Bridesmaids at war, hair trial a flop, guest-list conundrum? How to solve your wedding disasters

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Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images
  • Wedding planning isn't for the faint-hearted, and you may find yourself confronted with some unpleasant situations.
  • However, the priority is to make your wedding day perfect, not only for yourself but for your loved ones too, so that ties are strengthened instead of being broken down.
  • So whether your bridesmaids are at war, the hair trial was an utter flop, or your guest list is growing by the second, here's how to play it cool as a cucumber.

YOU AND YOUR FIANCE HAVE DIFFERENT IDEAS 

If you're keen to have the whole traditional shebang, but your groom's leaning towards a more low-key affair, chances are the wrong kind of fireworks will erupt. Marriage celebrant Pauline Fawkner says compromise is essential. For example, you could choose a formal setting but have an informal ceremony style, she suggests. Etiquette expert Alexandra Frampton, founder of Manners & Style, offers this solution: "Perhaps have a small, formal wedding with immediate family, then a big, informal party later."

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YOUR PARENTS ARE RELUCTANT TO DISCUSS MONEY 

Money will always be one of those subjects that's hard to broach and can be incredibly uncomfortable if there's a big difference in financial capacity between both families. So how to bring it up? Psychologist, Anne Hollonds, says, "It's up to you as an adult to be sensitive regarding the issue." She believes, in most cases, the best approach is for the bride and groom to sit down and speak with their respective families alone first. And make sure you're willing to be flexible. "It's important to ask yourself if getting your way on every issue is worth feuding over."

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YOUR DIVORCED PARENTS CAN'T STAND EACH OTHER

A parent's emotions will run high on their child's wedding day, regardless. Mix this with unresolved issues and a few drinks, and there could be frazzled nerves. "This is a very common scenario," says Hollonds. Preparation is key - talk with each parent and put it in the context of, "You are very important to me, so how do we work out a strategy for the best outcome?" Ask them to put aside their issues for the day. You could also ask other family members to help you, suggests Hollonds. "They can keep an eye on the situation, monitor their alcohol intake and have a quiet word if necessary."YOU'RE CLOSE TO YOUR DAD AND STEPDAD - WHO GIVES YOU AWAY?

"A wedding is more than just your special day; it's special for other people in your life, too," says Hollonds. She says that even if you're having a traditional celebration (where your biological father would walk you down the aisle), the rules can be bent: "The reality is that these traditions don't always sit with our lives today." Frampton adds: "If your dad walks you down the aisle, then perhaps your stepdad can make a speech, or vice versa."Or, as Fawkner suggests, "Why not get your mum to walk you down?"

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YOU'VE BEEN A BRIDESMAID SEVEN TIMES

Firstly, there is no rule that says you have to return the favour to the brides who had you as their attendant. Most should understand - after all, they've been there themselves and know how difficult it can be to accommodate everyone. According to Frampton, how you deliver the news is essential. "Take each girl out to coffee separately to let them know and, if you can, give them another job to do on the day instead. It may be tempting to totally avoid the subject, but you'll probably hurt your friends' feelings more if they hear about their not making the cut from someone other than yourself."YOUR BRIDESMAIDS CAN'T AGREE ON A DRESS THEY ALL LIKE 

Hell hath no fury like a bridesmaid who hates her dress! The general rule? If the bride pays for the gowns, then she has the ultimate say over what her bridesmaids will wear. However, the rules become a little less clear if it's not you who's picking up the tab. In this case, the bridesmaids should really have a lot of input. According to Fawkner, a particularly handy solution is to pick a colour and allow your girls to choose their own outfit. Or you could have all the dresses made from the same fabric, but let your bridesmaids choose the individual style of dress they will wear.

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ALL YOUR FRIENDS ASSUME THEY'RE INVITED 

It's a toughie. You don't want to hurt people, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Some couples choose to have a big engagement party and mention that they're having a smaller wedding. This gives people a pre-warning. But how do you choose who gets cut? "Start by including people you see regularly and who are a big part of your life right now," says Fawkner. If you feel you ought to invite someone, ask yourself if it's for the right reasons.

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YOU WERE UNHAPPY WITH YOUR HAIR TRIAL 

This is exactly why you have one! Don't panic and try again. As Frampton suggests, work to resolve the issue. "That's what a trial is for," she says. "Call up and tell them your thoughts - if they give you another trial, that's great. And this time, make sure that you give them plenty of feedback and references so they can get it right." Avoid any unnecessary stress by booking your trial early in the planning process, so if you end up losing confidence in your hair and makeup artist, you still have plenty of time to shop around for someone else.

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YOU DON'T WANT CHILDREN AT YOUR WEDDING 

Some couples believe their wedding wouldn't be the same without kids, while others are adamant they want their celebration to be an adults-only affair. If a guest pressures you to invite their child, Fawkner suggests explaining that to keep your guest list within your limit, you've had to make a rule about no kids. Or you could say your venue has stipulated they'd prefer no children. Both Frampton and Fawkner agree a good compromise is to invite kids to the ceremony but not the reception or even organising a babysitter to watch little ones for the night. 

What do you think about these tips? Do you have your own wedding story to share with us? Get in touch with us here.

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