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Marcy E. Thornton

Got a ring. Set the date.

    So you’re engaged. Congratulations! Now what? If you’re like most brides (or grooms) to be, you’re terrified. After all, somewhere between “I will” and “I do,” you’re supposed to turn into Martha (or Martin) Stewart. Maybe you’ve been dreaming about this day your entire life, maybe not, but dreaming and planning are wholly different things, and odds are that you need help. So, to save you the trouble of wading through piles and piles of books, I’m here to help you plan the wedding of your dreams, and maybe be a little less stressed in the process.
    So, what exactly is a wedding plan, anyway? Why do you need one? The simplest answer is this: it’s your day, and a wedding plan will make sure that your day goes smoothly. You do not want to get all the way through a beautiful ceremony, only to discover that you mistakenly seated your Uncle Keith next to your Aunt Mavis, who have been bitterly divorced since 1977, right? A wedding plan ensures that all those pesky little details get taken care of before the big day.
     Try This: Every week in this column, I’ll bring you a piece of advice from an expert source. This week’s tip comes from Wedding Planning for Dummies, 2nd Edition by Marcy Blum and Laura Fisher Kaiser ($13.59 at amazon.com). Blum and Fisher Kaiser say that the first step to making a plan is to fantasize.
    “All too often, people begin planning their wedding by setting a strict budget and then trying to shoehorn in all the things they think the should have in the wedding. The process not only doesn’t work, but it can also leave you feeling like you can’t afford to have your dream wedding in any way, shape, or form,” Blum and Fisher Kaiser said.
    “We suggest that you work backward. Before you rein in your dreams, imagine that no budgetary or logistical constraints exist.”
    Close your eyes. Now say “wedding.” What do you see? No, really. What does that word bring to mind? A church? Flowers? Your Aunt Betty tipsy on champagne? With those images in mind, grab a pen and paper and write down everything you can think of about weddings. Try to remember a wedding you’ve been to. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like? For this list, just write down everything, even if it’s negative.
    Now start a new list, except for this one, you’re imagining what you want for your wedding. If you don’t know what you want, write, “I DO NOT want ____”, because you have to know where you stand. Remember, you’re fantasizing, so if you want to be married on a cliff in Ireland by George Forman, write it down. Don’t leave anything out. Don’t say “flowers” when you mean “rhododendrons,” and don’t forget that a wedding also includes a reception and a honeymoon.
    Have your future husband or wife make a fantasy list of their own, without any input from you. After all, the easiest way to become a bride- or groomzilla is to forget that you’re not going to be alone at that alter. When the two of you are done, exchange lists, and really pay attention to their needs and wants. Talk about your lists, and make a conglomerate list for both of you. Tack it to the fridge, and throughout this week, add to it if you think of something else.
    In the words of the Jedi, congratulations, you’ve just taken your first step into a larger world.

    Marcy E. Thornton is a senior English major at GSU, and is engaged to become Mrs. Carl W. Bonebright in September of 2008.  She welcomes any tips, comments or questions via e-mail at SobriquetF1@yahoo.com.

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