This was a fun one to write! -- Allison
You know the scene: On a whim, Carrie and pregnant Miranda go to a downmarket, tacky bridal shop to try on wedding dresses, just for fun.
"One, two, three!" they pop simultaneously out of the dressing rooms and screech with laughter when they see the other in big bows, poofy sleeves, lace flying everywhere.
Carrie steps up on the pedestal, dons a veil, and then totally panics: "I can't breathe! It's too tight! I'm burning up! Just rip it!" An attack of hives.
Thanks, Carrie Bradshaw, for traumatizing a whole new generation ofwedding-dress shopping brides.
Click for full post.
Brides.com: 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Nervous Walking Down the Aisle (and 5 Reasons You Shouldn't)
Fantasy: Your engagement will be romance 24/7
Reality: This is a romantic time of life – choosing a ring, planning your dream wedding, imagining the future stretched out before you.
But it’s a stressful time for your relationship with your fiancé as well. Many engaged couples report more fighting and less sex, most uncertainty and less fun.
Many engaged couples report more fighting and less sex, most uncertainty and less fun
Why?: Because your relationship has taken on a new seriousness and permanence, and that is just plain scary.
What’s more, your relationship -- once intensely private -- has now becomes public property.
Everyone feels compelled to comment on whether or not you’re a good match.
Your nosy (and tactless) Aunt Janice may shamelessly inquire, “Will he be able to provide for you in the manner to which you are accustomed, dear?” (That sure didn’t happen when you were dating.)
On top of that, all eyes are on you to plan the perfect wedding ....
Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for next week’s installment of "Book to Blog" Chapter 3!
A brief note from Allison:
I'm excited to launch this new series -- Dear Newly Engaged Me, written by brides themselves -- about their own experiences of being engaged. These are intimate, personal portraits, and most brides ask to remain anonymous. If you'd like to contribute, email me!
Thanks to Dear Me: A Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self for the inspiration. Please check out this wonderful site and book.
This first Dear Newly Engaged Me is written by a 31-year-old bride. We worked together via Skype weekly for four months leading up to her wedding.
Dear Newly Engaged Me:
I'm getting married in eight days. I feel good -- great, in fact. Excited. Happy. Certain. And very, very busy with last-minute details.
But it wasn't always that way for me during this 18 months of being engaged. Not by a long shot.
It's OK to think he isn't "The One"
Nervous About Being the Center of Attention On Your Wedding Day? 10 Reasons Why You Should, and 5 Reasons You Shouldn't
Some brides just can't wait to be the center of attention on their wedding days. It's their time to shine, their dream come true. They love the spotlight. They're wired that way.
Other brides feel a whisper of dread when they imagine walking down the aisle.
Maybe you're a really private person.
Maybe you're introverted.
Maybe you're downright shy.
Maybe you feel pressure to perform.
That makes sense, because weddings are both intensely private and profoundly public
All eyes are on you, as you commit the intimate act of joining together for the rest of your lives.
So when someone says to you: “Don’t be nervous walking down the aisle," you think, "Um, how?"
You’re going to hear "don't be nervous" from everybody – your rabbi, your minister. Your maid of honor, your bridesmaids. Your Mom, your Dad. Your wedding coordinator. Even those teeny tiny flower girls might tell you: “Don’t be nervous.”
Don’t be nervous? Yeah, right. Are they the ones wearing the big, white dress, with all eyes on them, about to make a lifelong decision? We think not.
Here are 10 reasons why you should expect to be nervous:
1. It is the grandest of entrances.
2. It is one of those Big Moments in life.
3. It is silent.
4. It is ceremonial: your guests will stand to honor you.
5. It is transformative: you are walking out of one stage of your life and into a new one.
6. It is unknown and unpredictable: you can try to anticipate how you’re going to feel, but in the moment, you can’t control it. (Nor should you, if you want to be authentic.)
7. It is sad: just look at your wistful Mom and Dad.
8. It is powerful and moving: just look at your choked-up fiancé.
9. It is the most photographed walk of your life: how odd it is to be the subject of paparazzos.
10. It is nothing short of life changing and profound.
It’s OK to be nervous – got it?
Here are 5 reasons to counter-balance your nervousness:
1. You are not alone. Whether or not you walk with your Dad, parents, or solo, you are not alone. You’ve surrounded yourself with your nearest and dearest.
2. It’s epic and ancient. Think of the billions of brides who’ve come before you. You are walking in their footsteps. We think this is a pretty cool concept.
3. It’s a forgiving crowd. Remember: you’re not giving work presentation in front of your cutthroat co-workers. Everyone in this crowd is so happy for you.
4. He’s waiting at the end of the aisle. This wonderful man you’ve chosen, who’ll walk with you in life til the end of your days.
5. This is what you want. This man. This life. This future. It all begins now. All you have to do is take that walk down the aisle.
Want more personalized tips for your walk down the aisle? Contact me for a free 15-min video consultation. Let's meet!
Let me help you feel better prepared for your wedding day. Schedule your consultation now.
When a friend confides in you that she has cold feet before her wedding, what's the most helpful way to respond?
First, show your friend that you can handle her complex and contradictory situation. Let her know through your words and actions that you can tolerate the discomfort, complexity, and sensitivity of her situation.
