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I would like to recommend that brides stick to their intuition when planning the wedding, making your invite list, picking your vendors, saying yes to getting married and all that good stuff.  I know it sounds simple, but there are many things that get in the way of our intuition, or reasons why we don’t follow it.

In planning my wedding, there were two places where this showed up and where I didn’t listen to my gut.  One was with my dress.  Now, this may sound silly to some people as today is my one-year anniversary and I’m still harping about my dress.  I told my husband yesterday that I officially decided that my dress wasn’t the one I really wanted to get married in and his response (which made me laugh) was, “That’s ridiculous.  Men don’t deal with ridiculous things.”  And, really, I wouldn’t expect him to get it.  And, of course, my PARENTS didn’t want to hear it.  They paid for the damn thing!

I got my dress at the first place I went to.  My parents flew into LA and we did this whirlwind weekend where we looked at a gazillion locations and tried on dresses and whatnot.  We were in this one dress shop for three hours trying all kinds of things on.  I tried on one dress that was kind of along the lines of what I was going for and my mom, in all her tactfulness, basically said it looked like I was from a third world country.  Awesome.  Then, my dad, who, God bless him, loves that his daughter is at least mildly attractive with a decent body, kept prompting that I should find a dress that shows off my figure.  So, we found a dress that they LOVED and I LIKED.  It’s a gorgeous dress, don’t get me wrong and it looked great.  It’s just not what I truly wanted.  Here’s the dress I wore:  (and, duh, me)

mydress

And, I knew in my gut that this wasn’t the dress for me!  I tried convincing myself in quite a number of hilarious ways.  In Sheryl Paul’s book The Conscious Bride, she talks about the dress being the amulet that you wear to transition from being single to being wife – from being a princess in someone else’s court to a queen in your own.  So, I went on this whole kick that it was my “queen” dress.  And that, by the time I got to the wedding, it would be the dress I truly wanted.  Wow, huh?  Good stuff, there.

I found myself looking for the kind of dress I wanted in my bridal party dress and in my rehearsal dinner dress.  And, funny enough, still didn’t get it in those!  After the wedding, I kept thinking about it.  People, I even dragged my mom into a David’s Bridal not too long ago to see what was there.  Luckily, I did NOT act on the idea of taking off my wedding ring and trying on dresses.

Anyway, the kind of dress I wanted was something a little more flowy, romantic and feminine, even bordering on bohemian.  I kept saying I wanted something with little romantic sleeves or straps. I didn’t picture gems on my dress.

So, I think I finally figured out WHY I chose this dress.  I kept thinking to myself that it couldn’t JUST be about the dress, that there had to be something deeper.  As a bridal coach, I kept thinking about the areas where the transition can affect you and where it was biggest for me, and I think I finally figured it out.  One of the places where the transition was big for me is separating from the root family.  I’m an only child and very close to both my parents – and I have always called them for advice and opinions.  So, when they kept saying how much THEY loved the dress, it was really an opportunity for me to begin that separation process and say, “Thanks, but it’s not what I’m looking for.  Let’s keep looking.”  It would have begun my separation.  Instead, I didn’t want to let go so I went with what they were saying.

And, so, it is what it is.  I, however, have some plans about going to Bali before our 5th anniversary and renewing our vows there in a tropical wedding with the Bali people where I shall wear the dress I dream of! Which may change by then.

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My one year anniversary is Monday – yes, I got married on a Sunday – and I’m trying to figure out something special that’s more than just dinner.  Any ideas?  And, I’ll write more on this topic later.

OK, then, I’ll start. 🙂

I would have indulged in the engagement process more.  Like I said in my first post, I wasn’t one of those girls who grew up planning her wedding.  I was pretty girly, but for whatever reason, I was never full of the whole idea that some glorious day in the distant future my knight will ride up on a white horse and whisk me away and we would live in marital bliss for all eternity.  And, neither were most of my close friends.  Those girls, to me, were foo-fooy (you know) and silly.

