My wedding isn’t complicated. I can wait to plan.

No, you can’t! Allowing for adequate time to plan a wedding is one of the top three mistakes brides make. The reason is that most see only the “big picture,” their dress, walking down an aisle, their first dance and pictures. They don’t realize there are a million little details that go with a wedding ceremony and reception, and I believe this is why many get stressed out and overwhelmed as the wedding gets closer and they realize they don’t have time or energy to get it all done. That is when the “bridezilla” comes out.

Considering the fact that most brides today are working full-time jobs and many couples are paying for the nuptials themselves, a couple should allow more time to plan, save money, and prepare for the big day. The general rule is the bigger the event, the more time needed to prepare. Generally speaking, a year to a year-and-a-half is enough time to plan a proper wedding. Six months is the absolute minimum.

Personally, my husband and I had a six-month engagement and—looking back—I wish I had allowed for more time. My thinking was “I am in my mid-30’s. I have thought about this my whole life. I know what I want. I just have to book it.” In a sense, that was true. But, trying to find a store that had unity candles in stock the week before the wedding while trying to corral my bridemaids into putting reception favors together while working at a busy news station gave me a reality check.  I know of what I speak.

This seems to have been more common in the past couple of years where brides have inquired about wedding planning and catering only weeks before the big event. The reason appears to be that they weren’t sure of their finances and were waiting on money to book. While that is understandable, a better solution would have been to either set a date farther down the road or budgeted for a much smaller wedding.

I have seen panic brides more than once since we started Dareing Events. The last one came to me in a state of panic. The wedding was two weeks away. They had only gotten engaged a month before. The couple were planning to marry the next year, but decided to move up the wedding date. They had just rented the facility but had no caterer. All caterers were already booked for that weekend. Those who weren’t wanted a lot of money to cover the costs of this last-minute decision. We were this bride’s last hope for a decent affordable wedding.

The bride’s hand shook as she wrote out the check. She was scared. I knew we probably weren’t her first choice of a caterer, but a friend had recommended us and what was she supposed to do? No bride should ever be put in that position of fear. Adequate time allows for getting what you want.

Needless to say, the wedding and reception were beautiful. Everyone loved the food and we worked very hard to make sure guests were taken care of. The bride was extremely pleased. Her mother called us a “Godsend.” Still, the stress could have been avoided in the first place.

The truth is that most caterers and venues have spring booked by the end of October. Weekends around Easter and Memorial Day are booked early on every year. Photographers—really good ones—stay booked up to two years in advance.

Melody Dareing

I’m engaged! Now What?

You have been waiting for this moment…dreaming of this moment. Now, he has finally popped the question and you have a ring! After all the initial excitement of sharing the news, people start to ask questions. Lots of questions. When? Where? Where are you buying your gown? Who will be in it? You are now feeling overwhelmed because it has dawned on you that a wedding is A BIG DEAL and a lot of WORK.

The first thing to do is breathe. Remember this is one day. A marriage is a lifetime. Don’t focus so much on the wedding that you forget the reason for it. The wedding is simply a way to get to the lifetime.

Now, the first thing you must do is set a date. Most brides have a date in mind, but I can tell you that date can change depending on any number of factors so don’t be so tied to it that you freak if you have to change it. What factors? Some include whether or not you can get the facility you want (or any facility if its a big wedding weekend), whether parents, siblings, other family members, or friends can travel then, sickness or emergencies, finances and any number of things can influence the date.

In today’s economy, it pays some couples to get married on days other people typically don’t. The reason is some caterers, including us, will offer discounts for “off-season” or “off-day” times. Some of those times are Sundays, January through February 13, the week of July 4, the first week school starts, and the first week in November. Some of those may not be practical because of family commitments or travel, but it’s worth looking into.

Melody Dareing

Event Coordinator, Dareing Events Catering Inc.

Marrying the Right One

Ok, it’s been a while. Two years since I got back into this blogging thing. Mostly, my delay has been in wondering if anyone was really reading it (besides the robo posters) and I admit discouragement is a bit of an incentive to pause.

However, I know my advice has helped some people and now with our company Dareing Events Catering Inc. concentrating on social media, I figured this is as good a time as any to start back.

There are some couples I meet with about marriage details who simply should not be getting married. I can always tell it right away too.

Usually, she appears very nervous about making any plans even though she is excited about the wedding. Then I meet him. He usually runs late, appears non-interested, and criticizes everything at the tasting. He doesn’t understand why they must pay for wedding services and usually says no to every suggestion she makes even when she is trying to compromise.

This is a guy who really doesn’t want to get married.

Usually, this situation happens over time. The woman keeps “reminding” her man about how much she wants commitment, how long they’ve been dating, and how much she would love to be married. The man gives in – quite frankly – to shut her up. This kind of relationship, however, is headed for doom even before the wedding.

I say this not to cast a negative spend on marriage. I love marriage and certainly love weddings. After all, my husband and I spend our life planning and catering them. However, a negative relationship will only get worse and the wedding gets closer. There are a lot of details and a lot of stress. All of this throws any normal relationship into a bit of a turmoil, much less a toxic relationship.

This situation certainly causes issues with me as a wedding planner because I then become the negotiator, peace maker, and life coach.

Once, many years ago, long before I met my husband, I dated a wonderful guy I’ll call T.J. We shared the same values and had a great time together. After a almost two years of dating, I started to hint about marriage. Where was this going? What time frame was he thinking? Was he thinking about marriage at all?

Truly, he liked things the way they were and didn’t want change. So, T.J. went along with it. He talked about a ring. He talked about a life together. He talked about proposing.

But he never did any of it.

After three years of dating, I decided to question him – really question him. I had been a reporter so I knew how to ask tough questions. The answer wasn’t really what I wanted to hear.

I wasn’t what he was looking for in a wife.

It was a hard break-up because there wasn’t a clear answer as to what exactly he was looking for. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t have figured this out and told me the truth after a year of dating rather than wait three. I was in my late 20’s and really looking to marriage and family. I had a schedule and my biological clock was ticking.

Later, I realized I was as much to blame because I didn’t lay out my needs, goals, and desires early on either. I just thought we would date, fall in love, and get married. I didn’t realize back then that part of falling in love is realizing that your future plans are going in the same direction.

That is when you know it’s right – when you have the same mindset on the life you want as a couple, same overall goals and values. After, you want to become one flesh. That starts with how you think about life together.