Fall/ Winter 2008: The Experts

| Boston Weddings |

The Messenger
The right invites make a chic statement. The wrong ones fall flat, or simply cost a bundle. A stationer talks about finding your style—and pushing the envelope. Plus, easy invitation shopping for busy brides.

The Mixologist
Two parts vodka, one part panache: A veteran bartender spills on what it takes to achieve reception success. Plus, tricks for keeping the costs down without seeming like a cheapskate.

The Groove Master

Two left feet? Worry not. A little prep can go a long way in making you and your partner smooth as silk on the dance floor. See a four-part plan for first-dance success.

The Lighting Guru

Ballroom or barn, mansion or garden, every setting can be made magical with a stellar lighting scheme. Plus, tips for staying bright and beautiful.

The Couturier
Offbeat style, low-end budget, junk in the trunk…no matter the challenge, Ana Hernandez swears there’s a dress out there for you. Plus, her top sartorial tips for your big day.

The Therapist
Marriage therapy before the marriage? It exists—and it works. One local counselor shares her tips on marriage shock, feuding parents, and cold feet. Plus, tips for keeping the wedding beast on a leash—and your relationship intact.

The Messenger

The right invites make a chic statement. The wrong ones fall flat, or simply cost a bundle. A stationer talks about finding your style—and pushing the envelope.

By Blythe Copeland

If the invitation’s only function was to get guests to the church on time, many a bride would just Evite everyone. But as Amy Madanick of Rugg Road Paper Company knows, the invite offers guests a first glimpse at the festivities to come. "When someone puts together a really creative piece with interesting colors and papers and graphics, it builds excitement for the event," she says. Turns out, there are a surprising number of decisions to make before the invites are signed, sealed, and delivered.

For most couples, what’s the hardest part of choosing an invitation? Keeping within the budget. A lot of times, people fall in love with something that’s more than they’d hoped to spend. There are so many wonderful designs with layers and wraps and pockets—but because of the number of pieces and the labor it takes to create those, they’re a higher price. And when people host whole-weekend affairs, those separate cards add up.

What are some ways to keep the costs down? Print in one ink color, since there’s additional charge for more than one. Avoid using too many layers or wraps—your invites can still make a strong design statement even though they’re simple. You can also purchase some components and combine them yourself. If you loved a printed card with a satin ribbon over it, you can order the card, buy ribbon, and tie it up on your own. And you can skip the calligrapher—your own hand-addressed envelopes are a nice touch.

In a pinch, can you save money by making them from scratch? If you’re a designer, or really crafty, doing your own invitations certainly adds dimension to your event. But mainstream companies have begun hiring really creative people to develop unique stationery. Letterpress printing, for example, used to be strictly custom, but now it’s available through larger companies. So it’s a lot less work, and usually less expensive, to order rather than try to do it yourself.

Speaking of what everyone else is doing…what is everyone else doing?
Layering and pockets are really big. So are motifs—we had one couple getting married in Venice who used custom sketches of the city on all their stationery. We’re also seeing lots of delicate floral designs, and patterns that bleed off the page—and letterpress is really popular. Five or six years ago, the look was very crisp and modern. Now it’s a little softer, more romantic.

And do the bride’s parents, or whoever’s writing the check, still have to get top billing? With extended families and divorces and [older couples] getting married, there’s a lot of "Together with their families…" Names used to indicate who was paying, but not anymore. Even if an older couple is getting married and paying for it themselves, they’ll sometimes include their parents just because they want to. And people who want to include children from a previous marriage can use all the names: We’ve had wording like, "Please join Jamie and Chloe at the marriage of their parents," or, "The children of so-and-so invite you to the wedding of…" We’ve had international couples write the invitations in two languages; we’ve had people use poems. There’s such a range.

Is there a polite way to list your wedding website or your registry? Not on the invitation. Just give the time, date, place, reception, and whether it’s black-tie. A direction card is a better place for a wedding website. As for the registry, you could possibly include it on a save-the-date or a shower invitation, but not on a wedding invitation, not even on an enclosed card. The implication that you expect a gift is not considered tasteful.

Rugg Road Paper Company,105 Charles St., Boston, 617-742-0002, ruggroadpaper.com.

NO-SWEAT STATIONARY
Madanick breaks down invitation shopping for busy brides.

Do Your Homework

"Spend a little time researching online or in stores. We expect that customers will come at least three times to go through the books and find out what appeals to them—and what doesn’t. Meanwhile, talk to anyone in your family who might have strong opinions about the final product to avoid any post-order meltdowns (this includes your fiancé and both your mothers)."

