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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Marriage Prep (6)


{Sponsored Post!} On-Line Marriage Preparation Course

He doesn’t look over 4000 weddings old, but he is! Who might I be referring to? That would be the Tennessee based non-denominational minister Ralph Griggs! When I asked him how many weddings he’s officiated, he said he stopped counting a few years ago, and it was over 4000 then! Can you IMAGINE the stuff he’s seen? My goodness!



A few personal words about Ralph, though this is a sponsored post. Ralph was our officiant and he’s punctual, he’s nice, he’s professional and he’s good. Really good. We could not have been happier, particularly since The Candyman and I didn’t have our own church in Nashville. And the thing is, he’s just a super-nice guy. There, my 2 cents on that.

But on to the good stuff! One of the great things about Ralph is his on-line marriage preparation course. I know this sounds, er, lame – but marriage prep is crucial. Marriage takes WORK! Regardless of how easy your relationship is right now, it might not always stay that way, particularly when a crisis rears it’s ugly head. And crises can happen, to both good and bad people. It’s best to know how you and your partner will act in difficult times.

Now when The Candyman and I met with Ralph, we were already in premarital counseling. We knew we had some rough areas of communication that definitely needed smoothing over and we nipped that sucker in the bud. However, that was a specific issue that we needed to work on. Ralph’s course asks questions that took us in all sorts of different directions. One of my favorite questions was, “If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?” It may seem like a pipe dream type of question, but it takes you through each person’s priorities. We answered separately and then shared our answers afterwards. It was surprising (and a relief) to know that we would do EXACTLY the same thing. What’s interesting, is that particular question really gave us insight into our relationship because one of the things we fought about was money (sometimes still do). However, knowing that the core, the things that we see as important, were the same now make those money-talks a lot easier.

Here are some additional things that the on-line marriage preparation course can do for you: 

  • Prevent unhappy surprises in your marriage. You don’t want to get into your marriage and say to your significant other, “I had no idea you thought that!” You should kinda know all the important stuff up front! It sounds simple, but isn’t always.
  • Build confidence in your relationship strengths and explore new areas. Premarital preparation made us feel more confident about our decision to marry. Period.
  • Get a heads-up on tricky relationship issues, and have some compromises worked out already. This was crucial for me and The Candyman and was well worth the time investment.
  • Begin marriage with the knowledge that your mate cares enough about the relationship to put some effort into making it grow. Amen.
  • It’s fun. I’m not blowing smoke here. When done right, premarital preparation is fun. It just makes you feel really good about your partner.

Some other benefits?

  • It’s the marriage course guys love. For real. The Candyman would not lie about something like this.
  • It’s the course anyone can do at home! You don’t have to find a therapist. You don’t have to schedule and drive somewhere. You don’t have to pay a $50 co-pay or more if you aren’t covered by insurance. You don’t have to tell private stuff to a stranger.
  • Yo, Tennessee couples, save $60! Did you know that if you partake in premarital prep you can save $60 on your marriage license?

You don’t have to live in Tennessee and you don’t have to have Ralph as your officiant to take part in the on-line marriage preparation course. You can already be married too! It's never too late to dig a little deeper with your partner, particularly when it's fun.

So go check it out and come back here an let me know what you think. How do you feel about pre-marriage prep?


Duking it Out



I was all set to write a post today that was all ooey and gooey and sickly romantic about a conversation I had with The Candyman yesterday1, but then it became morning time and that plan was blown to bits. Why? Let’s just say that The Candyman doesn’t really do morning and as a result, there are times when we don’t do morning.

I mean, I’m groggy when I wake up, but I’m generally someone who can be awake and full-tilt about 30 seconds after I have my first gulp of coffee. The Candyman? Not so much. It takes him forever to really wake up. A cup of coffee doesn’t always do the trick. The Candyman walks around and looks like a normal person, but the man has a hair-trigger of a temper that can be tripped at the slightest of morning-infractions. We’ve had some of our worst fights ever between the hours of 6:30am and 8:30am. Sometimes our fights remind me of those old Army ad slogans, “We do more before 9am than most people do all day.” Yes, exactly. I mean, how is it possible to go from zero to 100mph that early in the morning? I’m not sure, but we manage it somehow.

Often after we’ve fought, I will immerse myself in chores. When I’m pissed, I clean the shit out of some stuff. I’ll be squatting inside the tub with my soap-scum-busting cleaner and a sponge, scrubbing the hell out of the imaginary line on the tub, cursing The Candyman and deciding whose fault it was. It’s almost always his fault when I’m in the midst of anger-cleaning. This makes me feel better as I continue to scour the house until it’s bright and shiny and clean. And it’s ammunition too. I can say to myself, “Look! Look at all I’ve done today! I cleaned this house from top to bottom! What did HE do today? Huh? Tell me!” And it really doesn’t matter what he did that day, because it won’t ever be enough. When I’m still angry, it doesn’t matter who does what.

