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New Year, new goals, says everything around us, from commercials to magazine covers. But what does that mean for the newly engaged? If you’ve recently said “Yes!” and are on the threshold of organizing a wedding, we’ve got some 2010 goals to help you avoid the pitfalls of planning for your Charleston fête. 1. Dollars & Sense Talk finances upside down and backwards with your partner before you take that walk down the aisle—especially when it comes to your Big Day. Start with the budget and make it realistic. It might be best for you to work backwards here. For example, begin with an estimate for each category (reception location, photographer, caterer, etc) rather than breaking your budget into percentages. And also think: Can my aunt out-bake Martha? What about my graphic design major niece? And once you know the “going rates” don’t be afraid to haggle to fit your ideal number or ask your talented family and friends for help.



Photograph by Marni Rothschild Pictures from “Down By The River” 2. Delegate Have the moolah for a professional wedding planner? Great! Charleston is chock full of amazingly talented folks. But if you can’t afford a full on pro (or if you’re among the brave legions of DIY brides) make sure not to assign yourself all of the tasks. Be honest about the wedding you’re wishing for. An intimate affair on the dock means your uber-organized friend might be all the help you need. A blowout at the plantation? At the very least you’ll likely need to hire a day-of pro if not a designer from day one.



Photograph by Zach Suggs for Behind the Scenes 3. Keep Your Cool Your wedding is going to be one of the happiest days of your life and also one of the most stressful periods of time, too. Acknowledge and accept that now and you’ll likely be less frazzled when the Big Day arrives. And there are stress-busters a plenty here in the Lowcountry. From jogging across the Ravenel to taking a carriage ride or strolling along the many beaches, there’s much on offer to bring you back to center. Bonus? None of your friends will nominate you for a “Bridezilla” episode. 4. Moisturize Guilty! This is actually my New Year’s resolution, and it’s especially critical for Charleston brides-to-be. Lowcountry sun, wind, and sand can chap your skin in the most unbridal way. Ideally, you should lather up your entire body after each shower as water can be drying. But the golden rule? Never forget your face. Just keep in mind that a lightweight, non comedogenic lotion is better for our humid climate—and a little 15 or 30 SPF (and even a hint of self tanner) doesn’t hurt, either.


Photograph by Charleston Wedding Photography from “Brides on a Budget” 5. Enjoy Your Day! It may seem an obvious choice, but so many brides either a) try to remember each detail and end up ignoring the joy of the day; b) try to do too much themselves and end up worrying their way through the vows; or c) go overboard on the booze and being left with only a headache as a reminder. Our suggestions? First, rely on your photographer to capture the day in minute detail so you can be in the moment. Give him or her a shot list of don’t-miss people and events for you to take in later. Next, see number two—delegate! Last? Eat! For one, it ensures the champagne toast isn’t the last thing you remember. Besides, you wouldn’t want to pass up the delectable Southern fare or “swimmingly” good offerings only a seaside destination can offer. Thumbnail & main photograph by Peter Frank Edwards for “Portraits of a Lady”