Make your wedding a dazzler without feeling frazzled

While wedding day dreams do come true, don’t count on a fairy godmother waving her magic wand to make your fantasy a reality.

Making the hundreds of decisions for your flawless wedding day takes time and careful consideration. And if you speed along and don‘t watch your step, you’ll soon be on a collision course with stress and pressure, the two ingredients that can turn a fantastic fairytale into another episode of “Bridezillas.”

Brides who don’t plan properly or try to do too much often end up stressed out and frustrated.

Granted, some brides are not as sweet as sugar, and even that fictitious fairy godmother would get a tongue lashing from them. But even the most mild-mannered bride can get frazzled during this most enchanted time of life.

Trying to check off wedding wish-list items is bound to produce extreme stress and escalating pressure. By following some simple suggestions, you just might save your sanity.


Set the date, find a rabbi

While Jewish weddings are not held on Shabbat, there are other days during the year when marriage ceremonies cannot take place. But they are clearly outnumbered by dozens of special days that religious authorities deem auspicious.

Before you lock into a date, check out the wedding date selection do’s and don’ts online at www.chabad.org/

library/article_cdo/aid/476754.

If you are affiliated with a synagogue, you will probably enlist the services of your rabbi for your wedding. Since wedding location, date or circumstances don’t always work well with your preferred officiant, you might have to look for another rabbi that fits the bill. Ask around, get recommendations, do some online investigation and then spend some time with the rabbi, if possible.

If the wedding will take place in Israel or some other distant location, the vetting process might come down to phone conversations and e-mail. Once you feel you’ve found the right one, you can go ahead with the rest of the master plan.


Work up a budget

Before you let out those “oohs” and “aahs” while drooling over a $1,000 ice sculpture and $5,000 chuppah, find out what your budget will be.

Since some couples pay for their own wedding and plan it on a shoestring, and others are fortunate to have parents who can foot the bill for a bodacious soiree, you must know which ballpark your figures must fit in before you start planning.

Bigger isn’t always better. Many couples find that sharing their joy with a smaller, more intimate group of friends and family is the kind of wedding that suits them fine.

But whatever your bottom line is, make sure you don’t skimp on food. If guests are willing to deal with deteriorating airline service, expensive gas and other hurdles just to be with you on your special day, please feed them well.


Check out planners

There are books, Web sites, magazines and software programs that can safely guide you through the frustrating field of wedding planning pitfalls. And there are professional people who can take a lot of the pressure off of you, too.

If you have the funds and work well with others, hiring a wedding planner could be your best bet for reducing stress. By having this buffer between you and the myriad of simcha suppliers, tiny matters that have the potential to turn into huge stumbling blocks can be nipped in the bud by your planner, without you even knowing about them.

If a wedding planner is not in your plans, don’t forget to delegate.

Let a few close friends or family members do some of the initial legwork. Of course, the final decisions should rest with the bride and groom. But when an extra hand or pair of eyes will lighten the load, that certainly would lower the pressure gauge.

For online assistance, check out www.chossonandkallah.com.

Articles about de-stressing by de-cluttering your mind and putting planning details on paper, choosing a bridal details on paper, choosing a bridal bouquet, selecting a wedding gown and assorted tips, trends and recommended reading will make this site well worth your time.


See and sample

While visiting Web sites, watching pre-recorded videos and looking over brochures can give you a glimpse of what a vendor has to offer, nothing beats being there — live!

You must see, hear and savor the flavors that the talented artists you will entrust with creating your magical masterpiece in real time, and with all five senses. After all, in this age of Photoshop and electronic wizardry, everything that you don’t experience in person could easily be an edited concoction that would not work in your wedding world.

Go to a simcha or wedding show/expo. Bridal showcases are held frequently and well worth your time and modest admission fee; some are even free.
More information can be obtained by visiting www.greatbridalexpo.com, www.herecomestheguide.com or www.yourbrideguide.com.

Shop around
While attending a bridal fair is a great one-stop shop, it’s doubtful that every detail can be settled on in one day. Check out ads in this newspaper and go to some of the wedding vendor Web sites that are featured in these pages.

A treasure trove of information is just a click away if you enter the desired keyword (“chuppah”, for example) in a Google or other search engine.
Food, photography, fresh flowers and entertainment must be provided locally, but finding the right ketubah artist or accessory provider might require a virtual trip around the world.

Be realistic about you

We are all blessed with special qualities that make us unique and wonderful creations. If your frame is on the generous side, don’t drive yourself nuts by trying to go down six dress sizes and lose 60 pounds in six months.

Unless you plan to wear a sign over your dress that says “I lost 60 pounds,“ that’s silly. A better solution might be to set more realistic goals and get undergarments and a gown that minimize what you consider to be your worst figure flaws and highlight your best assets.

Losing a few extra pounds and some toning are good for your health and can make you look your best in that fabulous white gown. But is drastic dieting that makes you moody and miserable really worth it?

Repairing the world and saving the planet, too

As if brides-to-be weren’t under enough stress and pressure, now everyone is starting to feel guilty about how limited resources are expended and what kind of carbon footprint we are creating.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian and serving meat at your reception is completely out of the question, no problem. While I used to be able to detect faux chicken from quite a distance, a recent taste test convinced me it’s just as tasty and textural as the real thing.

By hiring the right caterer, even the fussiest carnivore can be fooled.

Speaking of feeling guilty, there is no need to expose yourself and guests to hazardous materials like lead-laden centerpiece candles just for the sake of appearance. Soy-based candles are much safer and still give off a warm glow. Chemical-free papers and soy ink for invitations and place cards can keep things green.

No matter the size of the celebration, sharing your simcha with those who are less fortunate is a tradition that should be followed. For wedding tzedakah suggestions, check with Mazon – a Jewish response to hunger, at www.mazon.org.

Rest and relax
Meditation, exercise, sleep, a massage, time in the whirlpool  — whatever works for you, do it. Set aside time to escape from the wacky wedding world and see a chick flick with your friends or spend a few hours in a day spa.

These little treats have enormous healing power and can prepare you for what lies ahead.

From catering halls to wedding wear, just about everything that you need to make the big day perfect can be bought or rented without going broke or compromising your principles.

Since I haven’t seen any ads announcing “Fairy Godmother for hire,” turning your dream into destiny is in your hands.