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How Are We Going to Pay for All This?


Spreading the Word

Choosing Wedding Invitations
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Keeping Your Sanity

Avoiding the Guilt Trap
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Avoiding the Wedding Guilt Trap

By Erin Mahoney


Bringing together a large, diverse group of friends, family members and acquaintances to celebrate your nuptials should result in a joyous celebration, but often requires the bride and groom to manage the feelings, egos and assumptions of both themselves and others. In order to keep soon-to-be betrothed couples from wasting valuable time and energy feeling bad about situations they can't control, we've put together a list of common difficulties and misunderstandings, along with tips on how to deal with them.

Limited Guest Lists

Nearly every couple must face the task of trimming the guest list, whether it be due to space or money restrictions. This may be the toughest part of planning a wedding, and it can lead to conflicts between the bride- and groom-to-be, their parents, and even their friends. It's very difficult not to end up feeling guilty about this fact, but we encourage every bride and groom not to dwell on the potentially hurt feelings of those people they couldn't invite.


Better yet, avoid hurting people's feelings in the first place by spreading the word early on that you plan to have an "intimate" wedding. For example, if you have to eliminate some of your own friends and coworkers from the list to make room for obligatory invites to friends of the family, mention it casually in the conversation when you're asked about "how the wedding plans are coming" (as you inevitably will be). A good answer is "It's coming along, but we're having a lot of trouble with the guest list - there are just so many family friends who my parents are insisting that I invite, so I won't be able to invite many of my own friends who I wish could be there." Most people will get the hint and won't be shocked when they don't
receive an invitation.


You may also run into guest list complications if one set of your parents is contributing significantly more money to the wedding fund than the other. This is a tricky situation, but it's only fair that both the bride and groom be able to invite the people that are most dear to them. In many cases, this means inviting extended family members and friends of your parents, in addition to your own friends. If one of you feels that you are sacrificing more than your fair share of names on the guest list in order to make room for additional acquaintances of your in-laws-to-be, you have every right to speak up and remind your future spouse that the day belongs to both of you, and it's only fair to have a roughly equal number of guests on each side of the aisle.


Reluctant Attendants

Understandably, most brides and grooms like to think that their friends and family members will be honored to serve as attendants at their wedding. This is usually the case, but couples must remember that serving in the wedding party often entails a great deal of responsibility, especially for the maid of honor and best man. When asking someone to be your right-hand man or woman before and during the wedding, remember to present it as a request, not a demand. If the person declines the honor because they're not sure they can fulfill the associated duties, try to understand that they are doing so because they don't
want to ultimately disappoint you.


Parents Who Cry Poor

Tradition may hold that the bride's parents shoulder the cost of the wedding, but it doesn't always work out that
way. The average cost of a wedding these days is
commonly estimated to be around $20,000, and even the
most loving and generous parents probably don't have that kind of dough lying around. If neither your nor your betrothed's parents offer to pay for the wedding, and you don't feel like you can pay for it all yourselves, consider asking one or both sets of parents to contribute whatever they can afford. But be prepared for them to say no. Even
if your parents or in-laws-to-be appear to have ample
disposable income, they may already have had plans for their extra money, such as a new addition to the house or a much-needed vacation. If this is the case, or if they simply can't afford to contribute financially to your wedding, ask them to help out in other ways. For example, maybe your two mothers can get together and craft some DIY wedding favors, or even do the floral arrangements. Does your to-be's Dad have great handwriting? Put him in charge of addressing the
invitations and writing out the placecards for the reception. Assigning tasks will prove much more productive than sulking about money.


Over-involved Family Members

Is you mother-in-law-to-be taking a little too much of an interest in the seating arrangements? Is your Dad dictating what type of meal should be served at the reception? The best way to handle over-involved relatives is to choose your battles carefully. Perhaps your aunt knows a thing or two about flower arranging and has some valuable advice to contribute - so take the time to listen to her suggestions. On the other hand, if your Mom is insisting on playing the BeeGees at the reception and you don't care for disco yourself, feel free to just say no. While they can be a bit much to deal with, family members who take an active part in the planning process just want to make sure that you have the perfect wedding that you always dreamed of (even if you never realized it). And with all of the time, effort and money that goes into planning the biggest shindig of your life, you can probably use the help. This is when delegating tasks comes in handy.


Seemingly Uninterested Family Members

Arguably worse than overactive relatives are under-involved friends and family members. Not everybody is going to be as excited about your wedding day as you'd like them to be. It may be that they have other things on their mind, or it may just be that they aren't the type of people to get excited about weddings...even yours. Nonetheless, it's easy to feel hurt when close friends or members of your own family don't express much of an interest in your upcoming nuptials. If this is the case, talk to them about it. It may be an awkward subject to broach, but if you're honest about your feelings, you may be able to get to the root of the issue. For example, if your parents aren't able to afford to contribute to the wedding fund, they may feel like they don't get to have much say in the planning process. You'll never know until you talk about it.


Declined Invitations

Finding out that a favorite aunt or beloved friend won't be able to make it to you wedding hurts, no doubt about it. Chances are, they have a good excuse. (If not, you may want to re-examine the value you place on that relationship.) Don't dwell on it, and don't try to make them feel guilty about it. They probably feel bad enough already.


Top 5 Planning Tips

1. Get a dedicated credit card for all of your wedding expenses so that you can dispute the charge if a deal falls though.

2 Earn miles toward your honeymoon with a frequent flyer miles credit card from

3. Get the best deal on airfare, hotel and rental cars for your honeymoon through any travel site of your choice.

4. Create your own web page at with information about your wedding date, location, gift registries, and hotels for out-of-town guests.

5. If you plan to take your spouse's name, get a Name Change Kit to ensure you cover everything.

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