Wedding Nightmares

Wedding Nightmares
Dr. Phil talks to a bride who's so shy, she doesn't want to attend her own wedding.
Shawna and Chris

"Getting married itself doesn't scare me," says Shawna. "It's the wedding that's driving me crazy. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it. I panic when I think about being the center of attention for that amount of time. I've always been tall and stood out. We moved around a lot when I was a kid so I was always the new kid and had to stand up in front of the class and tell everyone where I was from. It was excruciating ... I never wear dresses. I hate dancing. I refuse to have my picture taken. I'd like to just go straight to the honeymoon if I could. Maybe I can bribe one of my bridesmaids to pull the fire alarm and we can all get out of there and I don't have to do it."

Shawna's fiancé, Chris, who's always wanted a formal wedding ceremony in a church, thinks that she's just being "unreasonable or scared." He says, "She's just going to have to confront her fear."
"I believe we react not to what people think or what happens, but to what we think people are thinking," Dr. Phil tells Shawna. "You are reacting to what you think people will be thinking at your wedding. You won't know what they're thinking!"

To illustrate his point, Dr. Phil tells Shawna to look out at his studio audience: "You're going to have 100 people at your wedding. In that section there that's probably 100 people. Do you know what they're thinking?"

"No," says Shawna.

"You're reacting to what you think they're thinking," explains Dr. Phil. "The good news is, you're in total control. The bad news is, you're in control. It's all about you and your filters. You see other brides in flowing dresses and say, 'It's just not me.' When you feel like you're trying to be something you're not, it makes you uncomfortable."
Turning to Peggy Post for her input, Dr. Phil asks, "Peggy, can't she just put the wedding together in a way that satisfies everyone but is still her? Do we all have to have reception lines and a first dance?"

"Weddings today are a great combination of tradition and personal touches," says Peggy. "You really can design a wedding that will please both of you." She makes suggestions that might make Shawna feel more comfortable, like going around the room in a low key way at the reception instead of having a receiving line, wearing an ivory dress or elegant suit if a white dress would make her feel uncomfortable.

"Etiquette is about the principles of being considerate, respectful and honest to yourselves and your families, which you are already being," says Peggy. "Be yourselves. A lot of the rituals aren't necessary at all. Some of the most beautiful weddings are the simplest. You can have a low key one that suits you."
Dr. Phil turns to Chris and advises, "You need to make sure she has a panic button. She needs to know that at any time if she feels she needs to get out of there, she can duck out. Whether that means being able to put on casual clothes or something else. We see it in experiments all the time when trying to see how much pain a person can take. If a person knows there is a button on the wall that can make the pain stop at any time, they can take more than five times the amount of electrical stimulation than when they don't have the button."

Chris and Shawna agree to take Dr. Phil's advice.

Dr. Phil assures Shawna, "You will feel so much more comfortable if you know you are in control and have an exit corridor."