Twenty-two recent brides unveil their advice for a perfect wedding.

WEDDINGS CAN BE ROMANTIC, MEMORABLE OCCASIONS. BUT PULLING ONE TOgether can overwhelm the unprepared. To get the real wedding picture, we sur-veyed dozens of Dallas brides, ft In conducting our research, we heard it all-the good, the bad, and bridal wail tales so ugly they made our collective toes curl, ft Winner of the worse-than-we-expected category is a local belle who threw herself on the floor of the dressing room in a Dallas bridal salon and refused to get up until her mother bought her the very expensive dress she wanted. She was almost topped, however, by the young diva who complained-loudly-to her mother that she couldn’t understand why she had to work with a S35,000 wedding budget when her girlfriend’s parents had given her $85,000 for her wedding, ft Then, there was the moody make-up artist who made several surveyed brides cry on their special day. And we can’t forget the flower shop that delivered the wrong flowers, then tried to collect their money from die distraught bride moments before she was to walk down die aisle, ft But for every horror story, there were more brides whose plans went smoothly, for whom the unexpected twists and turns of wedding preparation were more surprises than shocks. Here’s their advice:

What I’m Glad I Did

◆ ”I took a lot of pictures at each shower and arranged them photo-album style in my bride’s book after the sign-in page and invitation for that particular shower. Now I enjoy my book more and it was fun to have it at the wedding, too.”-Melanie Myers Miller

◆ ”I had three maids of honor because I could not chose between three close, wonderful friends. No one had ever heard of this, but I decided to do it anyway and it worked perfectly. We were all happy, they all came to the altar with me and all signed on the marriage certificate. There was only one best man.” -Allison Mastin Frazar

◆ ”Have a short engagement. The planning can get to be too much. It all boils down to the last week anyway.”-Laurel NeuhoffPage

◆ ”Get a bridal consultant. They’ll think of everything you don’t and they’ll keep cool when you stress out.”-Melanie Myers Miller

◆ ”I am so glad I bought a beautiful dress and got a great photographer! “

-Michele Medlock Cassidy

◆ ”Try on all different styles of rings–you might be surprised!’-Lauren McLain DeCuir

◆ ”Don’t be intimidated by service providers. Tell them what you want and expect, rather than them telling you what they can or will do.”-Katherine Berry Ponder

◆ ”Don’t get cranky. A cranky bride is not a pretty sight! ” -Liz Lava Tschurr

◆ ”Get used to unwelcome advice.”

-Tracey Donobo Kozmetsky

◆ ”Ask the maid of honor or another friend to make last-minute phone calls lor you for the caterer, flowers, band, etc. It’s a huge help.”-Allison Mastin Frazar

◆ ”Ask your family for something old. I wore my grandmother’s original wedding band.”-Lauren McLain DeCuir

◆ ”I had my guest book made at Patsy’s Bridal Salon from my mother’s wedding gown.” -Michele Hewitt Klein

◆ ”Get (your attendants) earrings for the wedding ceremony. It’s a great gift and you’ll know that you’ll like what they’re wearing.”-Susan Jones Farrier

◆ ”Walt’s mom tied a huge bow out of stiff wire-edged ribbon on the handle of the cake knife. It made it very feminine and pretty. It looked very thought-out.”

-Melanie Myers Miller

◆ ”I ordered bridesmaids’ dresses through Chadwick’s catalog for simplicity and costs sake, Each person could charge their own purchase and order a size that would fit with out having to do alterations.”

– Katherine Berry Ponder

What I’d Never Do Again

◆ ”I’d never let someone else choose things for me without having seen them or sampled them for myself, Also, I’d skip most of the bridal shows.” -Katherine Berry Ponder

◆ ”Wear a long-sleeve dress in June-even at 8 p.m. Texas is too hot!

-Lauren McLain DeCuir

◆ ”Invite people I did not want to invite, but felt obligated to. ” -anonymous bride

◆ ”Get behind on thank-you notes. I did and it’s not good.” -Allison Mastin Frazar

◆ ”Go into too much debt over the wedding. When it is all over it is not worth being in major debt because you have so many other expenses-like a new house.”

-anonymous bride

◆ ”If you use Perkins Chapel at SMU, bring a fan, especially in the summer months. The bride’s room was hot! ” -anonymous bride


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