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Alternative Wedding Sites Buck Tradition
By Jennifer Wesson
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Planning a wedding can be stressful for any couple, but for those who elope or choose to get married away from home, pressure from family and friends can be overwhelming.
Many factors, including the desire for simplicity, could inspire a couple to opt for a quiet wedding.
Dr. Louise Davis, a child and family development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said couples must practice honest communication with all parties involved when breaking with wedding traditions, including not getting married in the family's church or hometown.
"A wedding is a special time for not only the bride and groom but also the families involved," Davis said. "Many times the families have expectations that are very different from the bride and groom."
Clear communication between all people involved is crucial. Each person must make an effort to listen and try to understand the other people. Everyone must realize that feelings, opinions and beliefs of others are valid and deserve respect.
Davis said the goal for a bride and groom in making a decision that could potentially upset family and friends should be to build and maintain healthy relationships.
The communication and resolution process may take some time, but important decisions usually do not resolve themselves immediately. This communication process is as important as the goal in maintaining healthy relationships, Davis said.
"Don't expect to resolve everything all at once or forever," Davis said. "A problem that appears to be settled today may be back tomorrow.
"Stick to the issue at hand. Exchanging accusations that bring up the past are futile," Davis said. "If such negative communication takes place, a person must learn to take a break from the discussion and return to the issue at another time."
Beth Smith, Extension home economist in Tallahatchie County, and her fiancÈ decided to get married last year in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Smith said she knows firsthand the importance of communicating plans to family members.
"My mother and dad were disappointed at first when we told them we wanted to go off and get married," Smith said. "Then when we explained to them our reasoning behind our decision, they were all right."
Smith and her husband preferred a short engagement and knew this would not be the case if they planned a big wedding. Health problems of older family members were additional incentives to forgo a big family event.
Couples and their families can make compromises that will accommodate friends and family members. Wedding announcements can be sent out in lieu of invitations. Also parties and receptions before or after the wedding are an option that many couples and their families choose.
Smith sent wedding announcements combined with an invitation to a reception her parents gave the newlyweds when they returned from their wedding. She said that the result was positive for all parties involved.