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Excerpt from Chapter 1: Gearing Up
Why Shopping for Candles Could Save the Day
After you make a thoughtful assessment of the process to come, begin to formulate an initial game plan. What should you do first?
Although it's imperative to gain as much insight as possible from wedding guides, books, and magazines, in the end, only so much of your preparation can come from printed resources. The time has finally come for you to venture out into the real world all by yourself.
Indeed, there's never been a more appropriate time to take a drive. Hit your local wedding boutiques, formal wear outfitters, retail outlets, novelty shops, and anyplace else you can find wedding stuff. You may be tempted to bring your fiancé, but you can'tat least not this time. Why? Because you need to keep distractions to a minimum when you're trying to study. And that's exactly what this expedition is aboutstudying.
You're not going to buy anything. You're not going to book anything. Chances are, you're not even going to touch anything. What you will do for certain, though, is learn a great deal about wedding products on the market.
All around the world, weddings are big business, not to mention being a magnet for suckers with a non-prioritized budget.
Take one box of unscented white tea lights, for example. In most places, you can get a set of one hundred for five bucks. But add the word "wedding" to the packaging of those same little candles, and watch the price balloon to ten bucks for a set of fifty.
A high priority on your fledgling to-do list should be taking a drive to four or five wedding-related stores in your neck of the woods, a task that should consume no more than a single morning or afternoon. Soak it all in. Take note of the options available. You probably had no idea that so many products and possibilities are out there. And even though you may initially find yourself bewitched, bothered, and bewildered by the sheer volume of crap you find dominating your window-shopping, the truth of the matter is that this private little rendezvous will make you a much savvier, informed groom.
The results of this field trip will prove far reaching. In no time at all, you'll find yourself in a better position to bounce creative ideas off your bride and even answer questions better than she may be able to. Best of all, you now can be trusted in her eyes to venture back into the wedding market to run errands now that she's aware that you're a bit wiser for the wear. Obviously, gaining her faith in your abilities to help plan the wedding is a significant step in reducing her overall stress.
When Doing More Is Less
By now, you're probably feeling quite the stud. You're informed, you're in touch, and you're seemingly in command of the challenges ahead.
Nonetheless, avoid the urge to fill your plate with things to do. You may be tempted to knock out all the planning in a flurry of activity, and then just relax the last six months before your wedding. A preferable alternative is to pace yourself throughout the planning stages. Don't forget, no matter how astute you may think you are now, both you and your bride will still botch something between now and the wedding; it may be trivial or it may be calamitous. By not getting too far ahead of yourself, you can assure that a minor disaster doesn't become a major one or have a domino effect on other elements of your plans you rushed through just to convince yourself you're somehow ahead of the game.
In every phase of the process unfolding before you, take small steps. Even for the involved groom, no matter how you cut it, the bride is still going to have more work and stress than you can ever imagine. Don't overload yourself to the point where you become unavailable to do your most important jobhelp the bride when she gets overloaded.
Weddings Are a Team Sport
For whatever reason, many men believe it is contrary to the nature of a smart, self-sufficient groom to have to double check with his bride if it's "all right" to do something. Whether it's surprising the bride by booking wedding flowers all by yourself or selecting the men's attire without any discussion, such gung-ho behavior has a huge potential for backfiring.
Even if you're taking charge in the planning process, it's absolutely imperative that you take nothing for granted. It may seem counterproductive to call your bride on her cell phone to check with her each time you make a purchase or spur-of-the-moment decision you assume she will agree with. Put that notion out of your head immediately. The potential reward of taking something for granted and getting it right is not worth the risk of getting it wrong.
When it comes down to making important decisions on the spot, even ones placed squarely in your court, don't assume anything. Doing things on your own is in no way the same as doing things about which she is unaware. Being entrenched in the planning of your wedding does not give you bridal immunity. It is always a good idea to check in with your fiancé to ensure you're both on the same page about product selection, service bookings, or any other arrangement, small or substantial. Believe me, she won't be annoyed with a call to check that whatever you're about to decide is desirable to her and appropriate for your wedding. In fact, she will probably appreciate it tremendously.