Monthly Archives: June 2013

How To Handle Your Mother-in-Law

I am lucky to be married to a man who comes from a great family. My own mother-in-law is a good mom and friend to me as well, so this article is not a reflection of my own personal life (ya hear that, Ellen?!). However, brides have emailed The Wedding Yentas with concern about the family dynamic they are entering. In order to alleviate trouble and empower couples, Boston-area licensed therapist, Mimi Licht, contributes her expertise on the age-old relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. The advice she offers is for brides who feel their man’s mothers are out of control and a burden in their marital relationship.

Michelle came to see me crying, “My mother-in-law is my problem. She has no boundaries.” If you have a MIL who likes to drop by without warning, expects to see you every Sunday for dinner, or has taken charge with planning your wedding, you are not alone. You also need to realize that she’s not going away. When you say “I do” to your beloved, your MIL is an integral part of the deal. You can wish all you want for her to leave you alone, but wishes will not change her intrusive personality. Michelle has tried to politely let her MIL know that after a full day of work she would like private time with her husband, but is often ignored and MIL drops by anyway. Michelle is plagued with angst, worrying about how to convey her misery to her husband and how to let MIL know how she feels without being disrespectful or rude.

Where is the man in these situations? After all, it’s his mother! That is the primary issue. If his life-long strategy is to either avoid or ignore his mother’s domineering ways as a means of survival then don’t expect him to rush to the rescue to back you up. His tactics are probably so ingrained that he is completely unaware of what comes naturally to him at age 30.

In Michelle’s case, she needs to feel like her guy is a trustworthy teammate. Becoming a successful couple means knowing that your guy has your back when dealing with his mother. He will need to face the fact that avoiding her will create heartache and frustration between the two of you. If you are in this situation you must find a way to join together to develop a powerful strategy. The mother-in-law is not going to change her ways unless boundaries are clearly drawn. You and your guy need to assert your needs for privacy, involvement, and criticism. This is not an easy task. Some sons need all the help they can get to feel empowered. Motivation to confront this sensitive matter will come from their wish to have a happier bride. Couples counseling can enable him to see when his head is in the sand regarding his mom and that together you can take control of the situation.

I work with couples, suggesting that they compile a short list of priorities relating to mom. Then we develop a plan with the goal of concrete, lasting change in family dynamics. The list is usually topped off with, “No unexpected visits!” Role-play in these sessions sets the stage for possible scenarios. Together, we anticipate probable reactions from the MIL and prepare responses. I encourage couples to take plenty of time rehearsing until they are confident about standing up to a formidable opponent. Change of this kind is an ongoing process. Couples keep from getting discouraged when I predict that often it is one step forward and a half step back before change is solidified. In the end, sons realize that asserting themselves feels right and their mothers will survive as they grow into stronger men. My female clients have been relieved to find that their partners could be counted on to embrace a united front, effectively handling mom as they develop their own personal routines which will form the foundation for their new marriage.

in-session:-mother-in-law-management

Mimi Licht, LICSW, BCD founded Wisely Wed as a special place for engaged couples to freely share their hopes and fears about getting married. Mimi believes that couples owe it to themselves to spend time nurturing the emotional side of their new marital partnership. Her Brookline office, located in a lively urban neighborhood, brings back warm memories of her Brooklyn roots! She also has fun sharing a love of plants with her husband, Jeff, at their home-based nursery and hiking at Acadia National Park. Mimi is excited that her daughter is now guiding inner city youth toward discovery of outdoor adventure. You can reach Mimi at www.wiselywed.com, 344 Harvard Street, Suite 2, Brookline, MA 02446, (508)358-5706.

  • Ellen (MIL) says:

    Excellent advice!

{Real Jewish Wedding} Los Angeles, CA

Even though they were born in the same hospital, grew up less than 15 minutes from each other in Los Angeles, and both went to college at UCLA, Becky and Eric’s paths didn’t cross until years after they moved to New York, and even then it wasn’t until a chance encounter during a night out with a mutual friend.

They dated seriously for a year and one week after their anniversary, Eric tricked Becky into thinking they were having dinner with friends. Instead, Eric proposed to Becky at home and then took her to one of her favorite restaurants for a celebratory dinner. When they arrived back at their apartment, Becky realized that this was just the beginning of Eric’s master plan. As soon as she opened the door, Becky was greeted by 20 of their closest friends, who had gathered for a surprise engagement party.

Becky and Eric traveled to Los Angeles from New York to celebrate their wedding day with family and friends. They decided to have a traditional Jewish wedding, including a Kaballat Panim and Chatan’s Tisch before the ceremony, followed by the signing of the Ketubah and the Bedeken. Becky circled Eric at the beginning of the ceremony before they joined their parents and the Rabbi under the chuppah.

The food-minded couple envisioned an epic cocktail hour, which Pat’s Catering helped them make a reality. Guests enjoyed an abundance of delicious tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, along with three stations attended by chefs serving potato latkes with assorted toppings, sliders, and Eastern European Jewish classics. Becky and Eric designed the “Jewish Station,” which included corned beef, pastrami, smoked turkey, stuffed cabbage, kasha varnishkes, kishka, and chopped liver. Even though their guests stuffed themselves silly during the cocktail hour, they were able to work up an appetite for dinner during the lively and sweaty hora.

