‘Tis the season for Instagrams of glistening gold bands, bouquets dotted with hydrangeas, and yummy, yummy cake. Not to mention crazed bridal meltdowns, drunken relatives, and awkwardly wonderful dance moves. Wedding season is here, friends, so bring on the champagne!
To help us navigate through this season of nuptials, we’ve recruited the help of relationships guru Natasha Burton—who is walking down the aisle herself on July 12, and has been engaged for a year and a half. (Early congratulations, Natasha!) Natasha co-authored The Little Book of Big Red Flags and is the author of 101 Quizzes for Couples. Plus, she was the relationships editor for Glo.com and a staff writer for The Huffington Post, as well as a blogger for Cosmopolitan.com. If you haven’t already checked out her Knock Knock wedding survival picks, you’ll need to step on it!
1. What inspired you to write about relationships and to ultimately become a relationships journalist? Starting in middle school, I used to cut out relationship tips from my mom’s women’s magazines and keep them in a manila folder, for what purpose, I’m not exactly sure. I think I wanted to be “prepared” for the future? (I’m a planner!) For whatever reason. I’ve been interested in relationships for a long time and I love learning about (and writing about) what draws people to each other, keeps people together, and even tears them apart. I also enjoy writing about my own relationship issues. I’ve never really had a filter and I’m pretty good about not feeling embarrassed by my experiences (even when I probably should), which makes me a good candidate for this kind of writing.
2. Your big day is just around the corner! To survive all the craziness, do you have any wedding planning tips you live by and would like to pass onto our readers? I am absolutely addicted to A Practical Wedding, which is a fabulous resource for commiseration and inspiration. The community is super cool and the message of the site is all about having a wedding YOUR way, whether that means wearing a fluffy ball gown and saving your vows in an upscale ballroom or donning a hand-me-down dress and getting hitched in your own backyard. There’s a strong feminist bent to the site too, which I love.
Also, I’ve learned not to talk to my fiancé about wedding stuff a) right when he comes home from work and b) when he’s hungry.
Finally, I would suggest tackling some DIY projects, if you’re up for it, but be realistic about it. I love doing crafty stuff and one of the most fun parts of planning has been making things for the wedding (like glittery MR and MRS letters for our cake table). But I’ve realized that I can’t do everything by hand—I was going to make our cake topper but then I found a super cute one from the ‘50s on eBay. Sometimes it’s just easier to buy than make . . . and that’s okay!
3. Have a funny wedding story you would like to share with us? One of our friends danced so hard and awesomely at another friend’s wedding that he split his pants. I hope our wedding is so fun that he does the same at ours.
4. This is a three-parter:
a. What prompted you to write The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags? And also, 101 Quizzes for Couples? My coauthors and I were inspired to write the book after reflecting on our storied dating histories and starting our blog, Big Red Flags. After receiving thousands of dating horror stories from women (and men!) around the world, we knew we had to create an advice book based on all the ridiculous tales we’d read.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to write 101 Quizzes because my publisher on Big Red Flags approached me about the project. What made me excited to take it on was the idea of writing something that could help couples get back to that early stage of a relationship where all you want to do is learn more about your partner. I wanted to inspire readers to be curious about each other again.
b. What’s one of your favorite relationship red flags that our readers should know about? It’s really hard to pick a favorite—I love some red flags because they came from crazy, OMG-worthy stories, while I love others because they are just so true, yet so obvious. But I have to say that the one I really think women especially need to pay attention to is when men are unwilling to “Define the Relationship” (DTR, in our book). That awful feeling of not knowing where you stand or what you are to someone is just that—awful. And hopefully our book helped readers avoid feeling that way ever again.
c. How did you keep your creativity going while writing all 101 questions from your 101 Quizzes book? Anything in particular that helped to inspire questions? I actually sent an email out to my close friends asking them to share the most meaningful conversations they’ve had with their partners, which helped shape some of the themes I covered. I also had my fiancé go through the manuscript with me before I turned it in to make sure I had made the book as unisex as possible and included questions I may not have thought of. He was super helpful in rounding out some of the quizzes.
5. Any hobbies outside of writing? Yoga, cooking recipes I find on Pinterest (though I’m not great at following directions and prefer to improvise), taking our Toy Aussie, Peyton, on walks, online clothes shopping (okay, this is more of an addiction), and watching Game of Thrones and The Bachelor.
6. If you could cook a meal for any fictional or real person, who would it be and what would you cook for him or her? This is totally a downer response—and, for that, I apologize—but, honestly, I would cook a fabulous Italian meal for my Nonna and Pappa, who have both passed away, so I could share all of my wedding details with them. The only downside to getting married is that they won’t be there to witness it.
Have a wedding planning or relationship question for Natasha? Send her a Tweet at @NatashaNBurton.