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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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words from their heart, not a stunning piece of oratory.

Your Caterer

You should do some investigating of your catering options before

settling on the caterer or venue. Some venues have in-house

catering which may give you a better price than if you hire a venue

and arrange an outside caterer who has to bring in their equipment,

staff and supplies, then pack up everything afterwards.

Of course, deciding to use a specialist caterer will give you a wider

range of food options and some may cost less than the in-house


Focus on the sort of food which you both like and also your families,

but be aware of the likely preferences of your guests, especially any

from different cultures and the elderly.

This is an area where you are unlikely to get more than you pay for.

Catering is fiercely competitive and costs are steadily increasing.

The best recommendation is word of mouth from friends, colleagues

and people in other businesses you deal with. You could ask the

people that organize your office’s Christmas party or the people at

any other reasonable-sized business you deal with who caters for

their functions and what they like or don’t like about them.

You need to be sure that you won’t be let down on the day, so

inquire what provision the caterer has if there is a problem with the

number of their regular staff available for your event.

Don’t just go for the caterer with the most eye-catching or largest

advertisement in your phone book. You might find out that eating

the Yellow Pages would have been better!

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Don’t want a Professional Caterer?

If members of your family really want to prepare the food for you, tell them up front that they will have a lot to do and you won’t be

able to help much because of the rest of your commitments.

But, if they’re determined to go ahead, then give them what support

you can and be mindful of this major contribution to your wedding

when you’re thinking about asking them to help with other


There can be problems too if someone, like your mother or favorite

aunt, offers to make your wedding cake for you.

Preparing a wedding cake really is a major project, requiring a lot of

effort and time.

But, if your budget is very limited, thank them and keep an eye on

their progress so that you don’t become cake-deprived at the last


The easier option all-round might be to use a professional caterer

and ask the generous relative to maybe take part in the reception or

give a reading during the wedding itself.

The Right Cake for the Occasion

Whatever your choice of cake maker, I strongly recommend that

you stick with one proven tradition, have your wedding cake made

with fruit cake and not some other type.

Fruit cake may not be your favorite but a well-prepared one will

probably remain edible for longer than most other kinds. Even after

being frozen and revived, it will still taste okay!

You can’t expect a fruit cake to stand up to being dropped even a

few inches but you could send a piece around the world without its

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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flavor or appearance being seriously affected.

But, please don’t send any fruit cake or any other food to someone

in another country or even another state without first carefully

checking if you might be breaking their quarantine regulations.

If you do get a home-made cake, be very careful about who you ask

to deliver it to the reception. They are very delicate and need to be

well-wrapped, then transported on the floor of the car.

Don’t put the cake on a seat or shelf, even if it is in a well-padded

box. If it falls or even just tips over, major irreparable damage will

probably result.

Leave the final assembly of the upper tiers and decorations until it’s

safely on the table at your reception venue.

Live Music or Disc Jockey

The choice of entertainment will depend in part, like everything

else, on the budget. Then, it starts and finishes, in my opinion, with

the desires of the bride and groom.

You need to talk with the people you are thinking of hiring and,

preferably, see them work for the same sort of people as yourselves

and your friends.

Try really hard to get references of people they’ve worked for

recently. Don’t pay too much attention to critics’ column in the local

press or their agent when he or she is trying to get you to book


When you’ve settled on a group or a DJ that’s within your budget

and won’t completely freak out your beloved elderly relatives, you

need to let them know of any special requirements you have.

For instance, your Uncle Jack may want to sing a ballad. If that’s

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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okay with you, make sure that the DJ or musicians can accompany

him or give them the name and other details of the song so that

they can get the music.

Some musicians can pick up a tune just by hearing it. Even if

someone in the group can do that under normal conditions, it might

not work when Uncle Jack is the singer.

The band will have their own needs, like a room to change into their

stage gear, check their equipment and relax with a drink (that you

pay for) between sessions.

When you decide how long you want them to work, they will say

how many breaks they need.

It’s also wise to allow about, say, half an hour between the finish of

the meal and the first music session. That’s because your musicians

or DJ will need time to set the equipment in place and check it


There’s also a 99% likelihood that the meal will take about that

much longer than the caterer suggested.