Mazel tov, Becky and Eric!

Los Angeles Jewish Wedding

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Venue: Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel
Photographer: B&G Photography
Florist: Ixora Floral Studio
Jeweler: The Jewelers of Las Vegas
Ceremony Music/Band: N’Demand
Lighting: George’s Lighting
Caterer: Pat’s Catering
Wedding Dress: Anna Maier/Ulla-Maija
Shoes: Kate Spade
Veil : Bridal Veil Falls
Earrings: Anzie
Hair: Amanda Tuller
Makeup: Gabi Militello
Officiant: Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard
Invitations/Stationery/Yarmulkes: Designs & More
Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale
Ketubah: Ketubah.com
Photobooth: Hollywood Photo Booth

  • Jen says:

    I loved this wedding and ADORE Becky & Eric. Thank you so much for the feature!!! xoxo

  • caroline albert says:

    it was the best wedding ever…the best family, wonderful friends, and the best kishka and kasha ever!!!!

How To Not Stress About Your Wedding

I know how stressful wedding planning can be! So many decisions to make! So many family members to please! So much worry about weight and skin and hair color! The year of the wedding is an important one, and you want to do everything you can to make sure that the final product — the big day! — is perfect. I don’t blame you one bit, and you should do whatever you can to make sure that it all goes down without a hitch.

But putting that much focus on wedding planning — or anything that big and important — can really stress a sista out. I’m currently in the middle of a move to a new home so I should probably take my own advice below. These are things you already know, but need a gentle kick on the tushie to remind you, so without further delay, I present “How To Not Stress About Your Wedding.”

How to Beat Wedding Stress

  • Exercise. Blech. I know. Sweat ruins the Jew-fro. But still, it’s important. I guess you could always do things that count as exercise, but don’t feel like exercise. Like, you could play team sports with your friends! Or lay out by the pool to get a tan and then go swimming to cool off. Just do fun exercise so that your mind is off the wedding. Not to get all sciencey, but apparently, you release endorphins when you exercise and endorphins help make you feel all peace-love-and-happiness and stuff. To quote Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” I guess this quote is also applicable to marriage which is appropriate for a wedding planning blog. So, to sum it up: you should exercise so that you don’t freak out about your wedding and so that you don’t go to jail. Ta da!
  • Breathe. You do it anyway without even trying so you may as well make it meaningful if you’re stressed. Take deep breaths. Count backwards from 10. Relax your mind. Sometimes those brief moments help give you some clarity. When I’m ready to throw down or I begin to fantasize about punching people in the face, I count. Usually I feel better after that. If not, then I play Candy Crush in order to run away from my problems because sometimes being immature is easier.
  • Music. Blast it. Sing it. Play it. Music therapy works! Why do you think there were so many Jewish composers? They were worrying all the time about this and that and then they wrote brilliant tunes. I mean, Irving Berlin, a nice Jewish boy, writes “White Christmas,” the most un-Hanukkah-like holiday hit? I’m telling you. Music does wonders.
  • Go online. Read about other peoples’ problems. There’s nothing like a little schadenfreude to keep your mind in check. So many other people have it worse. If you’re not into reading about strangers’ depressing issues, you can always search for the happy. Look into jokes or feel-good stories or pictures of puppies canoodling with babies. Waste away on the Internet to find solutions to your problems or go the opposite direction and take some time to ignore them. Use the content that’s available at your fingertips to recharge your brain so you can come away with a better grasp on your situation.
  • Wine. Chocolate. Enough said.
  • Spa day! There’s nothing like the quiet room, a cozy robe, soft-talking therapists, and a massage. Make that Me-time happen for you! Go get a treatment that puts you at ease. A massage and a pedicure are my two favorites. Think about what you’d love most right now to pamper yourself and give yourself permission to enjoy. You deserve it!
  • Be with your favorite person. Make a spontaneous getaway with the lucky person who gets to marry you! Escape from reality for a bit and relish in the joy that is you two. It’s important to put into perspective why you’re getting married and that the other nonsense matters much less than the love you’re professing on that one day. If you can’t do a real vacation where you turn off wedding talk for an extended period of time, go out and have a date night. Or cuddle on the couch. Don’t talk about the wedding. Don’t go on Pinterest. Don’t even read The Wedding Yentas {I know, how are you going to cope?!}. Just be with your love and boycott the wedding so you can refocus when it’s time to hit the pavement again.

Good luck! Everything’s going to be OK!

How to Beat Wedding Stress

  • Malik says:

    This has made my day. I wish all pongtsis were this good.

8 Reasons Why A Small Wedding Is A Good Idea

Small weddings. There’s something so romantic and special about being part of an event that has an exclusive guestlist and all focus on the bride and groom. Whether it’s for economical reasons or for destination wedding desires, intimate nuptials are big in popularity. Why?

