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Each year, millions of couples wed, and millions of relationships — brides, grooms, families, and friends — are undermined by power struggles, fights, and stress before the big event arrives. Often overrun by others' demands, couples may be too exhausted to experience the outpouring of love meant for them. Now savvy brides and grooms can turn to The Smart Couple's Guide to the Wedding of Your Dreams. It encourages couples to explore their wedding desires, be realistic about budgets, and be firm in their ...
Each year, millions of couples wed, and millions of relationships — brides, grooms, families, and friends — are undermined by power struggles, fights, and stress before the big event arrives. Often overrun by others' demands, couples may be too exhausted to experience the outpouring of love meant for them. Now savvy brides and grooms can turn to The Smart Couple's Guide to the Wedding of Your Dreams. It encourages couples to explore their wedding desires, be realistic about budgets, and be firm in their decisions, and it walks them through practical steps to make these goals a reality. Cowritten by two therapists, themselves a happily married team, the book emphasizes recapturing the meaning and joy of the occasion while making informed choices together. Each chapter provides exercises and suggestions to help with specific decisions on vows, location, parents' roles, and more, ultimately showing couples how to express their style while honoring family and religious traditions. These decision-making skills also help establish precedent for a long and happy marriage.
My husband and I planned everything together, down to the tiniest detail, and we discussed everything. By making sure we kept our love front and center, we had an awesome time doing it all! Later we realized it was invaluable practice for planning the rest of our life together. -Laurie Stevens, high school teacher, Idaho
What's most important to you - impressing your guests, outdoing your cousin, or falling in love with each other again and again before and all through your wedding day and honeymoon? While the answer might seem simple, even obvious, many elements of the traditional wedding could prevent your love from being at the very top of your priority list.
Traditionally, the bride was expected to join with her mother to plan and make all preparations for the wedding day. While this practice might have made sense historically (as we will discuss later), it denies the deep meaning of modern-day marriage between two freely consenting adults. How? By establishing very different roles and responsibilities for the bride and groom, keeping the groom on the outskirts of his own important transition, setting a poor precedent for how the couple will relate to each other once the hoopla isover.
Art, now happily married after a ceremony he designed with his new wife, Pat, speaks not only for millions of grooms who were left out of planning their own weddings, but also for countless brides who missed sharing the experience with the men they loved: "The first time I married, I felt like I was in the way.... Everything up to and including the wedding had nothing to do with support for the marriage we were committing to. In fact, our relationship - the whole point - was never even mentioned as the centerpiece of the event. Instead, the topics were how large a wedding [to have], what kinds of details were necessary to make it impressive, the social status of our choice of honeymoon location, and so on."
Such stories illustrate why we are encouraged to see more and more couples breaking free from automatic expectations about weddings. By claiming authority to create their weddings on their own terms, they are turning the entire process into a loving adventure.
We're delighted that you are claiming your readiness to jointly discover the elements that will make your wedding your own. You can design your wedding to be truly perfect, and that is precisely what we want for you. And that is what we are dedicated to helping you do.
The Perfect Wedding
The words perfect and wedding just seem to go together, don't they? It's almost as if they are a natural pair. After all, when the two of you say "I do" and commit yourselves to each other, you will be fulfilling an intrinsic and necessary biological drive. You also will be following the spiritual inspiration that draws a man and woman to unite for the purpose of their growth and development as human beings. That is not to be taken lightly. In fact, a moment of such enormous significance should be perfect.
However, the word perfect, rather than suggesting the radiance and wonder of the wedding promise, often pressures a bride to suffer more stress, more worry, more fear, and more aggressive competition with other brides than she would if she wasn't obsessed with perfection. She feels more of a need to control and is anxious about losing control, which sabotages her enjoyment of the wedding day and the planning that leads up to it. Finally, on what might be the only day of its kind in her life, she's exhausted. As one bride, Maureen, told us, "I couldn't wait to have it all over with. I just wanted to kick off my shoes and soak in a hot bath."
What's the purpose of all that effort? Shouldn't it be your transformation into husband and wife? Isn't that the meaning of marriage and the reason that you're calling everyone together to join in celebration?
Rather than fret over what might be "perfect" pew decorations, reception centerpieces, or favors for your guests, focus on expressing the love you share. That's the deep inspiration for what you are doing; that's what the moment of marriage is all about. Rather than losing yourselves in the impulse to outdo or copy what everyone else is doing, listen to your hearts. Listen to your most private yearnings. Confide in each other - what you're thinking, what you're feeling, what you're afraid of, and what delights you. Discuss your highest vision of your marriage and everything preceding it. The perfection you're looking for will emerge when you share your deepest truths.
Perfection suggests completion. However, the experience of completion will mean something different to each of you. During the busy time leading up to the big day, it's essential that you share not only the details of how you want your ceremony and reception to look and feel, but also the details of how you want to honor the love you share. By opening yourselves you can move beyond the obvious to discover the type of wedding you truly desire, and you will be establishing your readiness for married life.