You should also arrange for someone to keep the band happy. That

requires someone that is sober and reliable.

That person needs to be supplied with the fee in the agreed form to

pay the band when they have finished and, preferably, to keep an

eye on their equipment when they take a break and leave the


He must not let any of the guests, not even Uncle Jack, fiddle with

their equipment.

Amateur Comedians

Amateur comedians are one of the hazards of these events.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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The professional comic spends years perfecting a personal style that

looks effortless.

But that makes the untalented, or drunk joker think it must be easy

enough that even he can do it.

If you want to make a great impression with your jokes, try to

follow these tips from a very funny friend of mine:

1. Rehearse everything you are going to say, including any

apparently impromptu jokes (ad-libs).

2. Be careful that you offend no-one.

3. If you must make someone the butt of a joke, use it against

yourself. It worked pretty good for Bob Hope.

4. Don’t just leave them laughing. Stop before your run out of

your best material and leave them wanting more!

5. Many people think that a little alcohol before they give a

speech or tell a joke will “loosen them up” and help them

fight their stage-fright. Instead, alcohol relaxes your

inhibitions and reduces your coordination – a recipe for


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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Feeding the Horde

I’ve included some suggestions for using a professional catering

service or co-opting friends and family to reduce strain on your


There’s a few other important points that you need to keep in mind.

Frugal Food

If your family is providing the food for the reception:

Choose dishes which are simple

to prepare such as lasagna, cold

meats, salads.

Limit the number of dishes to

simplify preparation and


As a rough guide, figure a

pound of dry pasta enough for maybe eight guests and a pound of

mince for meatballs might be enough for twelve guests.

Not all guests will eat each dish and some will eat more than

anyone could expect.

Have plenty of bread (plain and wholemeal, or garlic if appropriate).

It’s fairly cheap and will probably reduce the consumption of the

main dishes a little.

While there are many kinds of cake which might

be used for the Wedding cake, stick with plain

fruit cake; it is cheap, keeps well and almost

everyone can eat it.

Make sure to check for special food requirements

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of your guests and advise your caterer or family food preparers as

early as possible.

When deciding the menu, take into account the preferences of the

bride and groom and their parents. Stop there or you’ll never make

a final decision.

Be doubly careful about hygiene, storage, transport and serving of

food. When wedding guests become ill, it can sour a relationship,

not just a meal.

It’s your event, so the people that it’s most important to cater for

are you, your partner and your families.

Be mindful of other religious and cultural sensibilities as far as you

believe reasonable but the bottom line is your preferences and your


Check with all the guests about any dietary requirements and give

the full information to the caterer, if you are using one, well ahead

of time.

Things to Avoid

Peanuts: These little nuts are tasty but even small traces can cause serious problems for some people. Your caterer or your team of

amateur food preparers must avoid using any item which contains

traces of peanuts. In many countries, this is required to be shown

on all labels of packaged food.

Fish or Shellfish: They also can cause problems either because of

religious restrictions, allergies or random outbreaks of


Pork: Banned by some religions.

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Things to Avoid or Provide Alternatives for

Spicy foods: Many people love a dash or more of hot spice with

their food but it’s likely to cause discomfort to some other guests.

So, have some less aggressive options for those who would prefer


Maybe, you could have these available in small dishes for the more

adventurous eaters.

Alcohol: You’ve probably seen the effects on an event and the

other guests where someone has had too much to drink. It is also a

significant contributor to the road toll and other problems.

Make sure you offer non-alcoholic alternatives, fruit juices and

sodas for those who are driving and anyone else that prefers them

or wants to space out their alcoholic drinks.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Financing Your Big Day

Even if the bride’s parents are strict traditionalists and insist on

paying for the wedding, you will face significant expenses and need

to start setting up a realistic budget right at the start.

You need to decide together:

? how much money you currently have which can be used for

starting your wedding fund

? how much you can manage to put aside without living on

beans and hamburger (you need to keep up your strength

and complexion), and

? what contributions you are certain to get from loving and

better-off relatives.

That’s all you can really count on and, of course, some urgent

expense or the non-arrival of a promised cash gift may require a

quick and significant change between now and the big day.