I’m no different from anyone else. I have to work through my anger. Some people can be over something in a nano-second. Me? Not so much. I’m a grudge-holder. I stew. I assign fault. I am the judge and jury. In the heat of the moment, The Candyman has the habit of assuming the very worst about me. He assumes I’m behaving in a particular way on purpose, that I’m being mean or self-centered or manipulative. Neither of us listen or care to listen. Usually, if the fight reaches this point, our imaginary referee rings the bell and  we go to our respective corners, get some coaching and decide who will throw in the towel first. I hate throwing in the towel. Even though the fight should be over and done, I’m still holding on to the “rightness” of the fight. Whose fault is it? To me, assigning fault is the key. If we can determine whose fault it is, then the problem is solved. If it’s my fault, then I say I’m sorry and stop the behavior. Same goes for The Candyman. We used to do this in therapy. We’d rehash our fights, assign blame and move on. This worked for about….oh, who am I kidding? It never really worked. I thought it worked. If it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t my problem. Period. The problem with this kind of non-problem-solving is that it doesn’t take emotions into account. It doesn’t take into account the fact that you’re actually sharing a living space with someone, that the person you’re fighting with doesn’t care about the “facts.”  The real facts are that the person you’re sharing your life with is angry too. Since we all process anger differently, there’s a lot to learn and accomplish when you fight with your partner. I think this learning process takes a while. It might take a whole lifetime.

*We interrupt this post to answer the phone and talk to a now-calm Candyman.*

Just when I was getting good and ready to attack the microscopic grout-grunge behind the toilet, The Candyman calls. We apologize. I read him this post. He agrees. We talk about what happened (without assigning blame) how and why it happened and how we can avoid it in the future. The conversation takes less than 10 minutes and the fight is over. Anyone witnessing our 7am exchange might be shocked at the intensity of it and how we get from there to forgiveness so quickly.

The answer is practice. We know our own faults and our therapist gave us the tools to make our fights work for us. Everyone couple fights, one way or the other. Ours are more of the explosive variety. If you think just because you’re not yelling that you’re not fighting…. well, you’re wrong. Silence can be the stuff of divorce. My bad habit of stewing and grudge-holding and resentment are unhealthy for our relationship. I have to fight with myself not to do that. The Candyman’s bad habit of assuming the worst is his challenge and I know he struggles with that too. For us, it’s the process of looking inside ourselves as individuals to work through what we’ve got going on in our partnership.

What’s your struggle? Is there a behavior, mind-set, time-of-day trigger for your fights? How do you resolve your conflict? Do you put on the gloves and go at it for a couple of rounds or do you nit-pick each other to death? Do tell.

1See tomorrow’s post.


The Marriage License: Get Ye Extra Copies



Having moved to the wonderful new (to me) state of North Carolina, there have been many-a-thing I have been forced, under much duress, to do. One of these things is getting a new driver's license. FUN! I have always said that the DMV is the best place for fun. Yes, I have too always said that....

In addition to getting my new license, I also had to get a new license plate for the car. Now, we're talking some kinda fun!

Anyway, you need like 800 million things to register your car, one of them being the title. Now, I paid off my little 2004 Passat several years ago so the title has been under my name for like, forever, so it's still in my maiden name. I wondered if that would be an issue so I called the license plate place (different than the DMV) and they told me I needed to bring my marriage certificate. TO GET A LICENSE PLATE. Sooooo stoopid. Anyway, it was a lucky thing that I had extra copies made. You should too.

So I did a little poking around and found out some info on marriage licenses that you might need to know:

1. You'll need it if you're going to change your name. If you're going to do that, DEFINITELY READ THIS FIRST!

2. Every state requires a marriage license. 

Most, but not all, states require a waiting period of one to five days, between the time the license is issued and the time of the marriage ceremony. The purpose of the waiting period is to give a short time to cool off in case you decided at the spur of the moment to marry a total tool.  The waiting period can sometimes be waived. For example, if the groom is arriving in the bride's town only one day before the wedding, but the state has a three-day waiting period, the waiting period probably can be waived by a judge or clerk of court.

Twenty states require couples to wait a few days after applying for a marriage license before they receive the license:

0-day Waiting Period: VEGAS, BABY! Oops! I mean Nevada.

1-day Waiting Period: Illinois, New York, South Carolina, Delaware.

2-day Waiting Period: Maryland.

3-day Waiting Period: Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington.

4-day Waiting Period: Delaware if both of you are non-residents.

5-day Waiting Period: District of Columbia, Minnesota.