Figure Out What You Need

"Check all the details. Do you have to include directions or hotel information? Is it a weekend affair with a lot of additional information cards? Talk to your stationery person and make sure it’s all there."

Don’t Overthink It

"A lot of times we see people going toward a certain type of invitation over and over. It’s like anything else: If you know in your gut that it’s right, then go with it." –B.C.

The Mixologist

Two parts vodka, one part panache: A veteran bartender spills on what it takes to achieve reception success.

By Hillary Geronemus

Here’s the funny thing about wedding décor: If your party’s well-planned, guests will spend more time mingling at the bar and on the dance floor than they will ogling the centerpieces. At least, that’s what cocktail expert Philip Corona thinks. "People may not remember the flowers or the linens; they will remember if they had a good time," he says. The general manager for MAX Ultimate Food, an upscale catering company in Boston, Corona (no relation to the beer, just a happy coincidence) has helped orchestrate everything from two-person intimate dinners to 300-plus wedding extravaganzas. With his own impending nuptials on the brain, he shares a few bar-planning s
trategies he’s picked up along the way.

What’s the first thing to consider when planning a bar menu? Keep it simple. There’s no need to have all the fixings for Long Island iced teas or Slippery Nipples. These kinds of drinks don’t reflect how special a wedding is, anyway. A bar should be someplace to get a cocktail that is simple yet elegant, and wines that will complement the food.

Is a cash bar genius, or tacky?
Definitely tacky. I’d much rather sacrifice tenderloin for chicken than have a cash bar. Your guests traveled all this distance, and they want to be taken care of. As soon as you limit them to a cash bar, you limit how they react and how much fun they’ll have. I hate to say that liquor will get them going, but…

What are a proper bar’s essentials? Aside from beer, wine, and juice, all you really need is gin, vodka, and whiskey. With these three, you can make just about anything you want. When it comes to wine, just offer one red, like a pinot noir, and one white, like pinot grigio. A lot of people think you need variety, but the fewer bottles you open, the less waste there is when the party’s over. And don’t be afraid to ask for a tasting ahead of time—you try the food, so why not the wine as well?

How do you keep your guests from getting sloshed? The one downside of an open bar is that some guests don’t know when to say when. It’s best not to offer sweet, frilly drinks that go down too easily. As bartenders, we do monitor guests and will make a drink weaker than usual if someone concerns us. The key is to not let them know—we might add a floater of liquor on top, or a little booze in the straw, so at first taste, the drink seems stronger than it is. Regardless, it may give you peace of mind to offer cab vouchers to anyone who wants them.

To toast or not toast with champagne? I’m seeing fewer people doing the champagne toast. It can be so wasteful. It’s like serving cake while everyone is dancing—maybe 20 percent of the guests actually partake. As long as you have wine on the table, you’ll be fine. If you do want something bubbly, think about making a signature cocktail using Prosecco and fruit purées.

How do you really impress guests? First and foremost, they want to feel like royalty. So instead of just pre-pouring cocktails into glasses and leaving them on a tray, have servers walk around with a shaker and pour them into glasses. And personalize the drinks. If you met on Cape Cod, offer a Cape Codder. If you fell in love with lychees on a romantic trip to Thailand, have a lychee martini. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the standard. One couple knew their friends and family were big beer fans, so they had pitchers at the tables and even played beer pong during the cocktail hour. After all, this is your night, so make it about you.

How much can—or should—the newly-weds drink at the reception?
I always recommend brides and grooms down a glass of water for every cocktail. Have the bartender put it in a cocktail or champagne glass to give the illusion that you’re imbibing like everybody else. The night will go so quickly. If your memory is foggy, then all you’ll have is the photographs.

MAX Ultimate Food, 101 Hampden St., 617-427-9799, maxultimatefood.com.

BAR ON A BUDGET

Corona’s tricks for keeping the costs down without seeming like a cheapskate.

Maximize Your Mixers

Feature a signature cocktail using fruit juices, or simple syrups, which are essentially sugar and water. Sangria is a good choice, as is a tropical rum punch. Not only does this personalize the event, but it helps keep costs in check by watering down the drinks. Three of these equals just two traditional martinis, liquor-wise, Corona explains.

Timing Is Everything

Close down the full bar during dinner and serve only wine at the tables. Once the meal is done, reopen the bar for late-night revelry.

