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 Follow Your Instincts And Your Vision
As a newly engaged young woman years ago, my family unknowingly caused needless anxiety and arguments by insisting on changing the menu and almost every aspect of my wedding. From  the bridesmaids' dress style and color to the wedding gown choice, almost every decision was met with debate from well meaning but very opinionated family members. The final straw came when my older sister told me my wedding gown I planned to wearlooked like a rag. She envisioned a multi-tiered ruffled Cinderella dress for me.  I knew that my tall frame and curves would look best in a simple yet elegant gown and was quite happy with my selection. I started to try on the gown my sister felt would be "just perfect" for me and realized that it was no longer my wedding. I stared at the stranger in the mirror that looked miserable and ridiculous in the frilly dress. Finally, I found my voice and told my sisters and mother that it was my wedding and to please offer an opinion when asked.
From that moment on, the whole planning process was enjoyable.  The guest list was cut from 160 to 75 so my husband-to-be and I could have the intimate and upscale wedding we had envisioned. The ho hum ordinary buffet menu that had been advocated by my family was changed to unique and interesting gourmet appetizers and food that we felt pleased to serve our guests. I looked wonderful in my very un-Cinderella wedding gown and we had the kind of wedding that family and friends still talk about often.  Our vision became a reality and just as unique as we had hoped.
During this incredibly thrilling and overwhelming time, it's easy to lose site of what your first concept and vision for your wedding were. It can't be stressed enough how important it is to stay true and in control of your look, vows, guest list, reception and even pre-wedding day events with family. Spend time with your helpers and planner so you have an established rapport and are sure you will get along. Take frequent breaks from planning the wedding and schedule some time for a romantic massage or outing with your husband-to-be. Don't depend on family members as they should be free to enjoy the special day and relax too.
As difficult as it is to control every aspect of your big day, make your best effort and discuss it with key members of the bridal party, planner and your family ahead of time. Gently request their understanding and sensitivity so that your special day has no regrets or do-overs when you look back in years to come. You can get your point across without being transformed into a bridezilla by keeping in mind humor, diplomacy and knowing what matters most at the end of the day is the two of you starting your lives together. Congratulation and all the best as you embark on your life as a couple! 
Lori Barendse
owner of Celebration Depot and director of

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