As you read this, I'll be getting married. Well technically that may not be true, if you're someone reading this online in a different timezone, or one who only gets around to reading this in three years time, when using this newspaper to start a fire. For everyone else, today is my wedding day.
For someone who writes about parties, it feels strange that this is the most important party I've ever had. For when it comes to social events, I'm a taker, rather than a giver. So I feel that I owe people a really good time.
I also feel I now understand what a party planner does, and as I spend my time people-watching or at the bar, I rarely think about the massive amount of work it takes to put one of these things together. Even the relatively minor jobs I have taken on (my wife-to-be has a greater mastery over the major ones) I have found to be exhausting.
So from my admittedly limited experience, here are three useful tips for the young groom-about-town, planning his wedding.
Sorting the table plan alone can lead to meltdown. I know a couple who argued over whose family were the less introduceable to new people, each claiming their own stock was the weirder and so couldn't be placed next to any one. Do the table plan before you invite anyone, the anti-social types who don't make the cut at that stage are probably not worth inviting. Also, you can't just sit all those with dietary requirements on one table, tempting though it may be.
It's also tempting to tap into your inner fantasy of being a DJ when thinking about the music. But neither the quirky old-school funk album you're so proud of finding, nor the song you got sweaty and danced to on your stag is likely to be right. An additional tip: don't google "wedding band", the unbelievable naffness might put you off the whole thing completely.
Don't offer what you think is a "valued opinion" on any of the following: flowers, colour schemes and canapés (a surprise area, you will choose ones that are too big, too fatty or not colourful enough), as it won't be valued. In all other areas, however, "I don't mind" is not a valid excuse. Try to anticipate what your bride is thinking and then suggest that.
In fact apply that last piece of advice to most things, and you'll be set.