Wedding Etiquette

On Having Wedding Nightmares

wedding dreams2

By guest blogger Natasha Burton, 101 Quizzes for Couples

There are many annoying things that people don’t tell you about wedding planning. Like, how wedding coordinators may try to shame you out of using Pachelbel Canon in D because it’s too stereotypical. Or, how those free cake tastings you’ve been looking forward to aren’t actually free. Or even how your fiancé will tell you he has no opinion about anything only to suddenly become very opinionated indeed about the most random details.

Oh, and how planning a wedding will literally give you nightmares.

My fiancé and I have just hit our five-months-to-go mark after getting engaged over a year ago. And while I can recount a number of bad dreams from which I’ve awoken, terrified, that the wedding we’ve been planning turned out to be a complete disaster, I have yet to have a happy one about our impending nuptials. This worries me.

To give you a sense of what these dreams are about, here’s a brief list:

1. That my (in real life very sweet) future mother-in-law demands I wear a different wedding dress and I comply because I don’t want her to be mad at me.
2. That I forget to get my wedding dress tailored and thus, can’t wear it because it pools in yards of extra fabric at my feet.
3. That my fiancé and I spend our entire wedding looking for each other, unable to reunite.
4. That the wedding happened but I can’t remember any of it.

Sure, these aren’t nightmares in the traditional sense—I’m not dreaming of, say, a serial killer chopping up our wedding guests while they’re dining on tri-tip or anything like that. But, after looking forward to our wedding day pretty much since I started dating my fiancé (like a total weirdo), and after having over a year to plan the actual event, I feel deeply emotionally invested in the outcome of the day itself. Which, I imagine is pretty typical of brides-to-be.

It’s this investment that’s likely causing the nightmares, if dream research has anything to say about it: In the 1950s, psychology professor Calvin Hall found that we use dreams to explore what concerns us in our waking hours, albeit in a way that’s not always rooted in reality. More recently, sleep researcher Rosalind D. Cartwright theorized in her book, The Twenty-four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives, that dreams actually regulate our negative emotions, allowing us to process them and, hopefully, transcend our fears.

Plus, my gender is also to blame: According to a study by the University of Montreal, inter-personal conflicts and emotional drama is more common in women’s dreams. Meaning that I suppose I shouldn’t feel totally insane for having these bad dreams.

Another thing that makes me feel better is knowing that I’m not the only one. Before one of my best friends married her boyfriend of nearly a decade, she had a recurring nightmare in which her upper arms swelled to the size of watermelons. However, my college roommate, who’s getting married less than two months before I am, has been having a different kind of wedding-related nightmare, one that I can relate to all too well: The ex dreams.

Yes, I admit it, I’ve been dreaming about my ex. Typically, the scenario involves a wedding in which I’m marrying him, not my fiancé. Or I wake up, in the dream world, only to see that my ex is lying next to me. Or, I’m told that I need to choose between my current man and my former one, both of them standing before me.

I wake up from these dreams panicked, as you might imagine. But, rather than making me question my love for my fiancé—as dreaming about one’s ex can certainly do—these nightmares only reaffirm my appreciation and love for the man I’m about to marry. Because every time “dream Natasha” is forced to pick one or the other, she (I) always chooses my future husband. (Thank goodness, right?)

So, while I’m sure these wedding nightmares will continue (they’ve become more frequent the closer our date gets) I just need to remind myself that these latent fears are playing out because I really care about our wedding—these bad dreams are simply an inevitable part of the process. Just like my fiancé’s spontaneous feelings about signature cocktails.

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Can I Wear My Wedding Ring…Before My Wedding?

By guest blogger Natasha Burton


As of this week, I’ve been engaged for a year. And I still have a while to go — seven months and change until the big day arrives. To some people, this might seem like a ridiculously long engagement but, for me, having just less than 18 months to plan every detail has been a relief. At this point, I really just have to finalize the menu, go with my fiancé to get his suit, and, well, show up.

Yes, even with more than half a year to go, we already have our wedding bands. (Which the lovely David Lee at the Woodland Hills store helped us pick out, I must add!)

The rings are sitting in their snap-close boxes, in their Robbins Brothers’ boxes, in our shared closet on a shelf that holds the rest of my jewelry and sunglasses. I know these specifics not only because I’m slightly concerned about misplacing our rings with so much time before our wedding but also because I can’t stop thinking about them.

You guys, I am dying to wear my wedding ring.

I know, I know, I’m going to wear it for the rest of my life so what’s the rush, right? And I’m sure it’s some sort of bad luck to wear your wedding ring before the ceremony. But the thought of my delicate, pretty pave band confined to its dark box-within-a-box makes me want to rescue it from its lonesome existence and slide it right on my ring finger.

Plus, I’d love to be able to wear it just out of convenience: My solitaire engagement ring isn’t the best thing to wear to the gym or while making dinner. My more subtle wedding ring? Much better.

Once a day, I’ll take it out and try it on just to, you know, remind myself how it looks on my finger. I know that, once it’s on, it’s on forever. And maybe it’s because my fiancé and I have been engaged for what feels like a long time now, but I’m pretty ready for forever to start already.

Natasha Burton is a blogger for and the coauthor of “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.” Her most recent book is 101 Quizzes for Couples.

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Things You Should Never Do Right After a Friend’s Wedding


Over the past three years, I have attended nearly a dozen weddings for various friends. And while there is a ton of advice out there on engagement and wedding etiquette, there aren’t many guidelines on post-wedding Ps and Qs. So, I thought I would outline some, all based on my pals’ experiences. While most of these don’ts are common sense, you’d be surprised at how many times I’ve heard about — or actually seen — people committing these uncool no-nos.

