By Dr. Jane Greer

Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies, is engaged to be married to his girlfriend Angela Jones. This will be his first celebrity wedding, but her second. In fact, it was reported that they began dating shortly after she divorced her first husband. Matthew seems to have gotten the proposal right, judging from the photos of the ring and the Paris vacation during which the engagement was said to have taken place.

The relationship advice question is, will the fact that she has already had a wedding change the dynamics of, and possibly complicate, the marriage planning that lies ahead for them?

This is something that happens often when two people decide to spend their lives together. One might have gone through it all before, the big wedding and honeymoon, and the other might be experiencing it for the first time. Sometimes this can affect what each is hoping for as far as their big day goes. For the one who hasn’t experienced it before, this might be something they have been dreaming about since they were a little kid. They might have family members who have looked forward to it for years, and may even have strong ideas about how it should play out. For them, the whole idea of a traditional wedding dress and all the fanfare might sound great. The other person, though, might feel they have been there and done that, they might no longer see the appeal of all the details and possible headaches that can go along with planning such a large, involved event. They might even think it would be nice to sneak away to City Hall or Las Vegas and elope. If you find yourself in this situation, how can you reconcile it?

The first thing to keep in mind is the end goal, which is to commit to each other for life. There are so many paths to take to get there, and as long as you find one you will be achieving that all-important objective. Having said that, though, people still want what they want. Make sure you are able to talk about what you each desire and hope for, and really listen to why each person is requesting what they do. Try to compromise, maybe the person who doesn’t want a huge wedding or honeymoon will give in to the big day for the sake of his or her new spouse and family, but will then get to choose the honeymoon destination with the aspiration to keep it low key. Or maybe the reverse could work for you, the one who hopes for a grand occasion will be willing to tone it down but then might opt for an extravagant honeymoon.

Do your best to stay focused on what you want as a couple without giving up what is most important to you as an individual. Be sensitive to your partner’s needs, and try to find a middle ground that will work for both of you. That way, each of you can be invested in their wedding.

Hopefully Matthew and Angela will be able to navigate these complicated decisions as they plan their important day. Maybe all they’ll need is a little Hogwarts magic.

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