Emma Gold didn’t know what to do — plan her dream destination wedding in South America and risk losing guests, or keep it local and swallow her resentment? Her wedding planner was helping her narrow down venues and calculate logistics and costs, but it was ultimately a doula who addressed Gold’s conflicting emotions and helped her decide. “She told me that I can’t please everybody and that I need to do what’s right for me,” Gold recalls. “But if key people aren’t there, is it still right?” Yes, because Gold’s physical response to a city wedding was cramps and nausea, said her wedding doula, Elizabeth Su.

For decades, doulas have accompanied women during childbirth. Now, a new breed of doulas is turning its attention to the $300 billion wedding industry. A wedding doula is a new concept, so it’s hard to define the role, which falls somewhere between that of best friend, parents, therapist and wedding planner. Think of them as providing “marriage mindfulness…”

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