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Category Archives: Planning Basics

Wedding Planning: The 4 Wedding Rules You Can Break

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Yes, it’s true there are a lot of traditions when it comes to weddings, but things have changed too.
Here it is in black and white — those formally set-in-stone rules that just don’t hold up anymore
(despite what the ‘rents say).
Old School Rule #1: The bride’s parents pay for the wedding.
New Rule: Every couple funds the festivities in different ways. Maybe your mom and dad want to pay for
every single thing, but, unlike in the past where the bride’s family was expected to foot the whole
bill, they’re in no way obligated to now. Grooms’ parents and the couples themselves chip in nearly as
often as brides’ parents do. It just depends on your family’s situation. If you’d like your fiancé’s
parents’ help, your husband-to-be will need to ask for it — not you, and certainly not your parents.
Just remember: Whoever pays gets a say. If you know your mother-in-law will insist on an in-church
ceremony if she contributes and you’ve got your heart set on exchanging vows on a sandy beach, you may
be happier cutting your guest list than asking her to contribute anything.

Old School Rule #2: You must invite everyone with a guest.
New Rule: If they’ll know others, skip the plus-one. It’s still polite (and very appreciated!) to
invite guests’ significant others, but if you’re inviting a group of coworkers, for instance, and two
or more of them are single, they should have no problem attending solo. Only when guests won’t know
anyone aside from the couple is it mandatory to let them bring a date. It’s kind to invite attendants
with guests too (they are shelling out big bucks for their attire!).

Old School Rule #3: Your registry should consist entirely of housewares for your new home.
New Rule: You can register for anything from honeymoon hotel accommodations to skiing equipment. Guess
what, Grandma? Lots of couples live together before they get married and may have all of the towels and
blenders they’ll ever want. You can request upgraded versions of home items you already own, but
nothing should stop you from creating a honeymoon or otherwise “untraditional” registry. These are your
gifts, and you need to be happy with them! If you’re inviting a few Internet-less guests, including
items from a brick-and-mortar store they can actually get to will help prevent a buildup of unwanted
presents. But you should feel free to include a ping-pong table for your basement or the complete Sex
and the City DVD collection on your wish list if you can’t use yet another kitchen appliance. A word of
caution: Some of the older folks think that they know what brides and grooms really need, so they may
get you an iron even if you haven’t requested one.
Old School Rule #4: You must wear a long, white gown.
New Rule: Wear whatever you want! Sure, most brides go the long white or ivory route, but for your
wedding day attire, anything goes: from a retro short dress to a silver, slinky sheath to a (gasp!)
black pantsuit. As long as you feel fabulous in your outfit, it can be any color or style. You can even
skip the veil! Warning: Your fashion choices may wind up shocking your older guests, especially the
ones who equate wearing white with “purity.” If you’d prefer that your look pleases the crowd but
aren’t willing to go totally traditional, try working in a hint of color via a dress sash, your shoes,
jewelry or a hair accessory or opting for a tea-length dress.

 

Wedding Planning: Q & A With Wedding Planner Steve Kemble

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Want your wedding to stand out? Steal one of these clever ideas from guest expert and wedding planner
Steve Kemble (stevekemble.com), star of the special, “Battle of the Wedding Planners,” which airs on
Friday, November 13, at 10/9c on TLC.
Q What’s the most creative thing you’ve done for a ceremony?
A Years ago — way before any YouTube sensations of bridal parties singing or dancing — I
choreographed a full production number with make-believe bridesmaids and groomsmen. This couple was
always known for pulling pranks on their friends and family, so we hired 16 models to play the parts.
Guests were stunned by the beauty of the wedding party as they walked down the aisle. The group then
broke into song as the real wedding party walked down the aisle, and the crowd realized it was all for
fun! It created such a wonderful energy for the wedding.
Q And what about for a reception?
A For one recent wedding, the couple were huge fans of gospel choirs, so I found one to surprise them
with a performance during the reception. It was a huge hit! Every guest was singing and clapping along
with the choir as it serenaded the couple.
Q What’s your favorite wedding theme?
A I like “romance” as a wedding treatment. You should tell your love story through different aspects
of the wedding so your guests will literally say, “Ah, they’re so in love!” Include how you fell in
love in a special keepsake program for your guests, and pick a ceremony site and reception venue that
are romantic in nature, like a beautiful park with a glorious fountain or a beach at sunset.
Q What seemingly small detail can make a big impact at your reception?
A Candles are the most cost-effective way to create an atmosphere of romance at your wedding. I love to
use candles in various sizes and shapes — tea lights, votives, pillars, and more — throughout the
reception venue. Just steer away from scented candles; you don’t want them competing with the fabulous
aromas of the food you serve.
Q How can you personalize your wedding in an easy way?
A Incorporate beautifully framed photos of family and friends on the tables and around the site, serve
your favorite foods at the reception (one couple even had the chef use their family recipes to prepare
the food!), and give guests discs of music that was played at your reception. They’ll remember your
wedding every time they pop in the CD!
Q What do wedding guests enjoy the most?
A When all the traditional dances (like the father/daughter and mother/son dances) are done to one song
instead of multiple ones, it’s quicker, and the energy and movement this provides has guests applauding
loudly! Guests also really love the “lounge look,” when the reception is set up with various
furniture groupings. Not only does this provide comfortable places for your guests to gather, it also
encourages conversation among people who don’t know each other that well.
Q How can you keep the reception exciting?
A Lighting is becoming one of the hottest wedding must-haves. Crowds love it when you change the mood
and atmosphere as the night goes on through color and lighting design. Guests also love the mix of a DJ
and a band. When the band takes a break, the DJ takes center stage!

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Wedding Planning: Knotties Biggest Wedding Regrets

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From a drama-filled bachelorette party to a shiny-faced bride — check out the biggest wedding regrets from Knotties on our Snarky Brides board so you don’t make the same ones! In a nutshell: Leave it to the pros.
“I regret not hiring a professional videographer. There were so many funny, sentimental, thoughtful, surprising, best-day-of-our-life moments that I wish were captured on video.” — mobridetobe
“My biggest regret is not factoring in what a huge pain it would be taking everything down at the end of the reception. The cost savings of DIY tend to disappear when you remember that you have to provide table linens, silverware, coffee cups, etc., AND take it all down…in your wedding dress.” — ohwhynot
“My only real regret is not having my makeup professionally done so that I wasn’t a shiny face three hours in.” — AmoroAgain
“My biggest wedding regret was having eight bridesmaids and nine groomsmen. My bachelorette party was a drama-filled disaster. We were late to our own reception because two bridal party members wandered off between the wedding and the reception and were nowhere to be found.” — goheels05
“My biggest wedding regret was having a family friend take photos instead of hiring a photographer. She had a lot of heart, but the pictures were really disappointing.” — betrothed123
“My biggest regret was trying to entertain too many out-of-town guests. I was so grateful that our family and friends traveled to be at our wedding, but I got so little sleep the two nights before. I was exhausted on my wedding day.” — COkristi
“I wish I would have paid more attention to the photographer’s ‘must-have’ photo list. We didn’t get photos with all the family.” — LesPaul
“So far I regret not having my invitations done professionally. I did them myself on my computer and printer, and it was a major pain in the a*s!” — mssillysarah
“I regret worrying so much about my MIL’s behavior before the wedding. Yes, she did some things that were annoying, but I didn’t even notice that day. I was way too into my wedding day to bother getting worked up over her, and I wish I had known that to save me weeks of prewedding worry.” — MeaghanandMichael
“I regret letting the wedding become bigger than we originally wanted it. While I loved our entire wedding day, I always felt we didn’t give enough face time to all of our guests.” — Nebb
“My biggest wedding regret is being too cheap to get my dress bustled! I dragged it around all night and tripped over it way too many times.” — kikibaby
“I wish I would have done a photo booth at the reception.” — twilight.rose
“I regret choosing a dress too early. I didn’t have the money to buy a new one, but I didn’t like the style a year later.” — barbbhoww
“Having a family member make my cake is my wedding regret. While she was a trained pastry chef and the cake was delicious, it just didn’t have a great presence.” — drwedding2

