Getting Married — Part One
My boyfriend and I are engaged. We are getting married and don’t know where to start. It seems daunting. We should be making plans. Can you offer suggestions?
–Newly Engaged, Philadelphia
How wonderful. Nevertheless, -- not wanting to take the wind out of your sails -- but before you plan any of the fun stuff, make a budget. That may entail having a family pow-wow. Siting down with your families to discuss who can do what to help? Even if it is one or two members of your family at a time, be creative and find out what resources are available for you to tap and pool together. It is not enough to know that your fiancé's Aunt Geraldine owns a florist shop. You have to narrow in on a commitment as to how much of a discount she's willing to give you. Or will she do the bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids as her wedding present? Then give you a discount on the centerpieces? But what about decorating the church? When asking cousin Lewis to donate the party room at his waterfront restaurant, you want to made sure his offer is good for a weekend night, if in fact you're being married on a Saturday. He may happily offer it for Monday through Thursday, but not if your wedding date is a Saturday in August. In other words, get your ducks in order. Don't be timid about asking for help. That's the biggest mistake wedding couples make: not finding out who would be willing to step-up to the plate and pitch in to help. Even when discussing the amount of a discount, show your appreciation to the relative or friend by letting them off the hook about additionally having to buy you a wedding present from your bridal registry. They can always do that without prompting. These family meetings will also help you find a date for the wedding. If your art dealer mom has to be in Florida for a week during the Art Basel Miami Beach show, or the groom's best man, who happens to be his brother, will be studying for the bar exam, then mark the weeks around those crucial dates as N/P for not possible. Even if you suspect one of your siblings is pregnant, find out the approximate due date and mark that timeframe N/P. Besides setting up a spread sheet for name of guests/addresses/number in family, making up a calendar will help you narrow down the date when the major contributors and your closest friends and relatives will be able to attend. If your best friend will be on her safari honeymoon in Africa for the month of June, you'll need to find a more available matron/maid-of-honor to still be a June bride. Get to work, start a calendar, cull info and commitments from key players on to spreadsheets, make up a preliminary budget, and come back with a working plan that includes a realistic budget and we will happily help you fill in the details. How to choose the formality of your wedding, as well as a dress code. The dos and don'ts of wedding etiquette, along with fresh ideas for making your wonderful dream wedding come true. In the meantime, if you have specific questions to help formulate your plans, we are here to help you and your families.