The Question That Tells Me If They'll Make It

I always ask my clients one question: "How do you want to feel on your wedding day?"

Unlike the other questions that they've heard a thousand times — “How'd you meet?” “When's the big day?” “How'd he propose?” — they don't have a well-practiced response. This question makes them pause.

How do they want to feel? No one's ever asked.

The couples who tell me they want to feel connected to their partner on their wedding day — They'll make it. They realize that the wedding isn't the goal of the relationship; it's a recognition of what they value within that relationship.

The couples who tell me they want "a perfect day" — I worry about them. Nothing is perfect, not even (and perhaps especially not) your wedding day.

There are too many details, too many personalities, too many factors to make for a flawless day. If the couple expects perfection, they will be disappointed. And if they expect that perfect day to be a "test" or to provide "proof" of what the rest of their marriage will be, they'll be even more disappointed.

Having a happy wedding is not the same as having a happy relationship. A wedding is not evidence.

It's not our fault that we feel this way about weddings. Couples — women — have been told for literal decades that their wedding is supposed to be The Perfect Day. If it's not, it's not only a "bad sign," it's THEIR FAULT.

But there's a second part of that story that never gets told: You're made to feel this way because it's good for business.

"The most significant thing that the wedding industry is selling is fantasy, about the wedding day itself and the marriage that follows it," writes Rebecca Mead in her book One Perfect Day. The wedding industry sells the notion that "a wedding, if done right, will provide fulfillment … and will herald a similarly flawless marriage."

And who's there, waiting in the wings, ready to tell you how to do a wedding "right"? The same industry peddling the product. "If a bride buys into the wedding industry, she is promised the happily-ever-after that she, in her big white dress and tiara, deserves," writes Mead.

You know what you really deserve?


Whether that's choosing an "alternative" option when wedding planning or simply feeling OK to say "that's not for us," keep in mind that question: How do you want to feel on your wedding day? The answer will get you where you want to be.

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