Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wedding stories

I recently received a letter from a groom in India who asked me for advice on the best way to please his wife. Just that question. I wrote back with plenty of suggestions on romantic surprises, compassion and consideration, valuing her work and her family, spontaneous kindnesses like compliments and thoughtful little things. He wrote back with "No, how do I PLEASE my wife on our wedding night?" Umm.....

Another fun letter came from a woman in Oklahoma, asking me for planning ideas for a wedding in prison. How DO you decorate the holding cell?

A couple just wrote to me, not for wedding questions, but to share their love story. They said they don't need anything or want anything from me...they just wanted to talk about how great it is to be in love.

I get letters from all over the world, thanking me for my books, letting me know which ideas saved the day for them, and one amazing woman sent me a thank you gift: a blue pottery vase that she had made herself. It sits here on my desk, holding the pens I use to longhand write my articles and book chapters.

On Sunday, I have a booksigning at Sages Pages in Madison, NJ -- a program for brides and their mothers, with lots of topics covered and a Q&A session before I sign copies of The Mother of the Bride Book, Mother of the Groom, and The Bride's Gratitude Journal. I absolutely LOVE these events, because there's so much hope and excitement (and a little bit of overwhelm) in the eyes of the brides. I can tell who's at the start of the planning, and who's way into it. I can tell who's having a blissful partnership with their mother, and who's being steamrolled. When I see too many of the steamrolling types, I share stories about how the mothers need to remember that they're not just planning a wedding -- they're setting the groundwork for their future relationship with their daughter and husband. How they behave now determines their family patterns in the future. When I share stories of mothers who permanently alienated the couple, I often see a mom put her hand supportively or apologetically on the bride's arm...and maybe I halted the steamrolling a bit. Maybe the wakeup call changes their pattern. The same goes for the bride...sometimes with all the swirling adventure of wedding planning, gratitude goes out the window. So I present them with The Bride's Gratitude Journal, my newest, a place where they can record what's going RIGHT with the wedding plans, the people they appreciate, the honor it is to have so many people in their lives to make a guest list swell to an unimaginable number. All it takes is a twist of perspective. So I'm all set for the Sages Pages signing, and very excited to be in their great little, comfy loft for the program. This is going to be fun...

And now I have to go answer a question from someone who wants to know how to surprise his bride. By that, I hope he means rose petals on the bed, candles, and other heartwarming things...not wedding night acrobatics. ;)