Dress shopping, makeup consultations, selecting signature cocktails . . . there are a lot of beautiful, fun things that happen in preparation for your wedding. There are also things that are less than glamorous: figuring out who’s dealing with trash and who’s going to pick up Great-Aunt Gerdie (and worst, take her home at 8:30 p.m.).
Josh and I are getting married by a judge, so there was no mandatory “pre-marital” class required like you might find when getting married in a church. However, we decided it might be worth our while to explore that on our own.
I found Amanda Nephew (a LAMFT, aka Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist) through a very thorough Googling. We signed up for her Rooted Together package—four hour-long classes where we took an in-depth look at our relationship, identifying our strengths and where there was room for improvement. Amanda talked us through ways to de-escalate arguments, best practices for conflict resolution, and even moderated a discussion about why I want my own checking account. It was super helpful. In fact, we actively used her methods the other day when we started bickering over something really, really stupid.
I told a few people that we’d signed up for pre-marital counseling and they were all, “Oh my gosh, is something wrong?” Nope! We just know this whole marriage thing isn’t going to be easy because we're humans. Human relationships can get complicated, even messy. But we love each other and want to have tools in place should we be faced with a major hurdle . . . or simply can’t agree over whose turn it is to do the dishes. Not necessarily sexy, but highly recommended.
Oh, facials! A light shoulder massage, gentle steam on the face, Enya playing softly in the background. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not the kind of facial I signed up for pre-wedding, and I don’t regret anything!
I made three pre-wedding appointments with Ann Morrison at Physician Skin Services in St. Louis Park. We discussed what I was looking for (amazing, bright skin on my wedding day, duh!). She vacuumed my pores (great visual, right?), applied two mild peels (really more of an exfoliation . . . no dry, flaky skin whatsoever!), and did some light therapy to help kill and ward off bacteria. Aside from my years as an actual baby, my skin has never looked so good! And it was surprisingly affordable—three sessions cost less than my last hair cut and color. I’ll definitely keep on seeing Ann after the wedding—can’t let myself go too quickly.
Speaking of skin, about a month ago, my skin broke out like whoa. Hmm . . . could it be that I’ve over-extended myself? A little stressed maybe? Between wedding planning, work, and life commitments, I’d basically double booked myself every night from March through mid-May. The stuff I was doing was mostly “fun,” but I couldn’t even enjoy a relaxing happy hour with friends because of my expansive to-do list.
A month ago, I decided I wasn’t making any more plans, aside from the absolute essentials (like our tasting with our wedding caterer, my friend’s bachelorette party, a bridal shower). I just took it one day at a time, which meant I could still do an impromptu shopping trip with a friend or squeeze in a yoga class—I just had to decide day-of. My stress level was squashed! It was awesome and one of the best wedding planning decisions I made.
The One Romantic-ish Thing I’m Glad I Did Before My Wedding
Taking a Dance Lesson
This story starts with my dad, but obviously that's not the romantic part. My pops really, really wanted to do a fancy dance number for the wedding. Initially, I wasn’t into it—with so many other things on my mind, it was just one more item to stress about. However, I love my dad and if this was the one thing he really cared about, I was not going to complain. Plus, he said Josh could come with and the two of us could practice our dance, too. To my surprise, Josh was onboard with zero prodding.
We took a lesson from Rob, a family friend who’s a choreographer/director at Ashland Productions. I was a bit skeptical at first—practicing dancing is so awkward! My dad and I did our dance, then Rob showed us a few ways to make it look like we know what we’re doing, but aren’t trying too hard.
Next, Josh and I danced. It was fine, but nothing special. Josh isn’t really the dancing type, which Rob picked up on easily. Then Rob gave Josh what might be the BEST dance tip for men, ever: Stand up straight, shoulders back! Josh swapped out his slouching shoulders for a more confident stance. Holy crap, it was like magic. With that one minor tweak, the entire vibe changed. The dance now felt polished and put together. It’s a minor thing that will completely change the way we dance together forever, which I love. What an unexpected gift!