Tag Archives: bride

The Courage to Call Off the Wedding

Typically, I like my quiet time on a plane. But I couldn’t resist talking with the passenger next to me.  She volunteered that was getting away after calling off her wedding.

Her name was Ellen and she was in her late thirties. This would have been her second marriage. “It’s almost as complicated to call it off as it is to put it together,” she said. “Strange how everyone seems to take my decision personally. My parents,  my daughter, friends and co-workers, all trying to reassure me that it’s natural to feel nervous before your wedding. They’re saying that my fiancée is a good man, that I’m not getting any younger, that I always wanted to have another child. Why is everyone so involved in my decision?”

Ellen sounded like a woman who has the self-esteem and intelligence to listen to her heart and her intuition. I asked her what influenced her decision. She said there were red flags.

One was that her fiancée didn’t take her side when his mother criticized her. Ellen knew it would be a problem because ,when she pointed it out to him, he became defensive and told her she was being too sensitive.  He loved them both. Why should he have to choose between his mother and his wife?

Then there were his put downs and teasing, both public and private. Yes, he usually followed up with an ardent apology, but if he was behaving this way before marriage, what could she expect later?

“It’s the small things that bother me,” she said. “I kept thinking I was being petty, but how many times will I have to justify to myself that it doesn’t bother me when he holds his fork like he’s pitching hay, or talks with food in his mouth, or slurps his soup, or is rude to the waiter or dismissive to the receptionist, or, or , or………

“Ultimately, I didn’t feel like he was right for me,” she said. “It’s uncomfortable for my family and friends right now, so I thought I’d get away and let those who seem so heavily involved in my decision simmer down.”

I think Ellen was smart to call it off.  She knew she couldn’t change his behavior after marriage. She wasn’t apologetic for her decision. She did what she had to do to prevent a stressful marriage from disintegrating into a stressful divorce.

“Don’t You Trust Me?”

How many women hear this question from their fiancée before the wedding?  It happens more often than you think.

Who wants to spoil the euphoria of wedding plans and the excitement of honeymoon planning by discussing money? Many women won’t take a chance of bringing up a subject which, in the past, has made her future husband impatient, sometimes even angry?

“Why are you always thinking about money?” he had said. “Didn’t we agree we’d talk about that after the honeymoon?” This is not a good sign for how he will handle discussions of money after you’re married.

If you wait until after the honeymoon, it’s too late. Once you say “I Do”, you become one half of a legal and financial contractual unit called a marriage. You don’t like to think of your marriage that way, but in the eyes of the law, that’s what it is. Every financial decision your husband makes, with your knowledge, or without it, will affect you in the future.

How unfortunate that couples will seek premarital counseling for sex, religion, parenting or conflict  resolution, but few sign on for financial coaching and money issues.  Few women plan on being widowed or divorced. Too many cede control of finances to their husband, leaving them unprepared to cope on their own in case their marriage ends.

Don’t let this happen to you. Get involved in the finances before you marry. Don’t wait till after the honeymoon. It’s not about trusting your future husband. It’s about understanding your joint finances, asking questions because you deserve answers and participating as an equal partner.

Brides Rethinking Extravagant Weddings

Many brides- to-be are beginning to function in the real world, trading extravagant credit card weddings for an event they can actually afford. These savvy brides are beginning to run their numbers , rearrange priorities and ask questions that really matter.

For example, wouldn’t $30,000 pay off the graduate school loans? Do I really need 200 wedding guests? If a wedding lunch costs half of a wedding dinner, do we really need moonlight? The iPod is paid for;  do we really need the DJ’s banter in between dance numbers? Perhaps most important, should my parents really be cutting into their retirement savings to pay for my wedding?

Finally, a glimmer of reason is emerging. Couples are moving up wedding dates for year-end tax breaks and substantial savings on health insurance premiums. Some are combining plans to marry with a year-end vacation.

And then there’s the ultimate voice of reason – the bride who realizes that the cost of her wedding day could be the down payment on a house. She is smart enough to say “The wedding is one day. The house is going to last a lot longer than that”.

Unfortunately, with two million weddings annually in the U.S. the $160 billion wedding industry isn’t tightening its belt just yet. Let’s give it a few more years of savvy brides.

An Honest Letter to the Bride

I’m thrilled that you’ve found the man of your dreams. But frankly, your choosing to be married at a posh resort outside Aspen is going to present financial challenges for us, your invited guests.

Was nothing available closer to home? Ater all, most of us live in San Francisco. Yes, I know you’re sentimental about having met in Aspen, when you took a tumble on the ski slope and he helped you up, and you just knew you were meant for each other. But fifty people will be traveling to Aspen when you could have been married on the slopes at Lake Tahoe.

Sure you’re special, but you’re costing me a lot more than I intended to spend. I know you managed to get deluxe accommodations for all of us and the best meals and entertainment. The $1,200 it will cost me to be at your wedding ( not including the gift from the registry) is really a financial stretch, especially since your out-of-town wedding is the third one I’ve been invited to this year.

Of course, it’s your special day, and a wedding is (theoretically) once in a lifetime. But promise me, that if you marry again ( and statistics show that’s not impossible), you’ll  either pay my way for your wedding weekend or you’ll remarry closer to home.


A Most Beautiful Organic Wedding

Of course you notice their beauty – the groom tall, lean, golden in the California sun, he in formal grey, but with the whimsy of suspenders, she, demure in flowing waves of white chiffon, baby tears woven in her hair and her bouquet.

What really strikes you is how comfortable they are with each other, best friends who also happen to be bathed in romantic love. Then you notice their tenderness, the softness with which they gaze upon each other. You watch them talk, the tenderness and attention they show each other, how proud they seem of the other, how gentle, yet how strong and steadfast they have been in the fours years since they first met and grew in love.

They described it to me as an “organic” wedding, a ceremony that grew naturally from their sentimental love of family heirlooms and their sensitivity to the joining of two families with different religious tradtions.

They planned for their wedding to be outdoors in their beloved wilderness, where they could share their love of birdsong and nature with their invited guests.Their friends pitched tents and talked until the wee hours.  Their parents and grandparents, lodged in comfortable cabins, perhaps dreaming of how different things were when they were married.

When cheers of mazeltov rang out as the pastor pronounced them husband and wife, I couldn’t help thinking how lovely a wedding can be when it truly includes the shared philosophy of bride and groom. The food was simple, delicious and abundant. Because they did so much of the work themselves, they began the  process of building something together from the start.

I didn’t fully understand what organic meant until after the wedding, but the effect is clear when you see it in action. Something that’s organic is whole because nothing artificial is added. It’s an ‘organic’ event that celebrates the uniqueness of a wedding, but reflects the values and visions of the couple.

Long life and happiness to my granddaughter and her beloved husband.