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Mistakes I Learned .......

Posted by Penny_Sav (My Page) on
Mon, May 31, 04 at 9:35

Hi group!

My FH and I attended a wedding Saturday. It was like a dress rehearsal for us. We got to see all the mistakes they made, and we certainly won't do them at our wedding, which is in 12 short days!!

Some of the mistakes they made:

-no definative song when bride entered. All the women entered to "Have you ever been in love." No one knew the bride had entered the church until she was halfway up the aisle!

-no microphone on the preacher. Could not hear a word they said.

-during unity candle, the couple stayed in front of the candles like they didnt know what to do next. The bride eventually turned around, and the minister motioned for them to return to their places.

-at the end of the ceremony, the ushers forgot to go back to get the mothers and grandmothers!

-no organization at the reception, the signature mat was on display, but it was in the orignal package, no one signed until they left the reception. They were scooting us out the door, so a lot of people never got to sign in.

-the cake cutting set had not been removed from it's package yet. We got to sit there while they fumbled with removing it from the package.

-no one knew how to open the champagne bottle! They ended up using the cake knife to pop the cork off!

-the music at the reception was a recorded song, played over and over, and OVER! I was about to loose my mind! That was Saturday, and that song is STILL in my head!

-rice toss when they left, and people had HUGE handfuls! I am so grateful I decided NOT to do the birdseed toss! I don't want to be pummeled with anything!

-garter toss, no one wanted to try to catch it, same with bouquet toss.

That's all i can remember right now. For the most part, no one knew what to do, or when to do it. They had the food set out, buffet style, and allowed the guests to eat before the bridal party arrived. By the time they got there, there was hardly any food left! Someone did pack a picnic basket for the couple for later, but they did not eat anything at their reception.

oh yea, they had WAY too much cake! There was a huge 4 level cake, which they kept the top layer, and 2 smaller 2 layer cakes. AND a grooms cake. They cut the grooms cake first, so everyone got a piece of it, and no one was eating the brides cake at all! Think of all the wasted money that went into buying that cake!!!!

I am going to elect someone to be a coordniator for me, to make sure that things run smoothly. And I am going to "practice" with fiance, things like cutting the cake, and drinking from the champagne glasses with linked arms. I don't want ANYONE walking away criticizing OUR wedding!

Any mistakes that you've seen at a wedding, that you definately don't want to happen at your own?

Penny


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

This sounds like a FAQ for why it's good to have a wedding coordinator, if you can afford one! Almost none of these problems would have occurred. I think money is WAY better spent on a coordinator than on a lot of other things we often think we "must" have.

They only played ONE song at the recpetion? How odd!


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I totally agree with Gellchom. A coordinator would have handled all of the above issues and helped the couple to think through what they wanted to have happen and when and how. If you can't afford to hire a coordinator at this late date or can't find one still available, do take the time to write out a schedule of everything that will happen on the wedding day. Begin with the ceremony, including the order of entrance of the mothers and wedding party members and the recessional, including instructions for the ushers. Also create a time line of activities for the reception. Use the time that the photographer will leave as the basis for figuring out when things will occur that you want to be photographed. Share copies of your schedule with the minister, photographer, videographer (even if it is a family member), and the DJ or musicians. Use the ceremony portion of the schedule at the rehearsal to make certain that everything flows as it should and that the ushers are properly instructed. If there is a church coordinator, be sure that she has a copy as well. If you don't have a number of single guests, then omit the bouquet and garter toss. It is better to omit one or both activities than to have a bunch of 8 year olds out there to catch the bouquet or garter. With a bit of planning and forethought, you can prevent all of the problems that your friends had.


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

One thing I've noticed was the timing of the 'cutting of the cake'. So often I've attended weddings where that was done somewhere mid-way thru the dancing and partying, and quite frankly, people could care less! I'm encouraging our daughter and her hubby to do that at the end of dinner, perhaps during the desserts. It'll be positioned on a table near the front of the speakers' podium at the end of the honour table so people can also see it! Gads! Sometimes it's so lost in the suffle. So much money for what? Anyway....just fyi...