6-day Waiting Period: Wisconsin.

3. You usually apply for a marriage license at your town hall, probate court, city/county clerk's office.

4. Four states still require a blood test: Connecticut, Indiana, Mississippi and Montana (as well as Washington, DC). Did you know that the blood test is for freakin' syphilis? Apparently, this rule became standard before penicillin. Ew. And for the record, there are some states that now require that couples applying for a marital license must be offered an HIV test and/or must be provided with information on AIDS and tests available. Presently, no state requires a mandatory premarital HIV/AIDS test.

5. Some marriage licenses have a time limit. Generally, you can't go more than 30 days with an unsigned license. Check your state's rules and make sure you don't jump the gun.

6. If you or your fiance have been married before, you need to provide the divorce decree before getting a license. You don't want to have to start wearing your hair in braids with a front-style Snookie bump or one of those hideous prairie dresses.

7. After your ceremony, the officiant signs the license and sends it to whatever government authority your state requires. The city or state where you got hitched will then issue the certificate and send it to you. Voila! Proof of marriage!

8. And just for the creepy factor, here are some interesting factoids:

Close blood relatives cannot marry, although in some states, first cousins can marry (California, Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont) . Of the states that allow first cousins to marry, a few also require that one of the cousins no longer be able to conceive children (Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin). In the state of Maine, first cousins may marry if they submit to genetic counseling. Dude? Totally fucking gross. 

One must provide sufficient mental capacity (often this is determined as the ability to enter into a contract) prior to obtaining a marriage license. Personally, I challenge this provision. It is CLEAR that there are plenty of couples who DID NOT DO THIS.

Alrighty, so there you go. Make sure you check with the state you live in regarding marriage licenses, as well as with the state you'll be getting hitched in (if it's different). Laws change by the nano-second and you don't want to eff up the thing that makes it all legal and stuff. Hopefully, these nuggets of information have been helpful, if not entertaining.


Ask and You Shall Receive

I was inspired by the comments my MOH and readers left on the blog yesterday. A lot of really good points were made, ones that I think need to be shared on a grander scheme.

Yesterday’s post surrounded bridesmaid dresses, but more importantly communicating your wants, needs and desires to your maids in regards to their dresses. I think we need to take this a few steps farther. Further? I can’t ever remember which to use when.

Anyway, grammatical issues aside, let’s talk about talking, OK? As in communication. You gotta do it. It was something that I thought I was doing during my wedding planning process, but totally wasn’t. You might think that the people in your life know what you’re thinking about your wedding. They don’t. They don’t have a clue. And guess what? It’s not really a high priority on their day-to-day list of things to do in life. It just isn’t. You want it to be, but it’s not. You are going to have to embrace this and deal with it. I wish I had. It would have made things a lot easier on my poor little brain.

Much too far along into the planning process, I met Liza Hippler*, a Bridal Coach. She offered to coach me in the latter stages of being engaged. I also attended one of her Maiden to Married seminars. I so wished that I had met her immediately after getting engaged! It would have made the journey to my wedding day so much easier.

I’m going to try to share with you some of the words of wisdom Liza shared with me. One of the first tasks put to me was this:

  • Set an intention for why I’m getting married.

Sounds simple enough, right? Why are you getting married? Are you knocked up? Is it just “time?” Is it because you love your fiancé bigger than the whole sky? Whatever the reason, that’s your mantra. Keep that as the meaning behind what you are doing.  For most brides, I’m going to assume that you’re getting married because you do, in fact, love your man bigger than the whole sky and want to spend the rest of your life with him. Right? Put that intention down on paper. Like on the front of your wedding binder. Or on the bathroom mirror. Tape it to the fridge, on your car dashboard. Are you getting the point? Good. Let’s move on.

Personally, I think that most of my friends and family didn’t really know what to do with the fact that I was getting married and having a wedding. My friend Alecia was probably the most girltastic about it. Lots of SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-ing, offers to help, lending an ear, etc. She rocked. My other gal-pals were pretty hands-off. This wasn’t meant as a slight, or that they didn’t want to be involved or anything like that. They just knew that I was on top of it. And that’s not to say that they didn’t do anything or offer to help. No, that was not the case. However, most live far away and couldn’t really be hands-on so the bulk of stuff fell to me, and I was OK with that. I like being busy and in charge.

But as the planning progressed, there were several things that weren’t falling into place. They were things that made me feel out of control, a little blue and a lot frustrated. Most of those things had to do with other people. And that is where I totally fucked up. I expected people to know what I wanted. I expected my friends and family to know what to do and how to do it. My thoughts were, “Well, they know me, they should know.” That, my friends, is bullshit. And it's totally unfair to your friends and family.

