How to Enjoy Planning Your Wedding – Part 2

How To Enjoy Planning Your Wedding – part 2

how to enjoy planning your weddingBy Marriage Coach, Marian Meade of

As discussed in part 1 of How To Enjoy Planning Your Wedding, the biggest challenge of wedding planning isn’t the details- cake, venue, music etc- it’s managing the ‘people stress’ of weddings.

So many brides and grooms have had disappointing and stressful wedding planning ‘adventures’.   The good news is that can be avoided with some mindful preparation.

Often, a couple gets engaged and immediately announces it to their families and friends because they are so excited.   In a perfect world, this is a terrific idea.   However, it puts you in danger of inviting feedback- that you didn’t ask for and don’t want.  Rather than appreciating it, you may feel like you are being told what to do.

Here are some suggestions for handling feedback:

  1. Take it with a grain of salt.  Remember that often the people in your world jump in with their ideas and questions as a way of expressing their enthusiasm.   Rather than feeling pushed and overwhelmed, decide to be grateful that you have people who care about you.
  1. Be prepared.  There’s no rush to announce your engagement until you have some details sorted out.   Why not take a few days to savor and relish the experience of being engaged, just the two of you.    Cocoon and talk about how you want your wedding to go.  This gives you the opportunity to get clear about your vision without being influenced by everyone around you.   Talk about the kind of energy you want to create for your special day- love, harmony, joy, fun, friendship and keep those values in mind as you go through your engagement journey.  
  1. Step back if you’re getting stressed.  If you’ve announced your engagement and are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to take a time out.   Let your key people know that you need to regroup so you can make decisions about the wedding together and will get back with them.  Some people may be offended, but that is their decision.  You are not responsible for the feelings of others.  What will be important is how you share your message.  Be honest, lighthearted and clear, and let them know that you realized that there were a number of things you hadn’t discussed and are going to do so now in order to make the whole wedding planning process fun and enjoyable- for everyone.
  1. 4.       Create a list of questions

How do we want our wedding to feel?

When will we get married?

Where will we get married?

Who do we want to attend?

Who will we choose for our wedding party?

What is our budget?

How many people can we afford to invite?

What sort of vows do we want to make?

Will we get married in a Church?

Will we invite children?

What sorts of things do we forsee our parents wanting?

Can we accommodate them?  If not, what will we do?

Share any sticky situations that may come up.  Does your uncle have a drinking problem?  Do your parents follow through on what they say they are going to do?   Is Mom going to insist that your father (her ex) not attend?

You may not be able to answer all of these questions right away, and you may not agree on all of them, but taking the time to do this exercise helps you to be more conscious of what the issues are and opens you up to solutions.  It also helps you to get clear about what you and your fiancé want for your wedding, rather than being co-opted into someone else’s vision.

  1. Honour your key people.  Regroup with your parents and  inner circle .   Share with them your unique vision for your wedding and be open to them sharing their perspectives.  Before meeting with them, remind yourselves that you neither need to agree or disagree with their ideas.   A polite response would be something like, ‘we’ll keep that in mind’ or ‘that’s something we’ll have to discuss together.  As a way to honour your parents, find out from them if there’s anything they would like to see happen at your wedding, and see if you might be able to accommodate them in some way.    I recall speaking with a groom to be’s parents, who were rather surprised that they weren’t even asked if they had any opinions about the wedding.  They were simply given tasks to carry out.  They weren’t the type to interfere, but did say that they would have felt valued and respected if they had been asked.

Stay tuned for the next installment of How to Enjoy Planning Your Wedding!

Marriage Coach Marian Meade helps ALL couples to stay in love for a lifetime.  For marriage preparation and relationship coaching, you can find Marian at


How To Reclaim Your Wedding -part 1

by: Marriage Coach, Marian Meade

How To Reclaim Your Wedding -part 1

Your wedding is likely the biggest event you will ever plan- with so many details to think about and decisions to make, it can be quite stressful.  The biggest cause of stress, however, isn’t the logistics-it’s the people dynamics- including parents, in-laws, bridesmaids, friends and other family members.  Learning how to manage these relationships with finesse now will help create smooth sailing in the future.

To help couples manage the ‘people stress’ aspect of wedding planning, newlywed Elizabeth Doherty Thomas  co-wrote the  book ‘Take Back Your Wedding’- managing the people stress of wedding planning.… with her father, Marriage therapist William J. Doherty.  In the weeks ahead, I’ll be putting together a series of articles based on their book.

While visiting chat sites to plan for her wedding, Elizabeth found lots of great ideas, but was chagrined to find that so many brides- to -be were frustrated and unhappy because of the interference of others in their plans.   They were being challenged by every decision they made, and many said they wished they could just elope. The most common advice they received was  ‘do whatever you want…it’s your wedding.’  Of course you want to do things your way…AND there’s the stakeholders to consider…it all requires a delicate balance.  Rather than creating hard feelings, or giving in to the whim of others, there are ways to include others, and have the wedding you want.

