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Getting her to like you again
How can I pitch some pennies without her pitching many fits? (from Dave F)
Have you considered donating blood as a second income? Maybe even an organ or two?
Hold on. All¡¯s not lost. There are some ways to cut corners without you having to cut out a kidney. But like any surgical procedure, proceed with caution. It¡¯s one thing to not do anything for your wedding. But it¡¯s another to not do anything and attempt to cheapen the affair.
Plan ahead. While this goes against everything a man stands for, you¡¯ll save money by booking things early. Besides avoiding rush charges, you can also avoid any bidding wars over the ¡°must-have¡± chef/photographer/florist/you-name-it.
Embrace technology. It¡¯s the Internet Age, so go online to find vendors. You¡¯ll be surprised to find what¡¯s getting outsourced these days. Besides getting favors drop shipped direct from China, you should take advantage of the tools right under your nose, like laser printers, digital cameras, CD burners, and e-mail.
Go all-in. In-clusive, that is. Many venues offer package deals that include services you would normally have to secure elsewhere, like catering. They might also provide day-of wedding planner support to make sure all goes well on your big day.
Start early. Whether it¡¯s earlier in the day, earlier in the week, or earlier in the season, you might save a bundle by avoiding the sought-after Saturday-night time slot.
Mix and match. While imported foods, premium-shelf alcohol, and world-famous pastries might impress your guests, you don¡¯t have to pay top dollar for everything. Pick a few lower-cost appetizers, consider hosting a buffet, serve only wine and beer during dinner, limit alcohol to custom cocktails (e.g., martinis and cosmos), and, if you invite enough people, have two cakes (a fancy one for showing and eating, and a plain one for just eating).
Call time-outs. Limit the photographer and/or videographer¡¯s schedule. Just make sure the shots you want occur during the actual filming time. Although can anyone really know when a conga line will form?
Pool resources. If people you know are getting married around your wedding day, try sharing some costs, recycling decorations, and obtaining volume discounts. Even if you don¡¯t know anyone, see if the reception venue can assist in reusing some supplies.
Do it yourself. Break out the warehouse club card and bring your own alcohol. Apply summer-camp arts-and-crafts skills and make your own party favors. Go to work early and use your company¡¯s printer. Wait until dark and clip your own roses. And forget it just being DIY. Recruit, draft, and beg your friends for assistance. Okay, her friends.
Stand firm. Try to negotiate discounts or extra services with your vendors. Also, make sure you review each contract¡¯s fine print to avoid additional charges. And, wherever possible, don¡¯t tell places it¡¯s for a wedding. That little fact might avoid any ¡°we got you by your shorts¡± pricing.
Go off the beaten path. You might be able to lower your expenses dramatically by picking an out-of-the-way place for your reception. It might even be worth checking out just the surrounding towns. Be sure to strike the right balance between saving money and costing your guests more to get to the wedding. And if you find a real bargain site, keep telling her ¡°it¡¯s rustic, not run-down.¡±
Adopt a less-is-more attitude. When possible, pick the simpler decorations, choose less labor-intensive foods and flowers, minimize the band, and reduce the guest list. Besides saving you money, it¡¯ll probably save you time and anxiety in the long run.
Elope. The granddaddy of cost cutting. And if you play your cards right, you might still get some presents. Especially if you throw a casual post-elopement party for your friends and family.
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I've been disappointing my fianc¨¦e lately. How can I fix this? (from Jim M)
This is a tough one. All I can offer are some simple ways to try to make your fianc¨¦e re-enamored with you. Or at least keep the peace.
Hold door open.
Offer an unsolicited compliment.
Let her sleep in late and make her breakfast in bed.
Please her first . . . and last.
Give her questions serious thought (then it¡¯s okay to say ¡°whatever you think is best¡±).
Let her pick the movie, TV show, restaurant, or sex toy for the evening.
Sneak up from behind and give her a neck rub.
Yell at a wedding vendor on her behalf.
Try on a bridesmaid dress if she asks (your manhood can take it).
Play her favorite board game over candlelight and wine.
Don¡¯t read, watch TV, or do work while eating dinner.
Take her to the place you shared your first date.
Surprise her at work and take her on a lunch date.
Stay at a posh hotel one night.
Suggest dinner at her parents¡¯ to discuss the wedding.
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We're from different religions. How should we proceed? (from Andy K)
Let me guess:
You¡¯re Jewish. She¡¯s Catholic?
You¡¯re Hindu. She¡¯s Protestant?
You¡¯re Texan. She¡¯s Californian?
You're not alone. In 2005, 16 percent of U.S. weddings have multifaith or multicultural ceremonies.
Here are a few suggestions on handling interfaith weddings:
Mix it up. Have two officiants to represent each of your faiths.
Relief religion. Find someone from a third religion (e.g., Unitarian Church) who might be more open to interfaith ceremonies.
Eenie meenie. Choose one faith and go all in.
Double up. Have two separate ceremonies.
Be civil. Skip the religion part altogether and have a judge (or ship captain) do the honors.
Start anew. Ask a friend or relative to become an ordained minister. Since you¡¯ll be in on the ground floor, there will be no pesky thousand-year-old traditions getting in your way.
Some tips to help ease the tensions:
Interview officiants. Expect them to interview you, too.
Share with family. But remember, ultimately it¡¯s your day.
Remember, it doesn¡¯t stop at the ¡°I do¡¯s.¡± Things you should also discuss before the big day:
What holidays will you celebrate?
What place(s) of worship will you attend?
How does religion factor into your daily life?
How does religion factor into your extended families?
What about when you have kids (e.g., circumcision, christening, churches or synagogues, religious schools, parenting styles, bringing up in both faiths)?
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I've been staring at our blank seating chart for days. Help. (Mike C)
Is your wedding shaping up to be Hatfield vs. McCoy II? Here's some advice on how to seat people.
Lay it down. You should first sort guests by category (e.g., family, work, college, and hometown). Write down information for each person that might be handy when deciding who sits where.
Start at the top. Decide who will sit with you and your bride. There are endless variations to how your table is arranged, from just the two of you to you, your bride, the parents, best man, and maid of honor, to the whole wedding party. Pick an arrangement that suits your desires and fits the room. You may want to spread members of the wedding party around to ¡°host¡± tables. You should also place close family and friends nearest to your table.
Mix it up. Don¡¯t just seat people together because they know one another. There will plenty of time to chat at the bar. Arrange folks to spark conversation, romance, and business deals. Be sure to get a cut of whatever may result.
Keep it safe. Don¡¯t seat people with axes to grind or grudges to hold together. Also, be kind to your elders. Make sure they are away from loud speakers and have ample room to move around.
Fill it out. Don¡¯t have one table only half-full. Spread the space among all tables.
Let them know. Have printed table cards available in a convenient place during the cocktail hour or entryway to the reception hall. A map and alphabetical listing of guests with their table numbers is also helpful. Instead of plain table numbers, you may want to label tables with fun names (e.g., vacation spots you and your fianc¨¦e have gone, cities you have lived in, hobbies you enjoy, poets who best express your feelings).
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