Life is NOT a movie!

Wedding season has officially begun. Saturday was spent celebrating the bachelorette, and then Sunday friends and family showered Emily and Brian with gifts and well wishes at a bar-b-que…a wonderful weekend!

These events as well as participating in wedding preparation bring images from the dozens of wedding themed movies and romantic comedies I’ve watched over the years. Most of these comedies reinforce some crazy ideas about romance and love, and while I’ve enjoyed many of these movies, it’s no wonder guys reject these “chick flicks” -can they ever really measure up to the characters and story lines seen on the big screen?

According to more than one study,  for most young women their ideas about romance and expectations concerning dating and marriage come from watching movies. When you think about it, that can’t be healthy. Do you really want to be a prostitute who gets the millionaire like Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman? And don’t get your heart set on meeting Mr. Right at the top of The Empire State Building like Meg Ryan’s character in Sleepless in Seattle. These romantic fantasies can only lead to disappointment.

If you want to look at media for romantic inspiration, I prefer the mini comedies from the ’70’s television show Love American Style. These episodes featured more realistic characters – fat, thin, young, old, rich, poor, black, white, or gay. And since each skit was a comedy, there were few if any perfect fantasies. Instead, what I remember taking from this show was that there are many different types of people who find happiness and love with imperfect people and that’s love, American style – no arranged marriages, no requirements to marry within classes or similar religions or among those of the same race because love, especially in America, doesn’t fit into neat packages.

So, what can you learn from the movies we watched at Meghan’s shower? Here’s what I think you can take away from each.

Hitch: Find someone who accepts you for who you are. Don’t stifle your “awesomeness” to please someone else. Dance your own dance.hitch

Four Weddings and a Funeral: A wedding toast is not the time to expose dirty laundry. A good friend would share information before a wedding – that’s not easy, but wouldn’t you want someone to let you know if they have information that might keep you from making a mistake?

27 Dresses: Show your wedding party love! Hopefully, they really will be able to wear that dress again, but remember they care about you enough to tell you the dress is perfect regardless of how they really feel!27dresses

My Big Fat Greek Wedding: Even if you’re an orange, your family can accept the apple you marry so long as you’re happy!

License to Wed: Communication really is the most important thing! If you’re going to spend your life with someone, you better have plenty to talk about and you better be speaking the same language. However, I still don’t recommend driving blindfolded to prove that you have superior communication skills.

Sweet Home Alabama: There’s no place like home! (Or is that from The Wizard of Oz?) That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be in Ocala or even Florida to find love or happiness but you do have to be able to come home. You need to feel at home with your partner. Be comfortable when you’re back home. For Melanie that was Alabama (how convenient that there was a song by that title), but for you that’s Ocala, or Florida. (Maybe someday there will be a song!)

The Wedding Singer: While love might hurt, love does NOT stink! Sure Robbie suffers the ultimate hurt and humiliation when he’s left at the altar, but even that doesn’t mean love stinks. Better to avoid years of unhappiness than marry the wrong person, and no matter how much it hurt, love and happiness are still in his future.

Father of the Bride: Don’t forget your dad on your wedding day and throughout your wedding planning. Like George Banks, Dads feel out of place in the whole wedding preparation process. It’s easy for them to feel like their only roles are to sign checks and then give away their little girls; so be patient, ask his opinion, and let him know you love him because grumble as they will, all dads really want is to make their daughters happy.father-of-the-bride-part-ii-original

Live and love in the real world! Life is not a movie. You’ll be disappointed if you expect it to play like one.