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Decisiveness is key to easy planning

By Chris Maza
Reminder Assistant Editor

As my fiancée, Eileen, and I have been navigating our way through all of the details that go with planning a wedding, I have found a great number of people I know who have either recently gotten married or are also in the preparation stages have asked the same question: "Isn't wedding planning so hard?"
To be truthful, the answer to that question, now less than six months away from the wedding, has been a fairly resounding, "No."
Over the past few months, I have been marveling over how easy the process has been for us to this point and really have been wondering why others have had so much difficulty.
Now, to be fair to myself, I will dispel the idea that all of you have in your head that it's easy for me, because I'm sitting back and watching my fianc do all the work. Yes, I am tooting my own horn here, but I have been very engaged in the wedding planning, all the way down to helping determine what we're doing for centerpieces at the reception. Eventually, what made our planning so easy compared to so many others dawned on me and now I will impart that wisdom on to all who are planning their special day.
Be decisive. It's simple, but it's the key. Eileen knew which dress she wanted after trying on three. We hired the second photographer we interviewed. We signed a contract with the third banquet hall we talked to. Our D.J. is the first one we met with.
Now, part of this success was the fact that we took the time to do research on and read reviews of the places and people before we actually had any appointments. But more importantly, we had had discussions in advance and decided on certain criteria, including budget. From there, once we saw something that we both liked, we made a decision. What's more, once we made our decision, we stuck to it.
No one knows what you like better than you, so if your gut is telling you something, you should go for it. There's a reason that it was appealing to you in the first place, wasn't it?
It's always a bit enticing to try and see what else is out there. You might think, "Yes, we like this, but what if there's something better out there?"
But what if there isn't? Or what if there is, but it takes you forever to find it? Your first instinct, more often than not, is the right one. If when you see something and think, "That's it!" Don't allow yourself to deviate from that.
It's the simplest of concepts and certainly does not sound the most romantic when you spell it out. Just decide.
Decide on a budget. Decide on what you are looking for before you go searching for it. Decide how you want to go about your search. And once you find something you like and want, decide to stick with it.
Indecision is your enemy more than anything else. It can be the difference between ripping your hair out and being stressed about what should be a very special time in your life and enjoying and having fun with the process of figuring out the details of how the two of you are going to pledge your lives to each other.
(ARA) — If you're planning a bridal shower, you want to make it a relaxing, fun time for everyone — and right at the center of the fun is good food. If you're feeling anxious about what to serve and how to get it prepared — especially with everyone nowadays paying so much attention to what they eat — relax. You can serve delicious and healthy food without hiring a professional chef or spending a week in the kitchen.
Here are some time-saving tips and recipes from the Simply Organic test kitchen to help you get the food under control and host a simple but sensational shower for the bride.
  • Share the work. When guests ask if they can bring anything, say "yes." And don't be afraid to ask them to bring something if they don't contact you first — most guests are eager to help. Get others to prepare dishes you either don't really enjoy making yourself or you know they do especially well. You can even have each guest bring a dessert or appetizer and share the recipes with the new bride. Doing the food as a group is fun, and it helps build the joyful spirit of the occasion.
  • Keep it healthy. There's a good chance a lot of your guests are trying to eat healthier. Why not go that route and make it delicious too? You can provide great-tasting, nutritious snacks that also go easy on artificial additives, salt, fat, sugar and other potentially unhealthy ingredients. For guests with special diet restrictions, gluten-free baking mixes are now readily available for easy, worry-free baked treats.
  • Take some shortcuts. For enticing, freshly made dips without fuss, use high quality organic dip mixes. Just add a creamy dill, French onion, guacamole or ranch dip mix to equal parts low-fat cottage cheese and non-fat plain yogurt and mix in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve with fresh veggies you can buy already cleaned and cut up at the store, and you get a lot of healthy snacking with very little prep time. Or use pre-blended mulling spice to create flavorful cider, punch or other beverages without a lot of work.
  • Remake everyday favorites. One way to combine simple and special is to take easy-to-prepare favorites and dress them up with special, festive seasonings. Try distinctive seasoning blends like curry or Italian seasoning. A seasoned sugar combination like lemon sugar or cinnamon sugar will add a gourmet touch to your tea. Or add a touch of a spice like tarragon or a chili powder seasoning blend to your usual deviled eggs, and you'll instantly have something out of the ordinary.
  • Shop smart. Make your shopping list well in advance. That way you can pick up everything in one trip — and eliminate any last-minute sprints to the grocery store. You can even order some ingredients online. For example, Simply Organic offers a wide range of all-organic products online to enhance your shower food — everything from spices, seasoning blends and baking extracts to easy-to-make mixes for dips, dressings and other snacks — and they'll ship them to your house within a few days.
Here is one of the many easy-to-prepare, healthy bridal shower dishes from the recipe collection at www.simplyorganicfoods.com.
Spicy Chicken Dip
Ingredients:
3 cups cooked and finely diced chicken
1/4 cup low fat yogurt
4 finely diced Roma tomatoes (approximately 2 cups)
1 package Simply Organic Guacamole Dip Mix
1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeños
Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, stir chicken and yogurt together. Add tomatoes and Guacamole Dip Mix; stir. Blend in shredded cheese and jalapeños. Refrigerate.
Chef Suggestions: Serve chilled with chips or crackers. For a less spicy version, substitute green olives for jalapeños.


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