Hit Up Costco

Ask your caterer and reception venue if you can buy your own wine, beer, and liquor. While you may have to pay for a liquor permit, you’ll avoid the (typically 30 percent) markup and save by buying in bulk. Afterward, the leftovers are yours to keep. What better way to start married life than with a fully stocked wine cellar? –H.G.

The Groove Master

Two left feet? Worry not. A little prep can go a long way in making you and your partner smooth as silk on the dance floor.

By Terri Trespicio

In the 20 years that Liz Nania has been teaching dancing, she has helped many a knock-kneed, white-knuckled couple go from flustered to fearless on the dance floor. Here, the founder of West Roxbury’s Out to Dance studio shares her insights on how to make your first moments at the reception memorable and angst-free.

What are most couples’ biggest hang-ups about the first dance? For most people, the idea of having everyone they know and love stare at them for three-and-a-half minutes is hell. So they set the bar low—they tell me they just don’t want to look stupid. Often they assume, quite incorrectly, that they have no rhythm or ability. In fact, most people have never been taught the fundamentals in a mature, supportive environment. It’s not about complex steps—it’s about learning to lead or follow, shift your weight, and breathe.

Are there any hard-and-fast rules for the style of the first dance? Not really—the dance can be anything you want. It doesn’t have to be schmaltzy; it can be upbeat and fun. The only rule, really, is that the male partner must lead, otherwise it can end up looking awkward. Sometimes the bride is more comfortable leading, but I’ve never seen one make it work.

How does this work with same-sex couples? Actually, it’s a lot easier, because whoever is more comfortable can lead. Other than that, I don’t see much of a difference between how the dance works between heterosexual or gay and lesbian couples.

What about songs? Is there a hands-down favorite, or one that just won’t work, ever? The number-one wedding pick by a landslide is "At Last" by Etta James. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with that song. In general, couples tend to lean toward the jazz standards, the great American songbooks, often updated by Harry Connick Jr. or Michael Bublé. "It Had To Be You" is really popular, for instance. But I’ll tell you this: I’ve never rejected someone’s song. Bottom line: If you love it, you can do it. It’s just a matter of finding the right footwork. One time a bride chose a classical piece, which was tricky. But we made it work.

What are the risks of not preparing, and just winging it?
For one, you may be more stressed because you won’t know what to do once the moment has arrived. The only other real risk is that the dance itself will be forgettable, and your guests will be bored. You have to decide who this dance is for. If you and your mate prefer to sway and talk, that’s fine. But if you want to put on a little show for your guests, it’s worth doing some preparation.

Time and cash can be tight during wedding planning. Why spend both on a three-minute tune?
Think of this as more than just practicing for that first dance or avoiding humiliation. This is about dancing through your whole reception—and let’s face it, the rest of your life. Beyond that, couples tell me they find they love this part of their planning above all others. It allows them to reconnect in a romantic way—to hold each other, look into one another’
s eyes. And that intimacy and focus can often get lost in all the frenzy of wedding preparation. If you can get over the hump and walk into that first lesson, you’ll walk out 100 percent relieved. In fact, the dance has the potential to be the most special moment of your wedding day.

Out to Dance, classes held at the West Roxbury School of Dance, 29 Corey St., West Roxbury, and Theodore Parker Church, 1859 Centre St., West Roxbury, 617-363-0029, outtodance.com.

 

STEP TO IT

Nania’s four-part plan for first-dance success.

Start Early

Don’t wait until right before the wedding to think about, or prepare for, your first dance—aim for 3 to 6 months before the big day. On average, couples only need 3 one-hour sessions to get it down.

Choose Wisely

Go with a song that you both love—not what your mother or sister thinks you should dance to, what your DJ recommends, or what you feel you should use. Because if you don’t love it from the start, you’ll definitely hate it by the end.

Take a Refresher Course

Save your last hour of dance instruction for a week or two before the wedding so that you feel confident and ready.

Get Past the Fear

This is about fun, romance, tradition—and stress reduction. Learning a dance should not be panic-inducing. The more prepared you are, the more enjoyable it will be for you and your guests. T.T.

The Lighting Guru

Ballroom or barn, mansion or garden, every setting can be made magical with a stellar lighting scheme.

By Brittany Jasnoff

While ice sculptures, a martini luge, and fireworks can certainly set the mood, less dramatic measures, like a few strategically placed lights, can magically transform a bride into a supermodel, or subtly guide your guests toward the dining room at the appointment hour. Armed with a background in stage design, Waltham-based Suzanne B. Lowell dishes on how the right lights can make—or break—a scene.

