Goodbye Bridezilla, Hello Wedding Goddess

Interfaith minister and author Laurie Sue Brockway talks about how to stay sane and soulful while planning your wedding.

BY: Interview by Lisa Schneider

 
Rev. Laurie Sue BrockwayLaurie Sue Brockway is the author of "Wedding Goddess: A Divine Guide To Transforming Wedding Stress into Wedding Bliss," a sort of wedding planner for the soul. Her book offers tips for brides-to-be coping with the period of hectic wedding planning known for its stressful tendency to transform women into neurotic creatures known as "bridezillas." In this interview, Brockway explains how to make the process a calmer and more meaningful journey. [Full disclosure from the interviewer: Rev. Brockway helped me avoid bridezilla-status recently, and officiated at my wedding in October.]

Why should busy brides-to-be read your book?

"Wedding Goddess" is the "stop and smell the flowers" angle on wedding planning. It's not about how to put the whole event together. It is about how to keep yourself together, how to stay close to your groom, how to be loving yet set boundaries with your family, and how to keep a focus that the Big Day is a sacred day. It is not just a party that needs planning--it is a marriage that you are preparing for.

What does it mean to be a "wedding goddess"?

To my mind a wedding goddess is a bride who has an awareness of the realities, stresses, disappointments, and disasters of wedding planning, and yet can hold on to and nurture her vision of how she wants it all to be. She understands that she is bound to hit some bumps along the way, but she has decided she will not be taking the "stress express" to the altar, as so many brides do these days. I like to think of the wedding goddess as the bride who calls upon her own inner divinity to plan her wedding, conquer problems before they begin, and rise to the occasion like a goddess!

Do you offer a spiritual antidote to the obsession with wedding perfection, which can turn some brides into "bridezillas"?

Listen to a meditation for brides-to-be
I certainly try to. Bridezillas are made, not born. Some brides are downright demanding but most are nice people, sucked into the vortex of wedding planning stress, and overwhelmed by the pressure and expectations of those around her.

First off, every bride has to realize that there is no such thing as the "perfect wedding" where not one thing goes amiss. The fantasy wedding is, I believe, just that... a fantasy. But your wedding can be perfect, just as it unfolds, if you prepare yourself for the experience and experience it through your spiritual eyes-–which is the opposite of being so stressed about every detail that you begin to lose it.

I am a firm believer that a bride has to include stress management, self-nurturing, and time to chill out as an integral part of her wedding planning process. When you feel the stress building, take time out, go for a walk, slip into a movie, get a massage, go for a manicure, write in a journal, meditate, listen to music, do something un-wedding. You have to love, honor, and cherish yourself if you want to be loved, honored, and cherished by someone else!

What about the opposite: the anti-bride, the not-so-traditional woman who shudders at the thought of a white dress. Where can she find meaning in the whole affair?

The meaning is in the sacredness of your commitment to love, honor, and cherish another human for a lifetime. That's huge. And that is extraordinarily meaningful in itself. The wedding ceremony is just the ritual that establishes and honors the commitment, and makes it legal. And the wedding reception is a way for you to celebrate your commitment with family and friends, to share your joy, and receive their blessings, plus the nice little envelopes they give you to commemorate the occasion. If you are getting married and have decided to plan a wedding, you might as well enjoy it and make it special in your own way. Otherwise, elope.

What is it that brides-to-be should be mindful of in between appointments with the caterer and dress fittings?

Listen to a meditation for brides-to-be
This is about you going from being a single woman with a boyfriend to becoming a married woman with a husband. This is about growing up and growing into the kind of commitment you once only dreamed about. It is about taking two complete and whole individuals with their greatness and their flaws and merging into a partnership that is beyond any union you have ever had in your life. It's about stepping up to the plate to say, "I do," and being ready to step up to the plate in marriage. The details of planning and the sometimes blinding stress that comes along with planning, I think, are often a diversion from the feelings related to this commitment. Fear and occasional panic are not uncommon.

Yes, even picking out napkins can be a rite of passage.
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