Tuesday, April 29, 2014
An Ounce of Prevention: 'You're Getting "Married," Not "Weddinged"'
A wise man once said that the reasons weddings go off without a hitch and marriages don't is because *people actually plan their weddings*. Straight copy and paste:
I want to explain a simple mindset shift that will have a profound influence on the foundation of your marriage. Amazingly, I’ve never seen it even touched on in the wedding world.
A few weeks before my wedding this June, a friend of mine sent me an email with various tips on getting the most out of my wedding day. The one that hit me the hardest was “Remember you’re getting married, not weddinged.”
In 2010, the wedding industry made over $161 billion (Fairchild Bridal Group). If you’re awake, you’ve probably noticed that our culture is obsessed with weddings. There are print publications that celebrate wedding design from bridal gowns to wedding favors, signature cocktails to bowties and everything in between.
According to Liene Stevens, founder of Splendid Communications, there are over 200 professional wedding blogs, which have published over 15,000 real weddings. Rebecca Mead author of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding reports that the average wedding in the U.S. has 43 vendors involved. Even TV has jumped on the bandwagon in recent years with the success of Say Yes to the Dress, Bridezillas, and Shedding for the Wedding.
And I don’t have to remind you that 40% to 50% of marriages end in divorce.
Looking at this reality, most people will conclude that weddings have become a circus for materialism, an excuse for brides to be b----y, and a total waste of money. I however believe that instead of “poo-pooing” the $161 billion spent on this years blushing brides, we should take it as a sign that weddings are plainly a really big deal. I believe that instead of trying to cut back on materialism, brides and the media merely need to balance the design obsession with an attention to love, personal development and preparation for marriage.
I’ve dedicated my career to helping brides strike this balance. My Breathtaking Bride Program helps women lose weight for their weddings without crash diets and boot camps. The lure of losing weight for the wedding (who doesn’t want to look fabulous on their wedding day?) is really a Trojan horse for helping women transition to become a wife, realize their dreams and create a rock solid marriage. Instead of getting overwhelmed with seating charts and fighting with their mothers, my clients arrive on their wedding day feeling centered, humbled, and psyched to be a wife.
Here are my three strategies for bringing marriage back into the wedding conversation…
Redefine “Perfection”. For a bride, the pressure to create a flawless, perfectly designed wedding can cause intense amounts of anxiety. Instead of focusing on how you want your wedding to look, focus on how you want to feel on your wedding day. Do you want to feel at home? Like a princess? Madly in love? Swept off your feet? Wildly ecstatic? Confident? Successful? Sexy? Defining how you want to feel will not only bring some meaning and integrity to your design, but it will also highlight the areas in your life you need to work on: do you need to get a relationship coach? Take up a new hobby? Finally write that book you’ve been thinking about? Face your messed up relationship with food?
Weddings are a milestone, not a dinner party. Becoming a wife is amazing, but it’s also overwhelming. Though our lives may not look that different from one phase to another, the change that marriage ushers in is profound. Many women have moments of grieving and anxiety during the engagement, and because they’re not understood as a natural reaction to this intense shift, women channel their unease into worrying about their weight, relationships and flower choices. When I encourage brides to stop sweeping these feelings under the rug and instead explore their fears, they can talk about the future and understand the gravity of getting married. Through this process their inner bridezilla disappears, and the engagement process becomes just as much about preparing for marriage as it does about having a great party.
For every vendor contract – make a marriage contract; for every meeting with your planner – go on a date. This practice is simple: every effort that you are putting into planning your wedding, you should match (or raise) with an effort towards strengthening your relationship with your fiancé. It’s funny how engaged women all-of-the-sudden put romance below ordering invitations on their priority lists. We so quickly forget WHY we’re planning a wedding in the first place. Make sure you have weekly date nights, talk about religion and when you want to buy your first house, dance in the kitchen, fantasize about travelling, ask how you want to be different than your parents, explore who influences what kind of lover you are, and fall in love all over again.
A wedding only lasts a few hours...then what?
Make sure you answer that question before saying "I do."