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With a little help from my friends

By Kirsten Valle

Posted: Thursday, Feb. 04, 2010

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Photo by Critsey Rowe

Kirsten Valle is a business reporter for the Observer. She can be reached at kvalle@charlotteobserver.com.

Read more "Getting to 'I do.'"

Planning a wedding is time-consuming, and it's easy to lose yourself in the piles of vendor proposals and bills and bridal magazines. But one thing I've rediscovered recently is the importance – the necessity, really – of sharing this time with girlfriends, too.

The realization happened almost by accident. One evening, my bride-to-be roommate and I spent a night parked on the couch with a glass of wine and our laptops, sharing updates on our wedding plans and trading ideas and opinions on everything from hairstyles to veils to shoes. We've both been so busy that these nights aren't as frequent as they used to be, and I'd forgotten how refreshing it is to talk and laugh and enjoy the novelty of being engaged and planning a wedding with a close friend.

There's something about a girlfriend's perspective that your parents or fiancé just can't replicate. Sometimes, it takes someone whose taste is close to your own – someone who will honestly and unfailingly tell you you're crazy if needed – to truly understand your concerns about the way a table linen will glint in the early-evening sunlight, or what color shoes will go with your bridesmaid dresses, or why you despise shellacked up-dos and need to find someone really, really good to do your hair on your wedding day.

It's important to rely on friends like these through the wedding-planning process, partly to reassure you that the details will come together and that your picks are as good as any – and partly to spare your fiancé from your endless agonizing.

Wedding planning is sometimes as stressful as it is fun, and at its worst can make you a bit of a recluse, less available to friends and less carefree than you'd like to be. But it can also make your strongest bonds – with your husband-to-be, with your family and with your best friends – even stronger.

I'm looking forward to the next few months, as this whole thing winds down and the wedding showers and parties kick into high gear. There will be plenty more evenings spent stuffing envelopes and finalizing plans, but there will also be times of celebration with those close friends who, if I'm lucky, will stick around for good.

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