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That's not only what not to do, that's a wedding from hell! A lot of that stuff if just common sense. Putting something like the cake server out and not removing the packaging? Please.

Andrea :o)


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Glitter, we did our cake cutting after dinner and it worked out just nicely!

Penny...Oh my....all I can say is...oh my.....and glad you caught the things so you know what NOT to do for your special day! They didn't get the guests signatures and fumbled with opening the cake cutter? That's just totally unnecessary!

Our dj and the reception co-ordinator at the hotel set the timeline up with us and it went smooth as silk! I can't stress enough how MUCH it alleviated MY stress to have our event co-ordinator working on things! She was the hotel's rep (we had our reception at a Marriott) but part of the hefty price we paid per meal ($55) included the 4 course meal with wine, open bar for cocktail hour, etc etc AND the services of the coordinator who was FABULOUS!!! We didn't want to buy a cake knife set (most of our friends told us they just stuck theirs in a box in the basement) so the hotel furnished a beautiful set for our use.

The coordinator had the vendors and the waitstaff all working smoothly. She even had great ideas for last minute decorations (she put some of our favors on the cake table) and I cannot say enough good things about her!

I strongly echo the advice above about having someone co-ordinate things. Either a professional hired seperately or with your reception site or at the very least, good friend who's been part of several weddings and knows her/his stuff!

Penny...again..oh my! I am picturing them tossing things and nobody even trying to catch them...that's one major reason my husband and I didn't do the tosses in our reception. What we did that got LOTS of comments (all postive!) was the 'count down' of married couples. The dj called all married people to the floor (we had a few whose spouses couldn't attend but they came up too!) and my husband and I stood in the center while he told them to leave if they were married 'a year' , 'two years' , '7 yrs' etc, til the last couple was there. We had a special song for them and a basket of goodies. It was so much more meaningful for us than a garter toss! :)

Hey, at least you got the chance to see all that before your own wedding! But yikes...sounds like they had a lot of mishaps...I hope they had some good things happen too!


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I just want to add that you can tell when the couple and their party or families are really into their wedding and when they are kind of "let's just do it and get it over with". I think a wedding coordinator is an essential, maybe more so than a big cake that nobody ate.


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Oh my gosh that is so sad. I feel so bad for them.

I wouldn't trust anyone to take care of the running of my wedding except for a professional coordinator. It seems like a lot to pay someone to do a bunch of silly little things, but it all adds up to something very valuable. Having a friend do it might be okay, but I would feel bad that either my friend wasn't getting a chance to socialize like a guest, or else, if she was socializing, she was forgetting some of the coordinator duties.

It isn't totally necessary to have a separate song for the bride. The mother of the groom is supposed to rise when the bride enters which cues the rest of the guests. My wedding coordinator told me that :)

How odd that someone wouldn't know how to open a bottle of champagne. Of course, that's not a big deal - the little glitches don't matter. I would hate to think that the guests at our wedding - our family and our closest friends who have seen us at our best and worst - noticed or cared if we didn't have all the "moves" down like broadway performers.


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You are right, Anita, the MOB is supposed to stand as the signal for everyone else to do so.

However, if I had it to do over, I would have suggested to both my DDIL and my DD that we make a notation in the program that the guests remain seated (perhaps having only the immediate family -- who were seated in the front row -- standing). I felt so bad for the guests who were seated on the outside and middle of the pews, because they really weren't able to get a good view of "my girls", who were both such beautiful brides.


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Even if you put a notation in the program, people are going to stand. That is what they are used to doing, and, everyone wants to see the bride.


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Hmmm...there are always a few things that don't go perfectly at a wedding, and sometimes those are the best moments. Most of the things you decribed that happened at this wedding was just plain poor planning. Don't stress out too much about practicing the cake cutting and linking your arms when you drink...

