Nuptial Nightmares (08/15/07)

Dear Zelda,

Your advice is always right on. I'm engaged, older than most people in my family - and I'll be 32 when I FINALLY get married. The thing I don't want is the same thing that all of my cousins and my sibling had: the big wedding. I want something really small and intimate. My parents won't stand for it. What's a bride to do?

Old Maid Bride

Dear Old Maid Bride,

Congratulations on your engagement! Your big day is about you and your fiancée, not your parents. Present a united front, stand firm, and call the shots. It's mind over mother and father. Don't be squeamish about rejecting requests or suggestions. Just get used to saying, "I appreciate your interest and concern, but..."  Communicating with both families and compromising whenever possible will enable you to minimize hurt feelings while still maintaining control of your wedding. The Everything Mother of the Bride Book and The Everything Father of the Bride Book, both by Shelly Hagen, could teach your parents some of the ropes on helping you tie the knot your way.

Since the average budget for a large wedding is about $27,000, suggest that the money saved by having a small wedding might enable you to take a dream honeymoon or make a down payment on a house. Don't forget to include that you don't need thirty-nine toasters. If your parents continue to push for the big deal, tell them that you and your fiancée will come up with the dough yourselves for an intimate wedding. This is a day to have your cake and eat it, too. Slice it your way.


Dear Zelda,

I'm getting stressed that my divorced parents will have a flare-up right in the middle of my wedding day. Needless to say, they still argue and are far from chummy. What now?


Dear Apprehensive,

Have a little daughter-to-parent talk with each of them. Explain that they need to put their squabbles behind them for the sake of your sanity. You'd hate to be cutting tiers of cake while wiping tears. Tell them you're counting on them to act respectfully and to be civil to each other: no éclair-throwing, snide remarks or tacky toasts. Let them know you're aware that your wedding could be a very uncomfortable experience for them, and promise you'll do what you can to avoid awkward situations (e.g., no mother-father dance, no standing next to each other in the reception line). You could slip your dad The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Being the Father of the Bride by Jennifer Rung, and your mom The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Being the Mother of the Bride by Amy Zavatto. The more they know, the less they'll have to ask. Keep them separated as much as possible. A one-evening/ one-day attitude adjustment should be do-a-bull. For you and your fiancée the day is yours. Just "I do" it!


Dear Zelda,

I have a lot of anxieties about my wedding day, but I'm really uneasy about my fiancée wanting to have Speedo (a lab-greyhound mix) be his Best Man, or rather "Best Dog." Speedo's great, but it doesn't seem right to have him part of such a formal and special religious ceremony. Needless to say, I didn't laugh when my fiancée said Speedo is ecumenically-minded, and will fit right in. I have nightmares about him lifting his leg on all the flowers...or something worse. Help!

Bummed Bride

Dear Bummed Bride,

If a Maid of Honor can be a man, then the Best Man can certainly be a dog. Everyone knows a dog is man's best friend. Andy Rooney says, "The average dog is a nicer person than the average person." I'll wag to that. My philosophy is: why be ordinary and have a cookie-cutter ceremony? The image of Speedo sporting a tie, vest and cummerbund to match your fiancée's attire... now that's fetching and unique. Speedo could be the "new" in "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Just don't you be the "blue."

The Best Man offers moral support, stands next to the groom during the processional, walks with the Maid of Honor in the recessional, and mingles with the guests at the reception. A dog can do all this. So what if he can't host the bachelor party, embarrass you during the first toast at the reception, or spill the beans if your groom gets cold feet. That's what a second Best Man is for. Who knows, your fiancée might compromise and settle for Speedo being the guest book attendant or rice bearer. Those would still be positions of honor, albeit less conspicuous. If he's going to be present, Speedo might as well do something significant (even if he "I doo-doos" somewhere in the process). We canines can handle more than table-scrap patrol. You and your fiancée need to tango on this issue, not tangle. For avoiding anxiety-inducing snafus, refer to The Complete Guide for the Anxious Bride by Leah Ingram. (You might consider having an outside wedding, by the way.) Speedo is important to your fiancé and is going to be part of your life. I'd say let him be part of your wedding. It's the off-beat, comical accents in your wedding that will snap your garter every time you reminisce.

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