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Your Life Chat — Transcript: Doug Gordon, author of "The Engaged Groom"
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
BigDaveI have been dating/living with the same girl for almost 5 years and finally popped the big question just before Christmas. She is beginning to plan our wedding but she wants to do it this OCTOBER. Do you think that might be unrealistic ( too soon)?
Doug_GordonA year or more is usually pretty standard as far as an egagement goes. But, you could still do an October wedding. Just realize that depending on the type of wedding you want you might have to compromise...a lot of venues get booked a year or more ahead of time. If you are having a small wedding or can be flexible in terms of space it might be doable.
matt_3The brides father wishes to pay for our entire wedding... although we cannot afford the entire wedding we would like to pay as much as we can (about half) how should we/I approach the brides father?
Doug_GordonVery carefully! I would first be very appreciative. Tell him how generous his offer is, how thankful you are, but that you really want to contribute what you can. Maybe you can let him pay for the things that are really important to him, say, if he really likes food and wants to deal with the caterer, and you can deal with the stuff that you enjoy most. If you're a music fan, offer to deal with the band and pay for it. You guys might be able to compromise by picking and choosing.
Doug_GordonI should do a proper welcome and explanation...and say congrats to all the new grooms. My book, The Engaged Groom, was just released and is available online ( I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. It's not always easy to be involved as a guy, so ask away (and brides shouldn't be shy either.)
gipperWe had set a 50 peron limit for our wedding. I have lots of friends and she doesn't. How do I invite some friends and not others without huting anyone's feelings.
Doug_GordonYou have to make a firm cutoff somewhere, but explain your situation clearly to your friends. Anyone who is really a friend will understand your limits, if it's a budget reason, if it's space, etc. Whatever cutoff you make, make sure it's consistent. Like, if you are not inviting work friends, stick to that rule. If you are only inviting college friends, but not high school friends, stick to it.
bingobangoAny tips to staying relaxed and not having a panic attack on your wedding day?
Doug_GordonBefore you get to the wedding day, be sure to assign people to take care of the last minute details. You should have fun that day, so let others pay vendors, etc.
adeHow involved should the groom really be? I feel like sometimes brides say they want grooms to be involved, but they really don't mean it. Thoughts on that?
Doug_GordonThere is some truth to that, depending on the couple. he doesn't neccesarity have to be involed in every bit of planning, but you could do what I call the heavy lifting. picking up invitations from the printer, getting things mailed all the time and asking you what he can do to help. He can help without having to make all he decisions.
ecstaticHi Doug, I am recently engaged and have just started thinking about the planning. The first challenge for me is the bridesmaids and MOH. I have 3 sisters and my FH has a sister who has expressed interest. You would think it would be easy to just have them but I really really do not get along with my older sister. If I do not include her, then I cannot include my other sisters and my new sister in law. how awful is it not to ask my sisters to be in my wedding?
Doug_GordonYou don't necessarily have to have bridesmaids at all if it's going to be a huge problem. i've been to weddings where for whatever reason only the groom and bride and their parents stood with the officiant. if she's really awful, you might have to go with this option. then again, you might decide that dealing with her for just a little bit is not so big a deal when the choice might be to not have your sisters and futre sis in law in the wedding.
ellisonDo you have a rule of thumb for cost breakdown in percentages for various parts of the wedding?
Doug_GordonIt's not an exact science, but your lowest amont should probably be for the ceremony itself, not including, of course, the dress. most people spend the majority of their money on the party and at the party, the 2 things you want to spend the most of your budget on are food and music.
bingobangoI meant, like, I get nervous in front of crowds. i'm nervous to say my vows and having all the attention focused on me
Doug_GordonBingobango - are you having a rehearsal dinner?
Joe_WeddingHow do I deal with an aggressive Mother of Bride that is even upsetting my finacee?
Doug_GordonThe two of you, you and your bride, need to talk about this. be careful when talking to her because you dont want to hurt anybody'sl feelings. That being said, you want to tel your mother in law that while you appreciate how seriously she is taking your wedding because she wants to make sure everything is perfect, you'd really appreciate her sitting back and letting the two of you make more of the decisions. It's a tricky subject, but just remember its YOUR and YOUR BRIDES wedding, and not your mother in law's.