DO:

- pick nice dinner music consisting of more than one song
- have someone you know and trust to oversee (2 -4 would be even better depending on the size of your reception and things to do) the set up for the reception (they should check the seating, placesettings, set up the reception table, guest book, cake table, DJ/band set up, etc.)
- speak with someone at the ceremony location about the exact place you are getting married's acoustics (we didn't have mics, but we got married in a church w/ great acoustics and we spoke loudly and clearly, as did the minister - we are glad we didn't have a mic b/c the minister and us talked a little to each other during the ceremony - it made the ceremony seem so initimate and special), and plan a rehearsal (this seems like something they didn't think of at all)
- speak with the musician/music coordinator for the ceremony and ask them how many songs you need to choose and go through how you would like the ceremony to go - you want to have the whole ceremony sorted out between the officiant and music (We only had one song played during the processional, but the organist played a flourish before I entered, the minister motioned for everyone to stand, and the processional was played more loudly for my entrance and walk down the aisle. It was very smooth and wonderful.)

- Finally, remember that your wedding is different. You will have different guests (you may have a lot of cake eatters at yours!). Just think about who you are inviting, what type of wedding you want, and what is most important to you. I am sure that everything will be lovely.

BTW, we did not have a wedding coordinator - I did have several helpers, and I am an extremely organized person. I made up agenda sheets for the bridal party, my helpers and all of the main people involved with the wedding. We also got married at a cathedral who conducts many weddings a year and had the whole thing down to a science. They provided a coordinator and staff member to help out on the day of the rehearsal and wedding. They directed the whole production. If you do not have someone provided by the church, I would recommend having someone act in their place. I can give you a check list of things to go over if you need one.


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Wow, I hope my guests weren't sitting there picking apart my wedding and calling my choices "mistakes."


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How odd no one knew how to open a champagne bottle. I learned that back in eighth grade. And opening it with a knife! They're lucky they didn't blind someone with the cork.

What on earth is a signature mat?


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Spewey, I think it's a mat to go around a photo - people sign the mat rather than a guestbook.

Mary, no need to be snarky.


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Sunny, sorry you find it "snarky." But, you aren't bothered by someone sitting at a wedding mentally accumulating criticims of the couple?


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Penny-I don't know if you are having a Groom's cake, but we had ours at the rehearsal dinner. Dh wanted a fun cheap one, so we did an ice cream cake and it was a big hit!

I like AutumnBride's advice-get a trusted friend who isn't in the bridal party to make sure things are going smoothly-like have one stationed near the signature mat or guestbook to make sure people are using it-have a few pens on hand.

One of my bridesmaids "found" my toss bouquet for me-The florist had left it on a table near the door hours before.

The staff at the reception site should have the serving set out of the box etc. Your friend could wander over and make sure it looks ready 5-10 minutes before hand. Our staff saved appetizers from the cocktail hour for us in a separate room before we made our "entrance". That was nice!

Good Luck!!


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As a professional photographer I have seen all of the above - and much more. Hiring a coordinator is money very well spent. Photographers and coordinators are the only professionals hired for the wedding who see the entire day's events. A wedding day for me is only 10% clicking the camera. I have counseled nervous grooms, been the only one to notice the bride's hypoglycemia, gave an 85 year old Grandfather water and an umbrella for a ceremony in 97 degree heat, suggested Pachelbel for dinner music when the DJ was playing "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Lucille" at the Hilton ballroom, pinned wedding gowns, smoothed over bride/mother-in-law floral disagreements ... I could literally write a book. Regrets are sour. This is your first wedding but your professional's 101st or 322nd or 556th wedding. Listen to their advice. They have your best interest at heart.


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yeah but wedding coordinators are expensive...as much as I'd like to have one, I can't afford one...


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

Actually, a good wedding coordinator doesn't have to be expensive. If you hire one from the beginning, she can often save you the cost of her fee or more by helping you make the best decisions for your budget. In most parts of the country coordinators charge a flat fee. They will help with all of the planning, then coordinate the rehearsal and wedding day, or if the couple have completed their planning or want to do it themselves, she will coordinate the rehearsal and wedding day. As others mentioned, a good coordinator is one of the most valuable parts of your wedding planning. At the end of the day you can look back and say "I had a great time and I didn't worry about a thing."


