Shay, 32, from New York City, thought she'd never get married. It wasn't a priority. She had a great network of friends and dated regularly. Then she met Richard, 38, and everything changed.
"We met in a bar in midtown at a mutual friend's birthday party and talked all night," Shay recalls. "We were inseparable for the next eight months, and then he asked me to marry him. And I shocked myself when I said 'yes.'"
Richard said a few more words that would also change Shay's life: "Whatever type of wedding you want is fine with me."
She’d never really given much thought to marriage, and definitely none to a ceremony. "It was 'do I want city hall or a wedding hall?'" Shay would have been fine with the latter, but she had family who wanted to be there for the big day. "And it couldn't be a destination wedding cause Aunt Dot wouldn't be able to make it."
And so it started. Finding a venue big enough to hold her clan. There couldn't be a nice venue without nice flowers, and those nice flowers had to be on good linens, right next to the flawless wedding favors.
"I started buying wedding magazines in what felt like the caseful. I was visiting bridal sites daily. And I was making some pretty crazy demands on everything. I actually heard myself say, 'but it's my wedding!' and almost freaked out. But you just want things to be perfect," she says. "I felt I needed to show people what a wedding should be."
For the woman who has never even given a thought to whether she should rock a mermaid or a ball gown, the thought of planning a wedding can become overwhelming, according to Samantha von Sperling, an image consultant based in New York City. "
"As women, we only get celebrated so often, maybe at confirmation, prom or a bat mitzvah. It can be easy to lose focus and exaggerate our wedding plans in our own heads. But we can't all have the Kim Kardashian experience."
A little attitude adjustment is all that's needed to curb an inner birdezilla, says Samantha.
"Remember the end goal is a happy and successful marriage," Samantha declares. "Would you still marry this man if you eloped in Vegas? If the answer is still yes, realize that your special day is going to be wonderful because you're marrying the man you love."
You can also make the journey to marriage a happy one by not expecting everything to be flawless on your wedding day. Your only job is to "be happy and grateful and gracious." Samantha says. She also advises, "be kind to your man, he's just trying to survive this ordeal. And be nice to the help."
In the end, Shay chose an intimate ceremony at a boutique hotel just outside of the city. And she remembers the day being perfect.
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