Q&A

Q. How do I get my fiancé to take his wedding-planning responsibilities seriously?

A. If your guy requires frequent reminders to chip in come chore time, you may want to simply sit him down and have a heart-to-heart. Being up front about your expectations and letting him know that you can't plan the wedding on your own will help him understand all that's involved in preparing for the big day. Instead of asking for his input on every decision along the way—after all, does he really need to give his preference on peonies versus poppies?—consider his strengths and interests, then put him to work accordingly: Tasks like scouting a band, hiring a videographer and securing transportation options for you and your guests may be right up his alley. Use our Task Checklist to track each of your to-dos and even receive helpful e-mail reminders to stay on schedule!

Q. How far in advance should we set up our registry? We have a wedding date that is 18 months away.

A. You should register for a few items early on. Some people will want to give you an engagement gift, and the registry makes this easy for them. It may be too soon, however, for you to register for everything, because 18 months leaves plenty of time to change your minds. You don't want to end up with two settings of china you decide you don't want, for example. So find a registry you like and pick things that are sure to stand the test of the next year or so, then come back to the task when dates have been set for your bridal showers.

Q. How do we let our guests know that we'd really like money in place of gifts? We want to be able to pay off the wedding costs.

A. This is a tough one. You absolutely should not put this information in writing on shower invitations the way you might with registry information (never on the wedding invitation, though). People often ask the couple's parents what they would like or where they are registered, so you can ask your parents to drop the hint if they consider it appropriate. Don't make the mistake of not registering in the hopes of your guests just giving you cash instead: Many times they will simply buy you something anyway, and without the guidance of a registry you risk receiving items you already own or might never use.

Q. I work long hours and would like to hire a wedding planner, but my fiancé doesnt think its necessary. Help!

A. Find out why he feels this way. Unlike many a bride who has been dreaming about her big day since she was a little girl, it's possible that your fiancé hasn't given much thought to what's involved in planning a wedding. Showing him your to-do list might be all that's needed to turn him around. Or he may even surprise you with his eagerness to roll up his sleeves and pitch in—taking a significant portion of the planning burden off you. If money is his primary concern, let him know that wedding planners can be as hands-on or -off as you decide. Limiting their role to even a few key tasks, rather than having them involved in every step of the preparation, will greatly save your sanity without busting your budget.

Q. What are save-the-date cards and when do I need them?

A. These cards, sent in advance of the wedding invitations so guests can put your wedding on their calendars, have become the normand for good reason. Guests' busy schedules are likely to fill your wedding date with other plans if you dont get the word out right away, but you should not send invitations themselves until about four to six weeks before the wedding. If you are getting married over a long holiday weekend or are having a destination wedding, send out save-the-date cards as soon as you have a definite date selected, which usually means that your ceremony and reception sites are booked; otherwise five or six months prior to the wedding is customary. You will also need to have a guest list composed. The cards themselves can be as simple as postcards printed with the news and date that you are getting married and that the recipient will be invited. Some couples get creative, sending out fridge magnets or books of notepaper with their info printed on them.

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