 

Wedding Planning: How to Plan Your Wedding at Work (Without Getting Fired)

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Wedding planning might be a full-time job, but chances are you’ve also got that other full-time job — you know, the one you had long before he put that ring on your finger. Even if you’ve hired a hands-on wedding planner, you probably still need to decide on some things yourself. How to deal? Plan for some serious, um — let’s call it multitasking. Here’s how to find the time do it all without winding up in hot water with your boss.
When to Do What
Finding Vendors: Daytime
Researching vendors online — checking out sites, listings on the local pages of TheKnot.com, or reading other to-be-weds’ recommendations — is an obvious one for that spare five minutes before you have to run into a meeting. One caveat: Make sure the volume on your computer is turned off, or at least way down! If a digitized version of “Wedding March” starts blasting, you are so busted.
Finding Inspiration: Daytime
Here’s another instance where the Internet is your best friend — browse for gowns, bouquets, and more online (just check out the image search on TheKnot.com for thousands of wedding photos of, well, everything). You’re more likely to have an aha moment the more you see, so spending time online is a good way to get through the doldrums of your work day (like mid-afternoon, when lunch is ancient history and it feels like the end of the day is never going to come).
know your priorities
Sure, you might need to finalize the guest list today, but don’t do it at the expense of a huge work project. In the long run, you’re much worse off compromising a work deadline than a wedding one.
Visiting Vendors: Free time
Unless you’re just doing a drive-by to check out their digs, keep actual vendor visits to your days off or weekends.
You’re going to want to visit most vendors as a tag team, so you’ll need your fiance with you. More importantly, if you really like the vendor, you can talk much longer without worrying about going over your lunch hour. Better to play it safe and plan visits for when you know you don’t have work commitments.
DIY Stuff: Nighttime
Did you really think you’d be able to assemble programs at your desk? Or that your boss won’t notice you printing out 200 favor cards on the color printer? Wedding projects (like tying the bows on all those favor boxes) are definitely a nighttime activity — kick back with a glass of wine and a DVD of the last season of Grey’s Anatomy while you fold 300 sheets of vellum.
Making Lists: Anytime
Playlists, guest lists, and even to-do lists — whether you manage them online or on paper, keep these at your fingertips so whenever you think of something, you can update them.
3 Tricks for Not Getting Caught
Stay on Task You want to fly under the radar — if it’s blatantly obvious that your work time has become wedding time, you risk the wrath of your coworkers or even worse, your boss. You can’t let wedding planning take up your entire day, but you can definitely let it replace time you would have spent instant messaging. The key: Stay on top of your normal tasks and goals, and don’t let planning affect your performance.
Go Online Do not, we repeat, do not bring your wedding binder to work. A notebook full of decor ideas and fabric swatches is way too obvious (unless perhaps you’re an interior decorator). Leave the real deal at home and add ideas to a digital notebook (like the one on TheKnot.com) at work. You can save articles, photos, and gowns you like — and remember, if you really need something you can actually hang onto, you can always print out the pics.
Watch Your Back It should be obvious, but use your best judgment when it comes to planning your wedding while you’re supposed to be working on your work (you know, the stuff they’re actually paying you to do). Don’t leave a wedding-related web page or document on your screen if you have to step away from your desk — close or minimize it. And keep more than one window open so if someone comes by it’s easy to tab over from your reception site’s floor plan to something more legit.
4 Ways to Max Out Your Free Time
Your Commute In the subway? Read wedding magazines or go over your lists. On the train or a bus? Use a laptop or Blackberry to email or surf the web wirelessly or, if it’s not too loud, make a few quick check-in phone calls with vendors before their day gets too busy. Driving? Use the voice notes feature on your cell phone to record any sudden bursts of inspiration. No matter how you commute, use your iPod or CD player to preview potential ceremony or first dance tunes — you’d feel lazy sitting around your house doing it, but if you’re stuck in traffic, why not crank up Pachelbel’s Canon in D?
Your Lunch Hour Plan to devote at least a few days a week to vendor phone calls. The key is to plan out your conversation beforehand and make a list so it can be swift and tactful. That way, you’ll still have time to enjoy that grilled chicken salad.
Your Workout Don’t just watch CNN scroll by while you’re pedaling away on a stationary bike. Instead, use some of the time for wedding-related reading (for example, print out a bunch of ceremony or vow ideas to read over). If you go to the gym at the end of the day, that’s a good time to read back over your to-do lists, check off what you’ve completed, and jot down notes for what you need to do next.
Making Dinner Whether you’re waiting for the oven to preheat or unwinding while your fiance does the work, use the time in between prep work and mealtime to hop online. A watched pot never boils anyway, right? Hit the message boards, Real Weddings, or gown search on TheKnot.com and make that spare 5 or 10 minutes count.
3 Things to Watch Out For
Limit Your Sources If you’re asking your coworkers for a bit of wedding advice — even something simple like, “Do you like periwinkle better than peach?” — make sure they’re on your invite list. The more a work pal feels involved in your wedding, the more she’ll feel snubbed when that big square envelope doesn’t arrive. The exception: if you’ve already made it clear your guest list is going to be limited.
Get Your Apology Accepted You’re running late handing in an update on a project, your boss comes over to check on you, and — uh-oh — you’re on TheKnot.com message boards. How do you deal? First, fess up. In this case, honesty is the best policy. Tell her the project’s actual status, and say that you just needed a minute to clear your head before plunging back into your work. Then try not to let it happen again. If you arouse your superior’s suspicions, you’ll be monitored that much more closely.
Protect Yourself Look up your company’s policy for computer use. No employer wants you to use your computer for personal reasons, but what you need to check out is just how extensively your online activity is monitored. If it seems like Big Brother is watching, you may need to scale back your at-work wedding planning — but don’t worry, you’ll still find a way to get it all done.