Doug_GordonOK, why don't you try making a speech at the rehearsal dinner and makea speech in front of the people at your rehearsal, dinner. That might make you feel more comfortable the next day. A lot changes on your wedding day. You'll be surprised by how not nervous you will be once it starts.
Doug_GordonSpeaking of being nervous, I did not sleep at all the night before my wedding. I was in my room alone staring at the ceiling, excited and nervous at the same time. But once everything started, I had enough adreneline in me to have a great time.
Doug_GordonThe other thing about being nervous on your wedding day is that chances are, you will be looking at your officiant and not all of your guests.
summer_grooomHey - My GF really wants an engagement ring from her mother's collection. How do I go about asking her for it?
Doug_GordonJust by being very honest, and I bet if you tell your girlfriend's mother that you want to get married, and that your girlfriend would appreciate something that's been in the family then she might be willing to give you something nice...the engagement ring I gave my then girlfriend came from my grandmother and she was very happy to see it put to such good use.
MartyGrasDoug, what's the most common mistake grooms make in wedding planning?
Doug_GordonBiting off more that they can chew on one side, and sitting back and just assuming that there's nothing for them to do on the other side. The real key is communication.
DCSoxfanGroomI recently got engaged and we're working with the bride's parents on a budget. My sister was just married in October, which my parents paid for, and my (Jewish) mother is all excited about helping plan our wedding. Since we live in DC, where the wedding will take place, and she is in Boston, what is the best way to "keep her in the loop" and make her feel like her suggestions are valued while not letting her interject or interfere?
Doug_GordonNumber 1: Keep her updated with e-mails, that way there isn't much back and forth on the phone. Number 2: let her come on a couple of appointments that you have scheduled - so pick a weekend when she can come down, ans that way she can go to the vendors that you have pre selected. That way, even if she is interfering, she'll still be picking form stuff that you and your bride will be happy with.
thebachelorHey Doug, What are some suggestions for a popular honeymoon destination someplace warm?
Doug_GordonIf you have the time, Australia and New Zealand are very popular. Especially because you might be able to take off a lot of time for a honeymoon as opposed to a regular vacation. If you don't have the time, interestingly, you could go to many destination, maybe even in the United States for a quick trip to a spa, Florida, Palm Springs, there are a lot of options depending on you schedule and budget.
Doug_GordonIn my book I mentioned that you dont have to take a honemoon immediately after your wedding if you dont have the time or money. You can take a quick vacation and then save money and vacation days for when you can really take a long trip. My wife and I are actually gong on our first really big trip since getting married tommorow. We never had an official honeymoon.
2WeeksAndCountingany rules of thumb for seating arrangements?
Doug_GordonCongratulations! The biggest rule: seat your oldest guests far away from the speakers, but not close to the bathrooms. They will be offended if they are close to the bathrooms, and they wont be able to hear if they are too close to the speakers.
freddyhey doug, smart book, so here's my question, how much am I supposed to drop on an engagement ring and am I suppose to pick it out myself or ask for her input hten "surprise" her.
Doug_GordonThe standard rule is about 6 months salary, I believe, but you definitely dont have to spend that much. Since it is an expensive gift, you want to make sure yu get what your bride wants, so there is no harm in asking her exactly what she wants. You can still keep the element of surprise by shopping for the ring with one of her good friends, a sister if she has on, or even her mother. They will help you pick something you can be sure she'll want.
Doug_GordonThanks very much for all of your questions. I hope you enjoy the book, I had a lot of fun writing it. Here is a link to the books Website Congratulations to all the new brides and grooms!
ellisonSo now a year or so later in retrospect, what would you do differently or maybe even not do it so traditionally and instead save the money for a house/apartment downpayment? I wonder if the memories really out weigh the cost.
Doug_GordonI wold have had a smaller cake, we had tons of leftovers so we could have saved money there, but to be honest, I raelly liked our band and our caterer and wouldn't have changed that at all. If I had a smaller family, I might have wanted a smaller family, but it just wasn't possible.
freddysix months salary? No kidding? I vaguely remember a two month salary rule, is that passe? when you say six months, you talking after taxes or before?
Doug_GordonYou may be right. It could be two months, I could have been mistaken, but tere is no hard and fast rule. If two months salary is more than you have in the bank right now, you definitely should spend that kind of money, because a ring can be so expensive, you really should talk to your bride, because, after all, once you are married, you'll probably be spending finances and you dont want to bankrupt yourself before you are even engaged.