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Monday, June 3, 2013

Expert Tips: Avoid Bridal Blunders

Words by Laura Fredricks

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Getting everything you want and people to agree on your wishes can create stress and anxiety for any bride. Between the dress, the location, rehearsal dinners, the bachelorette party, guest lists, the joining of both families, and the expenses, it can quickly become overwhelming. 

What if you could truly simplify (gasp!) the planning process by learning how to properly ask for what you really want for your big day? Whether it’s a destination wedding or an out of town bachelorette party, it’s all possible, and realistic, by just learning the right questions to ASK!

Let me share with you some of my hidden secrets - my winning words – and a few necessary “asks” for how to bypass the blunders, keep your friends and families happy and ensure you’re headed down the right road to wedded bliss!

Traveling for a Destination Wedding

You’ve decided to say your “I Do’s” abroad, but asking your guests to get on board with this plan is a difficult one. Between time off from work and money, a lot of friends and family might find it difficult and expensive to attend. It’s ideal to give your potential guests as much notice as possible. You could start by saying, “We would love to have you to help us celebrate and I know this will require extra time and money on your part. Do you think you could make a vacation around the wedding? I’m sure we can work with the hotel to get you extended nights at our wedding rates.

Try to work with your family and friends to make this a vacation destination so they won’t feel like they have to rush in and out just for your wedding. If they cannot extend their time around the wedding, then try to work with them to get the best travel arrangements and say “I realize it is asking a lot of you to travel this far, but it is our dream destination. Can we look into combining points from a frequent flyer program or reward miles to help out with the costs of travel?”  

Selecting the Bridal Party

It’s no secret that with two sets of families involved, and friends on both sides, there’s going to hard decisions to make about the bridal party. What do you do when a friend assumes she'll be part of the bigger festivities? Instead of hoping and praying your friend will understand, get in front of the conversation and say, “I would have loved to have a larger bridal party, but I hope you can support our decision to keep it small - I’m asking that this not jeopardize our friendship.”

Reinforce how important your friend is by asking her to support your decision or by asking them to participate in another special wedding activity. Not everyone will understand, but by asking for their support, you can feel good you recognized her feelings and want to remain close friends. 

Spending Hard Earned Cash

When you’re asked to become a bridesmaid, just the thought of spending money on the dress, shoes, makeup, hair, presents and possible travel expenses can leave your purse in a state of shock, especially if this is the second wedding this year. Many bridesmaids may not have the extra cash to spend – particularly if they are a student, recently out of work, have debt or other family obligations. The best thing a bride can do is to ask the bridesmaids to spend a little of their money, while helping them look for ways to save at the same time. Try saying “I know all this adds up to a lot of money and the last thing I want to do is put my friends and family in financial hardship. We decided to pay for your dress, makeup and hair for the day of the wedding, but do you think you can help with your travel expenses?”

The point of all your “asks” is that you recognize there may be some uncomfortable topics you have to cover, but by knowing the right way to ask gives you a way to resolve any possible ripples before they become tidal waves. When the asking is out of the way, there’s more time for enjoying, celebrating and making memories! Isn’t that what your big day is supposed to be about?

More about Laura Fredricks, the "Expert on the Ask": For over 20 years, Laura has applied her practical and successful background in law, business and communications to raise millions of dollars for nonprofits by teaching the ways of The Ask and her expertise has been featured on Katie, Better TV, Dr. Steve and within Shape, SELF, the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones.


Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Jackie Butler & Peggy Chen.

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