Wedding Planning: Inside Your Groom’s Mind

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We’re not selling grooms short: There are a lot of guys who count “expressing my feelings” as a forte,
and who are engaged in the drama of a seating chart. Communication is a cornerstone of any good
relationship, but the high tension, strange customs, and unfamiliar etiquette that come with planning a
wedding can leave some guys speechless, and many brides aggravated. Here’s what he really wants you to
know, and how to handle it, without even having to ask.
“You have to tell me what I’m responsible for.”
You might expect him to plan the honeymoon, and might hope for a present on the morning of the wedding,
but does he know what a groom traditionally takes care of? Unless he’s been sneaking a peek at your
bridal magazines, he might be totally unaware that he has any responsibilities after he proposes. And
if he’s among the first of his friends to get married, he probably doesn’t have anyone dishing these
valuable tips to him.
Relationship Rx Telling your groom what you expect of him is not poor etiquette — it’s necessary, and
he’ll welcome the guidance. If you’re not comfortable filling him in on some of the details (like the
bride’s gift, for example), ask one of your bridesmaids to bring it up so that he gets the hint (and so
you don’t get mad).
groom style photos
Boutonnieres
Formalwear
Groomsmen attire
“I have no idea what napkins will go best with our linens, but that does not mean I don’t care.”
You mention how you’d like your bouquet to match his boutonniere, and his eyes glaze over. You show him
a motif you’re going to add to all your stationery, and he responds with a shrug. It’s tempting to
interpret reactions like these as disinterest in your wedding (and, in turn, your relationship), but
don’t be so quick to pounce.
Relationship Rx Even if your groom doesn’t have strong feelings about the decor, he wants the wedding
to look good just as much as you do. His mild interest in the details doesn’t mean he doesn’t care
about the wedding — it means he trusts your tastes. Ask him specific questions, like “Which flower do
you like better?” and you’re more likely to get a direct response.
“I want you to look like you.”
Every bride wants to look her best for her wedding, but some risk changing their style too dramatically
with heavy makeup, big hair, and too many accessories.
Relationship Rx While there’s nothing wrong with getting glamorous for your wedding, your groom doesn’t
want you to change your look so much that he doesn’t recognize the girl who’s walking down the aisle.
He fell in love with you seeing you every day, so remind him of that with hair and makeup that are
distinctly you.
“My friends aren’t D-class citizens.”
Just because you might not like one (or a few) of his friends, doesn’t mean you can seat them in
Siberia during the reception. If you stick a table of his buddies in a corner while your friends have a
prime spot near the dance floor, they will notice, and they’ll probably wonder why they got the short
end of the seating chart.
Relationship Rx Make a game plan for your reception seating that follows logic more than favoritism.
Give close family and attendants the best seats in the house, and arrange tables from there. If you
have to put a group of his friends toward the back, show there’s no ill will by seating your friends in
a similar position.
“Don’t ask for my opinion if you don’t really want to hear it.”
With so many tough planning decisions to be made, it’s natural to second guess yourself and seek out
your groom’s opinion. And that’s fine, but not if you’re asking him only to reinforce something you’ve
basically already decided. If he tells you his thoughts (the ones that disagree with you), your
response shouldn’t be along the lines of, “Are you serious?”
Relationship Rx Turn to him when you’re really torn about a choice, and he’ll gladly give his input.
When you know exactly what you want, however, go with your gut rather than put him in a position to
pick an option you would never really consider.

“Let me decide which parts I want to be involved in — then maybe I’ll do more!”
Getting your groom to attend the cake-tasting is a cinch. And he’ll probably be up for choosing your
playlist. But shove a binder of sample invites in front of him and he’ll be thinking of nothing other
than an exit strategy.
Relationship Rx Your powers of persuasion may be exceptional, but wedding planning is a whole new
terrain. Involve him in the details you know he’ll enjoy, but don’t force it or his instinct might be
to resist. Instead, let him know about some of the less interesting tasks piled on your plate, and
he’ll be more willing to offer his assistance if he sees you’re stressed.
“I’m not wearing a sailboat bow tie.”
Dreaming of a perfectly coordinated wedding party? Think he’d look handsome in a classic, full-dress
tailcoat tux? Make suggestions about the formalwear, but let him choose his own attire. You don’t want
to look at your photos years later and see him cringe at his white linen wedding suit (that was your
pick, naturally).
Relationship Rx Although your fashion sense might be on-point, what matters most is that he’s
comfortable in his formalwear. Just like you wouldn’t want to wear a gown you consider unflattering, he
shouldn’t wear an outfit that he feels doesn’t fit right.
“Don’t give me a curfew the night before the wedding.”
The rehearsal dinner often segues into a late-night party. If he’s having a great time, you’re liable
to put a damper on things if you insist he turn in before midnight.
Relationship Rx Despite what he does the night before, you can rest assured he’ll show up for the
wedding… and that he’ll arrive on time. If you’re really concerned, ask his most responsible
groomsman to keep an eye on him, and to remind him that he wouldn’t want to endure the wedding day with
a hangover.
“The bachelor party is off-limits.”
You’ve had a hand in every aspect of planning the wedding — so why shouldn’t you have a say in his
night out with the guys? We know of many a bride who has suggested a particular cigar bar or offered up
her parents’ vacation home for the festivities.
Relationship Rx Be careful how you tread when it comes to his bachelor party — though it may seem like
an immature tradition to you, for some guys it’s practically sacred. To give suggestions, let alone put
boundaries on the party, implies that you don’t trust him, which is a shaky way to start a marriage. By
showing him that you trust him completely, he’ll be reminded again why you’re the perfect bride.

Wedding Planning: How to Get a Marriage License

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A marriage license is essentially a permit — legal confirmation that couples are free to marry each other, have obtained divorce or widowhood papers if necessary, are of legal age, and have had blood tests if required. The license pick-up location varies by state: It might be City Hall, the city or town clerk’s office, or the marriage license bureau in the county where you plan to wed.
>> Find an office: Look under “Marriage” in your phone book’s city pages, search the Internet for state marriage license requirements, or use The Knot Marriage License Search.
Once you’ve located your marriage license office, call to ask when you should apply. Licenses are valid for a window of time (from ten days to six months), and there may be a short waiting period once you get the license. In most states you can walk in to apply, but some offices require an appointment, so be sure to ask when you call. Both bride and groom must be present in most states, although there are a few exceptions.
Licenses are valid for a window of time (from ten days to six months), and there may be a short waiting period once you get the license.
You will probably need:
Birth certificates (proof of age)
Proof of citizenship and/or residence
Photo identification
Parental consent if underage (usually 16-17; you may also need court consent)
Death certificate if widowed
Divorce decree if divorced
Blood test results (if needed; only a few states still require this)
After the wedding, your officiant will send your signed license to the marriage license bureau, and then you should receive a certified copy within a few weeks or months (depending on your state).
TYING THE KNOT NATIONALLY