1. Pop the question
A couple at a friend of a friend’s destination nuptials got engaged less than 12 hours after the wedding itself ended, just following the next-day brunch, at the very hotel the bride and groom and all of their friends were staying. Sure, they were technically on vacation too, and, technically, the festivities were over. But, when they mass-texted the news to all of their mutual friends, their engagement took attention away from the couple everyone was there to celebrate — who was still on the property basking in the post-wedding glow with their friends.

2. Post all of your photos
Some couples prefer to keep all of their wedding photos private, which is their prerogative no matter how much you want to share how cute you looked in your semi-formal dress that night. Before you post anything to Facebook and Instagram, be sure your doing so is cool with the bride and groom — especially when it comes to images of their ceremony, which tend to be more sacred to couples.

3. Pester about the Facebook relationship status
You may be excited for your friend to change her status from “Engaged” to “Married,” but there’s no need to write annoying comments on her wall about it.

4. Text your friend when she’s on her honeymoon
Every friendship is different, so it might be totally natural for you and your bestie to message each other while she’s on a deserted island with her new husband. But, for the most part, you should refrain from sending her texts when she’s on this once-in-a-lifetime vacation, especially if said texts are about your guy problems or work crises.

5. Ask for her decorations
So, your wedding is in a few months and you would LOVE to reuse a bride’s table numbers, wood vase risers, or votives on your big day. Awesome! She’d probably love to sell you them for cheap (or even just give them to you). But definitely give her some breathing room before asking for her goods — during the reception is not the right time to make these kinds of inquiries.

6. Inquire about personal decisions
Pestering a couple about their name change decisions (or lack thereof), baby plans, et al, is off limits for at least six months post-wedding. Let them enjoy being newlyweds without any kind of social pressure.

7. Joke about the divorce rate
I think we all know why this is not okay, right?

What else constitutes bad post-wedding behavior in your book?

Natasha Burton is a blogger for and the coauthor of “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.” Her most recent book is 101 Quizzes for Couples.

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Picking Out Wedding Rings–the Robbins Brothers Way

By guest blogger Natasha Burton


On Saturday, my fiancé Greg and I finally got to pick out our wedding bands. I say “finally” because I have been so excited to take him to Robbins Brothers after I went down to the Woodland Hills store solo earlier in the summer to scope out bands for myself. So, it felt like I was waiting forever even if it was just a few months!

When we got to the store the manager, David, who was so incredibly helpful during my first visit, greeted us. I felt lucky to get the opportunity to work with him again and get his advice on which rings would be best for us.

Being the gentleman he is, Greg let me go first to start the ring-choosing process. On my last visit, I had picked three options for my band but, when David showed them to me, I realized that my concept of what I wanted had completely changed! Was not expecting that! However, David was so patient with me and selected some other options for me to decide between. (So, a tip for the ladies out there choosing their bands—take your time and maybe do a couple store visits before making your final decision just in case!)

In the end, I chose what I believe is the perfect wedding band: A delicate, super-skinny pave ring of diamonds that goes almost three-fourths around my finger. It will sit just slightly off my engagement ring so each piece of jewelry is distinct. Plus, I can wear the band to the gym or when I travel and still rock a bit of bling. I couldn’t be happier with my final choice—even if it wasn’t what I initially picked out.

But there were more surprises to come: When it was Greg’s turn, I thought he would go right for the titanium bands—not only are they affordable but they are strong. As in, strong enough to open a beer bottle. Yes, my fiancé wanted a ring that he could use to pop open his favorite IPA. Gotta love him, right?

However, when it come to fit, quality, comfort, and style, he went a totally different direction: Greg ended up choosing a sturdy, brushed white gold band—a very manly ring, if I do say so myself. David, again, was so helpful in showing us the difference among the metals and really guided Greg as far as what kind of ring would best fit his lifestyle—guys, I strongly suggest chatting with David before you choose a ring!

In the end, I love the ring Greg chose, not only because he won’t be showing off his ability to crack open a beer with it (white gold is too delicate for that!) or because I think it looks fabulous on him, but because our rings are of the same metal. I’m a fan of coordination, what can I say?

All in all, the ring process took less than 30 minutes, another surprise since I expected us to mull over the decisions for a while. Though, at Robbins Brothers, everything is so easy, hassle-free, and, best of all, fun. (Right after our ring shopping, Greg and I actually visited another, chain jewelry store to replace a lost earring in a set he had bought for me years ago and we found ourselves missing David and the Robbins Brothers way of doing business immediately—we couldn’t believe the difference between our two experiences!)

Choosing wedding bands is a huge deal and I am both happy and sad that the process is over: Happy because Greg and I have amazing new pieces of jewelry that we get to wear forever (!!!!) and sad because now we don’t have a reason to go back to Robbins Brothers and look at rings!

Though, Greg says he’s keeping David’s card handy—we certainly know where we’ll be going for all of our future jewelry purchases, that’s for sure.

Natasha Burton is a blogger for and the coauthor of The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags. Her next book, 101 Quizzes for Couples, comes out in 2014.

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Groom’s Guide to Getting Engaged

Classic Mosaic Engagement Ring from Robbins Brothers (sku0385156)

Classic Mosaic Engagement Ring from Robbins Brothers (sku0385156)

*Does the 2-months salary rule still exist?
*What are the most sought after engagement ring styles for Fall 2013?
*How many couples shop for the ring together?
*Do I really need engagement ring insurance?
*Top 3 tips for planning the perfect proposal?
*What else do I need to know about getting engaged?

Find out all of these answers and more in Google’s Hangouts On Air hosted by The Man Registry.

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