  1. The most special day you’ll experience with your partner will be spent among only your nearest and dearest! Whittling down your people means you have fewer guests who are extraneous or friends of relatives you hardly know. It’s all about the quality instead of the quantity!
  2. Ahh… you can breathe! Fewer people means less pressure. Because of the small amount of guests, your wedding day jitters will likely shrink down to little to none. This is because you won’t have seemingly-foreign eyes on you. Among your closest friends and favorite family, you should feel much more relaxed. No dog and pony show for your VIPs. Just party on in a fancy dress! Om to that!
  3. Cha-ching! You’re saving money, friends! Who doesn’t like that? Fewer people means fewer homes to send invitations (which means fewer postage stamps); Fewer tables means fewer centerpieces or printed menus at each place setting; Fewer people means fewer favors and that means fewer labels with your logo to stick on such favors. See where I’m going with this? It’s not just saving on the catering bill. It’s saving on every element that would normally be attached to a guest.
  4. Go big! If you’re on a budget, I would strongly advise you don’t cut corners and, rather, you cut people. You can still have a high-end, beautiful wedding supported by top-notch vendors if you declutter your guestlist. Want to splurge on your dream photographer? Want to indulge in a gourmet meal that stands out from your usual banquet chicken-and-‘tatoes grub? You can when you don’t have to pay for so many people!
  5. With a smaller wedding, you have more choices in selecting a venue. Since you won’t need to accommodate a large amount of people in a space, you could get married in some really unique and cool locations. Art galleries, boutique restaurants, university libraries… you can have a more personal experience in a unique location.
  6. You can actually schmooze with your guests! You are inviting all your favorite people, right? So that means you can actually talk to them! It’s always so sad when the bride and groom miss out on face time with the people who’ve come to celebrate them. I know I missed out on seeing some people at my 162-person wedding and I STILL feel guilty about it! The day goes by fast, no matter how many people you invite. Big wedding, small wedding — the day flies by. You’ll want to be able to steal a hug from the people you love and if you have a smaller guest list, you’ll be able to get as many squeezes as you’d like!
  7. People will remember your wedding! Because it won’t follow the cookie-cutter format that most large weddings employ, your guests will recall it was a unique day, representative of you as a couple! For people who get around the seasonal wedding circuit, weddings can become fairly assembly line-like and very predictable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — chocolate cake is pretty predictable and it’s delicious every time — but it is nice to stand out and make a mark, especially on a day that’s yours.
  8. Save some money for later! If you’re contributing to your own wedding, either fully or partially, you already know that you’re spending on one amazing day. But it really is one day. One. Ouch. That’s a lot of cash to spend on 1/365th of a year. If cash is tight — and these days, it’s likely everyone’s holding their wallets a little more tightly — you’ll want to save on your wedding with an intimate guestlist so that you have more funds for your honeymoon, a house, or a rainy day.

Weddings of all shapes and sizes are truly special in their own way, but if you’re on the fence about whether to have a large wedding or a smaller sized event, hopefully this list helped make your decision a little easier. A small wedding can still have a big heart, and when it’s all over, it’s all about the two most important guests of honor: you and your b’shert!

Elizabeth Zuluaga Photography

Elizabeth Zuluaga Photography

  • Lala says:

    Stellar work there eveoerny. I’ll keep on reading.

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Get the Low Down on Short Wedding Dresses

A wedding dress above the ankles is nothing short on style. In fact, short wedding dresses can be just as fashionable — if not more! — than your more formal, long dress. There’s a time and a place for a short wedding dress and if the rest of your wedding day style can swing it, I say go big — well, short — or go home!

I am so inspired by my fellow Yentas who have featured weddings on the site. Remember Marissa who looked super chic and sophisticated in her to-the-knee white cocktail dress from Sak’s? I think we could all take a page from her stylish book!

If you’re having an intimate wedding, an artsy wedding, a beachy wedding, a courthouse wedding, or a destination wedding, a short dress may just be for you! And maybe you have killer legs or you just do not want that big pouffy dress. That is a-okay in my eyes! Short wedding dresses can still make a statement with fabulous style and current trends.

You can still keep Jewish traditions alive with a short wedding dress. If you need your shoulders covered, there are some great boleros or cardigans that would add even more style to the entire look. And if you plan to wear a veil, there is no better way to go with a birdcage! So if you’re on spilkes that you have to wear a traditional wedding gown in order to keep your vows kosher under the chuppah, you can still have a Jewish wedding and stay true to your style and what you love.

The long and short of it is: you can totally pull of the short wedding dress!

And now we’ve reached the portion of this post where we get to stare at photos. Because, really, who doesn’t like to stare at photos of pretty dresses?

Kate Spade New York 'Gimlet' Silk Sheath Dress from Nordstrom

Robert Rodriguez Black Label Daniela Bead-Top Dress from Neiman Marcus

Albury Gown by Watters

Sue Wong Organza Petal Sheath Dress from Nordstrom

8154 by Watters

Lela Rose Brocade Sheath Dress from Neiman Marcus