California wine country
Fee charged
License valid for: 90 days, no waiting period
Blood test: no
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying or call the Napa Valley County Clerk (707) 253-4246, or Sonoma County Clerk, (707) 527-3700
Florida
Fee charged; it’s lower if the bride and groom are Florida residents and attend an eight-hour marriage course
Waiting period: None (a three-day waiting period for Florida residents can be waived by attending the marriage course mentioned above)
License valid for: 60 days
Blood test: No
More info – Florida Keys: Monroe County Clerk of Courts (305) 292-3550 (Key West), (305) 852-7145 (Isla Morada), (305) 289-6027 (Marathon); Disneyworld: Orange County Clerk of Courts Marriage License Division (407) 836-2067, Walt Disney World (407) 828-3400 or http://www.disneyweddings.com
.
Hawaii
Fee charged
Residency Requirement: None
Necessary Documents: Driver’s license or passport; no proof of divorce is necessary, but those who are divorced must be able to list the date, state and county (or country) where the divorce was finalized.
Note: Licenses must be filed with the state health department office in Honolulu, or call the department for listings of agents in rural communities. Forms require the names of parents and their places of birth. Both parties must appear in person.
More info: Hawaii’s Department of Health marriage licensing office or (808) 586-4544; or http://www.gohawaii.com
Las Vegas
Fee charged
Waiting period: None
License valid for: Indefinitely
Blood test: No
More info: Clark County Marriage Bureau, (702) 455-4415, ext. 5
Mackinack Island, Michigan
Fee charged
License valid for: 30 days, after a three-day waiting period
Blood test: no
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying or call the Mackinac Island Chamber of Commerce, (800) 4-LILACS
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Fee: Varies by county/town
License valid for: 60 days, after three-day waiting period, anywhere in state
Blood test: yes
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Fee charged
License valid for: 30 days, after 3-day waiting period
Blood test: no
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying, or call the Louisiana Office of Tourism, (800) 261-9144

Tying the Knot Internationally
Anguilla
Fee charged (it’s much lower if one person resides on the island for 15 days)
Residency period: None, paperwork requires two days
Necessary documents: Passport, proof of divorce or death of spouse (if applicable)
More info: Two witnesses are required. For further information, call the Magistrate, (264) 497-3477
Antigua
Fee charged
Residency period: None
Necessary documents: Passport, proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s if applicable
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying, or call the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism at (212) 541-4117
Aruba
*** It is now possible for nonresidents to marry in Aruba, but there are many restrictions and requirements.
Fee charged
Residency period: None
Necessary documents: (copies of all the following must first be faxed for review, then sent via courier, such as FedEx, at least 14 days in advance) passports; raised-seal birth certificates for both parties and the witnesses; divorce decrees/death certificates if previously married; apostilles (documents from your local government declaring you are eligible for marriage).
Civil ceremonies — must take place inside City Hall in Oranjestad. Once you have a civil ceremony you may have a religious blessing.
Catholic — contact a Catholic church for details.
Protestant — contact the church of your choice. Ceremonies may take place in a church or anywhere else on the island.
Jewish — both parties MUST prove they are Jewish with documentation from their home rabbi; a petition for permission must also be submitted to the Jewish community; ceremonies may take place at the synagogue or anywhere else on the island.
More info: Call the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying and the Aruba Tourism Authority, (800) TO-ARUBA
Bahamas
Fee charged
Residency requirement: 24 hours
Necessary documents: Passports; birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); declaration certifying both parties are unmarried U.S. citizens, sworn before a U.S. Consul at the American Embassy in Nassau, or a marriage license from the Commissioner’s Office on other islands; proof of arrival in the Bahamas.
Knot Note: Both parties must apply in person.
More info: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Romance Director at (888) NUPTIAL or http://www.bahamas.com
Barbados
Fee charged
Residency period: None
Necessary documents: Passports; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); letter from officiant performing service
Obtain marriage license from Ministry of Home Affairs or (246) 228-8950
Bermuda
Fee charged
Residency period: None
Necessary documents: Passports and a “Notice of Intended Marriage” form from Bermuda’s Registrar General’s Office (The form is available by phone request or at bermudatourism.com. Fill it out and mail it — along with a cashier’s check or bank draft made payable to the Accountant General, Hamilton, Bermuda — back to the Registrar General. Your license will be valid for three months and can be picked up at the Registrar’s office by you or a designated person.)
Note: “Notice of Intended Marriage” must be filed
2 weeks before the wedding
More info: Bermuda’s Registrar General office, (441) 297-7709 or -7707; the Bermuda Department of Tourism office nearest you; or bermudatourism.com
British Virgin Islands
Fee charged; it’s lower if you’ve been in the BVI for more than 15 days. It’s less expensive to get married at the registrar’s office than elsewhere.
Residency period: 3 days
Necessary documents: Passports; birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable)
Note: Publishing banns may be necessary for church weddings. Make plans with appropriate clergy.
More info: BVI Registrar’s Office, (284) 494-3701 ext. 5001/2/3; British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, (800) 835-8530
Cayman Islands
Fee charged
Residency period: None
Necessary documents: Passports; birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); return or ongoing tickets; proofs of entry (Cayman Islands International Immigration Department pink slips or cruise-ship boarding passes); letter from authorized officiating marriage officer
More info: Cayman Islands Government Deputy Chief Secretary; (345) 949-7900 or (345) 914-2222
Fiji
Fee charged
Residency period: None
Necessary documents: Passports, original birth certificates, proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse(s) if applicable
Note: There are no non-denominational ministers; requirements vary by religion
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying or contact the Fiji Visitor’s Bureau, (800) YEA FIJI
France
Total cost of civil service: Varies by region
Residency period: One of you must reside for 40 days in the town or district (in Paris) where the wedding will take place
Necessary documents: Passport; certified copy of final divorce decree or death certificate of former spouse/s if applicable; both birth certificates (from the Bureau of Vital Records, not from a hospital); a notarized “Affidavit of Law;” and a certificate of health
