How To Stay Sane While Planning for Your Wedding!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Helpless In Choosing

true story (names changed)
Rita and Peter were getting married at a 5-star resort in Southern California. They didn’t have a budget because they didn’t need one. Rita’s parents were divorced and her wealthy father was footing the bill for everything. One catch—if she invited her mother, he wouldn’t pay for the wedding.

Rita wanted a fabulous wedding that would blow people away but since her father was paying for it all, what could she do? Her father put her in a seemingly hopeless situation. So, she caved and didn’t invite her mother.

Actually, though, he didn’t put her in a hopeless position. Rita had a choice and she chose to compromise. So as to lessen her guilt, she chose to believe she was caught in a hopeless predicament.

Rita needlessly complicated her life by feeling helpless—and feeling guilty over how she was treating her mom. Of course, she then took her frustrations out on her hapless groom.

What Rita failed to accept was that she freely made a decision. Wrong or right, nice or not, she needed to own her choice and not blame her father.

Here is the third lie that couples play in their heads:
when it comes to the essential aspects of their wedding, they don’t always have a choice.

So often when we say, “I can’t,” what we’re really saying is, “I don’t want to.”
There are many aspects to a wedding where it’s just “easier” to let mom or dad have their way. And that’s fine. But when it comes to the fundamental aspects of the celebration, you and your partner do have choices.

Sanity Saver Questions:
·      Where in the planning do you feel helpless?
·      Are you really helpless or is it that you don’t want to make hard decisions?
·      What would happen if you let go of blaming others and just accepted responsibility for your choices, even if people object to those choices?

Remember: If you choose to go along with family’s desires that go counter to your own, then you don’t have the right to complain. By not speaking up, you are agreeing.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Tyranny Of “Should”

true story (names changed)

It was an outdoor wedding. Argentina and Marco (30’s) had been together for more than five years and were great partners. Towards the end of their ceremony I zapped them with a blessing and was on the verge of pronouncing them husband and wife when, suddenly, Argentina’s mother stood up and walked towards me.

I was puzzled, but then remembered that she was a widow. Maybe she wanted to thank folks for coming. Maybe she was supposed to read a poem and the couple forgot to tell me.

I walked over to her and in a voice only I could hear, she said these immortal words: “Do not pronounce them husband and wife, I have reservations.”
I was beyond stunned. I thought, sweetheart, do you really think I’m going to hand over my mic so we can enjoy a Jerry Springer moment?

I smiled and said to her: “The only reservation you better have is for dinner.” Hey, I grew up in the Bronx!

Argentina’s mother didn’t move; it now was her turn to be stunned. I raced back to the couple and pronounced them husband & wife. In fact, I’ve never pronounced a couple husband & wife as quickly as that couple.

As soon as the ceremony was over, I was swarmed by the photographer, videographer, musicians, and on site coordinator. No one could believe what had happened. I was their hero.

But I was concerned about Argentina. I quickly found her and as I gave her a big hug, she told me something I think of every time I meet with a couple. She said: “I guess I forgot to tell you about my mother.”
Everyone knew that momma was “nuts.” Everyone knew that momma was not happy with the marriage. And everyone told Argentina not to invite momma. And Argentina?
She knew her mother was trouble, but, out of guilt, she felt she “should” invite her. After all, she was her mother. And so she invited her, knowing that her mother may very well attempt to disrupt the joy of her day.

Throughout the morning and leading up to the ceremony, Argentina was on the proverbial pins-n-needles. Throughout the ceremony many of her guests were apprehensive. All because of a woman, her mother, who held the day hostage.
Argentina and Marco got into many arguments over her mother. And, yes, I do think I detected an “I told you so” smirk in Marco’s eyes!

Here is the second crazy-making lie that couples play in their heads:
there are things they should do in their wedding because that’s how things should be.

Don’t plan your wedding out of a sense of should. Plan it out of a sense of what you and your partner want to do. Be guided by what reflects you as a couple.

Sanity Saver Questions:
• Are there any decisions you’ve made out of guilt rather than desire?
• Are you and your partner ready to live with the outcomes of those decisions?
• What is the worst thing that could happen if you refused to be influenced by “guilt”?