But, without the budget as a first step, you would know what you

could afford and that’s likely to bring disaster.

Make sure that you stick within your budget unless there is some

unexpected development. Maybe you can think of ways to increase

the available amount?

Emphasize the Essentials

It’s time for another list. This one is very important because it will

save you time and help you to keep within your budget.

You need to list every relevant item that each of you can think of

which you need or want to buy between now and your wedding.

Then, draw all the essential expenses into a new list. Things like

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supplier’s accounts, stationery, minister’s fee, hire of venues,

registrations, passports, insurance, accommodation (for guests and

the honeymoon) etc.

Now you should review the remaining items together and remove

any that are very low priority, then save the remainder on a list

called something like “if possible”.

Your budget needs to have an untouchable cushion as well as the

amount set aside for each item in the two new lists.

If you manage to reduce the cost of something you listed, move the

amount actually saved to the cushion or use it to promote

something from the “if possible” to the must have list”.

If you are unsure, then put it in the cushion for a while.

Who Pays for What

Like many things that were laid down as L-A-W for all weddings in

past days, the decisions about who pays for what are observed to

varying degrees by people today who are more realistic and decide

who pays according to ability and whether the couple actually need

or want help in that area.

The bride’s parents traditionally paid all the expenses of the

wedding but that was really a relic of the old view which had a girl

worth less than her brothers. The bride’s parents either paid the

expenses or a dowry (cash or cattle) to the groom for taking her off

their hands!

Things have changed.

Many times, both sets of parents share the costs or the bride and

groom pay the bulk or all of the expenses themselves.

It depends on the ability and willingness of each to contribute.

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If someone can’t or won’t, that doesn’t mean they don’t love you as

much as the other parents. Accept their position and set your plans

in line with what you have.

If you decide to get some debt to ensure you have the sort of

wedding you really want, make sure that it’s a joint decision

because you will both have to live within the reduced income until

that debt is cleared.

One advantage that comes from paying for your own wedding is

that you don’t have the burden of any obligations that sometimes

come with large sums of cash.

If you feel that a parent or other relative has put emotional strings

on their cash, talk to them before accepting the gift. Thank them for

the money and ask them to understand that you will have full

control of how the money is used.

Otherwise, you’re probably better to get them to pay for a specific

item, like the catering or keep the check so you avoid any ongoing


This can be more complicated with second and subsequent

marriages, which seem to be increasing.

There can be no reason to believe that any parents have any

obligation to contribute substantially to these. Some will without

being asked.

And it’s probably more responsible and caring not to ask those who


Cutting Costs Without Pain

The first thing to do is to talk to all the people involved.

If someone promises you a contribution, either you or your partner

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must follow up and sort things out.

That’s a task for whoever is more closely related to the person or

couple that made the promise.

But, understand if their circumstances, or their priorities, change.

You will have a, hopefully, long-term or even lifetime relationship

with them, and starting off with a heated discussion about money is

not a good omen.

On the other hand, don’t accept an obligation to pay some expenses

or for a gift for someone where you don’t think it’s reasonable.

Outfitting the Wedding Party

The mothers of the bride and groom will choose their own dresses

and pay for them themselves.

If the outfits for the groom and groomsmen are hired, the bridal

couple will probably pay those charges if they’re not picked up by

the groom’s parents.

The bridesmaids’ outfits are most often either paid for by the bridal

couple or their parents but many people now ask the bridesmaids to

buy their own outfit.

If they are to pay for their own, then the bride needs to be as

flexible as possible, either settling on a design which all are

comfortable with and letting each bridesmaid choose their own color

or setting on a color which complements her outfit and letting the

bridesmaids choose a design which each feel suits them.

You may still have to help one or more of your friends with some

money or lose their services.

You might be able to get a better deal from the bridal salon if you

all buy the same style at the same time. But, you can also check out

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other dress shops and even factory outlets in your area.

I don’t recommend buying dresses from online auctions because of

possible delays, bad descriptions and the ever-present possibility of


Their shoes and the bride’s should be the same color, or dyed to

match. Be particularly careful to choose shoes which are supportive

and they must be comfortable.

