Christine Eisner, author of the “Comfort Living – A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle” (Lifestyle Design, 2009), suggests newly engaged couples try the following exercise. Sit down, close your eyes and visualize your wedding. Instead of thinking about how you want your wedding to look, think about how want you to feel. (Eisner’s book and coordinating journal include a grid of 30 words – such as “calm,” “cozy,” and “sleek” – to help you find the right words, but you also can brainstorm your own.) Once you have that word in mind, make that your mantra. If you want a wedding where people are “comfortable,” you’ll make different decisions about your venue and flowers than if your key word is “opulent.” Having that word in mind makes it easier to make decisions, Eisner says, because you’ll automatically drop options that don’t fit.
6. Shop Alone
Tibbetts advises mothers-of-the-bride and brides-to-be who are looking for that special dress to go it alone, at least the first time out. “The more people you bring into the mix of decision-making, the more confusion there is,” she says. Narrowing it down on your own helps assure that you get the dress that portrays the image you want.
7. Grow Up
Many brides-to-be try to plan their big day to match a picture that has been in their heads since they were in grammar school. While it is fine to have a fairy tale aspect to your wedding, says Eisner, you need to adjust your fantasy to the person you are now. You may now want something different that you didn’t know about when you were a child. “There needs to be a transition from the little girl fantasy,” Eisner says.
8. Trust the Pros
Too many brides torment themselves – and possibly those around them – by looking at magazines and then trying to become a specialist in every aspect of the wedding in an effort to replicate what they see. If you give the florist, caterer, baker and other pros the creativity they need, you may find that they have ideas that fit your budget and goals – and are different than what you’ve seen before. A corollary to that is that you should listen to the pros when they point out potential pitfalls. They’ve been there; they’ve done that. They know of which they speak.
9. Allow People to Participate
Not taking friends and family dress shopping doesn’t mean you are eliminating them from all the pre-party prep. If you have a friend who owns a restaurant and wants to pitch in, perhaps you can ask her to come up with a signature drink for your reception, Eisner suggests.
10. Have Fun, But Don’t Buy Into the Fairy Tale
That’s the last piece of advice from Walker: “Because, the next day, reality hits.” The more you make your wedding fit with your everyday life, the less stress you’ll experience when it is over.
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