You cannot expect people to know what you’re thinking. You can’t set expectations for people and not tell them. It’s just not fair. You can’t assume that people are going to do what you think they need to do. This may sound like a no-brainer, but when you’re knee deep in guest lists, menu planning and budgets – all bets are off when it comes to rational thinking. The best piece of advice Liza gave me was that I needed to start asking for what I wanted. Sounds simple, right? Oh, it was so hard.

I remember a conversation I had with my MOH when she was planning her travel out for the wedding. She was laying out plans and telling me about flights and such and I just remember thinking, “No. No. No. No. No. No. No. This is not what I want. Not at all.” And I was frustrated because I knew she had so much to juggle: work, husband, kids. I didn’t want to tell her “No. No. No. No. No. No. No. This is not what I want. Not at all.” I thought I was going to have to start researching different flights and times and how to best handle the situation. In retrospect, I think I was unintentionally plotting how to best manipulate the situation in order not to ruffle feathers or upset myself or my MOH. And in all this clutter in my head, I remembered the advice Liza gave me in a session: “You are allowed to ask for what you want.” So instead of the “No. No. No. No. No. No. No. This is not what I want. Not at all.” I was able to just say, “I want you here. I want you here on this day because of X, Y and Z. Can you do that?” And the planning and chatting stopped and she said, “Let me see what I can do.” And you know what? She did it. There was no manipulation. There was no gnashing of teeth or pulling of hair. Afterwards, I was like, “Whoa. That really works.” In Liza’s words, “Use asking for what you want as an opportunity to grow.” Really great advice.

But what if  my MOH wasn’t able to do what I wanted? What then? Liza had my back on that one too. The other ah-ha question she asked me:

  • Can I let go of what I think or know I want?

Could I? Would I harbor resentment because of it? Would I want to waste my precious time being engaged to The Candyman pissed off at the people I love? The direction then was to go back and read my intention and then answer the question. The answer was a resounding NO.

Once I got asking for what I wanted down, lots and lots of things became much easier to do. I remember being irritated with my mom over stuff she didn’t know about the wedding. I mean, I had blogged about it for crissake, why didn’t she know? Because she wasn’t reading my blog. Um, WHAT? So in a bit of a hissy fit one morning I barked into my cell phone, “You know what, Mom? All I need for you to do right now is listen to me when I call to bitch and read my damn blog.” And she did. And she even left comments. That made me happy.

The last Big Picture advice that I carried with me in the latter part of planning was to indulge in everything bridal. Because I was a Thirty-Something Bride, I didn’t feel like I could be that giddy, “I’M GETTING MARRIED!” kinda girl. I never had been, why start now? I had always been that cool, slightly indie-chick who made fun of girls with acrylic nails and fake tans. But I wanted to be that girl (not the acrylic nail/fake tan girl, but the giddy girl). I wanted to be all, “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, I’m getting MARRIED!” But I don’t think people expected that from me. My own assumption crippled me. I can’t blame anyone else. It was me who did it to me. People don’t magically know how you feel. You have to open your mouth and say stuff. And then you have to be ready to not get what you want. But if you don’t ask for it, you can’t really blame anyone but yourself if you don’t get it.

So take some time and make a list of things you want or need from others in your wedding planning process. Do you want your MOH by your side every moment? Let her know. Don’t direct her, but just share what you want and expect. It’s only fair. Need alone time prior to walking down the aisle? Make sure your planner (or whomever) knows to clear the way a few minutes before you do your aisle gig. Do you want your maids to have their dresses in hand, ready to go the month before the wedding? Make sure they know. Just make a list of things that you know you want and communicate it. It sounds easy, but it can be really hard. But please trust me when I tell you that it is totally worth the effort you put into this task. It will keep you sane. I promise.

*Liza has recently given birth to her first baby girl, Sailor. She writes a Mommy Blog called Blahggy and it's really good. She's currently recapping labor. I am so not wanting kids now.


License to Wed

Yeah, I know it's totally gay (as in lame, nothing against our homosexual friends) to chronicle our lives on a blog, but hey, getting married for the first time is pretty exciting. You get to go sign official certificates and stuff. This part is truly fun for The Candyman. He's a lawyer and all and digs stuff like this. Plus, I think he likes to flirt with the ladies at the County Clerk's office!

Ah, The Candyman at The County Clerk's Office. Can I PLEASE have his weather on our wedding day? Thank you.

Two things: this outfit is way cuter in person and I will not ever be wearing that lipstick color again.

It's this way folks. I find it slightly ironic that you head in the same direction for both the marriage license and business tax departments.

I totally embarrassed The Candyman here! And is it just me, or does my arm look like it's the size of a ham hock?

First the groom signs.....

And then the bride!

Ta da! And $40 later, we're registered to be married! Just like that!