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Q and A

By Francie Hartsog-Dolack

Posted: Wednesday, May. 19, 2010

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Photo by Diedra Laird

Francie Hartsog Dolack, M.A., L.P.C. is a professional bridal counselor who helps brides sail through their special day before, during and after the main event. Here, Francie answers your most pressing questions about your wedding.

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Dear Francie: I have been engaged for three months and already have a major problem. All my life, my mother has wanted me to wear her wedding dress on my big day. When I was a little girl, I couldn't wait. Even before I got engaged, I thought I wanted to wear it. But now that I am planning my wedding, I can't help but want my own dress! Don't get me wrong, my Mom's dress is really pretty, but it really isn't modern. I'm afraid my mom will be devastated when I tell her I want my own dress. Should I stick to my word and wear her dress, or should I tell her I want to buy my own?

April 2011

Dear Deanna: I think it's time you sit down and have a heart to heart with your mom. Your wedding day is a very important event in your life, and you have every right to wear the dress of your choice. Although your mother may be a little hurt, once she knows how you feel I'm sure she will be okay with the idea. Invite her to go with you dress shopping and take her advice into consideration when choosing your dress. Also, you may want to ask if you can wear a favorite pair of her earrings or other jewelry so she will feel that you are wearing something that belongs to her. Talk to her right away, the longer you wait the harder it will be.

Dear Francie: Three years ago my sister got married and I was her maid of honor. I was going through a divorce, and it was a very stressful time for me. I did everything I could to be supportive including helping to pay for things. During that time, my sister-in-law and I got very close. She helped me organize a lot of things and was very supportive. My sister never thanked me for anything I did, which hurt my feelings but I let it go.

Now I am engaged, and I have asked my sister-in-law to be my maid of honor. She has been great and has been very helpful. The problem is, my sister and my mother are furious with me. They don't want to be involved in the wedding even though I have asked them numerous times. I am not sure what to do at this point. Do I keep trying to reach out to them, or do I just go about planning without them?

Wedding Date: December 2010

Dear Brittany: I'm sorry your mother and sister are not willing to participate in your wedding. Have you tried to sit down and talk to them? Perhaps you could invite them for coffee and have a conversation. You may say something like, "I love you both very much and want you to be involved in my wedding." If they mention your sister-in-law being maid of honor, you simply say, "I chose her because we are close, and she helped me so much with your wedding I knew she would be a great maid of honor to me."

If your sister and mother continue to be angry, there isn't anything you can do about it. You have the right to choose your maid of honor, and it sounds like you've chosen the right one. I would not continue asking them to be involved. Be polite and friendly and get on with planning your big day. Giving them more attention by begging them to be involved isn't going to help the situation. Good luck!

Dear Francie: I am getting married in two months, and I have a very embarrassing problem. When I get nervous, I break out in huge hives on my neck and chest. Last semester I had to give a speech in one of my college classes, and I was humiliated when I broke out in hives. My wedding dress is strapless, so there is no covering up this problem. What causes this and is there anything I can do?

Wedding Date: July 2010

Dear Amelia: Stress and anxiety, such as giving a speech or getting married, can cause changes in the body's nervous system and can produce hives in certain people. This is your body's way of responding to something it perceives as threatening. The good news is, there is treatment for this condition. Please see your family physician as soon as possible. A combination of medication and relaxation techniques should be all you need to make sure you are hive free on your wedding day!

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