We’ve all heard of the run-away bride. Remember Julia Roberts in “Run Away Bride?”
Before you “falter at the alter,” make sure that you are really ready to say “I do.” It’s the “C” word: Commitment. Not everyone is ready for it. It is not uncommon for brides (and grooms) to experience anxiety, fear, stress, and even panic as the big day comes closer. There are jitters (stress related) then there are jitters (pure panic)! It’s common to have butterflies in your stomach. Hopefully not enough to cause you to “get outta Dodge.”
By the way. . . guys have also been known to have reservations and chicken out at the last minute! Most everyone has had second thoughts however most work out the issues before they become the reasons for turning away from the one you say you love.
Over the past nine years as one of the busiest wedding officiants in the Greater Phoenix area, I’ve had my share of brides and grooms who have decided to call off the wedding, but always BEFORE the big event.
Never let, “the wedding has been planned, the deposits paid, the dress and tux have been fitted and the ice sculpture is starting to melt in the reception room” be the reason you move forward when you are having doubts. When in doubt, don’t. . . then get some help. If you are going to call it off. . . it’s best to do it before you run up a lot of unneeded expenses. Weddings take long extensive planning and may cost you a lot of money and a lot of stress that might cause you to just escape from the planning and become a runaway bride. If there ever was a time to place value on your instincts it’s now!
To date there is a very small percentage of those couples who were serious enough to pay a deposit, forfeit the deposit and call off the wedding. Of those I spoke with, money and incompatibility seemed to be the top reasons. An even smaller percentage have married and eventually divorced.
My 16+ years relationship coaching experience tells me that if there are significant issues to cause you to seriously consider calling your wedding off, perhaps you should at least think about a delay. After the invitations have been sent is too late!
AND. . . if you think for a moment that after you get married that this bad behavior (or whatever the issues are) will probably change, you are almost guarenteed to be 100% wrong! Resolve your issues BEFORE marriage. If you don’t they come back to bite you in the butt. Yes, people do change. But if the behavior is bad enough for you to remotely consider ending the relationship or have doubts and you ignore your feelings and get married anyway. . . you are most likely headed for a fall.
Express yourself. First to your intended and if that doesn’t work, call a coach. Coaching is not always the answer. Sometimes it too late to turn things around. Both parties must have a sincere desire to work together to make things better. Take your time. Lots of it.
Muster up some courage before you decide to talk with your partner. Listen to how they respond. Your doubts do not necessarily mean that you mean to call off the wedding. Make sure they understand this. If they realy love you, and if they are the right person for you, they will understand. If they don’t understand and get defensive or switch the blame to you, your instincts may probably be right. Perhaps a decision to postpone or call a halt to your impending marriage might be the best for everyone.
I will be the first to say that it is not all that simple. If you’re not sure the marriage is a good move, engage the attention and support of your partner and tell them weeks or months before the wedding the reasons you can’t go through with it. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you need more time, say so.
Relationships are complicated. They come with twists and turns, and ups and downs. Problems are natural to progress. They tell you what needs to be worked on. Problems are not to break us, they can and often will make us stronger as a couple.
If you are experiencing the pre-wedding day jitters – before you freak out – here are a few things to consider:
• Discuss your premarital misgivings with a trusted friend, doctor, priest, minister, rabbi, therapist or relationship coach.
• Talk to a friend who’s recently been married – someone who can help you differentiate between a real change of heart and mind concerning the relationship and simple jitters about the overwhelming wedding process itself.
• Recall why you said “yes” in the first place and see if your reasons are still valid.
• Think about what you like and what you love about your future partner and why these aspects of his or her personality are so special to you.
• Think about what you look forward to in marriage and focus on the positive.
• If you feel trapped or embarrassed consider all your options: forget about it and suffer later, call a temporary delay or call it off for good. There may be more reasons, so consider all the possibilities.
• Ask yourself, “Has my fiancé(e) changed since I said ‘yes,’ and if so, has it been for better or for worse?”
• To those who need it, express a deep and sincere apology and move on. This will allow the emotional healing process to begin.
• Are you really ready to get married?
Research indicated that over 40% of brides have wedding anxiety. I personally think it could be higher. To relieve some of the pressure, make sure that you plan your wedding to your own specifications and no one else’s, especially your parents. Never bow to that pressure. It’s not their wedding. It’s YOUR wedding! They aleady had their wedding. I know. It’s not easy. But it’s important for your own well being that you never bow to the pressure to please others.
For the mothers who become Momzillas. . . express your feelings in a loving way and tell them to back off. It’s okay to say “No” to something you do not want. For fathers (or mothers) who are “small” enough to threaten because they may be paying for it, tread lightly but stick to your guns.
There is no greater choice or bigger decision you will ever make than choosing the person with whom you will spend the rest of your life. Sometimes it scarey. That’s normal. I know it’s old fashion but that is another great reason for long engagements. I do not believe that you should decide to get married, because it just “feels right.” There is no good reason to be in a hurry to get to the altar.
Don’t even consider being a “runaway bride!” It’s one thing to call off an engagement or a wedding weeks before, but to actually runaway on your wedding day. . . not good! Being a runaway bride is a cowardly act. It tells a story about you. If you get “cold feet,” bow out gracefully. Be humane and respectful. 😉 Not possible, you say? Do your best to as nice as you can about it. Think about the frustration and embarrassment that your partner, family and friends might feel if you keep them waiting for hours at the altar.
Always remember, it’s a lot better in the long run to step back before the wedding than to find yourself in a marriage you wish you could run away from later on.
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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