What effects can lighting have on guests’ perception of an event? I like lighting tricks that act on a subliminal level. We can alter candlelight later in the evening, introducing colors that change the way that guests view the room. Red is an exciting, sexy color, while blue can be quite calming. I find illuminating walls, fabrics, and reflective surfaces very beautiful; it creates this ethereal glow. It’s even possible to light flowers and other decorations so they look as if they’ve been plugged in, almost electrified, rather than lit from above.
If a bride wants something spectacular—and cost is no object—what might she get? We did one really lavish event in several tents. We hung a seven-foot chandelier in the entryway, where the place cards were. It created a place for guests to linger before walking into the tents. In the ceremony tent, we hung chandeliers in the aisle leading up to the chuppah, with beautiful white circles of light focused in between, on the aisle runner. The classic style of the chandeliers contrasted with the geometric look of the floor lighting. We’ve also created some wonderful events by suspending hundreds of Japanese lanterns in the canopy of a clear-top tent. As evening falls, the lanterns begin to glow a rich cobalt blue.

How much does lighting a ceremony or reception site set a couple back? Can the process really ever be budget-friendly? We’ve gone anywhere from $1,200 into the six figures. An upscale wedding at the Boston Harbor Hotel, for example, could start at $4,000 and go up from there. Couples on a budget should have a lighting company use up-lighting to accent architectural and décor elements, and supplement it with candles.

OK, so not all lights are equal. What does everyone want right now?
A lot of today’s event designs are fixture driven—giant crystal chandeliers, Japanese lanterns, gorgeous Italian table lamps, beautiful torches. They’re tangible, almost like pieces of furniture. The other, more subtle approach is to create visual focal points in the room—architectural elements you want to highlight, or places you’d like people to gravitate toward.

Keeping everything perfectly aglow can’t always be an easy task. What’s your biggest wedding day horror story? We once did an outdoor wedding in a hurricane. When the winds and rain came in, it was a mess! The area near the dimmer panel got struck by lightning, so it zapped two thirds of our lighting. At one point, the rain came down so hard that it washed all the oil out of the wicks and we couldn’t light the torches. We spent the rest of the time cleaning up and drying the tent.

Does season matter? Do you do anything special for fall or winter weddings?
The best way to approach a warm, autumn color palette is to create the look of candlelight—to play up reds and golds. If the theme is wintry, with cooler tones like aqua, ice blue, cobalt, or navy, we can pick up on that, too. Lighting should work as it does in theater and dance. It isn’t a stand-alone design element—it works with your venue, your décor, and your music. For a cohesive look, everyone’s got to work together.

Suzanne B. Lowell Lighting Design, 781-899-5883, sbllighting.com.


IN THE LIMELIGHT

It’s your day to shine, but beware: Sometimes the spotlight isn’t always your best light. Here, Lowell’s tips for staying bright and beautiful.

Beware of Fluorescents

Those bright white bulbs you use to illuminate your features while applying makeup will do just that at your wedding—highlight flaws in harsh, unforgiving light. "It’s the least flattering light I’m aware of," says Lowell.

Choose Color Wisely

Pale blush colors bring new life to your gown and your face, while primary greens and yellows can dull both. "They can be used as accents around the room," says Lowell, "but they ought not touch the bride."

Don’t Uplight Yourself

Use this effect to draw attention to centerpieces and flower arrangements—but not to you or directly around the ceremony area. "It’s like putting a flashlight under your chin," says Lowell. "It reverses your natural shadows."–B.J.

The Couturier

Offbeat style, low-end budget, junk in the trunk…no matter the challenge, Ana Hernandez swears there’s a dress out there for you.

By Donna Garlough

Call her a designer, a dressmaker, a bridal consultant. Having outfitted hundreds of Boston-area brides in her totally custom creations, Ana Hernandez knows how to make a girl shine. "I think about how a bride will look from all angles, and play up her best features," she says. Here, she dishes on everything from price tags to panties, knowing full well that it’s your smile, not the dress, that really counts. "In the end, looking great is about how you feel," she says with a wink. "Not just what you’re wearing."

When picking a dress, where do you start—your style or your silhouette? It helps if you bring along photos of dresses you like, because that helps the shop define your taste and style. But your venue is the most important factor, so I advise brides not to shop until they know where they’re getting married. The venue will determine the date, the
time of day, and the formality of your wedding. It’ll also be the background for all of your pictures, so you’ll want to pick a gown color and details that complement the setting. There are also practical issues. If you’ll be walking on grass or sand, your dress should be hemmed to a different length than if you’ll be in a hotel all day.

