Tying the knot in peace

Friday, July 11th 2008, 10:11 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

A wedding is supposed to be the happiest time in a couple's life. It's the perfect celebration of a perfect union, but with tensions over cost, the guest list and the reception, the stress can be unbearable. Brides and grooms are seeking professional help so they can 'tie the knot' in peace.

It's the day of a lifetime, but getting there can be anything but blissful. April Price, a newlywed and wedding photographer, said see constantly sees couples under incredible stress.

"I see a lot of people, you know, I would say more than 75 percent, are somewhere teetering on the brink," Price said.

TheKnot.com's Rebecca Dolgin said weddings average $30,000 and there are more complicated family relationships to manage. She also said the average bride and groom are much older.

"They have a career in full force and now they're trying to plan a wedding on top of it," Dolgin said.

Add into that the normal things like guest lists and color schemes, and all too often, lovers become fighters.

"You have this dynamic where you start feeling like it's me against him," Dolgin said.

There's help for people who need assistance with more than just logistics. There are wedding coaches and counselors to guide you through the emotions that become so critical.

"All of the traps people get into, 'What do I do with a mother in law, what do I do about a friend who's not stepping up to the plate as my Maid of Honor?'," Elizabeth Doherty Thomas of The First Dance said. "For most people, the biggest event you ever put on. It involves everybody important in your life."

Dr. Bill Doherty is a marriage therapist with decades of experience treating people after they tie the knot, but when his daughter Elizabeth got engaged, they saw a huge need for a different kind of counseling.

Together, they wrote a book and launched a website to get couples through their interpersonal wedding crises. Dr. Bill Doherty also started offering private sessions.

"You want to have your wedding in one city, that's where your friends are, and your parents want to have it in the hometown," Dr. Bill Doherty said. "This help can save a lot of heartache."

The traditional advice for brides of the past is that the day is "all about you," but many other people have to be taken into consideration now-a-days.

"If it's just about you, elope. But if you're going to have family and friends around you, then think about who they are, what their needs are," Dr. Bill Doherty said.

A bride can't expect everything to change just because it's her big day.

"If your sister has gone through her life with it all being about her, don't expect now her to say, 'No dear, it's about you.'," Dr. Bill Doherty.

Wedding planner Angela Brant used the Doherty's book to help her clients cope.

"I've used some of the tools on two recent clients, One, absolutely, I helped her derail or diffuse a situation before it ever occurred," Brant said.

Price said she could have used an ear from an expert once or twice during her engagement.

"We all need someone to talk to and we need a second opinion," Price said.