Remember: no one—no friend, no family member—has the right to take your day hostage by selfish whims and desires.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Perfectionist's Curse

true story (names changed)
I spoke with Miriam three days before her wedding; she was in tears from stress. It was a garden ceremony and she was tying purple ribbons around one hundred and fifty hand fans, which would also serve as programs.

When I asked why she was adding the ribbons, she explained that the purple would match her bridesmaids’ dresses and it was the main color theme. I gently pointed out that only a handful of men might notice the purple ribbons so she could cut the ribbons by half. She laughed. When I said that I wasn’t kidding, she looked annoyed and then said what I fear most for a bride: “but I want everything to be perfect.”

Here is the first crazy-making lie that couples play in their heads:
everything must be PERFECT in order for it to be good.

Trust me, five years after your wedding few if any will remember the purple ribbons. Now when I ran this by several women friends, each told me that no bride wants to hear what I just wrote. So why am I ignoring the advice of trusted friends?

Well, I asked Miriam if she had any friends who could help her tie the ribbons. She said she didn’t want to bother anyone. And besides, she wanted to make sure the ribbons were done right. Stop! Devotion to perfection is the downfall of every bride.

Sanity Saver Questions:
• Do you and your fiancé have the same idea of “perfection?”
• What is the price you’re willing to pay for perfection?
• Do you know just how much a price you’re going to pay for “perfection”?

Remember: your wedding day is bigger than ribbons—and ring pillows and place cards and running make-up!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Power And Magic Of Weddings!

I've just published my first mini-book, The Power And Magic Of Weddings!

For your complimentary copy, please email me:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Am I Crazy, Or Is It Hot In Here?

true story (names changed)

Two weeks after my ordination I officiated my first wedding. Beyond nervous, I was sweating and not just because it was a scorching New York June afternoon. I got to the church early to make sure the sacristan turned on the air conditioner (the church windows were sealed).

The church was packed—both the bride and groom were Italian and came from big families. Because it was a church service, the ceremony was slated to last about 45 minutes. I’d rehearsed everything in my head at least a dozen times. I was anxious, but even more excited—this is what I had prepared so many years for.

Twenty minutes into the ceremony, I was dripping sweat under my robes. I noticed that family and guests were shifting in their seats. The bride and groom looked antsy.
I panicked. I was convinced that I was boring everyone, the one thing I’d sworn to myself I would never do. I feared word would spread that I was nothing more than your typical, out-of-touch minister. And so, I talked faster. I wanted this wedding to end. With sweat pouring out of me, I decided to skip a reading; I cut out some prayers.

Finally, I zapped them with a blessing and pronounced them husband and wife. Afterwards I hurried back to the sacristy and there found the sacristan embarrassed and apologetic. Turns out, he switched on the heat instead of the air conditioner. It was a humid 90 degrees out and we all were trapped in a church that was blasting heat!

All through the ceremony, I thought I was sweating because I was nervous. I thought the guests were restless because they were bored. Instead, we were all just ready to pass out from the heat. Later, at the reception, folks laughed and thanked me for having enough sense to cut things short. My rep was saved.

From this wacky story, there is one great truth regarding emotions that I urge you to keep in mind: what we think influences what we feel AND what we feel influences what we think.

Sanity Saver Questions:
• What are you telling yourself in terms of how you should and should not feel as you plan your wedding?
• Where do these beliefs come from?
• Are they helping you navigate the stress of planning or are they adding to it?

While emotions are neither “good” nor “bad,” they can either allow us to react to people and situations in a healthy way OR they can trip us up and cause us to sabotage our relationships and plans.

Emotions that prevent us from acting in a way that is in our own best interest are grounded in some very irrational thoughts—lies—that we play so often in our heads that we’re not even aware of them.

While there are many irrational beliefs we play in our heads, there are four lies that can especially cause you to experience distress while planning your wedding.

4 Most Common Crazy-Making Lies A Couple Can Buy Into

• You believe that everything must be perfect in order to be good.
• You believe that your wedding should involve certain people and elements no matter how uncomfortable they make you and your partner feel.
• You believe that there are aspects of the wedding planning that you cannot control and that you must give in to.
• You believe that you, and you alone, cause the feelings your family and friends experience during the long process of planning your wedding.

Buy into one or more of these lies and you’re destined for debilitating headaches.

In next week’s post, I’ll review Lie #1!