Dear Thriving Bride,
So, he must have planned out the exact moment to ask you, and I sure hope it was really special! You’ve got that fantastic piece of blindingly beautiful “bling” on your left hand, and it’s a sign of pride for you as well as a great conversation starter. This is supposed to be your moment of bliss and all you can think about is planning the wedding.
Let me stop you here. The wedding will happen and it will be beautiful, but the most valuable lesson I have learned is that the process to the wedding is just as incredible of a journey. Let me tell you why:
We’ve already agreed that the purpose of this blog is to acknowledge the circumstances that might make your wedding more non-traditional than those of the other women you know getting married everywhere you turn. Your friends may spend every weekend shopping for wedding dresses with their sisters, aunts and mothers while you find yourself wondering who you will bring on that fun-filled shopping day.
Let me stop you again. This is a guide for brides with challenging circumstances that want and deserve just as wonderful of a wedding day as anyone else. Maybe you are dealing with a chronic illness? Maybe your parents have passed away? Maybe you don’t have any parents for reasons that aren’t my business (or anyone else’s ) to ask? It does not matter. You have the set of circumstances that make this happy time difficult as well. But, I am here to tell you that the other side of dealing with difficult circumstances looks like this: you can “survive”, which is great (yeah you!), you can move away from surviving and always waiting for the next catastrophe and finally start to “live.” And, if you choose to, you may just be able to “thrive.”
I am here speaking from experience. When we survive, we only know how to live using the same patterns of behavior that we relied on when we were deeply in the midst of the specific trauma. When we live, we stop operating that way and realize that we have the power to make our own decisions. And when we thrive, we live our best lives possible understanding that our stories and who we are in the present moment are two very related but different things.
So, give yourself a lot of credit here. He asked you to marry him and you said yes! Are you ready to be a thriving bride? I hope you are because he’s ready to marry you and it helps if you can be a bad ass bitch. Yes, I curse too! Sometimes, these are the only words that best explain the circumstance, and this is exactly who you will become. So keep flashing that ring, and follow me:
After you say yes, you should consider:
1. Calling up the people who you consider family (blood, experience, etc) and letting them know.
2. Making a list of all the ways in which your “difficult circumstances” affected you in the past and may still be affecting you as you plan to marry.
My list looks something like this. I was feeling sorry for myself, so I did it in the form of questions.
1. What am I going to say when everyone asks why my parents are not there?
2. Maybe my older sister will come so I’ll have family there?
3. Who will walk me down the aisle now that my younger brother is dead?
4. How will we pay for it with my parents out of the picture. Will PJ’s (my fiance) mother contribute?
5. Will my kids ever know their biological grandparents?
And the list goes on. The point is to make the list when you have a minute, and to allow yourself to go through all the emotions that may happen while making this list. Then, when you are ready (but before you actually start planning) share this list with your fiance and let him know that you’d like to talk to him about ways you can honor your feelings and still get the things that you think you won’t get based on your list. Give it a try! And feel free to let me know how it goes. I am a very curious person!