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Money | A Hot Issue


We have an entire wedding budget area to talk about the complexity of money. No matter what your money views, there is no "right or wrong." This very simple award-winning game is worth the emotional awareness you'll gain. A few big "a-ha" moments may greatly help in wedding planning. Learn more

We're Going to Be One Happy Family...Or Else!


A very unique book written by a nationally respected marriage and family therapist who has worked with couples and families for over 30 years. Learn why a mother bought 25 copies for EVERYONE in her family to get everyone on the same page during the most intense, public, family event. Learn more

Wedding Discounts for Marriage Prep


Engaged couples are by their nature extremely happy. But as you know, after the honeymoon, marriage is hard work. We offer many options for marriage prep at many price-points(and wedding discounts from vendors who want to help!) Encourage your adult child to visit our website.Learn more


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Questions on Maintaining Romance

During Wedding Planning



Q & A From: Questions provided by Elizabeth Doherty Thomas President of The First Dance LLC. Answer’s provided by Mary Chatman, President of Love Life Designs, Inc.


Q: When you work with couples who are extremely stressed, whether wedding planning or just busy with life, how do you help them figure out what they should do to decompress? Do you tend to go with their personalities and what they normally like, or do you encourage something else that you find is always stress reducing for couples?


A: One of the first things that couples need to remember, no wedding is ‘perfect’. It’s so important to keep the love and excitement going right through to the wedding and beyond. Some things you can do to decompress during the planning stage are:


*Trust in your faith, stay close to your friends and family and talk a lot. Tell them your frustrations, your concerns, and your expectations of how the wedding should flow. Talking through it from beginning to end can really help reduce wedding stress.

* Take time out to spend romantic time together! Plan a surprise, one-night ‘date’ and promise yourselves to not talk about the wedding at all during that time. On the way home, stop and carve your names in a nearby tree. You’ve just created a memory that you can always go back to!

*Many people can reduce stress by staying active as much as possible during the wedding planning stage. For men and women take long, hot baths, and pamper yourself individually with anything and everything you can during your bath. If your budget permits, spas, saunas, health spas and gyms are great place to get away to.

*I always encourage couples to dare to be different! Think outside of the box, and don’t be a bore. So many couples end up divorced because of this very thing – boredom! It’s ok to do things that you enjoy and are comfortable doing as long as you mix it up with trying new things.

*Always remember the biggest part of life and reducing stress whether planning a wedding or just plain living, is to have fun!



Q: What ideas do couples often come up with do you dislike? Like going to a movie, but then couples aren't actually engaging in their relationship. Anything else you try to get couples to NOT do because it's too ordinary?


A: Going out to Dinner! Nice but so very ordinary. If you really enjoy going out to dinner, go ahead and go but, change up and do something fun after dinner! Stop at a park on the way home, leave your shoes in the car and go for a barefoot walk in the park. If you live near the beach take a stroll on the beach.


*If your budget permits, book a local hotel suite and spend the night away from home. If you have children this will take some prior arrangements on your part with a babysitter or family member.


Q: Do you have any good date rules about "off limits" topics to encourage couples to steer away from wedding talk, or stressful jobs, etc?


A: Take time out to spend romantic time together! Plan a surprise, one-night ‘date’ and promise yourselves to not talk about the wedding at all during that time. If you’re already married steer the conversation away from bills, the kids and work. Keep it fun, light hearted, mysterious and romantic. Use body language to talk, lots of flirting with each other like you did on your first date. Stay away from noisy, busy places so you can focus only on each other.


Q: If a couple could only give of them ONE TIME to be romantic, because money or time is tight, should they splurge on one amazing night, or should they spend less money but try to make a long weekend of mini-activities? What are the pros and cons of each approach?


A: Pro - An action packed weekend can be exciting to some and if planned right can be quite full-filling. Again it’s all about knowing your mate. Planning activities that you both enjoy is the key here.
Con - A long weekend of mini activities can pack a punch but at the same time can be overwhelming and leave you feeling tired and stressed out if you over do it.

If your budget allows for planning one amazing night where you’re spending quality time reverencing each other in a quiet setting it will help you reconnect and is well worth it. You can plan an amazing night on a budget without over doing it, so this one is a win/win!


Q: For people who aren't into candles, wine, or some of the more "traditional" romantic things, what other creative ideas do you have that people may not think of as romantic?


A: Get out the bug spray; pack up a cozy blanket and a picnic basket filled with your favorite finger foods and head out to your backyard for a sunset picnic. You can also find a secluded spot at a local park or even plan a soiree on the deck if you don’t have a backyard. After the sun goes down stick around for a little stargazing!


Q: For the brides reading this, what do you find is romantic to men that they may not think about doing?


Telling them OFTEN that they are SOOOO Sexy! Trust me it works! Men like to be validated by their wives. It makes them feel important and that you’re paying attention.


Q: Do you think it matters if a fiancé/spouse plans a "surprise romantic date"? Is this a good idea or bad idea, or does it depend on their personality and how stressed they are?


A: I personally think that if someone is under a lot of stress, a nice pleasant surprise would be well received! Planning a romantic surprised date needs to be well thought out and planned. Pay attention to what’s important to your mate / spouse. If they don’t like fish make sure you don’t plan a date around a restaurant that specializes in fish. If they are not a fan of hiking, don’t plan a date that involves hiking without discussing it with them before hand to be sure they’re open to the idea. 


Q: When people think "honeymoon", they think romance. What tips do you have for people traveling on their own to spice up a dull hotel room? Maybe these are things they can travel with or buy at their destination.


A: We offer a create-it-yourself romance package that’s ideal for traveling and can be shipped to their destination. Visit Love Life Designs, Inc. for more information, find it under Shop CL!

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Elizabeth Doherty Thomas, is a co-founder of The First Dance, along with Marriage and Family therapist father Bill Doherty. The First Dance is a 2007 Modern Bride Trendsetter award winner for taking on the complex family dynamics of wedding planning. See what engaged couples and wedding professionals are saying about our book Take Back Your wedding. Our entire website is dedicated to offering advice on working through the people stresses of wedding planning as a couple, with your families, and how to strengthen your upcoming marriage through this enormous first task of married life.