Pre-Wedding Disagreements & How To Solve Them

From the time the engagement ring is on your finger until the honeymoon begins, there are arguments lurking around every corner for engaged couples and if you aren’t careful, you can fall into the trap of  ‘agreeing to disagree’. In the beginning, wedding planning is fun; picking out colorful floral arrangements, sampling cake and planning how much fun your friends and family will have together. Then, suddenly you are in the middle of a family squabble over nothing…. literally nothing.

Top 5 Wedding disagreements and how to diffuse them:

1) Location. He grew up in South Carolina and you grew up in New Jersey but you both live in Chicago. If travel is impossible for one side of the family or another, take that into consideration, otherwise you should have the wedding where you both currently live.

2) Family. There are a million scenarios for the underlying problems of family tension, whether it is a rebellious sibling or an intolerant parent. The best thing to do is put your foot down early and tell them how things are going to work.  You may need to remind them from time to time.

3) Prenup. Why are so  many people so freaked out about prenups? Because it makes them feel like they are planning a divorce instead of a wedding. In reality, a prenup will protect both of you from yourselves and each other, and family. Decide if you love the person, sign it and be done with it.

4) The Past. Inviting ex-girlfriends/ boyfriends to the wedding may be fine for some and not for others. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a point for an argument later. There are rare situations where this is okay, otherwise – don’t do it.

5)Budget. The thing most couples (married or engaged) fight about is money.  Whether you have too much or not enough it is always a factor. Set your wedding budget, decide early who is paying for what and do not go over the total budget. You may want to cut corners on one thing to splurge on another but, always make sure the bottom line remains the same.

Whatever the reason for the disagreement, remember that planning a wedding is like a miniature crystal ball into your future. If you are arguing with his family (or vice versa) now – it will not magically change after you are married, if he is not involved now, he won’t be in the future, if you are both caught between bickering family members, this is the way of the future. The only thing you can do is stand your ground, now and don’t let outside factors interfere with your happiness.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


The Waiting Game

Shannon Tweed waited for Gene Simmons to pop the question. She waited for 27 years, through 2 kids and a reality show. When he  sensed she was obviously tired of waiting, he caved and popped the question. It seems no matter how secure and happy you are in the relationship, it is not quite the same without the marriage…. and the wedding! This Saturday October 1, 2011 they will be tying the knot with a wedding fit for a rock-n-roll king, and playboy queen. If the truth be known, I am more interested in this wedding than all the Kardashian women put together. You have a mega-talented Rock-n-Roll superstar, the lead singer of one of the most successful groups of all time (Kiss) and his bride-to-be, a talented actress and model in her own right. They have two gorgeous and intelligent children who are blessing this union with their own unique brand of humor; daughter Sophie wrote a humorous poem and son Nick drew a family cartoon on the invitation itself.  Take a look at the invitation :

So this begs the question, “How long is too long to wait for your beloved to decide you are the one, even if you decided a long time ago?” Not having much experience with this, I would say that 27 years would be the absolute maximum amount of time.

The average courtship is less than three years at which point it either moves forward or ends. Practically speaking, it is easier, cheaper and more convenient to be married to the person you live with than to merely co-habitate. There are insurance issues, children’s last names, next of kin, power of attorney, taxes and basically everything is more complicated. However, if you have access to unlimited funds, this is a non-issue. Which is what  I suspect with team Tweed-Simmons.

Oddly enough the engagement of this power couple has lasted only a few short months. Was the wedding ‘hurried up’  for ratings since the wedding is the season opener for Family Jewels? I  suspect that played a major factor since Gene Simmons is known to be a financial (and ratings) wizard. I also suspect that the future Mrs. Shannon-Tweed was happy about the length of the engagement since 2 1/2 months is short by any standards… unless you have already waited 27 years.

My guess is that Ms. Tweed has been spending the last 60 days happily planning her long awaited wedding, and I can’t wait to see the results!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Whats the Difference?

Once again I have been slapped in the face with a headline that I can’t seem to wrap my brain around. To better understand my confusion you have to understand that I love weddings.  ALL weddings… okay almost all weddings.

We live in a world where an engagement with a 60 year difference between the two parties  is front page news, everyone clamoring to get the scoop on why the bride backed out just days before the wedding. I would like to go on record as saying that it is probably because he is 60 years older than her. Maybe she didn’t want to marry a man who could be her grandfather, no matter how rich and powerful and exciting he may be. Interestingly enough I seem to be the only one who sees this. No offense, Hef – we get it: you like young blond women but, maybe not all young blond women like rich old men.

In the same world, teen pregnancy is both villified and celebrated on reality TV. Its okay to preach abstinence and not practice it. It’s okay to have a baby with no visible means of support as long as you can get on a reality TV show and make a name for yourself. Forget High School, just write a book, get a reality show and make some money. No one cares if you are educated enough to actually write the book  yourself, just have someone else do the work so you can cash the check and move on.

In another part of that same world, a headline appears announcing the marriage of a 16 year old child to a 51 year old man. Have you heard? The guy who played the creepy warden in ‘The Green Mile’ and some other show I never saw, tied the knot this week in Vegas to a 16 year old girl. I watched and loved this movie and by the end of it  I wound up hating this character and thinking to myself , “Wow – he must be a great actor to be able to carry off this part.” Turns out he really is creepy, no acting involved… just memorizing lines.

