That perfect day

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A WEDDING day must be perfect. Everything must be just right and stress and strife should be taboo. Tears may flow, but only tears of joy.

All too often, however, there’s a lot of strain on the bride and groom and even on individual guests. A few rules would help the ceremony run smoothly. Planning is the alpha and omega of a wedding, even when it appears to be contradictory.

“Precise planning makes it possible to be at ease,” said Nandine Meyden, an etiquette trainer from Berlin. “With so many guests, plenty of unexpected things occur that require a spontaneous decision. When additional things arise that actually should have been decided beforehand, there is often stress and disappointment.”

Meyden advises delegating many of the decisions. Wedding planners can take over a lot of these duties – from deciding the order of the ceremony to deciding on the music selection, even arranging the decorations. Those who can afford it can hire professionals who know the wedding business, but they charge for their expertise.

Hiring a wedding planner, however, might be smart because friends and acquaintances can feel burdened by having to prepare for a wedding.

“Holding a wedding on the backs of other people is not fair,” said Meyden, adding that there are some aspects of planning a wedding that cannot be taken away from the bride and groom – such as compiling the guest list.

Such occasions could be family reunions of sorts and uninvited relatives, can spoil the atmosphere on the day and afterwards. The same applies to drinking buddies and ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends.

“One should think twice about inviting such guests,” said wedding expert and author Alexandra Dionisio of Berlin.

In addition, a clear decision on the seating arrangements is an advantage.

“Having a free choice of where to sit can be a strain on guests,” warned etiquette trainer Elisabeth Bonneau of Freiburg.

Apart from that, when people aren’t assigned seats they go automatically to the groups they already know, Meyden added. To ensure the guests really feel comfortable with their seats, some intuition is needed.

“Put people who should get to know each other together,” said Dionisio. “Or seat people who are interested in the same things together.”

When such planning is done, the duties of the bridal couple are largely concluded. The couple can’t be responsible for a good atmosphere at the wedding.

“The guests are expected to be in a good mood,” said Meyden. And, of course, they may not complain about the food, stir up conflicts with others and they may not bring anyone who is not on the guest list.

“Not even a dog,” Meyden stressed. Two other things required of wedding guests are punctuality and appropriate dress.

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