Jeff and Sebastian married on Lake Tahoe

Isn’t your marriage more important than the wedding? Now would be a fantastic time to keep a firm hold on perspective. Make sure that appreciation of the memory is mutual by reaching agreement about your marriage ceremony in general. 

Two of my clients, Charles and Michael, are a beautifully suited pair. They had been friends and colleagues for eight years before deciding to marry. It was then, for the first time, which they bumped into each other’s dark sides over wedding details and minutiae. You might say it was symptomatic of deeper problems. Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it is only symptomatic of how self indulgently righteous we are all capable of being over how this day of days should be staged. 

The good news was Charles and Michael enjoyed pleasing each other. The bad news was they tried to please everyone else, as well. And unfortunately, they ended up pleasing everyone but themselves. 

Whether it’s guest list, location or celebrant, the two of you must agree, or agree to disagree. You are not clones. Celebrating your differences can be as close a connection as being on the same page.

Whatever the detail/problem is, use this simple dispute breaker: Each of you states on a scale of 1-10 how much it matters to you. If you care at a three and he’s an eight, surrender instantly. Review and deal with the ones that you can dispense almost immediately. Put the other issues aside so each of you has time to think them through a second time and do another scale vote. This will be your first venture into true marriage compromising.

Remember that friends, family or staff can help realize your wishes, but a committee of the two of you should make all executive decisions.

The investment of both of you in making these decisions helps guarantee memories that will warm both of your hearts.

The writing of personal vows can often become the biggest deal breaker of the ceremony. If either of you wishes to create personal vows, here’s how:

1. Start with your words only and write from your heart. Cut and paste from the Internet if you wish. If you’ve heard it in another ceremony, it’s fine to borrow. But please don’t collect personal opinions other than those of your prospective spouse.

2. Write without editing: Articulate your feelings about marriage, your love for your partner, and the ways in which he enhances and inspires you.

3. Ask your partner for his favorite things you’ve said or written and include them. Be light if you wish: You must know by now what your husband-to-be finds amusing (and if you don’t, consider postponing the wedding). And remember: Even the slightest dig can be uncomfortable and questionable.

4. Keep it relativity brief (200 words maximum); brevity is a boon to poignancy.

5. Make a copy of vows and write on note cards; you do not want to worry about losing them and if memory fails, read.

6. If you memorize, don’t over practice. You aren’t running for office or competing with your mate.

Sincerity at every turn is what captures the beauty of the moment. The ultimate aim should be a heartfelt ceremony based on genuine feelings. The only “should” you need to worry about is how to create indelible and positive memories of how you worked together to plan your wedding day. 


get married this year bookDr. Janet Page, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist in private practice working with individuals, couples, and groups for 30 years in New York City and Atlanta. She has been featured extensively in the media, including appearances on CNN, HLN, FOX, The Early ShowSalle Jesse Raphael and Hour Magazine. Dr. Page’s work has been featured, and articles have been published, in Ladies Home JournalGlamour magazine, The New York TimesNew York magazine, U.S. News and World ReportAtlanta Journal ConstitutionSelf magazine, L.A. Singles and the Huffington Post. She speaks to audiences around the country about how to find love, win at marriage, build intimacy, and achieve excellence in business and professional relationships. For 14 years, Dr. Page was contributing psychotherapist on WXIA TV’s talk show, Noon Day, and later joined morning show, Peachtree Morning, and Good for Parents. She taught “I Will Be Married in A Year,” an Evening at Emory class at Emory University for more than 20 years. Dr. Page is on-going workshops are “The Sexiest Years: Romance from Forty to Forever,” “How to Find your Perfect Mate,” “365 Days to I Do” and “Eat,Love, Live.”

Get Married This Year is in hard cover and e-book on Amazon click here and other online distributors and at Barnes and Noble and local bookstores.