Talk about your impressions, your intuitions, and your dreams for your wedding day. It doesn't matter how specific or vague, how seemingly petty or grandiose, your thoughts might be. What matters is that you both make space for a jointly created understanding of all that your wedding means to you. Allow a picture of your perfect wedding to emerge, an image that takes its shape from the input you each contribute, an image that will change and evolve as you proceed together. That most privately held image is your richest and best source of inspiration as you determine the "perfect" wedding for the two of you.
For Jeff and Diane, the perfect wedding was, as Diane wrote to us, "actually very funny. Jeff is a stand-up comedian, and I had just written a popcorn cookbook, For Popcorn Lovers Only (see GritsBits.com). So the whole affair centered around a surprise popcorn wedding ring, a three-tiered popcorn wedding cake that I made, and a popcorn wedding bouquet, and the guests threw ... popcorn. I made a three-tiered replacement cake to show on Regis & Kathie Lee later that year." Jeff and Diane honored the humor that is so important to them by making it the inspiration for their perfect wedding.
Brian Garcia and his bride, Melanie Hodge, created their event together as an important part of their image of perfection. Like many men and women we talked with, Brian was pleased that grooms are finally getting attention as active and dedicated wedding partners. He said, "It's about time we men got a little press." Although the stereotype that men aren't interested in things such as wedding planning endures, countless grooms and husbands gave us evidence to the contrary. James Rocknowski wrote, "All the pressure that's put on the couple (or the couple puts on each other) to plan a 'perfect' wedding to mainly benefit those who attend takes away from the spirituality, the true meaning, and the magical moments of the wedding ceremony. Couples get too wrapped up in all the details and miss the soulfulness of the event."
Excerpted from Smart Couples The smart couple's guide to the wedding of your dreams by Judith Sherven James Sniechowski Copyright © 2005 by Judith Sherven and James Sniechowski. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted September 25, 2006
As relationship trainers, motivational speakers, and workshop leaders, the authors of this book have credentials. Drs. Sherven & Sniechowski wrote Be Loved for Who You Really Are (St. Martin¿s Press, 2003), The New Intimacy (Health Communications, 1997), and Opening to Love 365 Days a Year (Health Communications, 2000). Married since 1988, they also have the personal experience of marriage longevity in the difficult-to- navigate labyrinth of relationships. Their co- authored book, The Smart Couple¿s Guide has personality as well as practical advice. Divided into fifteen chapters, Drs. Sherven & Sniechowski thoroughly discuss aspects of the wedding plan. The authors offer true-life cases from hundreds of couples as examples of those who chose to plan their wedding together. These examples are used in a variety of settings: from ¿Popping the Question¿ to ¿To Change Names, or Not.¿ Dispersed throughout the book are insights from the authors¿ own co-created wedding. The authors even research the history behind wedding customs, yet empower the wedding couples to co-create their specific style of wedding according to the themes and traditions of their own choosing. The Smart Couple¿s Guide¿is not a wedding planner, but a useful source of suggestions that illustrate how a couple can plan their wedding (and marriage) together. The authors state: ¿By living out your commitment as a couple throughout the planning process, you will experience new possibilities and new levels of awareness.¿ Pre-marital relationship building skills is a main theme of the book the authors cite values such as honesty and integrity as the foundation of the wedding, not the number of tiers on the cake or names on the invitations. To strengthen those skills, the authors give the reader questionnaires regarding ¿The Ten Key Issues of Married Life¿ and ¿Financial Truth.¿ Whether it is the reader¿s first or fourth marriage, whether the reader is age thirty or seventy, The Smart Couples Guide to the Wedding of Your Dreams is a must-read prior to the ¿big day.¿ After all, the wedding day is a step into the maze of marriage. This book will steer the reader by offering clarity and reality to the couple as they journey together.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2006
How many weddings are so stressful that the most exciting thing to the newlyweds is getting the darned thing over with? I know the feeling and so do a lot of others who¿ve gone through the ¿traditional wedding routine.¿ You know, the one where the bride-to-be is the total organizer, worker, chooser, and the groom-to-be is out of the picture until the big day. The stress and anxiety of these scenarios will be lessened if not vanquished for any couple who is fortunate enough to read ¿The Smart Couple¿s Guide To The Wedding of Your Dreams.¿ How cleaver, inventive, and couple-enhancing can one book be? Judith Sherven and James Sniechowski, best-selling husband and wife relationship team, have put together a book that will make heroes out of those of us who give it as an engagement gift. The success of any relationship relies partly on synergy. That's what happens for a couple who is made stronger in their decisions and philosophy by acting together as a power-sharing team rather than two people acting independently. This book guides the wedding couple to experience that throughout their wedding planning - from engagement through the honeymoon. That way they can experience a romantic yet sound start to their wedded life. I was intrigued all the way through this book by the inventive and creative things that most pre-wedding couples never even think about. While I don¿t yet have a wedding planned, I thoroughly enjoyed the book from that angle alone. Tom Justin. Las Vegas, NVWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.