What if your dream dress looks terrible on your body?
Oh, it happens. A bride with no waist will come in wishing for a fitted mermaid gown, and I have to let her try one on. Usually she’ll see why it doesn’t work and be willing to try different silhouettes; but if she’s dead set on a style, there are always ways to make it work. You can balance a bigger bottom with a deeper neckline, or create curves with diagonal pleats. It’s not always easy, but it’s possible.

Not everyone has $8,000 to drop on a wedding gown. Where can a budget-constrained bride scrimp so that no one will notice? The price depends on the complexity of the pattern, the number and types of fabrics used, and the details of the dress, such as beading. Typically, the simpler the shape and the less lace and beadwork involved, the lower the price will be. But sometimes the price is less meaningful, especially with the more expensive gowns. Off the rack, you’ll see a huge difference in quality between a $700 gown and a $3,500 one. But between $3,500 and $7,000? The difference is the label.

What underwear goes best under a wedding gown?
On top, the right support depends on the dress. For a sleeveless gown or a plunging back, I’d sew bra cups directly into the dress, so nothing slides around or peeks out. For panties, Victoria’s Secret has seamless ones that are great; avoid anything with elastic, and go a size bigger than you normally wear so there’s no pinching or lumps. If you need extra control, Spanx are good. Whatever you choose, buy them in a nude shade. And have all your wedding-day undergarments with you at every fitting, so you can see how they look.

How do you go to the bathroom when you’re wearing 30 layers of tulle?
Forget having your maid of honor hold your dress over your head in the bathroom stall. Here’s the civilized way to do it: Buy a pretty slip and hang it in the bathroom. When you need to go, step out of your gown, hang it up, and put on the slip. Do your business, freshen your makeup, have a glass of water, and relax for a few minutes. Then put the dress on and go back to the party.

Does it bother you when brides trash their wedding gowns? Oh, God. Some people destroy their dresses! But I don’t mind. I love it when a bride comes back carrying a dress that looks like it’s been through a battlefield, and when she tells me, "I had so much fun wearing this!" When the dress is in bad shape, you just know she had a blast.

Ana Hernandez Bridal Salon, 165 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-2500, anahernandezbridal.com.

FINISHING TOUCHES

Hernandez’s top sartorial tips for your big day.

With accessories, jewelry, and handbags, it’s tempting to go all out on your wedding day. But less is more, advises Hernandez. Too much gear and you could end up looking like a Christmas tree. For a finished—not overdone—look, heed this advice.

Skip the Stilettos

"Unless money is no object, don’t splurge on your shoes," says Hernandez. "With most dresses, you won’t even be able to see them." Instead of $600 Manolos, look for comfort and support. "You’re going to wear them all day. You’d better be able to jog in those shoes!"

Watch Your Head

Wearing a veil, tiara, earrings, a necklace, and hair jewelry will detract from what’s important: your face. Choose one or two statement pieces, and keep the rest minimal.

Think About Proportion

"I hate the ‘lollipop look,’" Hernandez admits. "Big hair, big veil, teeny body." Pair a full skirt with a full veil, or go veil-free with a slinkier gown. –D.G.


The Therapist

Marriage therapy before the marriage? It exists—and it works. One local counselor shares her tips on marriage shock, feuding parents, and cold feet.

By Terri Trespicio

The question’s been popped, the date is set. The planning period should be blissful, right? "It’s exciting—until the moment when you come home with $300 bridesmaid gifts, or he picks out a 54-inch plasma for the bedroom," says Brookline-based prenuptial therapist Mimi Licht. "That’s when you realize there are compromises to make." But even if a couple is screaming bloody murder over their cake tasting, they’re not destined to fail as a Mr. and Mrs., she says. You can head into the fray together—and come out safely on the other side.

What happens right after the engagement to create problems in the relationship? I’ve seen it many times: A couple gets engaged, and the bride immediately gets on the phone—and the calls just don’t stop. She becomes completely immersed in wedding plans, while he falls by the wayside. They lose their connection, and he can begin to feel resentful, even angry. I’ve had couples come to me on this issue alone. Most couples grossly underestimate how stressful this period can be.