Note: Requirements may vary by region and city and blood test requirements vary by gender; all documents need to be professionally translated; and all documents translated in the U.S. must be legalized with an “apostille” from the Secretary of State of the state they are issued in. We highly recommend that you contact a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings as early as possible to help you fulfill the requirements or contact the French Consulate in your area to review your paperwork.
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the hotel where you’ll be staying, the French Consulate in your area, or the Marriage Bureau of the City Hall in the town or district where you will be wed
French Polynesia
Residency period: At least one of you must live in French Polynesia for 30 days (no fighting, now!)
Necessary documents: Birth certificates (issued within 3 months of your wedding and translated into French), medical certificates, 1 certificate of residency, 1 copy of notarized marriage contract, customary certificates, certificates of celibacy, and a certificate of publication of marriage bans in the non-resident’s hometown
Note: Assuming one of you can establish residency, we highly recommend that you contact a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings or in Tahiti as early as possible to help you fulfill the requirements.
More info: Call the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying or a travel agent that specializes in Tahiti or destination weddings. Tahiti Tourism, (800) 365-4949
Greece
Total cost for civil service: Varies by region
Residency requirement: None
Necessary documents: It is possible to use an American marriage license, but only if it meets certain requirements; passports; certified birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); certificate from U.S. Consulate in Athens, stating that there is no impediment to the marriage; two announcements in local Greek newspaper (one announcement for each person)
Note: Greek tourism officials advise that gathering and preparing required documents could take a few months. All documents must be translated into Greek by the Greek consulate in your area. The Greek National Tourist Organization, (212) 421-5777, will fax instructions and supply names of companies that specialize in arranging weddings for foreigners. Greek law does not provide for certain interfaith marriages such as Christians to non-Christians or Jews to non-Jews. Proof of religion, such as baptismal certificates, may be required.
More info: Greek National Tourist Organization, (212) 421-5777, or the Greek Consulate, (212) 988-5500.
.
Ireland
Fee charged
Residency period: One person must establish a residency of 15 days, the other must fulfill a minimum 7-day residency
Necessary documents: Passports; birth certificates; certified copy of final divorce decree or death certificate (plus original marriage certificate) of former spouse/s if applicable; Notice of Marriage (provided by the Registrar and published twice with a one-week interval in a Dublin newspaper)
Note: You must notify the Registrar for Marriages at least three months before the wedding date. We recommend that you contact a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings as early as possible to help you fulfill the requirements.
More info: Contact the wedding coordinator at the hotel where you’ll be staying or call the Registrar for Marriages at 011-353-1-676 3218
Italy
Total cost for civil service: Varies by region
Residency period: four days
Necessary documents: Passports or armed forces ID cards; certified copies of birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); declarations “atto notorio” sworn to by four people attesting that they know of no reason to object to the marriage under the laws of the couple’s home country; declaration sworn to by both parties that there are no obstacles to the marriage under U.S. law
Note: Certain documents must be translated into Italian with special “apostille” seals from the secretary of state from the state from which the documents originated. Additional requirements apply if one of the parties is an Italian citizen or resident of Italy. Requirements may vary by region and city. It is highly recommended that you work with a wedding planner to help you fulfill all requirements properly.
More info: Italian consulate nearest you; Italian Tourism Board, Italy weddings websiteor http://travel.state.gov/italy_marriage.html
Jamaica
Fee charged
For a higher fee, the wedding coordinater at your resort will arrange for for the officiant to go into Kingston to the Ministry of National Security, (876) 922-0080, to get the marriage license. Otherwise you have to go yourself.
Residency period: 24 hours
Necessary documents: Certified copies of both birth certificates; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s if applicable; and name change or adoption papers if applicable
Malta
Fee charged
Residency period: One day
Necessary documents: Birth certificates, a sworn statement that neither person is married, proof of divorce or death of former spouse (if applicable), and completed application and Sworn Declaration forms (available from the Marriage Registry) must be sent to the Registry Office between six weeks and three months before your intended date
Note: These requirements apply to civil ceremonies only. Religious weddings have a different set of conditions; work with a destination wedding planner or speak with the Marriage Registry office (below) to make sure all requirements are fulfilled.
More info: Marriage Registry office, 011-356-626-221775, 225291/2 or More info: , (877) GO MALTA
Mexico
Total cost of civil service: Varies across country
Residency requirement: None
Necessary documents: Certified copies of birth certificates previously “legalized” by the Mexican consulate with jurisdiction over the place of birth; driver’s licenses or passports; certified proof of divorce or death certificates of former spouse/s (if applicable) previously “legalized” by the Mexican consulate with jurisdiction over the place of filing; judge’s form; tourist cards; Mexican-performed blood test results
Note: The marriage requirements in Mexico vary from city to city and judge to judge. The Mexican Ministry of Tourism recommends that you budget two to four days to complete all requirements. It is recommended that you work with a wedding planner to help you fulfill all requirements properly.
More info: Mexico tourist board, (800) 44-MEXICO
St. Lucia
Fee charged
Residency period: 2 days
Necessary documents: Passport, birth certificate, proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s if applicable, and name change or adoption papers if applicable
More info: Call the wedding coordinator at the resort where you’ll be staying or contact the St. Lucia Tourist Board, (888) 4-STLUCIA
U.S. Virgin Islands
Fee charged
Residency period: None
Necessary documents: Driver’s licenses or passports; proof of divorce or death certificate of former spouse/s (if applicable); letter accompanying application for marriage stating date of visit, length of stay, and preferred wedding date if having ceremony performed by a judge
Note: Application must be received at least eight days prior to wedding.
More info: USVI Division of Tourism, (800) 372-8784; Territorial Court, St. Croix, (340) 778-9750.

