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Some advice to brides: Don't worry, be happy

Having heard the piteous cries of overburdened brides who are in the throes of producing those stressful extravaganzas they call The Happiest Day of My Life, Miss Manners has decided to help.

With her best wishes, she hereby presents a checklist _ yes, another checklist! Busy brides just love checklists! But the intent of this one is to cut down on their labor.

Miss Manners' checklist consists of Things Brides Need Not Trouble Their Pretty Heads About. Following it ought to lop off a great deal of the misery in which brides seem to find themselves embroiled.

Do not worry about who is going to give you a shower. The shower is a lighthearted, non-essential element of an engagement (as opposed to, say, the fiance, who is essential and whose heart should be fixed at this point). In any case, it is voluntary on the part of the bride's friends. They either throw one or they don't, but she can't demand one.

Do not worry about whether you like your relatives. You have to invite them anyway.

Do not worry about how many guests you can invite and still afford to serve your dream menu. The proper formula is to count up the relatives and friends first, and then figure out what you can afford to serve that number of people.

Do not worry about whether people will give you wedding presents that you like. These are presents, after all, not fees paid for the privilege of seeing you get married. Only if they ask what you want can you reluctantly admit to a preference for a certain style or category that must at least include modest things, or to being registered at stores.

Do not worry about whether the stamp on your invitations carries out the color scheme of your wedding. Nobody cares.

Do not worry about whether your bridesmaids will match one another, or whether the number of bridesmaids equals the number of groomsmen. This is not a parade or a public matchmaking. The idea is to have your friends around you, regardless of whether the effect is symmetrical.

Do not worry about whether your mother will match the bridegroom's mother. They are not a set, either, and they can both be trusted to dress properly for the occasion.

Do not worry about whether every minute of the wedding day will be captured on every electronic means available. That can ruin the occasion, and your friends will not long allow you to make yourself tedious by showing them pictures and videos.

Do not worry about whether you have completed all your place settings. The stores will still be open after the wedding. Anyway, a proper bride is too busy writing thank-you letters in the first few months of marriage to put everything away.

Do not worry about whether the bridegroom is sufficiently interested in the wedding. He may or may not be, but this is not indicative of whether he loves you and whether he is ambivalent about getting married. The earliest you would ever need to consult him about such matters again is a whole generation from now, and Miss Manners assures you that your daughter will not be all that interested in whether he thinks the wedding cake should be orange or chocolate.

Copyright 1991,

United Feature Syndicate Inc.