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B etter H alves & the I mportance of P lanning A s a journalist and a newlywed, I was the logical choice by our esteemed Community Editor to write about my pre-wedding and wedding experiences. Even though I was a groom. I pleaded with our editor, explaining to her that, as a man, I felt my role was more to just make sure that everything was perfect for my bride. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the same level of concern or involvement, it’s just that I knew if I was there in support of my significant other, making sure it had everything she wanted (that I could afford), I’d be happy if she was. I even had a line that became standard in the months leading up to the wedding to explain why I couldn’t answer people’s questions, such as, “How’d you decide on the color scheme for the flowers?” (Clearly, the wedding odyssey brought me in regular contact with people who didn’t know me that well, the result being such questions asked of me – but that’s a column for a different time.)


My line was: “As long as my bride says, ‘I do,’ I know it’s going to be a perfect day.” Well, my editor didn’t buy that any more than my now-wife did. The man’s perspective was the assignment for this story, and it was clear my charm, or lack thereof, had thrust me back into a milieu I thought I had so artfully delegated before my wedding last September. So, in order to give other soon-to-be brides insight and perspective -- and if you’re a groom reading this, you’re ahead of the game, well past me at this point and probably should skim past this and heed the advice from other sections, and congratulations for figuring things out beforehand – I put together the following advice: So please allow me to share my tips freshly gleaned from experience, in an attempt for brides to understand the inherent dichotomy of perspective, the importance of a good wedding planner and why weddings are the origin of the phrase, “my better half,” for happily married men.

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B etter H alves C ont . It starts with the wedding ring, of course. Whether you’re rich or poor matters not. The most important tip I can give is to do your best to make sure the expectation matches the reality of the situation. Yes, that means communicating, and doing so about a tough, personal matter -- finances. The good news is that if you can figure out a strategy to approach this, it will help set you up for success in much more potentially hazardous situations. (Consider: If you think the ring talk is hard, having a discussion about what you can’t afford is tougher when there’s no diamond involved.) As far as the cost goes, we’ve all heard the three months’ salary rule. If that’s not enough, reconsider things. Seriously. Also I think that rule also might have been made pre-Great Recession; and most importantly, ladies and gentleman, you can get a great ring for a lot less than that. As far as actual selection goes, and this is a theme that repeats throughout the column: Everyone has different things that make them happy, discuss what that is with your partner. It’s OK to spend a little more than you usually would for something that’ll be around for the rest of your life. Make sure your ring is comfortable.

Seating arrangements

Here’s another area where things can get tricky. There are three basic approaches: Open seating is the easiest and least-painful approach. Your cousins who absolutely hate each other should be smart enough to avoid each other on your most special of days. And if they aren’t, and you know that they aren’t, then make sure the wedding planner, or whoever your person is, is around to remind the said problem-friend or problem-family member that the day is not about them. I highly recommend open seating, which is much less time-intensive than a seating chart. If you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you can do your own, but then you might have a lot of explaining to do. Unless you also have a cousin that no one likes. In that case, DIY and just blame him or her. Leaving it up to the wedding planner is just as sketchy as trying to DIY.

The plus-one etiquette

This one is really for your guests, and they should know better, but if people knew, you wouldn’t also have to make time to call about a half-dozen (at least) guests who either lost their RSVP card or haven’t been married


and therefore don’t understand the costs involved in having an event catered. And, you will have to do this. But here’s something you should absolutely consider: Don’t assume that people won’t try to bring their children, boyfriend/girlfriend, a date to make them feel better, etc. and don’t assume that just because you didn’t give them a plus-one on the invite that people will respect that and not try to bring someone. They will. I would suggest wording on there that says something to effect of, “please let us know if you are planning to bring someone not mentioned on the invitation before arrangements are made.” Because, from experience, people will go off and invite folks regardless, and then when you get the RSVP you have to either decide which is easier, the disinvite conversation, or the extra per-person charge from your caterer, be it $50 or $150. But know that either way, everyone is counting.

Wedding budget

Last but not least, know that this very special day, one of the ones you’ll remember for the rest of your life, will cost more than you expected it to -- almost certainly. Budget accordingly, meaning leave yourself a cushion for cost overruns. Your mom, dad, brother or sister will want to invite someone you weren’t planning to have there. Believe me, it happens. It also doesn’t matter if your budget is modest, lots of people don’t have tens of thousands of dollars who want to get married. Just make sure you’re doing it with the right person. That makes things a lot easier. 

