Redefining Your Wedding

for JJ

Dear Thriving Bride,

In 59 days, my fiance and I will be getting married at a former bordello. Well, that’s where the reception we be after the ceremony at the local library.  PJ and I love the idea! Although the venue is now a beautiful Bed and Breakfast, there were initially some raised eyebrows amongst my family of origin.  The most important part of this decision is that it was our decision, and for us that’s what really matters.

Let me first say that everyone involved in helping you plan your wedding will mean well.  They really will!  Your mother might suggest you pick a different venue than your gut suggests and your mother in law might just second that opinion.  In all honesty, all the time leading up to the wedding feels like one big sports tournament and every one is cheering you on, telling you which plays to make and which ones to avoid, while at the same time gritting their teeth knowing that they can only suggest and let you make your choices.

This is part of redefining your wedding.

You might ask: Why do I have to redefine it?  Well, that’s because there are many stages between the time you say “I will” to the time you say “I do.”  There really are!  When we first got engaged, we were very excited to have PJ’s mom plan the wedding and so was she.  She had done such a wonderful job with his sister’s wedding many years earlier, and her background as an interior decorator had allowed me to see and love her taste.

Then things changed.  PJ realized that he was more invested than he originally thought.  We sent out our SAVE THE DATE email and he checked to see who had responded any time he could steal a few minutes away from his work.  His mother was still willing to be generous with her time and help us plan, but then we stumbled upon a really amazing wedding venue that came with a wedding planner.

And then that venue changed because we found a place that felt more in line with our values and what we wanted to say  to our friends and family,  and the experience we wanted to share with them.  So, what’s the point of all these stories? THE WEDDING PLANNING PROCESS HAS STAGES!

My advice to you is this: Do your best to be okay with things as they change, because they surely will. You have this wonderful partner and a day to share with loved ones who will hopefully be there and continue to cheer you on throughout this life, so don’t forget to honor their willingness to support you while respecting what you want and don’t want as part of your special day.

This is not the time to be mean in the name of celebrating your special day.  It is a time to sit down with each person who has helped you along the way and thank them for all that they have done and are willing to do on your behalf.

Here are a few strategies for easing through the many stages of the wedding planning process:

1. After you have gotten engaged, sit down with those people who you consider family and let them know that this is an important moment that you want all of them to share with you and your partner.

2. Let people know that while you have ideas about what this day looks like in your mind, you acknowledge that your vision may change.  Ask for their patience!

3. If someone volunteers to do something for you (make invitations, do decorations, etc), thank them and let them know that you will respond to them as soon as you have a clearer idea of how you want them to participate.

4.  Let everyone know that while you respect and love them, you want your wedding to be “self created, but community sustained.”  Basically, you want to figure out the essence of this special day with your fiance, but you will need the love and support of all those people you  call loved ones to help you get there.

5. Honor your mother, your father and your self.  I grew up in a very Christian family and these words were constantly filling our ears as kids.  I think it is important to do this, but most of all to honor and respect your wishes.  Don’t try to please everyone if you are feeling miserable about this decision.  Remember that while you are your parents child, you are no longer a child and hopefully this reality check will allow you to use your voice and speak up when things don’t feel right in the planning process.  More to come on this one in an upcoming post!

5.  If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize! Saying sorry will take you a long way!

So, you will be announcing, defining and redefining your plans for this wonderful day.  In the end, the process will be as important (and wonderful) as the day itself.  Don’t forget that!  Be open to what you learn about yourself, your loved ones and your partner.   Everything will work out just fine.  We both know it will!


  • Jill Guerra

    very nice!