Many venues have floors which suck the strength from your legs

over a few hours. Waking up the next morning with aching legs is

not a good way to start your marriage.

Maybe you could wear more stylish, but less comfortable shoes for

the ceremony and change them for a pair which look after your feet

better when you get to the reception venue.

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Make sure that you include any necessary insurance cover when you

first plan your budget.

You can get insurance for most parts of the wedding and the

reception, including a sum to cover another photo-shoot, damage to

the bride's dress and a couple of million dollars in public liability

cover to give you some protection if someone drops the punch bowl

on a bridesmaid’s foot.

Any hired gear, clothing or equipment, is usually covered by

insurance but be sure to check with the hire company before you

sign the contract.

Check that your home insurance will cover the gifts and dress while

they are at your home. If they’re not covered, you may be able to

get a low or no-cost cover note for a few weeks if you are a good

customer of the insurance company.

Don’t forget to get medical insurance that covers you for the

honeymoon if you are traveling outside your own country. The first

place to check is with your current supplier of domestic medical


You also need insurance for your luggage, clothing and any

expensive cameras or other items which you carry with you.

This is also something that you should remind any guests who are

coming from overseas to your wedding.

Yes, some companies offer insurance for the biggest disaster,

cancellation of the wedding. But, you really need to examine the

fine print on any policy which you are considering and get any

clarification in writing before you write a check, or you might be

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doubly disappointed if you make a claim.

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Children at Your Wedding

Your Children

If either of you have children, you’ll want them to attend the

wedding and the reception.

You will also need to involve them in a meaningful way with the

preparation and put their name(s) on the invitation.

If your children are still getting to know his children, there may be

some unsettled tensions.

You could include them in the ceremony but only after discussing it

with them and gauging their real attitude, not just accepting their

verbal agreement.

If the children are truly willing, arrange for them to be part of the

ceremony but never push.

It’s obviously important to be even-handed and a small but valuable

memento of the occasion for each child could help to smooth over

any remaining tensions in the following weeks.

Other People’s Children

You may not want guests to bring their children to the wedding or

reception even though you will have yours there, of course. That

should be okay with any reasonable person and, especially your

friends and relatives.

But, don’t be surprised if you get some mule-headed pair either

staying away and giving that as their reason or bringing their own

children anyway.

If they do bring children along, welcome them but tell the parents

that you hope they will still enjoy the function while keeping an eye

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on their little Attila. It is not your responsibility.

If you decide to let guests bring their children, you’ll need to

provide them with some appropriate food, distractions like puzzles

or games, and entertainment or a couple of wranglers ….. I mean

child sitters.

Children love to be entertained and most good entertainers charge

fair fees but they probably will only attend for a set period. If that

fits your budget and program, it’s worth considering.

You might be able to hire or persuade a couple of reliable teenagers

to look after the children for the duration. See if you can get an

extra, smaller room at the venue for a small additional cost. It could

be well worth it to reduce stress and interruptions to your “main


Check with the parents about any allergies or other conditions which

you and the minders need to be aware of.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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I love animals but, with weddings and receptions, I believe the old

Hollywood maxim is spot on, “Don’t work with children or animals”,

especially the latter.

Animals, except hearing and seeing-eye dogs which are trained to

standards that the average pet owner could never attain, are likely

to be a problem.

Your first line of defense is the fact that most areas ban all animals

except those special dogs from all venues where food is served.

Support the law!

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Your Wedding Venue

If this is your first wedding and you are both of the same faith, you

should not have much difficulty in arranging a wedding in your local

church or other place of worship.

Most weddings are probably still held in places of worship but that’s

not everybody’s choice.

Many people are married in a civil ceremony conducted by a

licensed marriage celebrant.

They may have trouble deciding which place to be married in or just

feel that they are not religious and might feel hypocritical if they

went back to church just for this special occasion.

Up a Tree or Below the Sea!

There is a growing trend among

people who do not regularly attend

them to have the ceremony in a place

they are familiar with and which has

some sort of special appeal to them.

I've heard of people being married in

a plane and then sky-diving back to the ground to start their

married life together (they both landed safely!)

I read about another couple who took their vows under water. That

was a few years ago and probably dozens, or even hundreds of

couples have donned wet-suits and copied the idea since then.