What if a couple’s been dating, perhaps living together, for years? Is the post-engagement time really that different? You could spend years living together, but once you’re engaged, suddenly the relationship becomes this public thing. Friends and family start weighing in on where you should hold the wedding, what kind of ceremony to have, maybe even your decision to get married. Preconceived notions about the role of husband and wife start to kick in, stirring up all kinds of doubts about careers, kids, and money. It can throw people into "marriage shock," and deeper anxieties can surface. Maybe the bride’s father used to control the money and give her mother a hard time about purchases, and so the bride is afraid of losing her autonomy. You have to realize that you’re not doomed—you are in control of how your marriage will turn out. But you must bring those issues up early on in the engagement. Don’t quietly hope that things will turn out perfect.

What’s the cardinal sin of wedding planning?
Without a doubt, it’s letting the mother of the bride hijack the wedding preparations. The bride must put her foot down. The other big stumbling block happens when the bride or groom makes a large financial commitment—about the wedding or otherwise—without consulting the other person. This can be particularly difficult for the bride, who may have an image of her wedding in her mind that may not match what they can afford. I encourage couples to think about a realistic budget, and make sure they talk through major financial decisions together—anything over a certain amount must be a joint decision.

What if someone gets cold feet? It happens. Some panic that once they’re married, they’ll fall off the face of the planet, that their old lives will vanish. I ask my clients, What are you really afraid of: Not seeing your friends, or that if you do, your husband will disapprove or get jealous? Or are you nervous about him being out without you? Sometimes I’ll meet someone one-on-one to get at the issues that really scare them. If it’s daily habits and lifestyle changes that trouble you, my advice is to set forth a trial and error period, where you test out different kinds of routines and schedules. It may seem businesslike, but this is what makes things work out. Whatever issues you’re worried about won’t go away just b
ecause you get married. But rather than assume the worst will happen, you have to look not just to your parents but to couples you admire, whose relationships you want to model. You can’t guarantee a marriage will work, but you can commit to being self-aware about the issues that bother you.

How should a couple deal with divorced or feuding parents at the wedding?
First, talk to someone, together or separately, about your own fears and feelings about this. Because this is such a sensitive issue, I advise involving another friend or family member, or even a member of the clergy, to deal with the parents directly and communicate those concerns. And you want to set up a plan for how to handle the logistics. As to whether the father’s girlfriend should be in the family pictures—a photographer told me that she just takes photos of everyone. This way the bride and groom can choose later which pictures to buy (or not buy), while avoiding any awkward situations at the event.

Honesty sounds like a good policy, but should you air all your dirty laundry before the wedding? I never suggest dumping everything out on the table at once. You have to feel ready to talk about issues that are painful—whether they’re hurtful memories, or things you’re not quite sure your partner will accept. And that happens on your own time. I encourage people to share something serious beforehand, if it makes sense to do that. My goal is to help people develop their own sense of judgment. Often there are already red flags about a serious issue (an addiction or major debt, for instance), and on some level the partner knows an issue exists. It’s going to come up one way or another. Better to discuss it—at least lightly—before the wedding than afterward.

If you’re still friends, is it acceptable to invite your ex to the wedding? There’s no set rule. You should make your decision based on how your partner feels about that particular guest being there. If one of you is upset by it, then forget it. You don’t want anyone there who may distract from the focus. If the ex is part of a larger group of friends and can blend in and everyone’s fine with it, then it’s probably okay.

Any advice on how to handle wedding-day nerves?
I liken a wedding to a musical performance: Once you’ve rehearsed the music and know it cold, you can forget about everything else when you’re onstage and play from the heart. Because once things are in motion you can’t control whatever else is going to happen. The mantra is not to worry. Instead, let go and focus on what’s going on between the two of you. The wedding goes by so fast. Your priority should be to come prepared and enjoy the moment.

Wisely Wed, 344 Harvard St., Brookline, 508-358-5706, wiselywed.com.

CONTAIN THE CHAOS

Licht’s tips for keeping the wedding beast on a leash—and your relationship intact.

Stay Close

Make time for at least one romantic (and uninterrupted) date each week. No phones or BlackBerrys allowed.

Call a Meeting

It’s easy to let wedding plans seep into every discussion or interaction. Try to contain the chaos by devoting one hour a week to go over the details.

Designate a Plan-Free Zone

Licht advises keeping all wedding talk out of the bedroom, especially after 10 p.m.

Don’t Go It Alone

Cultivate a network of people you trust to discuss plans and ask for help, even just for moral support, so that you don’t let the logistics drain you. –T.T.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2008/06/the-experts2/