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A good wedding coordinator will help you spend your money wisely. You will either enjoy watching your dollars stretched by a pro or be shown ways to spend less overall. As a very experienced photographer giving FREE courtesy advice to my brides, I have saved many between $1,000 and $5,000 on their wedding. In no way did this mean they had a "cheap" looking event. I certainly would not advocate that. They were then able to use the saved money for a home down-payment, which is an appreciating asset, or a more lavish honeymoon. Most weddings are financed by credit cards at an average rate of 14%. Why are couples willing to pay City Bank interest on money that was overspent through lack of event-planning experience but not interview and hire a coordinator they can trust? Real life ones are NOT like Franz in the movie "Father of the Bride". One coordinator I know has a wide selection of decorations for rent. She has calculated you can rent her beautiful pew bows, head table candles and ceremony arches for less than buying the materials because of her wholesale connections. She also professionally decorates the church & reception PLUS takes everything down at midnite when the party's over.


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

IndigoCobalt makes a really good point. Sometimes using a professional -- wedding coordinators, travel agents, decorators, etc. -- can actually save you money. They know tricks and tips and shortcuts, they know what people have felt wasn't really worth it in the end, and sometimes they get discounts. Anyway, it's worth speaking to one and finding out costs, etc.

From my own experience, even if it cost money, I would give up a lot of other things before the coordinator. The peace of mind for months of planning alone is worth it!


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

This is to PENNY....Be thankful that them people invited your unapreciative self to their wedding.You sound like a person who just sat there and waited and rejoiced on the bad things that went wrong.You had nothing good to say about the couple.Who knows...Maybe the good thing was that the bride was a much prettier bride than you or she has a better personality than you.You sound like them two face women.You probably act nice to their face and in a chat forum you are tearing apart their special day that they thought might be nice for you to attend.The important thing is that they got married and hopefully won't end up in devorce which most likely you will...With that two face and unapreciative addittude of yours.

Jania


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

Janialove, what an awful thing to say to Penny


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Juliet,I'm sure you would like someone tearing up your wedding in a chat forum like she did to those people.I call it like I see it!!!!


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Get over it, Janialove. We are here to learn from other people's experiences.


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Learning from other's experiences is one thing--attending a wedding and then filing a report on everything someone else did "wrong" according to the OP, is quite another.

Jania crossed the line, but the OP hardly demonstrated any class, either.


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I was married in September and told my friend who was getting married in October to take from my wedding what she liked and also what she didn't like. So I didn't care if she was "tearing apart" my wedding and if she did it in a forum. Penny did it so that we would all learn on things to do better at our own weddings and to learn from other people's mistakes.


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I agree with Juliet. The OP's friend isn't harmed by this at all. The OP was just passing on her reactions to things that helped her plan her own wedding, and she was sharing them here to be helpful, not catty. Sometimes we think a certain idea would be great, but then we learn that there is some problem with it or reaction to it that we haven't foreseen, or we hear about something that was overlooked that we might have overlooked ourselves. That's useful information, not tearing anyone up.


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

Just floating by and saw this thread. I've been married for 8 1/2 years and learned a lot from my own. Will pass it on here for what it's worth:

My best friend and I did my entire wedding...for 500 people. I darn near died by the end of it, trying to save money and 'do it right'. I had a big wedding to please my husband. I picked the reception hall to please my husband...yaddayaddayadda.

In the end, I realized that I should have gone for the wedding that *I* wanted. Small, family, and extremely close friends. I was exhausted adn wiped out halfway through the day.

Didn't help that we had an unseasonable heat wave and I was wearing about 4000 pounds of beaded satin. Or that the reception halls didn'thave a/c..and that my husband was about to faint from heat stroke so we drove around and around in the limo between the service and the reception because it had a/c.

Or that the friends who were supposed to help with the reception set up split on my caterer to go to the wedding and she was about to have a breakdown. And my husband indeed ended up spending our wedding night in the ER of the hospital that I worked in, getting pumped with IV fluid. So as a veteran of a guerrilla wedding, these are the lessons:

Hire a wedding coordinator if you can at all afford anything at all. Better a smaller wedding that is perfectly put together than a monstrosity that can draw blood. Let HER run around trying to find the perfect site while you wait for her call. I would call one in a heartbeat now and give her my left arm.