The Basics of Shopping for Wedding Rings E

ngagement ring purchases are usually a solo endeavor, with the groom having an idea of the ring style and color his bride-to-be prefers. But couples usually shop for their wedding ring sets together, and such excursions can be special and meaningful. Like many decisions couples make when planning their weddings, choosing rings comes down to personal preference. There are no steadfast rules when it comes to purchasing wedding rings, but some guidelines can make shopping far easier. As couples prepare to shop for rings, it can help for each person to list the attributes he or she would like in a ring. This should include the type of metal, color, width, and even cost. Couples may find they have different preferences, and this is perfectly fine, as wedding rings do not have to match. A wedding band should complement the engagement ring but not be a perfect match. An ornate engagement ring might look better with a simple band, and vice-versa. Similarly cut gemstones also can complement an engagement ring. If the bride chooses to wear both her engagement ring and wedding band together on the same finger, she should choose a band that will accommodate the curves of uniquely shaped engagement rings. Couples can make some early choices even before they visit jewelry stores. Narrow down your options so the experience will not be overwhelming. When the time comes to shop, give yourselves at least two months to browse and then choose the rings you like best. Lifestyle and daily routine should be considered at all times. These rings will be worn daily, and no one wants to fret about a ring being too delicate to stand up to everyday wear and tear. Also, think long-term. Trendy rings can be fun, but will they still seem like such a good idea when you are celebrating your twentieth wedding anniversary? When getting rings sized, both the bride and groom should go when their fingers aren’t swollen from exercise or early in the morning after they may have retained fluid. Shopping should take place when hands aren’t too hot or cold. This will allow the best size so the bands fit comfortably and will have enough wiggle room should fingers swell or shrink a little bit. People can protect their investments by keeping the ring on as much as possible and only removing it when engaging in demanding physical activity or when working with chemicals. Store the ring in a safe spot when you are not wearing it so you are less likely to lose it. Wedding rings can be purchased from any number of retailers. Just be sure the rings are of good quality and sellers stands by the craftsmanship. (MC) 

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W edding costs : W hat to expect N ewly engaged couples may experience an array of emotions when they sit down to plan their weddings. Some couples cannot wait to jump into planning and want to catalog every aspect of the process, while others may proceed with caution because they don’t know what to expect particularly in regard to cost. Many couples find it difficult to create their wedding budgets because they have no previous experience to draw on. The wedding planning advisor CostofWedding.com indicates the average wedding cost in the United States is $26,720, with most people spending between $20,000 and $34,000. Seventh Heaven Event Catering states that, in Canada, the average wedding costs around $30,000. Such costs can vary greatly depending on couple’s preferences, including where they hope to tie the knot. By breaking down wedding expenses, couples can get a clearer picture of how much they may


need to pay for their weddings and where they may need to cut costs.

Reception site:

According to The Knot, a premiere wedding planning resource, couples can expect their receptions to eat up the largest chunk of their wedding budgets. Wedding reception venues may cost between $10,000 and $15,000. The average price for catering per person is roughly $70. Bar service may be around $2,000 for a three- to four-hour party. Some reception sites combine the room cost with the food and beverage costs, while others have la carte fees.


Wedding cakes tend to be multitiered intricate designs, so they will cost more than birthday cakes. According to Statistics Brain, wedding dessert will come in around $390.


The Knot says wedding bands cost around $3,500, which is more than twice as much as hiring a deejay ($1,200). Soloists or ceremony musicians may cost around $650.

Wedding planner:

Many couples employ wedding planners to make planning their weddings easier. Wedding planners cost an average of $1,300, says Thumbtack, a company that matches professionals with people who require their services.


Limousines and other transportation prices vary depending on the vehicle(s) couples choose. The Knot notes that budgeting between $400 and $500 for transportation might be wise.

Wedding gown:

Brides-to-be should expect their gowns to cost around $1,100 and the veil or headpiece to be roughly $120, according to the Association of Bridal Consultants.

Photography and Video:

Preserving wedding day memories costs around $2,800 for video and photography services, based on data from Statistics Brain. The smaller details, such as accessories, gifts, officiant fees, stationery, spa services, and favors can quickly add up as well. Couples should be sure to leave some wiggle room in their budgets for incidental expenses that may pop up. (MC) 

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