"Helping people who help people"

I can’t often watch TV, read a magazine article or website article about wedding planning without groaning.

Take the Bachelorette season finale… spoiler alert:

Did you notice she said both “I have a huge family that I want at my wedding” and pretty quickly when asked about a wedding said a date AND location (in the Bahamas.)

We have a few wedding principles here that she broke. Honestly you could see her dad in a state of shock! His parents laughed nervously and said, “we’ll be there!”

Principle: Make decisions tentatively until you know the reaction from that idea. This doesn’t mean you always listen to others opinions, but it’s certaintly easier for you AND your parents if you say, “we are thinking of getting married in the Bahamas, maybe in May… do you think that will work for everyone?” Rather than “announce it.” This leaves parents no room to disagree or bring up “yeah, but” comments without putting you on the defensive or making you upset.

Principle: It’s your day, but it’s not only your day! Seriously, you’d think the world revolved around her and yet she *talks* about how important family is. Has she given any thought, in her engagement bliss, about the reality of the entire family having to fly to the Bahamas? The expense? The date? What if people are graduating, or have finals (May 9th) or just can’t afford such an expensive trip? Again, this doesn’t mean everyone else gets to dictate your wedding, but it’s certaintly a big deal to have a destination wedding, especially with a large family. It’s a much smarter idea to figure out of this will be more painful than pleasurable to everyone involved. You can go there for your honeymoon or anniversary. Do you REALLY need to invite everyone on an expensive flight, expensive hotel, to somewhere special only to the two of you?

And I know the Bachelorette is weird and secretive, but it was a bad idea for her to announce any wedding plans when their families had *just* learned they were engaged. Talk about no time to get to know the other family. It can make parents and siblings really nervous when such a monumental shift in the family is happening, live, on national TV with rapid fire speed and a wedding date and location already set.

– Elizabeth Doherty Thomas, is a co-founder of The First Dance, along with Marriage and Family therapist father Dr. William J. Doherty. The First Dance was a Modern Bride Trendsetter award winner in 2007 for taking on the complex family dynamics of wedding planning. Visit The First Dance for more advice on working through the people stresses of wedding planning as a couple, with your families, and how to strengthen your upcoming marriage through this enormous first task of married life.


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