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Wedding Planning: Flirting With Disaster

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Nobody’s perfect, and, unfortunately, that pertains to vendors, weather, and attendees too. With a grand-scale event like a wedding, there are bound to be hiccups. We asked a bevy of recent brides to share their day-of disasters — not to make you panic, but to remind you that even when the most unthinkable accidents occur, there’s always a way around them (as these folks discovered). So read on, feel relief that even your worst moments probably won’t be this bad, and understand that even these brides say that overall, their weddings were fabulous experiences.
Fire Drill Decor
What happened: “The Hindu ceremony requires an open flame, and the church was fine with that,” says Nicole M., 22. “But our flames got a bit out of hand!”
What they did: The bride’s sister-in-law pulled her back from the fire, guests opened windows so the sprinklers wouldn’t go off, and people went home with black soot in their hair.
Tip: If you’re dealing with an open flame or this kind of ritual, check the rules of the room and other fire safety measures before you incorporate it into your wedding. And always have fire precautions handy, like extinguishers or damp towels.

Roadblock to Happiness
What happened: “Our wedding was on the last weekend of spring break, so there was almost no parking available,” says Diemmai N., 35. “My groom left the vows in the limo, which then took off and was hard to track down, and even our judge got stuck in traffic and arrived 45 minutes late.”
What they did: Started the ceremony late. Though not ideal, they couldn’t get married without an officiant.
Tip: There are two disaster-worthy issues here. First, the traffic. Before you settle on a wedding date, research any big conferences or events (like spring break!) that are happening at your destination. Second, the missing vows. What’s really great about being a bride or groom? You have two people who are looking out for you the whole day through — that’s right, your maid of honor and best man. Nervousness can make any to-be-weds forgetful, so take yourselves out of the equation. Pass off anything crucial — your vows, the rings, or even your lip gloss — to your attendants.
Calling in Sick
What happened: “My photographer called the night before the wedding to tell me he was sick and not going to make it the next day,” explains Celeste O., 33.
What they did: Booked a substitute through the photographer’s studio. Though the new shooter had a different photo style from the one they’d hired, Celeste and her groom didn’t stress: “We’d rather have a photographer of equal quality than one that shared the exact vision.”
Tip: Vendor no-shows certainly put a damper on the day. Your best precaution is an airtight contract. Before you sign anything, read the language about emergencies that may prevent the vendor from following through with his services: backup plans or strict penalties should be included.
Frozen Assets
What happened: “The ice mold for our buffet table broke before the reception started,” says Kaye N., 31.
What they did: Their wedding coordinator replaced it with one of the ceremony centerpieces. Kaye adds, “We were actually happier with the flowers there because they were unexpected and just popped!”
Tip: Ask your florist to leave extra blooms at the reception in case you need to decorate, or cover, certain calamities.
Make It Up To Myself
What happened: “I got lipstick on the front of my dress before I even left the suite,” says Carla L., 27.
What they did: When the stain wouldn’t come out, she found a way to pin the fabric and hide the spot.
Tip: Have stainfighters (club soda and Shout Wipes) on hand, and be careful of doing anything in your gown! Drink beverages from a straw, and leave your lipstick to the last minute. If you can’t fix it, calmly deal with it. Tell yourself that marrying your man is the most important part of the day and a tiny stain can never spoil (or soil) that.
Ambience Annoyance
What happened: “Just before our ceremony began, the groundskeeper started running a Weed Eater,” says Gina M., 33. “It easily drowned out our soft-spoken minister. Once that finally stopped, his sermon was interrupted by the wail of an ambulance siren. And once the ambulance had passed, someone trotted by on a horse.”
What they did: Continued on with their service, regardless of the sound effects.
Tip: Whether indoor or out, always test the acoustics of your ceremony site. But realize that there’s only so much you can control, especially if you’re having an outdoor ceremony in a public place. Check the grounds crew’s schedule and plan your ceremony at a time that heavy machinery is not in use, or when they’re on break. If that’s not possible, consider using microphones.
Wait, Whose Wedding Are We At?
What happened: “My fiance and I designed, printed, and assembled the programs, so I was a nervous wreck that I was going to make a mistake,” says Janet H., 31. “I did — a pretty bad typo. I misspelled my own maiden name.”
What they did: Spent a late night at the copy place correcting the goof.
Tip: Check, double-check, and triple-check all your paper products before sending them to the printer. Show the proof to someone who hasn’t been involved with the design — like your mom or a bridesmaid — so she can review the words with a fresh eye. If it’s already hit the printer, stop the presses. If there’s time, ask if you can do an emergency reprint.
Getting Tipsy
What happened: “Right before I walked down the aisle with my dad, the huppah blew over,” says Corey H., 33.
What they did: Several groomsmen ended up holding it steady during the ceremony. “I had no idea why they were holding it and thought it was simply a nice touch,” Corey adds. Good save!
Tip: Prepare your groomsmen to think on their feet. You cannot predict the weather (or, perhaps, the behavior of clumsy guests), so you need to assemble a team who can take care of uh-oh mishaps like this. Make it seem intentional, and your guests won’t notice a thing.
Safe At Home…or Too Safe
What happened: “Our rings were locked in
a malfunctioning safe in my parents’ suite, so the ceremony started 40 minutes late!” says Laura S., 25.
What they did: It took one wedding planner, a hotel manager, 10 staff members, and several anxious witnesses to get it open.
Tip: Don’t delay the ceremony, just get married with alternate rings! Ask your parents, best friends, or any close friend or family member for their wedding bands to use for the ceremony. It’s just a symbolic gesture.
Vendor Bender
What happened: “Our limo bus backed into a car while we were getting our pictures taken in front of a downtown plaza!” says TeCe H., 27.
What they did: Instead of waiting around for the driver to fill out the police report, they just walked a few blocks to a nearby museum to take a few pictures.
Tip: (Car) accidents happen. If another photo location is within walking distance, go for it. Spontaneous shots make some of the best wedding pictures anyway. Otherwise, always ensure that someone who you’re traveling with has a cell phone. It seems obvious, but most wedding party people decked in formalwear leave them at home.
My Heart Goes Boom
What happened: “My maid of honor bought sparklers for our grand exit,” says Ayesha F., 25. “Well, when she handed them over to one of the vendors, our dear chef pointed out that they were bottle rockets — full-out fireworks.”
What they did: Used rose petals instead.
Tip: Be flexible. Though you may have your heart set on some small detail, realize that the alternative can be just as beautiful. Maybe your church doors didn’t have the hardware to hang your wreaths? Have the florist use them at the reception. It’s all about improvisation.

Wedding Planning: How to Avoid Wedding Day Mishaps

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Your wedding plans are humming along, but every now and then you wake up at night in a cold sweat, dreams of “what if…” dancing in your head: What if I fall as I walk down the aisle? What if the caterer serves cold entrees? No one wants to deal with wedding-day bad news, especially when there are ways to lessen your odds against it. To problem-proof your celebration, we’ve collected some not-so-uncommon stories of wedding goofs, with suggestions for avoiding them. Keep in mind that although mishaps may happen, almost nothing can ruin a wedding.
The Great Cake Collapse
The tale to tell: Every wedding consultant seems to have a splattered wedding-cake story. Consultant Joyce Scardina Becker of Events of Distinction worked at a wedding with an outdoor dance floor, constructed over a sub-floor. When two hundred people began to boogie, the floor shuddered, the cake table began to shiver, and the top tier of the four-tier confection began to lean…and lean further. Since Scardina-Becker already had an experience in which a cake actually fell, this time she took no chances: As the cake sloped more precariously, she took the top tier off and packed it away, along with the decorations. It was served by the bride’s family at brunch the next day.
The trick to avoid: Be sure to find a secure spot for your confection, away from the dance floor and the general hubbub of your wedding reception.
Keep in mind that although mishaps may happen, almost nothing can ruin a wedding.

The Gown That Wouldn’t Give
The tales to tell: Consultant Carolyn Hefner was helping a bride dress for her wedding in Michigan, when, to Hefner’s horror, the bride mentioned that her seamstress in New York had just recently “taken a final detail to the zipper to make it lay flat.” Sure enough, the zipper would not budge five inches from the top of the gown. The bridesmaids, the photographer, the makeup artist, and Carolyn all took turns trying to inch the zipper up, all to no avail. As the frantic bride began to sweat, Carolyn called the front desk at the hotel. Minutes later, a seamstress appeared and eased the zipper to the top. JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions recalls a day spent sewing and re-sewing a bridal party into dresses that were cut “like Morticia Addams” and that kept ripping right up the back. Jean Bodwin of After The Proposal Wedding Consultants had a very close call with a broken zipper on a bridesmaid dress that had never been tried on after alterations: In this case, a family friend actually sped off to a nearby boutique and replaced the dress before the wedding began.
The trick to avoid: Always be sure to have a “dress rehearsal.” Scheduling a photo session of the bride in her ensemble to get some of the formal shots done — a week or so before the wedding day — often heads off problems with the gown, the veil, or the hairstyle. Bridesmaids should be asked to try on their own ensembles after alterations and well before the big event.

The Dinner Deemed Damning
The tale to tell: True story: The groom’s family is Jewish and keeps a kosher home, the bride is Christian. For their wedding, they agree to serve a kosher-style menu, observing the basic rules of keeping kosher: no mixing meat and dairy, no shellfish. On the day of the wedding, one of the entrees seemed different from what the couple had ordered, and when they returned from their honeymoon, the bride called to inquire about the change. The caterer replied, that “actually, the menu had been ‘upgraded’ for free” — the fish had been stuffed with crabmeat!
The trick to avoid: If you have specific food issues — allergies or religious requirements — that simply cannot be violated, it is most important that the caterer be very aware of them. Be specific, be insistent, and, most importantly, put it in the contract.