If you're going to spend money on anything, figure out what the ONE thing is that will thrill you to pieces. Is it the site? Is it the gown? Is it the honeymoon? THEN DO IT. Skimp in other places. For my best friend, it was her rings...So she spent her money on having them designed exactly the way that she wanted to...

Hire a professional to do your pictures and your video. I had seriously good videographer friends, but they were unable to compensate for the fact that the sun was going down and blaring right behind us. I have a lovely video of us in sillohette. :P

Your pictures and your video are really what you will have left 10 years from now. Make them good ones.

Things that you will never use again: the cake cutting knife, the toasting goblets, the shoes, the bustier, any of that stuff. You will dust or pack your guestbook. Your favors, the attic. Some folks actually keep the wedding candle if you use one. I kept mine in my bedroom and burned it when I was in labour wtih our two children. But that was the only trinket from this party that I used. I dropped massive bucks on cleaning and packing my dress, and it's in my closet. I'm sure that my daughter will hate it when her day comes, but my dress was the thing that I spent money on..that I cared about. So it's worth it.

Spend more time with family and friends in the planning. Let your maiden aunt Selma help you with the rehearsal dinner, et al. None of that has to be picture perfect. Again, save the money on the important things to you. Let your family be involved. Don't spaz over the details. You read enough bride's magazines and suddenly the thought "maybe I do need a silver jam spreader" will go through your head...THAT is the point where you need to take a day off and clear your head!

Showers? Go for housewares. Be practical. I have silver trays for days and unless you're really Martha Stewart, the odds of you doing anything but occasionally griping and polishing them are slim. Not to say just go for the Pyrex or the Revereware, but seriously...a good coffeemaker with a spare in the garage will be used more and appreciated more than the push up bra from Victoria Secret. ;) I had 50 women at my lingerie shower. I still have stuff in plastic boxes that have never been used. But I used my fancy towels until they were dead. As my sister of 17 years once said "go for the linens!" LOL High end cotton sheets...don't take back the extras. A few years later, you'll pull out that gift and it will be like Christmas. It's very cool.

Have them pack a box of food for you at the reception. It's very difficult to eat, even under the most perfect circumstances at a reception. People are too busy talking to you. My first bite since am was about 6pm at night (just before we left for the hospital). Practice saying "it's so nice of you to come!" Use that line when you run out of things to say. Fatigue can make it difficult to be chatty.

Never, under any circumstances, rent anything that someone else who is completely trustworthy, will return for you if you can avoid it. Even your mother. I had a friend who's 'friend' once 'forgot' to return a bunch of rented linens. Left at the site in a garbage bag. Bride came home from her honeymoon, only to find that she had to pay to replace all of this stuff. Someone else had to pay for candelabra. These are nasty surprises from people who've just plunked down a LOT of money. Better to pay more for a rental company who just comes and gets it at the end of the party so you have no worries or disasters to return to.

Plan this day in a way that you can enjoy the process of getting there...AND enjoy the day itself. Delegate everything that you possibly can. Know that somethihng somewhere will end up less than perfect, but that's okay, that's what happens. In the end, you'll still end up married to the person that you love and it's the stuff that funny stories are made of later.

Anyway, this is merely JMO. Have a wonderful time and wonderful wedding days...


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

Wow!! Nice post and wonderful tips.


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

Actually when the bride walks- its the Mother of the Bride that is suppose to rise and signal the rest to follow. People follow the bride's Mom's lead since in "old times" the brides family paid.

I'm not doing the whole garter toss & boquet toss for that reason- who wants to go out. I'm skipping all that. At a cousins wedding I was at last year- she actually had them play "Like a Virgin" when the groom took off the garter! I seriously was concerned that my two great aunts were going to have heart attacks!! Couldn't you think of another song then that!

Isn't it nice to learn from other's mistakes!


