Whether you are well underway in your wedding planning, or taking a more laid-back (translated "procrastination") approach, you have many decisions to make in the upcoming months. Planning your wedding can be a challenging as well as exhilarating time and it's certainly exciting to think about being Queen (or King) for a day.
However, that in no way gives you the right to be intolerable during the wedding planning process. (So says I). It's for your own good. You're a decent person at heart (why else would you have found the love of your life?) and you don't want to look back at your behavior after the wedding (when you're sane again) and remember how awfully you treated others.
So here are my 10 Commandments to avoid Bridezilla Syndrome.
1. Your wedding party members probably have a budget. While they are honored to be a part of your special day, they may not have the cash to afford a $200 bridesmaid's dress, matching shoes, jewelry, a wedding gift, transportation if they live out of town and a girl's day at the spa. Talk with each of them and determine what they can swing. And don't be adamant about everything being the same (can you spell b-o-r-i-n-g?). Be considerate by allowing each of them to select their own attire in a consistent color or pattern. Same goes for the guys--they don't have to be in tuxes.
2. If your parents are paying for the wedding, they have a right to have input. If you don't like their suggestions and they are firm, then you'll need to find other funds besides the Bank of Mom and Dad. Accept this fact and smile. Some couples have to pay for the entire wedding themselves, so count your blessings.
3. Being the star of the show and being exhausted prior to the wedding day does not give you the right to forget basic manners. Being late to appointments with vendors, being unreasonably demanding, and adding unnecessary drama to the wedding-planning process is inexcusable. Speaking of being late, don't start your ceremony any later than 10 minutes after the time on the invitations. Yes, you deserve to look amazing when you make your grand entrance, but your guests made an effort to be there on time and they shouldn't be kept waiting (especially outside on a hot summer day). Plan to be ready--totally ready-- 45 minutes prior to the ceremony so you can enter looking radiant and calm and most un-Bridezilla-like.
4. Keep in mind that this day is supposed to be a celebration of your love--not a theatrical performance of epic proportion!
5. Stay within your budget. It will do a world of good in keeping you sane during the planning process.
6. Remember what brought you to this day. You love each other and enjoy each other's company. Take breaks from the wedding planning process to have dates. Relax and enjoy being an engaged couple.
7. Thank each and every guest for coming to your wedding. If there is no receiving line, then make it a point to talk with every guest at the reception.
8. Send out your thank-you notes within a month of the wedding. Don't fall into the myth of wedding etiquette saying you have up to a year to write your thank-yous. That's a bunch of hooey! More than that--waiting a year gives the impression that you don't place much value on the time and expense your guests went to in order to give you a gift. After all, they didn't give you the gift a year after your wedding, did they?
9. Remember that you want your wedding day to be fun and enjoyable, which doesn't mean it has to be perfect. If your maid of honor shows up with blue hair, your cousin steals your thunder by announcing her pregnancy (with twins!) during the reception, or your Aunt Mildred drinks too much and passes out in her smoked salmon, remember that these incidents are no reflection on you. If you pitch a hissy fit, however, you're done for!
10. If, in spite of it all, you lapse into Bridezilla behavior, then suck it up, apologize, laugh at yourself and move on.