I’m writing to remind you that the license to marry is not a license to be a spoiled brat. The wedding-industrial complex may have convinced you that this the most important day of your life.
The truth is, if you believe that, you will find that you’re queen for a day, and then left alone on a defunct throne. If you have drunk the Kool-Aid that the wedding is just about you, you will find yourself just as dead in your future family as did the followers of Jim Jones who drank the poisonous Kool-Aid. Far better to share a bit on this day and revel in friendship and support throughout your marriage.
Kool-Aid and weddings may have been appropriate when you lined up your teddy bears for the pretend nuptials of Ken and Barbie, but it is not exactly the pairing that comes immediately to mind when we are planning real weddings.
Of course, it’s not just the bride who thinks this is about “ME ME ME!”
Your parents may think this is their opportunity to promote themselves socially or celebrate their hard parenting work. Or maybe your stepparents may think they should be front and center. Your siblings may think they deserve at least second billing. Other family members may have their own ideas for a wedding that caters to their own needs. It would indeed be wonderful if all these folks were willing to bend. This does not always happen. Rather than master designers, brides and grooms find themselves as master arbitrators. The wedding is practice for many future negotiations.
Brides and grooms who consider only their own desires to construct the “perfect” wedding might find that instead they have demonstrated their own imperfections, their selfishness, their lack of consideration and their lack of gratitude. Your guests won’t be sharing the joy or celebrating the love between them. Your hope that the attendees will be praising the food, the flowers, and the bridesmaids’ dresses will be drowned by unhappy guests who spend their time nursing their own bruised egos.
Rather than creating the perfect artistic performance, you and your groom should aim to show yourselves as great negotiators and good compromisers. Present yourselves as mature individuals who understand that this is a moment to bond your two families. Unless of course, you believe in that other myth that you will walk forever into the sunset of happiness with never a wrinkle in life.
A perfect day does not substitute for a good beginning. It’s not worth it to sacrifice future familial happiness for what will seem like insignificant minutiae later. We need family and friends because none of us cannot serve all the needs of another. So begin your marriage by including others, by acknowledging the change in their lives this marks. Thank your parents, acknowledge your siblings and be considerate of your friends.
And remember, while Barbie may have the perfect figure (although that is debatable) she is not fun to snuggle!
Enjoy the day AND your friends and family,
Ruth Nemzoff, The Expert 🙂
Author of Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children and Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family