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Many wedding coordinators don't even work for people who don't have wedding's over 10 grand! At least that is what it is like in my area (new york state) I think it would have been nice to have one but it wasn't even possable if they wanted me to spend that much!
My wedding worked very nicely, mainly because I didn't fret over the small things (really, friends and family don't notice that) and I tried to keep things small and maneagable. It was very relaxed and everyone commented how beautiful it was. My friend just got married in October and I think the wedding didn't go that well because she was so stressed everything had to be perfect. When things didn't go as planned it really showed on her face and her attitude.
-renee


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Hi Penny! Congrats on the big day!!

As an events planner that does a lot of weddings, here's my 2 cents worth (well, 25 cents these days)!

Microphone: Yep! and close enough to the bridal couple also. Remember, your backs are facing the congregation, they can here you less than they can hear the preacher!

Bride's music: Absolutely, and a hint louder than the wedding party music. It should stand out and command attention.

ceremony how-to's (unity candle, entering and exiting the church for the groomsman and all the other things yo mentioned): Even without a coordinator, the preacher should have gone over this with the couple at the rehearsal. It's just wrong that this happened.

Guest Book: Have a "Guest Registrar" (a great job for a girl too old to be a flower girl but too young to be a bridesmaid) at the front of the church at the wedding, not reception. Have her encouraging people to sign-in. Many people attend the wedding and not the reception and vice-versa. Place the book in a prominent area at the reception. but it should be available in both places.

Cake cutting: use the cutting set as part of the display on the table. Wrap tiny little bows around the handles, make it all pretty. But it should be ready when you walk up to the table. And definitely learn how to properly open a bottle of champagne before-hand.

Only have a garter and bouquet toss if their are lots of single people over 16 there. Otherwise it's just silly.

Guests eating before bridal party arrives. I'm actually in favor of this. The guests sit around for as much as an hour waiting for the couple to arrive after taking pictures. It's very rude to ask them to wait. The reception is for your guests... it's not about you at all, really!! You wedding is yours. The reception is a huge thank you to your guests for spending this day with you. They have bought new clothes, purchased gifts, possibly paid babysitters, if not, dealing with children in a formal setting, all on your behalf. We thank them with a nice reception party.

Consider serving the groom's cake at the rehearsal dinner. You only need so much cake at the reception. If you serve it at the wedding, count it as part of your total servings of cake. If you need to serve 200, 50 goes into the groom's cake and 150 goes into the bridal cake. Also, no one gets cake until both are slices and ready to be served.

Absolutely ask a friend to coordinate for you. But not just any one. This is a very serious job., Don't ask your best friend is she's not an organized and commanding person. This person must be firm and know how to get others to do what she wants while staying nice. But most importantly, He/she has to be super-duper organized. I can't stress this enough.

One last piece of advice, the most important of all:

We are very dependent on human nature, hot weather, cold weather, rain, snow, illness, good health, and so on. You are planning the most wonderful, memorable day of your life. Yet, even with all the advanced, well-thought planning, something will go wrong. There are many people/services pulling together to make your day as great as it can be. No one is out to hurt or ruin your day. When a mistake is made, the service provider will remember it long after you have forgotten. The professionals you have hired and friends helping you only want to uphold the good reputations that caused you seek them out to begin with. If a mistake is made, dont let it control the whole day. Just chalk it up to fond memories. What seems upsetting today will probably be a funny memory years from now. We do not live in Utopia and no one person is perfect. Try to remember what is really important. At the end of the day, did that mistake (no matter how little or how grand) keep you from becoming married? The bottom line, at the end of the day you are still just as married as if nothing went wrong and the world is perfect. Dont lose sight of the real reason youre here. Do you want to remember your wedding day as the day you got married and were joyous, or the day you cried and became angry because the music wasnt just right, the DJ didnt play the right song, the caterer served chicken legs instead of wings, or the cake has lavender flowers instead of purple? Its your day. It will ultimately be as joyous as you allow it to be. Your friends and the service providers cannot be held liable for mishaps beyond their control.


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RE: Mistakes I Learned .......

cali4dawn
That was the best advice of all
You are a truly gifted person!


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