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Oops! That’s Awkward—Our guide to navigating 7 awkward wedding planning situations

I like to compare wedding planning to a mine that’s waiting to explode. The potential for problems is huge! Every couple faces at least a few awkward moments when planning their wedding. Many assumptions may be made that you cannot oblige to, you may have to say no on occasions, and where people are concerned there is no saying who can feel offended about what!

Here are 7 real sticky situations that you will most likely have to handle during your wedding planning process. We’ve also included the best possible solutions you can consider, to make it as easy as possible.

#1 Tell a friend or relative that they are not in the wedding party

It could be that everyone thinks you are fond of them. Add that to the fact that  you have a huge friend circle and an equally big family, it is likely that there may be at least a friend or relative who assumes they will be in the wedding party. If there are on the wedding party list, fine! If you haven’t included them, you have a situation to handle!

It isn’t easy telling someone that they are to be a guest and not in the wedding party. The best way to handle the problem is to take care of it as soon as you doubt your friend or cousin assumes they are in without you ever mentioning it. Tell her directly that as much as you would love to have her in the party, the situation is such that you would prefer to have her enjoy the wedding as a guest instead. You could offer a valid explanation, like you want to keep the wedding party small. (Only if this is a fact! It will harm your relationship even more if she ends up seeing a dozen bridesmaids on the day, and she alone isn’t one). Make it clear that you value your relationship with her a lot, and would love to have her involved in the wedding in any other way possible. Stress that you would not want this to harm your relationship in any way, and be genuine with your words. We are sure she’ll understand if she is a sensible and reasonable girl.

#2 When you’d rather have cash

Many couples struggle with telling their guests that they’d rather have cash or gift coupons, than gifts that wouldn’t help them. This could be because money would help them pay off a loan, or they could use it on their honeymoon, or because they would like to buy an expensive item like a vehicle. In all these cases, money would really help.

If you are in any of these situations, we know how you could be whether you ought to or not  convey this message to your guests. Well, we think you should! First step, set up your wedding website, where you will be sharing your wedding registry information. Next, add a “gift cash towards xxx” as one of the top options in the registry and link it to your bank account. Share the website wedding registry with your contacts, so they are directed towards the page that prioritizes what you’d like to have, in a specific order.

The other option is to link your wedding registry to sites like Tendr , that allows guests to pick cards and send it with their well wishes to the couple. Now, if a guest were to ask you in person about your preferences, they would ideally be asking because they really want to get you something you want. So, don’t hesitate to tell them that you are saving up for whatever you are. If they are comfortable giving you cash, you can hope they will once they know of this.

#3 Telling your parents (or in-laws) that you want something different

Isn’t it funny how so many parents and their children fight over how the wedding should be held or planned, from the moment the planning is in progress? It is not too often that we see couples who want a modern, relaxed wedding with interesting and unique elements, while their parents would rather have a traditional-style formal wedding that can never go wrong. If the parents on either side are sharing the expenses, we know how quickly tempers can soar and all those involved can end up in a foul mood.

Rather than locking horns with your families, we suggest that you handle such situations tactfully. First, consider if there is anything you can do about accommodating your family’s ideas. If not the whole thing, if you can incorporate at least a few ideas, they will feel a lot better. Then, decide upon the things that you refuse to compromise on. When you present your final idea to the family, first tell them which of their suggestions will be included in the wedding. This will calm the atmosphere to a great extent. Then tell them what the rest of the plans are, and also that it is your wedding and you wouldn’t really be happy if these details weren’t part of it. So, request them to understand and convey how grateful you are for all they are doing.

#4 When a relative wants to take over as a wedding vendor

Yes, we’ve all been there, when a budding photographer in your family wants to be in-charge of the wedding photography, or an enthusiastic aunt wants to bake the wedding cake. Unless these people are professionals, it may be a very bad idea to hand them the job. Now, even when they are professionals who are used to doing these for weddings, you may not agree with their style of work or may not be happy about giving them the responsibility for a range of reasons.

After all, working with a relative or friend is not the same as working with a vendor who you’ve hired for the job. You have to be cautious about everything you say, as you two have a relationship that could be hurt. In worst cases, they may disagree with what you want and even do things that they think are the best. But, it may sometimes be a good idea, if they will offer you a discount or if you are really fond of the way they handle things. Unless this is the case, you should learn to say “No” to their offer diplomatically.