So, when my husband-to-be popped the question, I was excited, but I was cool.  I played it all very cool.  And, honestly, I felt pretty calm about it.  (Which created a whole other feeling of, “Shouldn’t I be more excited?  Something’s wrong.” But that’s for another post.)  Not too long after I got engaged, however, “bride head” started to creep in.  The details were swarming in my brain.  I MUST have a very large binder with lots of dividers!!  I NEED to subscribe to wedding websites and obsess over dresses!  And, oh Lord, what is my THEME??!!

But, I didn’t want to be too crazy about it.  After all, I wasn’t that girl.  And neither were my girlfriends.  I kept telling everyone I didn’t want to be obnoxious about it.  But I kind of did.  Every where I went I wanted to tell people that I was engaged.  Heck, I just wanted them to intuitively KNOW I was engaged and promptly proceed to fawn over my ring and be facinated while I told them my plans.  But I never told anyone that…because I wasn’t that girl.

Oh, and as for my BACHELORETTE PARTY!  I had PLANS for that!  I only had four bridesmaids.  Two were in LA with me, one was in Nashville and one was in Indiana.  I figured the two far away would keep telling me that they couldn’t afford to come, but that they’d surprise me and show up.  My two LA ladies would pick them up at the airport and they’d all come get me, throw a cheap veil on my head and off we’d go!  Out of town and up the coast!  Dinner, drinks, dancing, girl time!  All the while letting EVERYONE we came across know that I…WAS…GETTING…MARRIED!!  But I didn’t tell them.  I hoped they’d just know.

It’s not like they did a crappy job by any means!  The two from out of town couldn’t afford to come in, so my other two took me to get a facial during the day, then over to one of their places to get ready for the evening, then out to a wine a tapas bar and finally to see a band play that we liked.  It was a great evening.  Earlier, though, I’d said that I didn’t want anything crazy like a big penis headband.  So, they took that to mean I didn’t want anything on my head, cheap veil included.  We didn’t tell anyone it was my bachelorette party.  I guess I could have, but I totally wanted them to.  I had set myself up with such high expectations of what I wanted this to be that I ended up really sad at the end of the evening.  And, really, it wasn’t about the headband and going up the coast.  It was about these traditional rites of passage that we have set up and being able to FEEL them.  And being able to EXPRESS what we want and need throughout this process.  And saying, screw being cool about it all.  Well, that’s what I needed to say.

Somewhere along the way, I thought I would do a little weekly ritual of a bath and a mud mask or something and maybe journal.  Just something that would help me with my journey that wouldn’t intrude too much on time with my friends.  I mean, I didn’t want to be THAT girl who wouldn’t shut up about it all.  So, I figured I’d do it alone.  Well, it kind of went down the crapper when I never did it!

My mom is a play-it-cool kind of lady, too.  Maybe where I got it from.  She was in Nashville.  She came out once before the wedding with my dad and we found the location and dress that weekend.  I went home for Christmas and saw my parents then, but she didn’t come out again until the wedding.  It’s been almost a year and she’s still kicking herself for not coming out for my dress fitting. Having my mom at my fitting would have been a lovely memory and such a great moment for the two of us during this journey (as she was on her own journey of watching her only child get married).  But, we weren’t those girls.  Who has time to stop work just for a dress fitting?  But, really, it’s not just a dress fitting.  It’s a moment to share as you start to let go.

I don’t mean to make it all sound so meloncholy or like I’m wallowing in something not worth of wallowing in, really!  It’s just…looking back…I wouldn’t have played it so cool.  I would have indulged in being engaged, in sharing it with everyone, letting my uncoolness light my path!  That, and I would have spoken up about what I really wanted and tried to let go of expectations.  There are massive expectations that instantly smack you in the face when you get engaged!

What are you expecting?  Anything unrealistic?  Anything you can just ask for?

Enjoy the process.  Indulge.  ENGAGE in it.  Love it.  It’s yours.