When we’re dating, it’s a very private matter.  We don’t include family and friends in our decision making.  It’s really a time for the couple to get to know each other.   Suddenly, once the engagement is announced, it’s like everyone has an opinion.  You’ve now got not only one, but two families involved! This is obviously very challenging and requires real finesse to manage, but it can be done!

Here are a few general tips as you begin your wedding planning:

  1.  Create a vision for your wedding with your fiancé.  This is a great opportunity for you and your partner to learn more about each other and how to manage differences of opinion.   If you are the more take charge person, give your partner time to come up with their thoughts and feelings.  Just because they don’t say anything, doesn’t mean you get to make yourself a big party.  By working as a team, you’ll set the tone- that you respect your partner’s opinion and that it’s your wedding and all decisions will need to be carefully considered and agreed upon by the two of you.  How you plan your wedding is indicative of how you’ll do your marriage.
  1. Include the key stakeholders Parents especially will want to be involved in the wedding process.  Find out what’s important to them.  Just because they make a suggestion, or they pressure you to take immediate action on something, doesn’t mean you need to react.  Instead, be curious- find out more about where they are coming from, and why it’s important to them.  Whether you agree or not, there’s no need to shoot down an idea.  Keep the lines of communication open-it’s all about respect.  As humans, we’re all very sensitive, so it’s important to express that you are grateful that they are keen.  You might say something like, ‘that’s an interesting idea….John and I will have to discuss it.
  1. Be sensitive.    Although your wedding may be happy for you, some of the people in your world may feel sad that your relationship with them is going to change.  You’ll no longer be single, and wont be as available as you used to be.  Rather than assuming that they don’t care, take the time to check in and see what’s really going on.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Enjoy Your Wedding!

Marriage Coach Marian Meade helps straight & LGBTcouples to stay in love for a lifetime.  You can find Marian at





Love is an action word


Falling in love is easy…Staying in Love – well, that takes finesse! Who knew?

The world’s best kept secret is that there are special skills required to have a lasting loving marriage. Our society has led us to believe that exceptional marriages happen naturally, like learning how to walk or crawl. Nothing could be further than the truth.


In fact, love needs to be nurtured in order to stay alive. You actually have to do things-the right things- to make it last. My husband Dave and I had no idea about this when we married 28 years ago. That’s why I’m so passionate about promoting great relationships.

Most of us got our education about love relationships from two sources-Hollywood romance movies that focus on glamour and glitz, and our parents- who were often struggling to just to keep things together.

It turns out that every love relationship goes through predictable phases- falling in love, disillusionment, and true love.

When couples fall in love, notice that they’re not doing anything, rather, they are falling – something is being done to them. They get flooded with ‘love potion #9′ – love hormones and experience intense feelings of euphoria, and have boundless energy. They put all their focus on each other, and tune out the rest of the world. It’s such an intoxicating feeling that they think and feel as though they’ve found the answer to all their problems and that they’re going to sail away into the sunset.

Eventually, the chemicals and stardust fade and the couple starts noticing each other’s differences, and annoying habits- like they slurp their soup, they’re always late, don’t understand anything about money….. Suddenly, It seems like they have nothing in common and they figure they’ve made a big mistake. In my and Dave’s case, he suddenly noticed that I was kind of a slob and I noticed that he was bossy. It was such a turn off for both of us.

This phase causes a lot of anxiety for couples. The good news is that this phase is not only healthy, it’s essential. In order to create a deeper, much more intimate relationship, couples need to accept each other as they are, warts and all.

So, how do you get to the true love phase?

  1. Recognize that falling in love is something that happens to you, but staying in love is an action word, a decision, a choice, an attitude.
  2. Take 100% responsibility for the results you get in your relationship. Rather than focusing on your partner’s shortcomings, focus on the parsley from between your own teeth.
  3. Make your relationship a safe place to share thoughts and feelings – even ones you don’t agree with. Be curious about each other.
  4. Take the time to share your everyday lives with each other – this creates emotional connection- intimacy, otherwise known as ‘in to me you see’ which is the glue that holds relationships together
  5. Treat your partner like a lover, not a roommate.
  6. Find out from your partner what it is that they want. What is it that makes them feel loved and cherished and do those things, because we fall in love and stay in love with the people who best meet our needs. And stop doing the things that they don’t like. I really stepped up my tidiness once I realized it was a big deal to Dave, and he became a lot more easygoing.

To have what you want, you need to invest in it- one baby step at a time. Rather than thinking of it as work, think of it as a labor of love, because it truly is.

