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Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

Good advice from women who've been down the aisle

By Deirdre O'Shea, Copley News Service

Most married women enjoy reminiscing about their wedding and giving advice to their engaged friends, whether their day went without a hitch or held unexpected drama -- like the groom's limo blowing a tire on the interstate or a DJ that didn't show up or the air-conditioning failing at the reception on a 90-degree day.

But wedding disasters aside, as they look back what would women do differently at their wedding? For some, a scaled-down affair would be in order.

"I would have made it smaller and more intimate. About 85 people were there; maybe I'd have cut the list down to 25, with no bridesmaids or groomsmen," says Sarah, who met and married her husband in Colorado. "I'd have chosen a smaller band too, or maybe just background music. Instead we had a five-piece deal. The people from the New Year's party at the same country club kept filtering over to our party because they liked our band, which was a compliment to the band, but kind of a pain. Oh, and I would have actually sat down and eaten the food we paid a bundle for!"

Wendy, a writer from New York City, would have opted for a more intimate wedding too. "We had a hundred guests, but in retrospect I would have liked to have had about 60," she says. We could have cut the list more." She also regrets the decision to have her dress made. "In the end the dress wasn't done on time. I had to buy a very expensive cocktail dress at the last minute."

Instead of spending money on a designer dress, she would have hired a "truly excellent" photographer. "My husband and I decided to save money on the photography, but now we really wish we had a picture of the two of us together. Just one would be nice -- and we don't have any. Other than that, our wedding was divine. And I loved every single minute of it."

The photographer at Mary's wedding had "a set idea of the shots that he thought belonged in a wedding album." This stay-at-home mom from Califon, N.J., loves the standard family photos he took, but wishes she'd directed him to take photos of their friends. "It would be wonderful to have pictures of them enjoying themselves at the wedding. It was quite a party!"

Jennifer, a thrifty mom from Trumbell, Conn., would rethink her budget. "I've been married for six and a half years now and looking back at my wedding, my advice would have to be to focus on one or two things that are really important to you (for me, more flowers) and spend your money there. Everything else can be done less expensively if it's not as big a priority."

Others have a laundry list of advice. Suzanne, who keeps busy with her three preschoolers in Buffalo, N.Y., would "keep the ceremony shorter and sweeter. We tried to incorporate so many things -- songs, prayers, and people -- it was too long."

And she would have started the reception earlier in the day. "Some people left before the dancing and music. They were too tired, I guess. I would also have a larger dance floor and a larger reception hall, so everyone could get around and mingle more."

She also thinks the photographs took up too much time. "We wasted an hour at least with the photographer when we could have been talking with friends we hadn't seen in years -- and didn't have time to mingle with later either!"

The time of year is the factor that Diane, an accountant from Fairfield County, Conn., would change. "My husband Rich and I got married in April 1992. If we could do it again, we would have waited until the summer or early fall so we could have had nicer weather. It was cold and rainy on our wedding day. We originally wanted a summer or fall wedding, but the catering hall we liked didn't have any summer or fall dates. We sould have kept looking for a place with a better date available."

For some fortunate gals, like Amy, a poet from Massachusetts who runs her own company, Poems To Go, the answer is nothing. "I would not have done anything differently," Amy says. "Both my husband and I did run into some conflicts with my mother, but we told her that this wedding was meant for us, that it was our day and we were going to do things the way we wanted to. In the end, she gave in and the wedding was just beautiful."

Erin, an analyst and mother of four from Connecticut, also wouldn't change a thing. "The nice thing was that I was too young to get into having 'the perfect wedding.' I was happy to be getting married and I didn't get hung up on details. I still have people tell me that it was the best wedding they ever went to."

Elaine and her husband had two weddings, one a contemporary ceremony by the ocean and the other a Hindu ceremony. Both, she says, were "fabulous, perfect."
But what this mother of two from San Diego would do differently is take a honeymoon. "I'd take time off without pay, whatever, just to get away after the wedding."

Weddings are rarely perfect and women who have danced a mile in a bride's shoes would all give this advice to those planning their big day: What's important is that you and your groom are creating the first memories of your life together and it's where you're heading that matters. May your stories all be good ones.

© Copley News Service

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