Stop Planning Your Wedding & Start Planning Your Marriage
Dr. Jess     
Worried about your wedding details instead of on the partner you're marrying? Here's how to refocus your attention on the important things.

I have received many questions this week about the supposed "disasters" faced by the bride-to-be during a wedding, and I'm happy to weigh in on the topic.

Here are a few thoughts.

Your wedding day is a celebration of your love. The day itself is not a good foundation for a relationship, because it represents only a brief snapshot in time and in many cases, it becomes a performative event.

You need to stop planning your wedding and start planning your relationship. You need to stop worrying about your wedding and start working on your relationship. Considering divorce rates, infidelity rates and marital satisfaction rates that consistently decline over time, you have bigger things to worry about than a loud kid, a drunk relative or an imperfect food spread.


General advice for dealing with so-called 'disasters' on your wedding day:


  • Reframe your understanding of a disaster. If you think that food mistakes, loud guests or flowers with brown spots constitute disaster, you might want to consider just how charmed your life really is.
  • Know that none of these factors or hiccups will impact your relationship, and the relationship is at the core of the wedding day. Regardless of whether the steak is over-done or your uncle gets drunk, you can still have a happy, long-lasting relationship. These little inconveniences will not affect your relationship moving forward. Try to keep things in perspective.
  • Have a laugh and enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about whether or not other people are enjoying themselves — focus on you. It’s your day to celebrate and you’re paying for the party, so go ahead and indulge. Serve yourself dinner first. Choose music that you love. Spend time with guests who make you feel loved and worthy. If you focus on your own pleasure, you’ll likely be less worried about the little things.

    Sometimes things go wrong, so here are my thoughts on a few wedding day challenges…


If the caterer cancels...


This may be unfortunate, inconvenient and stressful, but it’s not a disaster that will affect your relationship with your new spouse in the long-run. Far worse things can and will happen over the course of your lifetime together including health issues and loss of loved ones, so if you can’t handle party snafus, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to manage real challenges when they arise.

Of course, you want to feed your guests, so ask your best friends or closest family members to help out and assign them specific courses (e.g. appetizers, main courses, salads, desserts). Have them reach out to local ice cream shops, pizza joints, burger bars and/or sandwich shops to let them know what has happened and how many people you need to feed. Most local vendors will be happy to help! In a jam, you can run to your local grocery or drug store and buy trays of fruits, veggies, cheeses, desserts and even candy.

The longevity or state of your relationship does not depend upon your guests’ bellies, so have a laugh and make an alternative plan knowing that your love for your partner is unaffected.


If your parents are fighting...


This can be very stressful, whether they are fighting with one another or fighting with your new spouse’s parents. Once again, if you refocus on your own needs and the connection you have with your partner, it can help to put things in perspective. Sneak off with your partner and take a moment to hug, kiss and stare into one another’s eyes. Don’t bother rehashing the story of your parents’ fights — simply take a moment to be together and reflect on the fact that you’ve just made the biggest commitment of your lives together.

If your parents are being disruptive, see if you can find a private space where they can hash things out without disturbing the rest of your guests.

And don’t be afraid to change plans. If your parents’ fighting is stressing you out, switch things up and do something that helps you to relax. Skip your “first” dance and ask your DJ to play a song that makes you move and lifts your spirits. Or start with dessert or your wedding cake first if indulging in a little sugar boosts your mood. It’s okay to break the rules if it helps to ease the tension.


If the flowers aren’t as vibrant as you had hoped or they’re browning around the edges...


The solution is simple: get over yourself and don’t let it wreck your day. And if you feel your vendor hasn’t delivered goods as promised, ask a friend who is good at communicating and negotiating to deal with them next week. They can snap a few pics and call your vendor on Monday to negotiate a partial refund. Whatever you do, don’t let it ruin your day. Have fun and forget about the flowers!


If your bridesmaids let you down (e.g. they were late for your pre-ceremony meet-up or they were complaining during the long photo session)...


Friends will inevitably let you down, no matter how great they are. No one is perfect — not even you! You’ve probably let them down at some point in your relationship too. You may be disappointed that they did so on your big day, but therein lies the rub: it’s your big day — not anyone else’s, so you can’t expect them to be as invested as you are. Don’t waste your energy being angry at them; refocus that energy on something else that makes you feel great — like your partner!

And you can use this as a lesson moving forward in your marriage, as your partner will let you down and you’ll have to learn to deal with it. You are, after all, responsible for your own feelings and reactions to those feelings.




That's all for now folks. Have a great one! These notes were originally submitted to Global News.

Dr. Jess

"An award-winning speaker, Jess has worked with thousands of couples from all corners of the globe to transform their relationships via her wildly successful Marriage As A Business program. From Prague and Istanbul to Albuquerque and New York City, her relationship retreats receive rave reviews from some of the most powerful couples in the world who are drawn to her enthusiastic, practical and no-nonsense approach to happily ever after. Jess's doctoral research focused on sexual health and relationship education and she is passionate about accessible, classroom-based education. When she isn't globetrotting for speaking engagements, she volunteers with students, teachers and social service organizations to empower young people to embrace healthy, happy relationships. As a global ambassador for several brands, Jess contributes regularly to the biggest names in international media. You'll find her advice weekly in the likes of Women's Health, Men's Fitness, Cosmopolitan, SELF, Showtime and The Movie Network. Her insights into couple' issues reaches millions of homes across America as the host of the hit reality series Swing, which just capped its fifth season on PlayboyTV. Canadian-born and Chinese-Jamaican and Irish by descent, Dr. Jess loves ultimate frisbee, crab, airplane turbulence, cheese and red wine. Makes perfect sense, right?"
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