Agence Tophos/Flickr Image by: Agence Tophos/Flickr
Getting stressed planning a wedding? Read on for some insights from couples who have already been through -- and survived -- the process.
Wedding planning can often feel like the ultimate obstacle course, with "happily ever after" as the finish line. With so many etiquette hoops to jump through, thorny traditions to navigate and people to please, it's a wonder anyone makes it through to wedded bliss unscathed.
Luckily for us, seven couples who have successfully navigated the path to the altar were willing and happy to share their experiences, plus some excellent tips and tricks on how to resolve some of the most common wedding-planning obstacles.
1. Child-free wedding zone
"We decided not to invite children to our boat cruise wedding reception on the water. The feedback was instantaneous and several of our friends and family members were hurt and unhappy that their children would be left out.
We just didn't feel that the venue was appropriate or safe for little ones, but we had fallen for each other while working at the harbour tours, so it was important to us to stick to our vision.
We compromised by encouraging guests to bring their children to the ceremony beforehand, so they would still feel that they were part of the day. Some guests declined and some made child-care arrangements, and in the end it was a fabulous party."
-- Kara and Steve, Toronto
2. Wedding guest list: Plus-one predicament
"A good friend, who was single when we got engaged, started dating someone who we had not met and requested a plus-one after the invitations went out. Our budget was based on our original head count and was very tight, and we were afraid that if we made an exception for his new girlfriend more exceptions would have to follow.
We were completely honest with our friend and invited his significant other for the dance following the dinner. They were very understanding and our friendship is still intact."
-- Marianne and Gavin, Ottawa
3. Staying within your wedding budget
"I fell in love with a spectacular venue whose reputation for food and presentation was the absolute best in the city. Unfortunately it was beyond our budget, and the only part of the wedding Scott was adamant about was that we had to have an open bar. It seemed as though one of us was going to be unhappy because we could not afford both the fancy venue and a hosted bar.
We were able to reach a compromise when the planner suggested providing each guest with a certain number of tickets for complimentary cocktails, allowing us to treat our guests and still afford the perfect venue."
-- Jennifer and Scott, Calgary
4. Opinion overload
"We had a lot of trouble making the big decisions when it came to the wedding. I second-guessed my choice of venue, the date, my dress and the colour scheme -- pretty much everything except the groom himself!
I would advise not to go into too much detail with people who ask about the wedding planning. People will feel entitled to give their opinions and it can be confusing and overwhelming. The less you say and share, the better off you are."
-- Megan and Justin, Saint John, N.B.
5. Bridesmaid dress problem
"My maid of honour announced her pregnancy after we had picked the dresses for the bridal party. She would be approximately seven months pregnant with her first baby by my wedding day, so we didn't know exactly what size that would be. At first I was disappointed, thinking that the original style of dress wasn't going to work and trying to imagine an alternate dress for her.
Rather than panicking, we presented our problem to the seamstress at the dress shop. Apparently this is a very common issue and they offered to be on alteration standby the week before the wedding to work their magic. Choose your dress shop wisely and don't be afraid to ask for help."
-- Julia and Ethan, Sydney, N.S.
6. Reformed non-conformist
"My sister flat out refused to be a bridesmaid. The matching dresses and shoes and a day of posing for pictures were not in her comfort zone. But I really wanted her to have a special role in the wedding, so I got around her hesitations by asking her to do a reading during the ceremony instead. She took the responsibility to heart, and her recitation of the Apache Prayer was one of my favourite parts of the day."
-- Annie and Michael, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
7. Wedding invitation assumption
"We decided to keep the guest list to immediate family only, but my well-meaning granny was so excited about our engagement that she immediately jumped on the phone and began inviting several far-flung cousins.
Although we hadn't anticipated the need to, we sent out official "save the date" cards to mitigate any confusion. This made it easier to be honest and direct about our plan to keep the wedding small and personal."
-- Amber and Kevin, Toronto
Planning a wedding usually comes with its fair share of frustrations, but getting around roadblocks often just takes some honesty, clear thinking and an open mind.
Don't miss our collection of fabulous ideas to plan a truly special wedding day.