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Relationship Guide
Clarifying the Meaning of Your Wedding:
What Does Your Wedding Mean to You?

by Amy Honigman, Ph.D.

Every wedding is unique and every wedding is personal. The ceremony is symbolic of two lives coming together. And the event reflects the wedding couple's beliefs and actions regarding love, commitment and realistic lifestyle choices. As a result weddings are a very personal statement made public. Because of this weddings seem to encourage an outpouring of agendas and advice from well-intended family and vendors. Trying to please all of these people is a guaranteed stressor and dilutes the couple's unique message. Instead the couple should focus on the elements of their wedding that have personal and intrinsic meaning.

There are two main wedding planning themes pre-marital couples discuss while in counseling. The first theme is dealing with reality vs. fantasy. All too often couples dive into planning a wedding based on unspoken (and perhaps unrealistic) fantasies. While your wedding should be festive, a wedding based solely on fantasy can detract from the significance. I have seen far too many weddings immersed in glitz and glamour only to obscure the true meaning of the event.

The second theme is the desire to create a good impression. For example, one bride I consulted with worked herself to the bone trying to create a letter-perfect formal wedding so no one would suspect she came from a "lower" class background. Younger and older brides alike have often been influenced by family to create a wedding according to the family's vision. In speaking with these brides afterward many state that they regret having made decisions that were not based on their own values. It is possible to create a good impression without losing sight of what is important to you.

Remember, it's your wedding! It should represent what you and your finance believe to be meaningful of marriage. Knowing your vision and staying true to your ideas make wedding planning less stressful and more meaningful.

Amy Honigman, Ph.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY11755). She practices in Danville, California.

DISCLAIMER: The generalized information presented is not intended as advice regarding any specific person or problem. Individuals reading this column in need of specific advice should consult with a licensed mental health professional.

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