I haven’t heard of anyone being married in the African tree houses

where tourists watch lions but I am sure there have been some

great celebrations there.

I’m not that adventurous, but I can understand the appeal for those

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who are more adventurous. I can imagine a couple wanting to be

married near a favorite waterfall or on top of a mountain. I wonder

if the celebrant would also climb it or whether they’d have to hire a


The laws and regulations which must be observed vary from country

to country and between states.

Check with your local authorities. Again, might have some relevant books or even free advice.

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When You have Different Religious Backgrounds

There may be difficulties where you are of different faiths but most,

though not all, obstacles can be reduced or removed over time.

There could be friction within one or both families and there may be

legal requirements if you decide to have two services (one following

the tradition of each faith) or a non-denominational ceremony.

You may need to have a licensed marriage registrant at one

ceremony to comply with the laws in your area.

I suggest that you approach members of your families who are

closer to their church for information unless doing so might increase

tension between you.

You will, however, probably find that your local religious leaders are

quite helpful when they understand the sincerity of your

commitment to each other.

The traditional choice is for one person to convert to the religion of

the other. That is a very serious decision which should be

considered carefully and which the two of you should discuss

without pressure.

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Priming and Pruning the Guest List

The guest list is likely to be one of the most sensitive areas when

you are arranging your wedding and the reception.

There used to be a tradition where the total number of guests was

decided by the overall budget, with a slight reduction to allow for

unexpected contingencies.

Then, the bride’s parents would invite about one third of that

number, the groom’s parents a like number and the other third

would come from the bride’s and groom’s own personal friends.

There are usually more people on each of their lists than can be


Then, there could be pressure from the parents who are paying for

or subsidizing the major costs to let them invite more people.

There can be emotional pressure to invite distant or elderly relatives

who none of you can remember meeting, business colleagues of

your parents and other loosely connected people.

With most couples, the discussion doesn’t take long because the

budget runs down pretty quickly when you consider that each guest

that’s in any form of formal relationship will expect their partner to

be invited.

Add your fathers’ bosses and their bank managers – that should be


Be prepared for requests and even anger from people that didn’t

make the list. You’ll also get more requests from parents to bring

their children if you didn’t include them on the invitation and some

parents will bring their children along without asking.

The best answer is plain honesty, “The budget would not stretch

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very far and I knew you would understand. Let’s arrange to meet

for dinner after the honeymoon?”

Keep in touch with your guests and, especially, the bridal party.

There’s always the possibility that someone will have to pull out.

Then, you can either add someone else to the list (don’t be

surprised or disappointed if they decline the second-hand invitation)

or keep to one less so that your budget has a bit more cash in it.

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It’s All OFF!

Those are the words which every bride, groom and, especially, their

parents dread!

They probably won’t be heard except in your

nightmares or a moment of complete exhaustion

after trying to squeeze just two more into the

guest list.

Sometimes, there has to be a postponement

because of serious illness, natural disaster or a

business commitment overseas.

But, unfortunately, weddings do also get

cancelled – one or the other partner lets their

cold feet take them out of their cozy relationship in search of

something better.

I hope that you, like me, never get even close to this situation but

I’m including a few suggestions which will give you a guide to keep

you focused while you sort everything out.

Notify Suppliers: You should phone your suppliers and the venues

you booked to minimize the amount you will still owe them. Don’t

try to work that out over the phone.

Don’t expect to get much back. It may depend

whether the venue or supplier can fill your

booking with another booking.

You may be able to get the store or dressmaker

to sell your wedding dress and give you

something back from the sale price.

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Otherwise, you can sell it privately.

Be sure to contact airlines or cruises and your accommodation if you

had booked an overseas honeymoon.

Notify Your Guests: If the wedding date is just a couple of weeks

away, email or phone people that don’t live close by.

Then, follow up with a short, printed note because some people

don’t read their emails regularly and emails sometimes just get lost.

If a sympathetic and reliable family member offers to make some or

all of the calls and send the emails for you, it will do much to reduce

the load on your shoulders for at least a little while.

Repeat Newspaper advertisements: You should put a small

advertisement in any newspaper where you put an advertisement to

announce your engagement.