Marian Meade, Marriage Coach for couples and marriage minded singles, loves helping couples to stay in love. She’ll be at The Ottawa Wedding Show October 18th and 19th to answer your relationship questions. To find out more about Marian go to


10 Tips For Enjoying The Holidays

10 Tips For Enjoying The Holidays

By: Marian Meade

Congratulations to all of you who got engaged this year! I just heard that 15% of engagements occur in the month of December. What an exciting time- so much to celebrate!



Although the Christmas season is meant to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ it’s also a time when we can get easily frazzled. Getting caught up in the chaos of the holiday rush (shopping, wrapping gifts, cooking, hosting) parties, high expectations, alcohol, and rich foods can result in high anxiety and short tempers- everything we don’t want.

The best way to make sure you have a wonderful Christmas and truly enjoy each other and your family and friends is to deliberately manage your energy and be conscious of how you are spending your time. Along with your fiancé, discuss how you want to feel over the holidays, then schedule in activities that will promote your goals:

o Identify the events that are most important to you and schedule them in. Be willing to decline invitations.

o Create pockets of down time for just the two of you to hang out and recharge your batteries

o Re-evaluate your to do list and remove items that aren’t essential

o Get fresh air and do a physical activity that you enjoy

o Be mindful of how much you are drinking and eating- have fun without regrets

o have compassion for each other and friends and family who may be pressuring themselves

o know that the most important gift you can give is positive, uplifting energy

o Take 5 minutes and think about what you are grateful for each day

o Decide to go with the flow when things don’t turn out exactly as expected

o Get some ‘me’ time- reading, writing in your journal, whatever works for you

Marian Meade is a relationship and emotional fitness coach/educator. She helps couples to stay in love for a lifetime, and singles prepare for the love of their life. Marian welcomes the LGBT community. For more information, check Marian out at


One Thing You Must Do To Prepare For A Happy Marriage

happy marriage

Keep those rose coloured glasses on

by Marian Meade



There’s something we all crave- and that’s appreciation. In the throes of romance, we’re smitten, and can’t say enough about how amazing our partners are. When we’re appreciated we feel fantastic! As time goes on and the stress of wedding planning and daily life sets in, we may start noticing things about each other that we aren’t so crazy about. Unless we take deliberate action, there’s a danger that we’ll start becoming hyper-focused on what we don’t like, and start taking for granted the things that we do.

As human beings, we are naturally wired to focus on the negative. It actually takes deliberate intention to focus on what’s good. We stay in love with the person who most meets our needs, and appreciation is a universal need. Although it may seem like a small thing, the fact is that one of the top reasons why a spouse leaves their marriage is because they felt unappreciated-and criticized- which made them feel unloved, and unimportant. The way to help each other feeling like superstars is by keeping those rose coloured glasses on. We can be aware of each others flaws, and still deliberately choose to magnify the good in each other rather than the other way around. When we feel good about ourselves in our partner’s company, we want to linger.

Appreciation and a happy marriage go together like pickles and pregnancy, pepperoni and pizza, bread and butter, Beyonce and Jay Z, a cool drink on a hot summer day, and sunshine in winter. So the question to ask yourself is: Am I appreciating my partner right now? It might help to know that synonyms for appreciation include ‘valuing, treasuring, admiration, respect, regard, esteem, and high opinion.

By making appreciation a habit, you’ll be able to remember why you married your partner, even when they have horrible halitosis, slurp their soup, and schlep around in saggy shorts. You’ll also be able to be more respectful while disagreeing about wedding plans or where to live. It’s a great way to build up positive feelings for your partner. That’s hugely important, because when you ask your partner to change a behaviour, you’ll be able to do so lovingly and playfully rather than resentfully.

One of the best ways to cement the habit is to start a partner appreciation journal. I created an itty bitty Appreciation Journal called What I Love About You and gave it out to brides and grooms to be at The Ottawa Wedding Show in October and they loved it. If you weren’t at the show and didn’t get a journal, simply email me at and I will send one to you.

The Process: Make a pledge to keep your feelings of appreciation for your partner alive. Spend an hour writing down everything you love and admire about your partner. Then, every day afterwards, write in one new thing, until your book is filled up. Then get another one! Regularly read the journal to keep what you love about your partner in the top of your mind. Make sure you share your entries with your partner-they will love it! In so doing, you help to raise their energetic level, and start your marriage off on a happy footing.

To see a clip of me on Daytime Ottawa discussing appreciation with Host Derick Fage and co-host Julie Buen, visit the Ottawa Wedding Magazine facebook page.

Marian Meade is a relationship and emotional fitness coach/educator. She helps couples to stay in love for a lifetime, and singles prepare for the love of their life. Marian welcomes the LGBT community. For more information, check Marian out at