You can tell them that you would love to have them handle the job, but you have already set your mind on another vendor. Or, the better option is to tell them that you don’t want to hire them for your wedding as you want them there as a guest, and not working all day and unable to participate or enjoy the wedding as they should. This clearly conveys that you value their presence, and if they appreciate it genuinely, this should put an end to the discussion.

#5 Saying No to guests you cannot afford to have

There’s this scene in the sitcom “Castle”, where Castle and Beckett mention to his mother that they were working on the guest list for the wedding, expecting her to suggest how they reduce it. In the blink of an eye, she rushes off to bring out her own guest list for the wedding!

Don’t be startled if you find the same thing happen in your case! Many couples are faced with the tough decision of saying no to guests that they simply cannot have at their wedding. If parents are paying, or if friends are pushovers who must invite people on their behalf, the situation is anything but pleasant.

We suggest that you be honest when you tell your parents, relatives or friends why it simply isn’t feasible to have any more guests than you have planned. Since your parents will anyway be inviting at least a few people, give them a specific number beforehand. They can then prioritize who goes on the list and who can be left out. Make your mind up about how far you can stretch with any extra additions, and make sure you stick to it. After all, your wedding is all about having the people who matter the most to you. It is not about having a huge party where you hardly know half the faces there, or is it?

#6 Planning your bridesmaid’s dress budget

One of the reasons many women dread being asked to be a bridesmaid, is the financial burden that comes along with it. Let’s face it, bridesmaids have to pay for a dress that they may not like at all, pay for the accessories, spend on the bachelorette, bridal shower and gift for the bride. All this will take a chunk out of their savings. It is worse if they are still in college or have their own financial constraints.

So, the best thing you can do is be reasonable when deciding what your bridesmaids should wear. Our suggestion is to be flexible, and consider a range of choices in dresses, so your bridesmaids can pick the one that is easiest on their pockets. Think out of the box, and instead of having them dress up in matching outfits, go with the mix ‘n’ match trend. This gives them the freedom to choose from the choices you have shortlisted. It is also likely that they will pick a dress that they can use again.

A good friend would also consider easing their financial burden by paying for the bridesmaid accessories or hair and makeup. Now, if you have been a bridesmaid at all these girls’ weddings previously, and they weren’t half as considerate, we think it is up to you to decide how to handle the situation. Honestly, it wouldn’t be wrong if you kept their expenses similar to what you had to incur, if this is the case. Else, think of what you can do to help out, maybe make use of sales and discounts or keep your dress selection reasonable so they do not begrudge you for your choices later.

#7 Talk money with your parents or in-laws

You think you’ve heard your parents mention sometime in the past, that they’ve put aside a certain amount for your wedding expenses. But, do you ask for it once you are engaged and planning the wedding? Is it appropriate to bring up the topic? Well, it’s mom and dad, and if you are certain there’s money set aside for you, it shouldn’t be wrong to confirm, so you can plan the wedding accordingly.

Ideally, they should bring the topic up if they have any such plans. So, it may not always be best to bring up the topic yourself. If they are quiet, it may be because something’s changed and not because they’ve forgotten about it. Never make the mistake of assuming that they will pay, and go about planning your wedding based on this assumption. Don’t feel entitled to it and have your plans go bust if they don’t agree to. Instead, share the wedding plans you have in mind and the quotes you collect from vendors. They will be more comfortable mentioning what they would like to contribute towards, when you do it this way.

If there is no talk about the money at all, you can either ask them what happened to the fund they put aside (that is, if you are sure they have), or ask them if they could help and you could repay it later.

Weddings, like we said earlier are tricky events that can cause so much stress to any bride and groom. Nevertheless, it is important to always keep the big picture in mind. When you think of the priorities in your life, and how you can celebrate the event that brings you and your partner together forever, you can tide over any awkward situation and leave it out of your mind forever.

To help you with everything you possibly need for your wedding, including your wedding dress, attire for your wedding party, accessories, décor, cakes and even flowers, visit us at Best for Bride. We have everything you need.

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5 Wedding planning rules you can choose to ignore

Traditional wedding planning was based on rules and even more rules. Luckily, we aren’t bound by endless customs and traditions when planning our wedding today. While it isn’t wise to toss all the rules, beliefs and wedding etiquette aside, there are few that can be ignored so we can realize our vision of the perfect wedding.

So, what are they? Let us find out.

