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How To Survive Planning A Wedding You Never Dreamed Of

Adrienne Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage Therapist and nationally recognized relationship expert, shares her tips for Staying Sane While Planning A Wedding You Never Dreamed Of.  Adrienne is the owner of THE ENGAGEMENT COACH, and provides exclusive, customized premarital counseling to her clients nationwide.

I was never the girl that “dreamed about my wedding since I was four years old.”  There’s no wedding box at my mother’s house full of charms, color choices and magazine cutouts.  To be honest, I never thought I would even get married and I was okay with that.  I was successful in my career, lived alone, and was nearing the end of my Master’s degree.

And then I met Dave, and soon after we got engaged.  I was elated, but I still wasn’t “that girl.”  I didn’t want a wedding, I just wanted to elope and marry my best friend, who I loved more than anything.

But Dave (and my mother) had different plans. They wanted a wedding, a real wedding, and the pressure wasn’t fun.  And so, wedding planning began.

I see it every day in my premarital counseling practice.  Couples (mostly brides) planning a wedding they never dreamed of having.  Stress, anxiety, and fighting replace excitement, passion and intimacy.  Pressure from friends, family expectations, and too many “should’s” leave the once-happy-couple unsure of their relationship and future.

If you find yourself resenting your wedding, here’s what you can do:

1. Re-evaluate Your Priorities as a Couple

Sit down with your fiancé first (before anyone else), and really lay out what’s important to you both for your wedding AND marriage.  Remember, this isn’t just about your wedding day. Your wedding is the first day of your marriage, and that should represent your love and future, not just the party that everyone else is hoping for. 

If you both agree on what’s important, great!  If not, then each of you pick 1 – 2 items that are non-negotiable and really need to be a part of your special day. 

2. Share Your Priorities with Others

I’m not saying this will be easy, but it will be necessary. Pressure from your friends and families (especially if they’re paying) can get out of control, but remember that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.  I’m not saying just throw everyone else and their opinions to the wayside, but I am saying you have a choice. 

Just be prepared for your choices to have consequences.  For example, if you choose to scale back and have a small wedding, and mom & dad were originally going to pay for the wedding, be prepared to lose that money if they don’t agree with you.

3. Remember What Your Wedding is About

Your wedding is not your marriage, and your wedding is not the rest of your life.

What is the rest of your life (hopefully) is your love for each other and your commitment to be together no matter what life throws at you. Remember this when you’re trying to figure out what you want. 

I always tell my couples, no one will ever make your marriage a priority except for you.  My best advice is to make your marriage a priority before you’re even married, and that starts with protecting your relationship and love for each other.

4. Throw Out the Should’s & Negative Thoughts

“What’s wrong with me?”  “Why can’t I be one of those girls who loves wedding planning?”  “I should be more excited about this!”  “Does this mean I don’t really want to get married?”

Sound familiar?  If so, then it’s time to stop being so hard on yourself.  Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones, and focus on what really matters to you and your fiancé.

Weddings aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal.  Just because you’re not fawning over Pinterest all day at work doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful, meaningful wedding that is your own style. 

Leave the grandiose Pinterest weddings to the brides that really want them, and go plan something that you can look back on and be in love with!

Adrienne offers both in-person and online premarital and relationship counseling, and is passionate about helping couples create a beautiful, successful marriage.  Please visit her website at for more information and to contact her directly.

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