Presents: You must return them all. That will be a hassle and

expense but it is the right thing to do.

Whether you return the engagement ring depends on you.

I would never throw in into a crusher but I know many of my friends

say that they would in those circumstances.

I’d rather sell it and use the proceeds to treat myself to a massage

or something else that would help to relieve the emotional pressure.

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Your Mother

Don’t be surprised if you notice a change in your mother’s attitude

to you and life in general after your wedding.

It’s my theory that she feels some sort of loss even if you will both

be able and willing to stay in close contact.

There’s also the view which some believe that she sees your

transition from daughter to wife like her. (Relax, I don’t mean like

her in every way) as a signal of her advancing age.

But, I think she is focused on you and your happiness. Her only

concern could be the probably irrational one that she might not

have done all she could to help you make a success of your


This won’t last because your mother will be drawn back to

concentrating on her other personal interests fairly quickly.

But, you can help by making sure that when an opportunity to be

with your mother for a bit of shopping or just a quiet chat at her

place or yours arises, you grab it and talk about what she wants to

talk about as much as you want to fill every minute with details of

your new life.

Demonstrate that you are still very interested in her as a person

and tell her she has been a wonderful mother for you.

After all, I know many people who passed up those opportunities

until it was too late and their mother was not around to hear their

words anymore.

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Your Mother-in-law

You may have been a couple for some time and developed a good,

friendly relationship with your partner’s mother and father.

But that might also change when you get married – that’s for real

and, probably, permanent.

It may be obvious or so dilute that it’s hard to be sure it exists but I

believe every woman feels a little bit distressed when her son puts

another woman in the number one position in his life.

If it isn’t so obvious as to be a real problem, just focus on her good

qualities which you discovered and enjoyed before.

In time, you might have your own son who ups and marries

someone you hardly know.

I wonder if you’ll feel much different to how your mother-in-law

feels in those first few weeks.

Of course, unless you are a trained and experienced psychologist

you may completely misread your new mother-in-law’s feelings.

That coldness which you think she is showing to you may just be

insecurity on her part about how she should try to develop a

stronger relationship with you and her strong desire to make the

right steps from the start.

Find some time to spend with her, listen to her stories of the

wonderful son, ask for his favorite recipes so that you can cook

them for him too.

Most of all, show her that you appreciate the effort she made with

your husband and that she is now making to build a great

relationship with you.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Your Father

If your father seems unusually docile and withdrawn as your

wedding approaches, don’t worry about it.

On top of his usual family concerns and business matters, he’s got a

lot of new things to think about and he is also probably feeling some

emotions he has not felt very often before.

If your parents have taken on the traditional bride’s parents’

financial role of paying for the bulk of the wedding, you can

understand that might cause him some concern.

He’s also probably wondering if he’s done everything he could to be

the father that you needed.

And, of course, many men in our society feel that they must not

show their emotions.

Spend some time with him, talk about things that are not part of

the wedding plans – things he’s always been interested in, and

reassure him of your respect and gratitude for all that he’s tried to

do for you.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Your Ex

Unless your ex-partner was violent or otherwise unstable, you

should tell them that you are getting married.

That is especially important if you had children together and they

have been providing any financial or other support.

If there were no children and you haven’t kept in touch, there’s no

real need to go out of your way to let them know.

If you have maintained contact since you separated you might think

about inviting them to your wedding.

This might be appreciated by your older children but could create

some confusion and perhaps worse in the minds of very young

children from that relationship.

They’ve already started to get used to their new circumstances as

part of an expanded family and may be busy sorting out any

tensions with your groom’s children and then their real father is

back, however temporarily.

It’s something that only you can decide but, before doing anything,

discuss it with your new spouse and, possibly, get the views of the

older children.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

Page 63 of 70

Party! Party!

Everyone loves a party or maybe even two but if you and some of

your friends have limited finances or a mortgage, then too many

parties can be bad for your relationships as well as your finances.

You might be have almost too many things to prepare and check

before the big day, but you could find it hard to refuse when

somebody offers to hold some sort of celebration leading up to the


But, each party, shower or dinner puts a financial cost and time

commitment on everyone who is asked to attend.