This is obviously the headline of which I speak. The fact they got married is less creepy than the fact that he has been dating a girl probably since she was 15. There is a name for guys like that – whats the word I am thinking of? It’s on the tip of my tongue…. Maybe I’m wrong but, what parent allows their young teenage child to date a late middle-aged man? It  is not the 35 year age difference that bothers me as much as the fact that she is 16 years old! If he was 61 and she was 26, I could care less. To get a little perspective; understand that my husband is nine years younger than me. We married when I was 39 and he was 30. At our current ages it seems like nothing but when he was 13 and I was 24, I wouldn’t have given him a second look. If I did, I would expect someone to call 911.   In most states it isn’t even  legal for a 15 or 16 year old to have an intimate sexual relationship with  a person over the age of 18…. but, with their parent’s consent they can get married. How is this possible? I am still confused, and still grossed out.

Oddly enough in that same world, The United States of America, only a handful of our beloved 50 states recognize marriage between two parties of the same sex , no matter their age. Two legal adults in a consensual relationship cannot share property or any  of the other rights afforded married couples because they are of the same sex. So while our legislators are busy defining marriage as between a man and a woman (even minors):  the economy is dumping it’s toxic waste on our standard of living, climate change  heats up and our jobs are shipped overseas. AND instead of issuing an arrest warrant for someone who apparently broke the law in ALL 50 states, we are forced to look at photos of creepy guy and child bride smiling and declaring that love is ageless. Love may be ageless but, in this case it can also be downright creepy.

Dear Media of all forms,

Please don’t show another picture of this couple together, one is enough.

Thank You

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Curious Case of Cold Feet

Yes, you heard right. Playmate Crystal Harris called off her wedding to Hugh Hefner this week.  I am sure Hef will have a plethora of Playmates consoling him over the course of time considering it must be hard to be super-wealthy and have that kind of influence in Hollywood and not have plenty of women willing to heal your broken heart. He’ll be fine. In fact he has cleverly turned the whole thing around and is probably laughing all the way to the bank. Personally, I don’t get it.

I am not a mean person. I wish Hef and Crystal all the best life has to offer and on a brigher note at least she wasn’t just a no-show! In fact, this is not your typical bride-groom relationship, anyway.  I am  not too concerned about how either of them will handle this since the publicity is giving them both a generous PR boost. However,  in cases of real-life brides and grooms left standing at the altar, I find myself a little jaded when it comes to last minute jitters and cold feet. How exactly do you go from being madly in love to not being sure if he or she is the one just  minutes before your wedding? How do you not know this was not the right person earlier? How do you not know that you have feelings for someone else (for instance)? And how does this all happen the day before or the day of  the wedding and not  months earlier? Hef’s reference to The Runaway Bride is not lost on me, I get it. I just don’t get it.

Unfortunately some men and women  want to be in love so badly or maybe they think they need to be married to be valid that  they jump into a serious commitment without giving it much thought. It has nothing to do with long engagements, either. There are plenty of stories chronicled in movies, books and headlines of couples with long engagements and then one party is a no-show at the wedding. Remember Jennifer Wilbanks who faked her own abduction so she wouldn’t have to take the plunge?  Seriously? There are not enough adjectives for me to express my feelings about this although ‘mentally unstable narcissist’ comes to mind.

For anyone left literally standing alone at the altar, what was supposed to be the best day of their life quickly turns into the worst. And then… life goes on. But, how do you handle the parties, the honeymoon, the gifts, the questions?

If either bride or groom is left literally standing at the altar, an announcement by a family member of the jilter (for lack of better word)should be made that no ceremony will take place. No explanation needs to be offered. It is up to the the families to decide whether or not to continue with the reception. Most say yes, even brides left standing in their wedding gown have been able to turn this nightmare into a celebration. The guests should all be instructed to keep their gifts and anything sent earlier should be returned. The honeymoon is paid for so why not let the jilted party  take some time off with a friend who can offer some moral support.

What do you say to someone who is left at the altar? “I am  sorry for what happened and if you need to talk, I am here”. DO NOT use this as your opportunity to bash the other person as it will almost always backfire. Keep your mouth shut and listen. If you have a million questions, ask them later. If you really want to help, just offer support and listen! In time they will realize this is for the best, they don’t need you to remind them. Right now there is fear, sadness and loss so bring a box of kleenex and two shoulders to cry on and leave all of your opinions at home.

Really good advice: If you have any doubts about your relationship – talk about it. How  many of these situations ould be avoided by just talking? If you cannot open up to the person you are about to marry… that is the real problem.  If your fiance seems distant and nervous – talk about it. If he or she says they are feeling anxious about being married – talk about it. If you are feeling anxious or nervous – TALK  ABOUT IT. Stop planning the wedding for a few minutes and have a conversation.

If this has ever happened to you, you have my condolences. As rigid as I am about wedding etiquette and protocol, I am also a very forgiving person and I know that time heals all wounds.

I also know that Karma is a female dog.