Emily Posts Wedding Planner for Moms

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Steven Petrow: Make sure both members of the couple are on the same page. It's called "the power of two" and makes it much easier for a bride to say to her mother, "James and I had another idea for the centerpieces. Remember, very few brides will get away without accepting some well-meaning suggestions.


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It's the art of compromise, and it will get you off to a good start with your new family. Family members are also less likely to be as involved in the wedding as a result. That's one way to tame a Bridezilla MOB to be. Southern Weddings: Smile sweetly, and thank them graciously.


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Perhaps try this line: "Well, bless your heart -- thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We'll definitely take that into consideration. CNN: Managing the guest list is typically one of the most challenging aspects of wedding planning. What is the best way to inform guests that they are not welcome to bring a plus-one or their children to your reception?

Lizzie Post: If you don't speak up, you run the risk of upsetting others who did follow the rules. When you get the RSVP, call them and say, "Jane, there might have been some confusion -- the invitation was for you and Bob only. We chose to have this be an adults only reception; I hope this doesn't cause too much inconvenience.

Think ahead of time about the people you are inviting. Should you have a babysitter at the wedding for guests with young children so their parents can travel with them? It is really important for guests to respect that "no kids" means no kids, not even infants. If guests are unsure about whether it is OK to bring their baby, they can call and say that they are not yet comfortable traveling without the baby. That gives the host a chance to either say that it is OK to bring the baby or to say "We understand; we will miss you at the wedding.

Randy Fenoli: It should be clearly stated on the invitation: This invite is for one guest only and we love children, but we have decided to have a grown-ups only wedding. You should always be polite, but firm. CNN: What advice do you give to a couple whose relatives do not support their union -- whether it is a same-sex union, a matter of religious differences or some other issue?

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Randy Fenoli: Every family situation is different and should be approached accordingly. For me, if someone didn't support me, or the partner I choose to be with, why would I want him or her at my wedding? Invite people who genuinely love and support you. It's far better to have an intimate wedding than a huge wedding filled with people who aren't supportive.

Steven Petrow: Because weddings are about new beginnings I generally urge gay couples to take the high road and invite family members, even if they don't support your relationship because you're a same-sex couple. One of the most effective things is to talk directly with any disapproving relatives, as a couple, about your love for each other, the commitment you're making and your ceremony plans. It takes an awfully cold-hearted person to sit through a wedding ceremony and not be moved -- if not to tears, at least to acceptance.

Consider this a unique opportunity to change some hearts and minds. CNN: One of the most commonly asked wedding etiquette questions is: "How can we politely request cash gifts? Southern Weddings: It's never considered in good taste for the couple themselves to offer gift preferences, unless asked directly, so make sure your closest friends and family know your wishes.

Guests are more willing to give cash when they know what it's going toward, as in: "Emily and John are saving for a down payment on a house, and would be so grateful to have your help. Steven Petrow: "High manners" still generally frowns on the notion of "pay for play" weddings, even though it's perfectly acceptable to ask for and receive a cash gift in some communities and ethnic groups. Still, plenty of workarounds exist to avoid getting an excess of toasters.

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Feel free to tell those in your wedding party or other close relatives that you prefer dollars to doilies and that, if asked, they should relay your wishes. There are also honeymoon registries, which make it possible for guests to contribute to a fund; their gift might be one night at the hotel or an adventure outing sea kayaking, anyone? Many same-sex couples, marrying after many years together and with too much stuff, are forgoing gifts altogether and politely suggesting to their guests that donations be made to a marriage equality organization, like Freedom to Marry.

CNN: Destination weddings have their own special set of dilemmas. The biggest question that couples face is who pays for what. What's the best way to handle expenses for a destination wedding?

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Steven Petrow: I love the idea; I hate the cost. In fact, I have an invitation right now for a fall wedding in Italy that will cost at least a couple of grand to attend. Unless your destination wedding is, say, in Syracuse, New York, you're going to lose a number of your guests who can't afford either the cost or the time away from work.

Guests should expect to pay for their airfare and accommodations as well as any meals not associated with wedding festivities. So before you say yes, do the math. Special circumstances: If you have a dear friend or relative who can't afford your dream wedding, do your best to make sure they can attend.

Factor this cost into your budget before you make your final decision. Lizzie Post: These days, many weddings are destination weddings for everyone but the couple. It has timelines and worksheets for scheduling and budgeting, color swatches to create your color palette, key questions to ask vendors and pockets for collecting business cards. And because personalization is key, we even throw in stickers to make your binder your own. Get the secrets straight from Mindy Weiss, the celebrity wedding planner behind them. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Weiss has seen it all and leaves no topic untouched in her comprehensive guide.

She tackles contract negotiation, budget stretching tips and even explains how to use Uber for guest transportation.


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    Still one of the few books of its kind in the wedding market, 2Brides 2Be is exactly what you need. Meg Keene gets right down to business on how to create a personalized, unforgettable wedding without breaking the bank. Talk about satisfying. Chuckles are guaranteed from this book that features both funny stories from married couples and advice from vendors. Its minimalist pages go beyond suiting advice to reveal how to choose the best man to how to crush the first dance.

    She gives you a worksheet. Sample budgets and real wedding examples bring it to life. Worried about staying on schedule? She has a timeline for that. And for those with more room in their budget, Bishop describes options for a deluxe wedding too.