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Make wedding planning less stressful

Date: 2006-10-07

Once the marriage proposal has taken place, the couple should try to take at least a month, if not longer, to relax before the hectic planning process begins.

Fortunately, I got engaged during the summer, when the most arduous task I had on my plate was showering and driving to summer school each day. If you have a year or more before the wedding, my advice is to not begin planning immediately. It might seem like a lot of fun to start hand-picking your wedding party and taste-testing cakes, but the more you relax while you still can, the better off you will be.

When you tell your close friends and family your engagement news, beware, as many of them will assume immediately they will be your maid of honor, bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bearers, groomsmen, etc. You and your spouse-to-be will instantly make friends you never knew you had.

Another qualm of getting engaged is receiving everyone's response. Hopefully, you'll get the pyramid effect: almost everyone will congratulate you (whether or not they really mean it), some won't really care either way, and a few will let you know you're too young, you haven't been dating long enough, or you two just aren't right for each other. We all know how to take compliments, but I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared for those who are unenthusiastic about your marital choice. Negative attitudes will pop up, and you'll have to deal with them.

Once your engagement status is truly public, after you've called your relatives, and they've called their relatives, or you've had an engagement party or sent out engagement announcements, be prepared for everyone's opinion on how your wedding should be. You'll get more advice and more questions than you could imagine. People will want to know when the date is, where it will take place, what your colors will be, whether it will be a religious ceremony or not, what they need to wear, and what their role is in your wedding party.

Get ready. Your head will hurt. If you're not careful, you'll want to refuse calls, stop checking e-mail and never return another voicemail.

At this point, it's the beginning of the end. You can't go back; you can't revoke the engagement announcement from public knowledge. When things start to go crazy, this is a good time to call on close friends and family.

Hint: the people who stick by your side and stand up for you are good candidates for bridesmaids or groomsmen.

Although I'm still in the early stages, wedding planning is certainly an unparalleled experience. You will learn a lot of strange tidbits, like how your cousin's mom's brother was able to get a really good deal on wedding bands or how you can save money by checking out used wedding dresses.

This might be a stressful time, but try to relax and concentrate on yourself and your future spouse. You are planning one of the greatest days of your lives; make sure it is true to everything you guys are.

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