I suggest that you limit them to, say, three, and insist that anyone

who wants to bring a gift should please just bring one to one event.

Emphasize that their presence and support is the best gift anyway.

My top three would be the Announcement party, if your parents

want to host and pay for it, the helpers (mainly the Bridesmaids)

lunch to thank them for their contribution and patience, and the

rehearsal party.

Maybe you might think three could be too much of a strain for some

of your friends or family. That shows you’re thinking right – about

them and not just yourself. How you handle it is up to you.

But, I’m sure that you need some occasion for everyone of the

major players to get together in a party atmosphere before the


The Rehearsal Party

That rehearsal party is usually fairly casual and serves as a stress

diffuser after the walk-though check of the wedding.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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You’ll usually have the two families and other members of the bridal

party with their partners, any guests that have arrived from some

distance away and the celebrant. This is their chance to meet in a

fairly relaxed atmosphere so that they get to know a little bit about

each other before the wedding day.

You can also use the occasion to get some of the people that will

give speeches at the reception a chance for a rehearsal of their own

(with different material) in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Pre-Nuptial Agreements

You may not be a Hollywood star or have their level of financial

assets but that doesn’t mean that you might not benefit from

having a prenuptial agreement drawn up to protect your rights if

you are bringing significant assets which were your sole property

with you into the marriage.

Of course, these agreements are not accepted everywhere in the

United States or other countries but the benefits to asset-rich

people when they are entering a new marriage is helping to drive

them onto the law books in most Western countries.

You will need the full cooperation of your partner to draft and

complete the agreement.

Set a time aside when you won’t be disturbed so that you can freely

discuss your current circumstances and your goals.

Full disclosure by both of you is essential.

Then, you should write out your agreement in plain English the

agreement you have worked up together.

You should each consult a lawyer to review the agreement and

advise you whether it meets all current legal requirements in your


The lawyer should be able to guide you about whether the draft

agreement fulfills your aims by protecting your current rights and

providing for the division of your joint assets if you split up in a way

that conforms to your wishes.

Then, when both of you are satisfied with the agreement, you need

to have it processed according to local regulations and any relevant

Federal law.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

Page 66 of 70

The “Easy Way” Out – Elope!

Some couples elope to get around impenetrable blocks imposed for

any number of reasons by their parents to their being married to

each other where they live.

Other couples just decide to forgo a lot of the preparation, expense

and hassle of organizing their wedding with all the usual trappings

and have a quiet ceremony elsewhere.

Most then come back and throw a celebration, inviting both families

and their friends.

That might take some of the steam out of the current situation but

they will probably find that their close relatives and many of their

friends will feel deeply hurt.

It could take some time and a lot of effort to restore the warmth

and trust that was previously between them.

The best antidote, I’m told, to restore those former deep feelings of

affection and trust is a new grandchild.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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If You Have to Speak

Order of Speeches

Bride’s Father


Best Man

Order of Toasts

Best Man




Other Guests

Keep everything light-hearted and brief.

Keep any revelations about the bride or the groom private, to be

published in your memoirs, fifty years after your death.

Don’t drink alcohol before you speak.

Don’t laugh at your own jokes.

Don’t try to use that great joke you heard on television last night.

Your audience probably heard it too and may know the punch-line

better than you!

Each speaker should check with those who speak ahead of him or

her to ensure that they don’t use material which the earlier

speakers might have already used.

Don’t bite the microphone, especially if other people will have to use

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

Page 68 of 70

it after you.

Don’t blow into it to check whether it’s working properly – the mark

of somebody that doesn’t know anything about microphones. Also,

you may get a bill for replacement of the microphone!

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Mini-note from Maureen

I hope you find this guide helpful and, as far as possible, stress

relieving as you prepare for and approach your wedding.

It’s based on the combined experience of many people.

I’ve just got one more short but powerful suggestion for you:

Keep your expectations high, your focus on the way ahead and

never run so fast that you cannot share a moment with your friends

or even a friendly stranger – it might be me.

Maureen P.

Copyright © 2008 All rights reserved.

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“How to Have a Wonderful Wedding” by Maureen Parnell

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Another eBookWholesaler Publication

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