When Ms. Shannon Brooks and Mr. Luke Johnson decide to marry they cause a shift that reverberates through both of their families. Up until the day of the wedding Shannon was recognized as "Shannon Brooks," a member of the Brooks family. She spent years absorbing the beliefs, customs and habits of her family (as well as resisting and rejecting some). The same story is true for Luke and his family identity.

When the two come together on the day of the wedding they are, in effect, making a separation from their families of origin and forming a new family identity. So the Brooks-Johnsons will be a bit of a mixture of both families and more. Much of the "more" will come from finding middle ground when differences arise and developing new interests, habits and customs together. Perhaps the Johnsons always had family dinners. Maybe the Brooks family pursued independence in meals. How will the new couple decide what fits for them? And holidays present interesting challenges. Where will they be spent--at his parent's home or hers? Will they celebrate holidays with friends instead or possibly not celebrate at all?

Whatever the newlyweds decide will be new for them and will also impact their families and friends.Of course, these issues will be no more obvious than in the ceremony itself. Many couples have decided to water down their ceremonies for fear of offending some family members with words or actions that contradict or challenge the family beliefs.

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