(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Carolyn Hax
Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dear Carolyn:

I'm recently engaged.

Most of what I've heard so far from family and friends is what I should do, what they want out of me and requests to explain why I'm not interested in doing X or Y like other brides -- and I'm feeling as if my preferences don't matter.

I've never done anything like this before. I've never even been a bridesmaid. I already have a hard time putting myself first in my various relationships. I don't want to be rude or a Bridezilla, but so far my attempts at getting people to respect my wishes aren't working.

City of Wedding Hell, Population Me

You're letting me plan your wedding? It must be "my day"!

You need:

* A budget. If the total comes from but doesn't drain your savings, you're beholden to none but each other.

* A location. Choose without apology if you like it, can afford it and can make it accessible to those who matter (in descending order of importance: the couple; the people whose presence is important enough to affect the date and location; everyone else).

* An officiant, representing your beliefs as a couple -- not your beliefs as a dutiful child, your beliefs in appearances or your beliefs in location, location, location.

* Finally, you need enough refreshments and seating to make your guests comfortable; invitations; a head count that reflects both your budget and vision; music to keep things festive; and a dress that doesn't scream "fairy-dust poisoning."

Unless that's your preference. This whole blueprint is about marriage, on the couple's terms. Assuming your terms aren't "vanity" and "waste," the only people you'll really offend are those who want things done their way, not yours -- i.e., the ones you can't please anyway.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company