A former bride offers her rules of engagement
Creators News Service
When I got engaged, a friend of mine joked, "I don't know why they call it an engagement. Are you going off to war for the wedding or something?"
That friend was single. They had no idea.
Slaying dragons would have been a pleasure compared to what I faced: wedding planners occasionally over the top in their vision, a venue with restrictions up the yin yang, a groom who didn't want to wear a boutonniere for fear of being "girly" and an elusive DJ who showed up only two days before the event.
I may have joked at first about how I wanted a samurai sword as an engagement present -- since I was "the bride," I craved a blade like Uma Thurman's Bride wielded in the film "Kill Bill" -- but halfway through the planning process, I felt like it was required.
Despite the troubles, my mother offered me sage advice: "No matter what happens, at the end of the day you and Ari will be married. That's what counts."
Score one for mom: Her advice held true. We were married -- at a beautiful California winery with 75 guests in attendance.
There were plenty of issues that day, such as my 20-minute late arrival and the venue limiting the amount of time we were allowed to stay. But it started to rain as we left, and in my family's culture, rain is good luck on a wedding day; it means a fruitful marriage.
It was a beautiful, fun and significant affair. However, the seeds of our life together were sown with some simple wisdom. Here are some of my tips to survive your own march off to war:
* Before you even plan, train for your marriage by taking prenuptial classes. Many clergy members who officiate weddings require them, but you should even if it isn't mandatory. Quite a few of these classes are taught by licensed marriage and family therapists, and will arm you with the best tools to work with your spouse through difficult times. Trust me, "wedded bliss" can get very rocky.
* Any big event triggers the best and the worst in people. Everyone has their own ideas about your special day. In some cases, I found it was based on what that person wanted for their wedding but never received. There are plenty of good ideas, but remember that the final decisions are yours.
* That being said, it's not all about you. Consider those around you, especially your groom -- it's his day, too. There is a name for those lovely ladies who think "this is MY day": bridezilla. Instead of battling dragons, you become one.
* Keep those who love you on your side. They are your strongest allies and best equipped to hold your ego -- not to mention sanity -- in check. Whether it's going dress shopping or having them bring you hors d'oeuvres during cocktail hour so you don't starve, family, friends and occasionally your wedding planner will provide all the support you could ever want or need. But don't take advantage of them: They aren't required to be there for every little thing.
* Don't forget where you came from. Your family roots can provide great strength during a time of significant change and emotional upheaval. I participated in rituals from my heritage the week before that gave me clarity and determination that lasted through my wedding day. If you don't know your culture's traditions, ask a family member or do some research.
* You will get cold feet. Every bride I know has, and they seem to surface about three weeks before. They are completely normal.
* Don't let the little things distract you. In a year, no one will remember what color your tablecloths were. They will remember if they had a good time.
* After the battle is won and your wedding has come to its conclusion, you will get depressed. We all do. It's important to remember that your "big day" is just that -- one day. Your marriage should last a lifetime, so don't get so carried away with planning that you forget why you're standing around in that white dress.