I do belive that things are what they are and that everything happens for a reason.  Would I go back if I could?  …maybe 🙂

Welcome to the Official Maiden to Married Blog!  Let me tell you the deal and tell you what I’m hoping for.  Basically, I’d love for this blog to have contributions from brides, newlyweds and wives.  All about the wedding journey.  The process/transformation that happened/is happening for you from being single to the wedding to being married and into the first year of marriage.  Not so much the planning and the logistics as the emotional, psychological and inner life.

Here’s a little of my story:

I got married April 2008.  Early in my engagement (a 6-month engagement), a friend of mine brought to my attention a book called The Conscious Bride by Sheryl Paul.  This book changed my engagement experience.  It’s all about what I like to refer to as the “underbelly” of the engagement process.  Most of us, upon getting engaged, are inundated with the idea that it should be “the happiest time of our lives.”  While it’s certainly a beautiful time, a time to be celebrated, it’s not always the happiest.  Many brides experience anxiety, doubt, confusion and fear along their way to the alter.  One of my favorite quotes comes from Sheryl Paul’s book:

For some, their engagement is a joyous time filled with planning and animated discussion about their wedding day and future life together. For most, however, the engagement is a combination of excitement, stress, bliss and confusion. The roots of the excitement and happiness are clear; it is the stress and confusion of this time that have been ignored.

If this is a new idea for you, some have a tendency to think that this about the “bridezilla,” but it’s not.  I was dubbed (yes, I’m super proud of this) as being one of the best brides the lovely people at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach (CA) have ever worked with.  I tried to be a very calm and collected bride.  I was never one to plan my wedding when I was little.  But, for whatever reason, once I got engaged “bride head” took over and I was off.  Like I said, I tried to be calm and collected, but there was no doubt that the upcoming wedding details consumed most of my thinking – and daily activities.

There were times when I felt sad, times when I felt completely unconnected from my fiance and times I just didn’t feel much at all.  During these “negative” times, I usually thought that something was wrong, which is what most brides think.  Little do we realize how commonplace these feelings really are and how much a part of the transformation they are.

As Sheryl Paul points out, there are many other cultures that prepare a woman for marriage.  They take this rite of passage very seriously and know what a big life change it is.  In our culture, however, the emphasis is placed on making that one day perfect.  Making that ONE, 24-hour period, pretty, striking, eye-catching, all with the aim that it will be the HAPPIEST day of your life.  What we’re not told is that it only lasts as long as any 24-hour period can last and that we don’t remember much of it, anyway.  Thank God for photos! (SIDE NOTE: Seriously, invest in a good photographer!)  Some points are very vivid.  Others, as a friend recently pointed out to me about her wedding, are recalled only through the stories of those who were there.

So, before I write a novel on the subject, let me move on.  Through the process of my own wedding and what I have witnessed in others, I have begun to make it my career to be a bridal coach – a life coach for brides – working with brides (and any family or friends) who are looking to be truly present through the time of engagement and on their wedding day.  Brides who feel anything other than super happy all the time (and there are those out there who feel this way, and I’d love to hear from you, too!).

But, I am not ultimately promoting myself as a bridal coach in this blog.  I would like this to be a forum for brides and newlyweds from brides, newlyweds and wives.  What is your journey like?  What was your journey like? There are a few books out there on this topic, but I want to get up-to-the-minute with it.  Real time.  What’s happening NOW?  What happend before that you want to share with those going through it now?

Although I am open to most discussions about the above, I’d love to start off with the following questions:

What do you feel you weren’t told about this journey that you wish you had been?  What do you feel you were told about that isn’t/wasn’t at all what others said it was?

AND/OR

(I try not to have regrets as we can’t change the past, but…) What would you say is your biggest regret?  What would you have done differently on your wedding/marriage journey?

I invite all brides, newlyweds, wives, divorcees, friends and family of brides to contribute, be honest and know that you’re helping out a fellow woman.

Thank you!