Don't say,"If you have any doubts, then you should call off your wedding," (Click to read my blog post on why it's so wrong.)
Say that, and your friend will likely cross you off her list of confidantes. She may even stop talking with you about what's going on altogether and move on to a friend who won’t have such a strong opinion, be judgmental or tell her what she should do.
Here are 5 ways to help a friend with cold feet before his or her wedding:
Whether or not you walk down the aisle is entirely up to you.
For my part, I care about helping people make the best decisions they can about their upcoming weddings, whether it's calling it off or working through the feelings that cause them indecision.
I’ve been counseling brides and grooms with cold feet for more than 12 years, and I understand how difficult it is to have doubts and ask the hard questions.
Having cold feet before your wedding is complicated.
Is it him? Her? You? The relationship? The wedding itself?
Untangling your feelings of cold feet before your wedding can sometimes seem like unraveling a complex knot.
It doesn't help when a well-meaning family member or friend who knows you are struggling and upset says, “If you have any doubts, you should just call it off.”
It only makes you feel worse.
Because it’s bad advice.
If you call off your wedding just to get rid of your uncomfortable feelings of cold feet,
you’ll still have to make sense of WHY you called it off.
For your own life narrative -- for your sense of who you are as a person -- you’ll need a clear understanding of why you canceled your wedding beyond It just didn't feel right.
To help you reach that clear understanding, I’ve created a 5-day cold feet email course to help you get to the root causes of your cold feet.
Yes, you may ultimately determine that this man or woman just isn't right for you. But in my experience, that isn’t always the case. And with a decision this big, it's wise to leave no stone unturned.
I’ve worked intimately with brides since 2002, and I’ve identified 5 typical sources.
1. You are planning the most expensive and elaborate party of your life…with 2 Moms
If you and your fiancé were planning your wedding in a vacuum, just the 2 of you, it would be a piece of cake: You know what you like, you work together, you can deal with your budget. But that’s not what's going on here. Most brides have not one but 2 Moms inserting their strong opinions. So decisions become a delicate diplomatic dance. It’s tedious and exhausting, belaboring every detail.
Solution: You and your fiancé define for yourselves 3 non-negotiables each for your wedding – 3 things each you are unwilling to compromise on. Make sure you get those things, done perfectly, and then be willing to be influenced on the rest. Especially if parents are paying.
2. You leave that "party" -- a.k.a. your wedding -- a very changed woman.
You go home with a husband with the power to make life-and-death decisions for you, a new branch on your family tree, and (possibly) a new last name. Your wedding is NOT just a party.
Solution: Everything about your wedding feels overwrought and bigger than it should be because, well, it is. For example, the stress you feel when you can’t find the right bridesmaids dress isn’t totally about the design and color of the dress. Psychologically, you’re also working through how you’re going to “fit” all these important women into your new, unknown, married life with you. Be aware of the deeper levels always going on. (Read also: Why it may be healthy to obsess about your wedding.)
3. You're mourning -- yes, mourning.
You're coming face-to-face with the end of your single life and identity as a single woman; the end of your primary family identity being “daughter”; and the end of the simpler dating days of boyfriend and girlfriend. Each of these endings can cause emotional turmoil as brides process their feelings about these major identity changes.
Solution: Give yourself time and space to just feel. Reflect. Journal. Acknowledge the passing of time, the change in identity, the growing up that is going on. Mourning is background music playing in your mind right now. Let it become foreground music occasionally to work through it.
Bride S.C. from Australia, who worked through her engagement anxiety and engagement depression with me, here on her very happy wedding day.
Before you got engaged, I imagine you thought that, once engaged, your decision to marry your fiance is final.
The reality's different.
During your engagement, you evaluate your fiance and the relationship all over again. with even more intensity.
"I know in my bones that I want to marry Dan, and I said yes without hesitation," Erica told me.
"But I'm finding myself being hypercritical of him -and sometimes even second-guessing my decision to marry him."
Why would a bride -- a happy bride, even -- do that?
But the bride herself was drawn to another style of dress altogether:
My eyes had wandered toward something more bohemian, less voluminous, but in terms of big purchases, in terms of fashion, I listened to my mother
Yet during the many subsequent fittings, the lovely, elegant and expensive dress just didn't feel right:
This dress, which cost about as much money as I'd made in the last year [as a writer] had flattered my waist and -- at least temporarily -- made me feel like dancing.
Between the initial purchase of the dress, when she was financially dependent on her parents as an actress and writer, and the final fitting 2 weeks before the wedding, her she sold her novel, for a lot of money. That changed things, among them her feelings about herself AND her wedding dress:
I took off the dress that we'd chosen -- my mother and I -- when my life had looked one way.
She tried on another dress -- "a 1930s fantasy -- silky, backless":
I felt the silk fall over my body like a sheet of cool water, I realized my life looked another way now. I also realized that the dress was a perfect fit.
Even her Mom knew the second dress was the right dress and didn't put up a fuss with the switch. Because the second dress more accurately reflected and represented who her daughter was and was becoming.
Have you had an experience like this during your engagement, when something you ordered or committed to at the beginning of your engagement didn't feel right as your wedding date approached?
Did it feel off because something about you has changed in the intervening months? What was changed in you? What changed in your relationship to yourself or others?
I'd love to hear your experiences -- please share below.