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due Emotionally Engaged, Manchester-by-the-Sea north q+a Wedding Work Emotion Manager Allison Moir-Smith engages with the engaged. Engagements are a time of intense emotions—of every sort. By Kiley Jacques with media appearances on the Today show and Good Morning America, a published book titled Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life, and accolades from Brides, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Modern Bride magazines, bridal counselor Allison Moir-Smith knows what tying the knot is and is not. How did this come to be your area of expertise? I trained as a psychotherapist but came to focus on brides due to my own experience as a bride-to-be. At the time, I was 35 years old and kind of an emotional wreck throughout my engagement. I was happy, but also surprisingly sad, scared, and overwhelmed. I kept thinking, 'Hey! Isn't this supposed to be the happiest time of my life?' My training told me this wasn't just garden-variety cold feet. I worked hard to get at the root causes, and by my wedding day, I was ready to get married. That challenging time changed my life. Once I emerged from my pre-wedding jitters, I had a clearer, stronger sense of self. I decided I wanted to help other brides-tobe navigate the confusing maze of emotions prior to their marriages. Why do you take such an interest in the emotional well-being of brides-to-be? I know firsthand that the engagement period can be a strangely lonely and isolating time of life. Friends and family are so excited and want to focus on the fun details. Few ever ask about a bride's inner emotional life. It's a period of huge personal growth. Essentially, she's ending her life as a single woman. She's adding 176 nshoremag.com January/February 2014 KJ JanFeb14 DueNorth.indd 176 a new branch to her family tree. She's learning how to be a daughter-in-law. She's no longer a girlfriend. She's preparing to become a wife. And she's trying to figure it all out while planning the most important and most expensive party of her life. I want to impart that it's totally normal to feel overwhelmed, sad, and unsettled amidst all the goodness. I want to give them some peace before their wedding day. What is the most common piece of advice you give those who are questioning their feelings? I tell them, 'This is a complicated time of life, and that's OK.' I say this again and again because women often believe their engagements should only be blissful, romantic, and filled with champagne, roses, tastings, fittings, pampering, and ease. It's a myth promoted by bridal magazines, fairy tales, and Hollywood. What sources/references do you use to help inform clients? I have clients read my book, Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life. I also encourage them to read marriage researcher John Gottman's book, The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work. It's an excellent guide on how to be (and stay) married. emotionallyengaged.com photograph by dawn greene hair and makeup by marlo freedman 11/21/13 6:04 PM