reader questions: do i have to invite my male bridesmaid to all of the bridal events? even the ones for girls only?

Yelena from Santa Barbara, CA writes:

Dear Wedding Therapist,

         I'm getting married and I've asked one of my close gay male friends to be a part of my bridal party.  He's a bridesmaid and I don't want to offend him, but do I have to invite him to the girl's only events? I also have a bunch of gay friends who I want to invite to the all female bridal shower but I don't want it to be awkward. Please help! 


My first response is: yes.  Yes, you have to invite him to all of the fesitivities surrounding your wedding.  He is a bridesman, afterall.  You've asked him to play a role that is traditionally for women only so you should make the exception when it comes to girls only events.

My second response is: GIRL, what are you thinking?!  This is your friend who must be close enough in order for you to have asked him to actually be in your wedding.  Is there someone in your family or a guest who would be uncomfortable with him joining in because he's gay?  Is it because of religious beliefs?  I'm assuming that you don't have an issue with it since he is in the wedding.

One of the hardest jobs that a bride has is trying to please everyone.  If you want to have your gay male friends at your bridal shower, have them at your bridal shower!  If someone has a problem with them attending the all female events, that is their problem.  Those are not your issues.  You can't please everyone and I certainly wouldn't be worried about pleasing people who are uncomfortable around gay men.  Remember, you're only the bride for one day and you don't want to damage your friendship due to awkwardness long after the wedding is over. 

when your fiance's family doesn't like you because of race

Is your fiance's family unhappy about your engagement because you're a different rance than they are?  Do they make ignorant comments? Does your fiance defend you or does he let it go?  Let's talk about it!

for the bridesmaid who is dealing with a bridezilla

For those of you who have been a bridesmaid to a bridezilla, this one is for you.


reader questions: how to incorporate religion into the wedding when one is not religious

Mariah K. from Atlanta, GA writes:

Dear Wedding Therapist:

         My fiance is Jewish and I'm not any religion.  The whole time that we were dating, religion never came up but now that we're planning the wedding, he wants to add a bunch of traditions into the ceremony that I really don't want to do.  What should I do?


Girl, how did religion never come up during your entire relationship?!  Certainly, it MUST have come up at least once!  Sorry, I'm just a little surprised that you two never discussed religion during your relationship.  Ok, now that the shock has worn off...I think incorporating his religious traditions into your ceremony is the least of your worries. 

A lot of times there are "warning signs" that people ignore because they want to get married so badly.  You two need to sit down and really have an open and honest conversation about what part you want religion to play in your lives.  Clearly, when it comes down to important events in his life, it is important that his religion is present.  This doesn't end with your wedding.  Look down the road five years from now when you have children.  How will you raise them?  Seriously, put the planning on hold and have a long talk.  Religion is a deal breaker for most people.  Maybe it isn't for him now but it may be in the future and you want to know what you're walking into with both eyes wide open.

Oh, and once you have the talk and you're both on the same page, you should allow him to throw in some of his religious traditions into the wedding ceremony.  Again, the wedding may be your first compromise religiously but it won't be your last. Good luck!

how to deal with death during the planning process

Death is one of those things that I don't think anyone can prepare themselves for.  Whether it is expected or not, I've learned that when a death occurs there really isn't a guide to follow that makes the pain go away or makes it any easier.  I recently lost someone who is extremely close to me and his brother is getting married this summer.  His fiance is very supportive and jumped right in when it came to funeral preparations and just support in general. 

I'm not so sure if the things that I learned during this time apply differently during a wedding or not but I thought I'd share:
  1. Show up.  Whether you are a friend, estranged family member, fiance, boss, etc...SHOW UP.  Be available as much as possible.  Emotionally, mentally, physically.  
  2. Life is short and sometimes holding on to a grudge isn't what is important.  Unfortunately, death makes us face some of the petty and not so petty issues in life.
  3. The wedding will still go on.  Details can be discussed later.  Reschedule meetings, fittings, tastings, etc.  There will be time for those things later.
  4. It is ok to enjoy the wedding.  Death is always sad.  It is ok to be sad at the funeral and to not want to talk about wedding details.  Take your time.  Don't feel guilty when you start enjoying planning again.     

reader questions - how do i discipline my fiance's child

Katie G. from Chicago, IL writes: 

Dear Wedding Therapist,
My fiance's son is driving me insane! He doesn't listen to anything I tell him to do and his father doesn't make him behave.  He feels bad disciplining him since we only have his son every other weekend.  I believe in spanking, my fiance doesn't.  I really think the ONLY thing that can help is a swift swat on his behind.  It is starting to get in the middle of my relationship with my fiance. Please help!


First, this is a very common issue amongst engaged couples so you aren't alone.  This is one of those things that you two have to agree upon.  If you believe in spanking and your fiance doesn't, then you can't spank your soon-to-be stepson.  Bottom line.  Clearly, you need to have a conversation with your fiance because this is going to be a point of contention when you decide to have children together. 

I suggest that you come up with a timeout  area.  Kind of like a "naughty corner" that he has to sit in.   Whenever he isn't listening to you, you send him to timeout. Every.Single.Time.  Then you two have to get on the same page about what is a comfortable amount of discipline for both of you.  Bad, undisciplined children are never fun to be around...for ANYONE!  If spanking isn't an option and the naughty corner is too much for your fiance to handle, you might have a bigger issue on your hands than his unruly son. 

how to deal with jealousy during the wedding

I previously wrote a post about "How to Deal With a Jealous Sister During the Planning Process" but there is so much jealousy from all sorts of people in your life during the planning process, I decided to give a bit more advice!  Enjoy!