1.It is the bride’s family that pays

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With weddings getting bigger and more expensive everyday, it is not such a good idea to place the entire financial burden on the bride’s family. The couple can sponsor their wedding themselves, rely on funds from the groom’s side or even split the expenses. What matters is that you have the wedding you desire, not who pays for it. Also remember that it is only right that the people footing the bill have a say in how the wedding ought to be. So, if you and your parents or in-laws disagree on the guest list or wedding menu, try to find a compromise that works for everyone.

2.Your wedding dress should be white

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Although white is the most popular option in wedding dress colors, it isn’t necessary that you choose it. In fact, white wedding dresses became popular only in the 19th century, before which, brides wore dresses in different colours. So, if you aren’t smitten with white, pick any color that appeals to you.

3.The groom shouldn’t see the bride before the ceremony

This was believed to be bad luck. Superstitions aside, photographers today encourage couples to click a few pictures together before the ceremony. This allows them to get the best shots, when the bride’s makeup is fresh. It also allows them to effectively capture the first-reaction of the groom when he sees his bride in her wedding attire. This is a memory that the couple will often cherish, and so this is a good way to do it right.

4.You can have only one Maid of Honor

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More and more brides are now opting to have two Co-Maids of honor, if they have two favorite girlfriends. This makes sense, as it wouldn’t be nice to choose one over the other, when both ladies are equally important to the bride. It is also more practical, as they can divide the bridesmaids duties and ensure everything sails smoothly, putting the bride’s mind at ease.

5.Weddings have to be expensive

Not necessarily. You can choose to keep the wedding small and meaningful, if you do not have the budget for a big wedding. After all, it isn’t about throwing a big party or starting your life together on a big debt. It is about celebrating your love as a couple, with the people who matter most to you. Whether you can afford a wedding party with thousands of guests, or you choose to get married with only your closest friends and family attending, you will still be pronounced man and wife. So, plan a wedding within your budget, and make sure you get the best deal you can afford.

For more wedding planning advice, tips and stories, visit us on Best for Bride.

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How to save on Wedding dress alterations

It is very unlikely that you will find a wedding dress that fits you perfectly. Any dress you buy off-the-rack will require minimum alterations, so it is just right for you. Hence, it is necessary that you set aside a part of your wedding dress budget to account for alteration costs.

The amount you will have to pay for altering your dress depends on the extent of work that has to be done. So, the less work your dress requires, the lesser you will have to pay to get it done.

Keep this factor in mind.

Let us now look at how you can minimize your wedding dress alteration costs, by first choosing your dress properly.

Choose a size that is closest to your actual measurements

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When the dress size is accurately chosen, it will require minimum work to fit perfectly. When you choose a dress that is much bigger, remember that the measurements will be bigger not just for the sides, but for the neckline, the shoulders and the bust. So, just taking the sides in will not do. You should ideally choose one that is no more than one or two sizes bigger, so altering it won’t be too difficult.

Simpler gowns are easier to alter

The more embellishments the gown has, the more difficult it will be to replicate the look when it is altered. So, you will have to pay for the effort that goes in. A gown that has less detailing, or doesn’t need much work around the embellishments, can save you some money.

Also remember that the more fabric a gown involves, the more work it will correspond to. So, it is only logical that a ball gown skirt will cost more than an A-line skirt when being altered.

Customizing is costly

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If you are certain that you want your wedding dress to sport a certain neckline or have sleeves, it is better to look at gowns that already have this feature, than choosing another and having it customized with this factor. Transforming a gown to look different is expensive, and it may sometimes end up losing its original charm in the process.

Look for versatile features

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A gown with a corset-back usually requires little to no changes in the bodice to fit you, when chosen in the right size. Where the skirt is concerned, it will be easier to shorten a wedding gown that doesn’t have too many details at the hemline, as it can be cut to the right length without worrying about losing any details. If you choose a longer gown with an embellished hemline, it will have to be shortened by taking fabric out at the waist, and this takes more effort and time.

On a final note, remember that wedding dresses are complex garments, and not everyone may be able to work on it. In your attempt to save money, don’t make the mistake of entrusting the job to someone who isn’t familiar with wedding gowns. Keep the above points in mind when buying your wedding dress and have the alterations done by a professional seamstress, so your wedding gown will look just right for your big day.

For more wedding tips and advice, visit us on Best for Bride.