The Wedding in the Tempest
The tale to tell: Ask consultant Abby Gordon of Hopple Popple about her most “disastrous wedding ever” and her answer will make your palms sweat: “The entire cocktail tent was torn from its anchors and blew over a sea wall… the chairs and linens were blown out to sea… lightning struck the church [before guests arrived], so the ceremony was held with no lights at all… lightning struck the main tent, jolting two electricians…” Even the most controlling bride must admit that the weather is simply beyond anyone’s control. Storms like the one described above are rare, but rain can put a true damper on a tent wedding.
The trick to avoid: Consultant Melissa Paul has seen her share of wet, grumpy wedding guests and offers a wealth of advice for weather-proofing a party: Always reserve an alternate space if you are planning an outdoor/tent wedding. Arrange tents for the ceremony, cocktails, and reception so that guests don’t need to run through a downpour at any time. Spend the extra bucks and get the tent with sidewalls all around and eaves over the walkways. Hire an attendant to start the heaters, drop the walls, and otherwise look after things. Hire a valet service so that guests won’t have to walk through the rain. And finally, always have lots and lots of big golf umbrellas on hand.

The Day the Music Stopped
The tale to tell: No one knows who was more shocked at Alanna and Paul’s wedding when the band chose to play “Sexual Healing” as the couple’s parents took to the dance floor for their moment in the spotlight — the newlyweds or Mom and Dad. “It was, I must say, the most awkward moment there,” says Alanna. “We laughed it off, of course, but it was just ridiculous.”
The trick to avoid: Every couple knows to tell the band or DJ which songs to play for the important wedding dances and what their favorite “get everyone dancing tunes” are. But if you have strong opinions about music, it may make sense to take things one step further and make a list of songs that you despise and which must not be played at the wedding. And for some, even that is not enough. One bride, enraged at hearing her DJ play the forbidden “Macarena” recommends driving the point home clearly by having the bandleader or DJ sign the list of no-play tunes.

The Tuxedo Tragedy
The tale to tell: Nick, like most grooms, was in charge of the formalwear for the guys in his wedding party. The day before the wedding, he swung by the tuxedo shop and picked up all the suits; then he doled them out to his pals as they arrived at his house before the rehearsal dinner. The next day, on the morning of the wedding, the best man arrived in a tuxedo and a pair of black loafers. His tux had arrived with two left shoes, and it was way too late to exchange them for proper dress shoes.
The trick to avoid: No woman would try on a dress for the first time only minutes before she was about to leave for a big event. But to some guys, a tux is a tux — and a groomsman will wait until five minutes before he has to leave for the ceremony to don his duds. Most times, things are just fine. On the other hand, he may find a little surprise — like enormous slacks or a teeny tiny tuxedo shirt. But it’s too late, and the poor guy will be stuck wearing a very tightly belted pair of pants or a dress shirt under his jacket. The answer is simple: Sweetly insist that every guy try on the whole James Bond ensemble the day it comes home from the tuxedo shop. Even better, have every guy pick up his own formalwear (including the shoes!) and try everything on at the tuxedo shop.

 

Wedding Planning: Flirting With Disaster

Posted on


Nobody’s perfect, and, unfortunately, that pertains to vendors, weather, and attendees too. With a grand-scale event like a wedding, there are bound to be hiccups. We asked a bevy of recent brides to share their day-of disasters — not to make you panic, but to remind you that even when the most unthinkable accidents occur, there’s always a way around them (as these folks discovered). So read on, feel relief that even your worst moments probably won’t be this bad, and understand that even these brides say that overall, their weddings were fabulous experiences.
Fire Drill Decor
What happened: “The Hindu ceremony requires an open flame, and the church was fine with that,” says Nicole M., 22. “But our flames got a bit out of hand!”
What they did: The bride’s sister-in-law pulled her back from the fire, guests opened windows so the sprinklers wouldn’t go off, and people went home with black soot in their hair.
Tip: If you’re dealing with an open flame or this kind of ritual, check the rules of the room and other fire safety measures before you incorporate it into your wedding. And always have fire precautions handy, like extinguishers or damp towels.

Roadblock to Happiness
What happened: “Our wedding was on the last weekend of spring break, so there was almost no parking available,” says Diemmai N., 35. “My groom left the vows in the limo, which then took off and was hard to track down, and even our judge got stuck in traffic and arrived 45 minutes late.”
What they did: Started the ceremony late. Though not ideal, they couldn’t get married without an officiant.
Tip: There are two disaster-worthy issues here. First, the traffic. Before you settle on a wedding date, research any big conferences or events (like spring break!) that are happening at your destination. Second, the missing vows. What’s really great about being a bride or groom? You have two people who are looking out for you the whole day through — that’s right, your maid of honor and best man. Nervousness can make any to-be-weds forgetful, so take yourselves out of the equation. Pass off anything crucial — your vows, the rings, or even your lip gloss — to your attendants.
Calling in Sick
What happened: “My photographer called the night before the wedding to tell me he was sick and not going to make it the next day,” explains Celeste O., 33.
What they did: Booked a substitute through the photographer’s studio. Though the new shooter had a different photo style from the one they’d hired, Celeste and her groom didn’t stress: “We’d rather have a photographer of equal quality than one that shared the exact vision.”
Tip: Vendor no-shows certainly put a damper on the day. Your best precaution is an airtight contract. Before you sign anything, read the language about emergencies that may prevent the vendor from following through with his services: backup plans or strict penalties should be included.
Frozen Assets
What happened: “The ice mold for our buffet table broke before the reception started,” says Kaye N., 31.
What they did: Their wedding coordinator replaced it with one of the ceremony centerpieces. Kaye adds, “We were actually happier with the flowers there because they were unexpected and just popped!”
Tip: Ask your florist to leave extra blooms at the reception in case you need to decorate, or cover, certain calamities.
Make It Up To Myself
What happened: “I got lipstick on the front of my dress before I even left the suite,” says Carla L., 27.
What they did: When the stain wouldn’t come out, she found a way to pin the fabric and hide the spot.
Tip: Have stainfighters (club soda and Shout Wipes) on hand, and be careful of doing anything in your gown! Drink beverages from a straw, and leave your lipstick to the last minute. If you can’t fix it, calmly deal with it. Tell yourself that marrying your man is the most important part of the day and a tiny stain can never spoil (or soil) that.
Ambience Annoyance
What happened: “Just before our ceremony began, the groundskeeper started running a Weed Eater,” says Gina M., 33. “It easily drowned out our soft-spoken minister. Once that finally stopped, his sermon was interrupted by the wail of an ambulance siren. And once the ambulance had passed, someone trotted by on a horse.”
What they did: Continued on with their service, regardless of the sound effects.
Tip: Whether indoor or out, always test the acoustics of your ceremony site. But realize that there’s only so much you can control, especially if you’re having an outdoor ceremony in a public place. Check the grounds crew’s schedule and plan your ceremony at a time that heavy machinery is not in use, or when they’re on break. If that’s not possible, consider using microphones.
Wait, Whose Wedding Are We At?
What happened: “My fiance and I designed, printed, and assembled the programs, so I was a nervous wreck that I was going to make a mistake,” says Janet H., 31. “I did — a pretty bad typo. I misspelled my own maiden name.”
What they did: Spent a late night at the copy place correcting the goof.
Tip: Check, double-check, and triple-check all your paper products before sending them to the printer. Show the proof to someone who hasn’t been involved with the design — like your mom or a bridesmaid — so she can review the words with a fresh eye. If it’s already hit the printer, stop the presses. If there’s time, ask if you can do an emergency reprint.
Getting Tipsy
What happened: “Right before I walked down the aisle with my dad, the huppah blew over,” says Corey H., 33.
What they did: Several groomsmen ended up holding it steady during the ceremony. “I had no idea why they were holding it and thought it was simply a nice touch,” Corey adds. Good save!
Tip: Prepare your groomsmen to think on their feet. You cannot predict the weather (or, perhaps, the behavior of clumsy guests), so you need to assemble a team who can take care of uh-oh mishaps like this. Make it seem intentional, and your guests won’t notice a thing.
Safe At Home…or Too Safe
What happened: “Our rings were locked in
a malfunctioning safe in my parents’ suite, so the ceremony started 40 minutes late!” says Laura S., 25.
What they did: It took one wedding planner, a hotel manager, 10 staff members, and several anxious witnesses to get it open.
Tip: Don’t delay the ceremony, just get married with alternate rings! Ask your parents, best friends, or any close friend or family member for their wedding bands to use for the ceremony. It’s just a symbolic gesture.
Vendor Bender
What happened: “Our limo bus backed into a car while we were getting our pictures taken in front of a downtown plaza!” says TeCe H., 27.
What they did: Instead of waiting around for the driver to fill out the police report, they just walked a few blocks to a nearby museum to take a few pictures.
Tip: (Car) accidents happen. If another photo location is within walking distance, go for it. Spontaneous shots make some of the best wedding pictures anyway. Otherwise, always ensure that someone who you’re traveling with has a cell phone. It seems obvious, but most wedding party people decked in formalwear leave them at home.
My Heart Goes Boom
What happened: “My maid of honor bought sparklers for our grand exit,” says Ayesha F., 25. “Well, when she handed them over to one of the vendors, our dear chef pointed out that they were bottle rockets — full-out fireworks.”
What they did: Used rose petals instead.
Tip: Be flexible. Though you may have your heart set on some small detail, realize that the alternative can be just as beautiful. Maybe your church doors didn’t have the hardware to hang your wreaths? Have the florist use them at the reception. It’s all about improvisation.

