In the last months, I have planned 5 weddings.  Because of a whole bunch of things -- from health to in-laws to the groom to other stuff, most of my plans haven't actually happened (yet).  But a few of them have, and some things I never planned were beyond wonderful.  So here are my Top Five Tips for planning your wedding:

1. Tell EVERYONE what the colors are and ask them to dress accordingly.

It will remove guess work for your guest list and the pictures will just look better.  Don't abuse your guests (or if you have them, bridesmaids) on this -- One metallic, one or two neutrals that everyone has in their closet and one color that pops, so they can pick and choose.  Mine were yellow, khaki/tan, silver/light grey and white.  Everyone looked SO wonderful and hopefully, they either owned what they wore already or can use whatever they wore again.

My siblings-in-law in my Sis-in-Law's beautiful home in Hamilton, NY, where we had the chuppah. There are an awful lot of in's going on in this caption!

2. When working with vendors/wedding planners/bridesmaids/family/etc. listen for their limitations.

We all want someone who can do everything, but the truth is that no one can.  If someone says they will, chances are they won't and you probably don't want them involved with your wedding.

For example, we would love to believe Her Royal Hineyness Princess H would be fine without them, but she wore pull ups.

Kids won't always smile (but it makes the pictures so much more entertaining!)

Baby Rebi

This was just too cute not to include.

3. Don't use a caterer.

Unless you have a very large budget, your food is going to be better if you eat it where it was made.  Whether it was made by your sisters, your mom, your friends, your auntie or your favorite restaurant, timing is everything.  It is so much easier to coordinate and get yummy food on the table if it is made on site with a fully loaded kitchen.

Beautiful flowers by Three, Four and Five. (They deserve a whole post of their own, which will come) but next time, we'll make the food!

Cuzies and Tiny

4. Appreciate your angelic family.

They want this day to be special for you and have probably been putting up with you acting pretty insane/difficult/semi-demented for at least a few months and maybe your entire life.  So be nice to them and acknowledge the crazy.  People will be relieved to know that you know you're not entirely yourself.  Despite this, they will probably offer to do nice things for you.  Within reason, let them.  Those touches -- from the home made treats and decorations to the poems and letters, to the pictures (thank you Five and JG!) to the time you spend together getting everything ready -- will be the things and moments that are most precious.  If weddings should be about anything, it is a celebration of a new branch in the family tree.

My mother-in-law bought the loveliest lanterns that we used to decorate her daughter's house and the chuppah.

Flowers picked in the beautiful, cold, wet fields (eh. . . roadsides) of Hamilton, NY by Three, Four and Five. Yes, I am a little obsessed with them, but they were absolutely amazing.

5. Don't go into debt.

Period.  Don't make your parents spend more than they can afford. Period.  A marriage matters.  A wedding doesn't.  There are birthdays, anniversaries, births, holidays, so very many things to celebrate in a life.  The harder you work on it and the more you spend, the more you are going to expect that one day to give to you.  While a wedding is about one, single event, (hopefully) a marriage is about forever.  Also hopefully, you're not getting married to have a wedding.  There are going to be things that are disastrous (aka venue's heat doesn't happen to work that day and there is freezing rain, your shoes get lost in transport so your dress no longer looks right, but since you had major incisions in your arm two days before your wedding so your perfect cap sleeve dress is no longer perfect anyway, the "wedding planner" didn't really plan ... at all... and her "decorations" look like an event put on by church ladies circa 1992, the food at the reception is inedible, your friends and family not only have to schlep 7 hours to your destination, they have to do most everything else too, you're on high dose steroids and make your face puffy... you know how it goes.).  But if you want to be married, those are just little hurdles.  The BIG thing is that you're married.  You don't have to do everything at once. Your wedding doesn't need to compete with what's on or BRIDES.  You're married to the person you love and that's what matters.  Get married with your family there or elope or do both.  It's between the two of you and maybe the Big Boss Upstairs.  Your real friends will understand.  The rest don't have to.  Then celebrate your wedding later.  Mr. Two and I hope to celebrate OUR wedding with all of you once my Texan maverick lungs start behaving themselves.   For now (and we hope forever), we're just happy to be married.  I'm telling you, marriage/wedding/celebrations are going to be all of the rage.  Financial issues are one of the biggest strains in marriages, so give yourself a running start and agree to spend less than you can afford.  So when the car needs emergency repairs on the honeymoon, there is a medical crisis or there are bills to be paid, you won't regret spending everything on the perfect party instead of investing in a more perfect union.

Speaking of perfect, enter yesterday's giveaway.  It's beyond awesome.  I want to win, but I don't think I am allowed to.  I entered anyway.