My husband and I were just married on May 31st. We really wanted to do a pre-marriage course and didn't have anything built into our preparation with our officiant because he is a family friend, who had never done a wedding.
We went to the ...
internet and found reviews for Melanie with Tie the Knot. They were all so positive that we decided to go for it. We are SO GLAD we did.
If you are reading this, you are likely to be in a similar situation, so let me be as helpful as possible. First of all, money and time! Both precious and disappearing into thin air during wedding planning. WORTH IT! We invested so much money into the actual wedding, but this is the only money we invested into life AFTER the wedding. Time- Four sessions really seems like the perfect amount. The 90 min flies by. If time is a major issue, or even if you are already married, it would still be worth doing (and applicable!) after the ceremony.
Melanie? Well, she's the best! Sessions take place in her (tidy and clean) living room at her home - no need to feel apprehensive about going to her house. They've set up a great space. Her husband, Grant, always vacated the premises for our sessions to protect our privacy. This was unnecessary from our perspective, but very respectful.
Melanie is so relaxed and comfortable. She is, of course, very knowledgable and guided the sessions, but she also just sat back and let us have candid conversations. We covered all the important topics that you would expect (communication, finances, etc.) spending more time on topics that warranted deeper conversation. My husband and I did not feel like we were sitting down with a shrink for deep psychoanalysis. It was more like sitting down with a wise friend. We learned tools that we honestly use all the time. We value it so much, that we even begged Melanie to consider meeting with us once a year, or every five years!
Is this all just from the bride? No, the groom honestly appreciates the time we spent just as much as I do, if not more! Before our first session, he looked at me and asked "what if she tries to tell us that we shouldn't get married?!" We joked about this later with Melanie and she reassured us that even if we seemed to be struggling, she would never tell a couple that they shouldn't be together! The cool part is, even though we were a happy couple with a solid relationship before - we walked away from sessions (even if they were hard topics, or stirred up disagreements) feeling stronger and more grateful for one another. If anything, it solidified our choice to spend our lives together.
This review is terribly long, but I honestly can not say enough about how much we value our time spent with Melanie. However, don't forget that in order to get anything out of the sessions, you both have to be willing to open up and have meaningful discussions. Melanie made this incredibly easy for us to do. Having important conversations with a third party present, to offer perspective, is so valuable. Also, have fun with her, she has a great sense of humor!
One last thing! If we had needed and officiant, we would have hired Melanie in a heart beat. She is thoughtful, intelligent and fun! I would recommend doing the marriage course with her and then having her do your ceremony (I suspect Grant and others at Tie the Knot are also great!). After the four sessions, it would be like having a friend up there to represent you and your union.