Wedding Planning: Confessions of Wedding Planners

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Your wedding coordinator is there to design your day, keep your bridal party and vendors on schedule, avert disasters and do it all with a smile. And while her job may look like a lot of fun, it’s not all wine and roses. In fact, there are some things she’d like you to know, but she doesn’t have the heart to tell you (or she’s afraid you’ll fire her if she did!). Here, big names in the biz dish their dirty little secrets. (Sorry, we’re not going to tell you who said what…we’re not gossips!)
We’d like to tell you we’re not your personal slaves.
Of course your planner should make sure things go smoothly on your wedding day, but if you’re expecting her to cater to your every whim for months leading up to the main event, you’ve got another thing coming. “I once had a bride tell me (in a bossy tone, no less) that she planned to use me as her assistant. She wound up driving all of my assistants crazy!” says one wedding coordinator. The guys are guilty of mistreating the planners too. “A groom made us carry out all of the rehearsal dinner gifts to the cars — in the pouring rain,” says another. And yet another was tasked with keeping an eye on all the kids in a separate room from the reception. “Hello, just hire a babysitter!” she suggests. Your planner can’t make sure things go as they should if she’s changing diapers and soothing crying kids! Appalled by these stories? So are we. So don’t be those brides, k?
We don’t want you to make us do your dirty work.
Weddings are hotbeds for every kind of sticky social situation, but it’s not your planner’s job to handle interpersonal challenges — and they hate it when you try to make it their business. “One bride’s brother had me apologize to his girlfriend during the reception because ‘and guest’ was written on their escort card,” says one planner. “It wasn’t even my fault! She and the brother had broken up when we sent the calligrapher the names.” Says another planner, “A bride asked me to drive to a bridesmaid’s house and bring her to the wedding if she didn’t show up to the ceremony on time. I was so relieved when she arrived.” A planner can’t whip a renegade bridesmaid into shape, so don’t bother putting her in the middle.
We won’t always tell you the whole truth.
Occasionally, especially on your wedding day, your planner may hide something from you. But it’s only to keep you happy: “One of my brides wanted a top baker’s signature sugar flowers on her cake. When the cake arrived, I figured out that it was covered in fresh blooms instead of faux ones,” says one planner. “I was worried I’d upset the bride if I told her the truth, so I just nodded and smiled as she fawned over the ‘sugar flowers.'” Or she may tell you the truth…eventually. “At one wedding, the couple ran out of alcohol. I picked some up without them knowing. When they got back from the honeymoon, I told them what happened and how much they owed me.” If these stories scare you, they shouldn’t. On your wedding day, the less you know about what’s not quite ideal, the better. The brides who say their weddings went off without a hitch aren’t lying, but most likely, they just had planners who protected them from any problems that arose.
We actually want you to make your own decisions.
While flexible brides can be a planner’s dream, indecisive ones can be her worst nightmare. Your planner can offer suggestions until she’s blue in the face, but ultimately, most choices have to be yours; otherwise, you won’t be happy with the outcome — or your planner (and she knows that). “Some clients can’t make a single decision without us! I had a mother of the bride email me asking what kind of shoes she should wear with her silver wedding shower outfit. We’re not fashion consultants outside of the wedding day!” says one planner. Just like you wouldn’t call your local deli for advice when you’re at home making yourself a sandwich, don’t pester your planner for off-topic help. And have your own opinion for on-topic things.
You’re not the center of our universe.
Yes, you’re important to your planner, but you’re far from her only bride, even if it seems that way from the personal attention she gives you on the phone and during your appointments. Besides other clients, she likely has a family! Dragging your coordinator to more than four meetings per type of vendor you’re trying to hire is taking advantage of her. “Many brides will ask me to meet bakers and caterers that they have no plans to book,” says one planner. “I’ll usually visit a few vendors with the couple, and if the first ones we met with didn’t work out, I’m happy to recommend others. But going to a vendor just to get a free tasting is a waste of my and the vendor’s time and money.”
Sometimes, you do irk us.
No matter how talented your planner is, at some point, she’s probably going to share an idea that you don’t like — or, more accurately, that you think is flat-out awful. But telling her you “just hate it” won’t get you any closer to what you want, and it can (to put it delicately) piss her off. Coordinators have feelings too, and getting married isn’t your free pass to be rude to whomever you want. Yes, planners have to develop a thick skin (after all, they deal with picky brides all day), but being disrespectful because you think they’re used to it isn’t okay. “If an email comes across as annoying, or if it’s asking a question that I’ve already answered 10 times before, I’ll take my time getting back to that client.” And that doesn’t make her a bad coordinator. Aren’t you much more likely to give your favorite vendors exactly what they need when they need it, rather than the pain-in-the-butt ones who won’t leave you alone?