tactfully, let your families spread the word to people who ask them what you need. That way, the request comes from someone other than you. You may also set up your own wedding web site and express your preference for cash instead of more possessions. If you’re trying to raise a down payment for a new home, create a “house fund,” and find some cute artwork of a newlywed couple standing in front of a house with a “sold” sign. Rent a “wishing well” to display at your reception for people to drop their envelopes with cash or checks. Another option is to set up a cash wedding registry. Sites like Tendr, HoneyFund or MyRegistry can show you the way.

“Eew! Do I have to wear that dress?  What happens when you find out, to your surprise, that some of your bridesmaids don’t share your taste in fashion? Well, the ideal solution is to find a bridal salon that sells bridesmaid gown collections. It may offer seven different styles in a certain color. You pick the color, and each bridesmaid can pick which style she prefers. That way, they all match, but each gets to wear a gown that makes her feel pretty. Try to avoid tight form-fitting bridesmaid dresses, because not all of your bridesmaids will be fashion models, and they’ll need the option of wearing something that doesn’t make them look like they were stuffed into a sausage casing.

When to send what.  “Save the Date” cards: 10 to 12 months before the wedding. Invitations: 2 to 5 months before the wedding. Ask them to RSVP at least 3 weeks before the wedding. If your guests really understand your sense of humor, you can add a line like, “If you RSVP after (date), bring a sandwich and a chair.” It’s a subtle way to let them know that you need to commit to a certain number of guest meals by a certain date.

Unsolicited advice. You found your color scheme, your venue, your fashions, your flowers, your decorations and so forth. Now, along come all your friends and relatives, second-guessing your selections and offering to help you make “better” choices. The polite way to respond is to simply say, “We already have that handled, but thank you so much for your offer.” If you want to find some other task they can perform, they’ll still be able to contribute and feel like they’re an important part of your big day.

The disappearing groom. Many grooms figure, their only responsibility is to show up at the wedding. You need to sit down with your mate and decide early who will be responsible for each component of your wedding planning. Sound him out about what areas of the wedding interest him. Perhaps he’d like to actively help you with hiring and directing your DJ, and selecting the evening’s music. He may have other areas of expertise. Try not to assign him to chores he’s going to dislike and put off. This is important! Once you’ve decided who does what, agree that your decisions are final, and so are his. You don’t want him deciding two weeks before the wedding that you’ve done everything wrong, and he wants to redo it all — throwing all of your wedding vendors into a frenzy, and costing you a fortune in fees for late changes.

Remembering the dear departed. There are many ways to honor your loved ones who have passed. A picture on an empty chair at your ceremony. A gallery of photos on a table of remembrance, complete with a memorial candle. A repeating slide show. Some well-chosen sentiments in your reception speeches. You may have ideas of your own. Consult your families on which works best for you.

There! We’ve just helped you anticipate and prepare for some of the most common hiccups that are likely to come up. Now that’s you’re prepared, you can steer effortlessly around them, instead of allowing them to become sources of turmoil. Happy planning!

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.    

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