Planning a wedding
Working in the wedding industry I hear a lot about how weddings are too big these days, too much money is spent, what’s the point etc, etc…
It’s true that the average wedding budget now is well north of £20,000 which is a lot of money in anyone’s book. But when I hear people saying weddings are all nonsense, well, I beg to differ…
Of course getting married will change your life forever – obvs. But planning your wedding will do the same thing. How?
Pretty much every couple I meet has something to say about how hard it is put together a guest list. Children? Yes or no? What about those children you just have to have? Won’t you offend other people? What about family? Do you have to invite people you haven’t seen for years, maybe who’ve never even met the person you’re marrying.
Then there’s the bridal party – how many bridesmaids/groomsmen do you have? Do you have to invite everyone you’ve been bridesmaid for even though you hardly see each other these days? Do you have family who expect their children to be part of the wedding party when that hadn’t even crossed your mind? Do you and your other half need to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen? Can it be different?
How much say (or control!) do family get over your wedding arrangements if they’re making a financial contribution? Do they get to invite their friends? Do they get a veto over the photographer? You’ve got your heart set on a beautifully crafted wedding cake but your Mum is determined that her family fruit cake is the cake of choice and her friend is the one to ice it for you.
And we haven’t even started on the seating plan which can be a minefield. Do you put the loud people all on the same people or do you spread them around to dilute the effect? What about divorced family members, how close can they sit? Who goes on the top table?
I’m not trying to put you off before you’ve started I promise! I want to tell you that these are all things that can come up and you and your soon-to-be spouse will need to navigate these choppy waters. You’ll need to work as a team, you’ll need to work things out between you and stand together united.
How you steer through the wedding planning could test your relationship with your family, friends and maybe even each other. If it starts to feel that way, the first focus is your relationship. You’re getting married because you want to spend the rest of your lives together. Of course you want to have a fabulous wedding (and I definitely want you to have that too) but the most.important.thing. is that the two of you get married and live happily ever after. And no row over a wedding plan is worth denting that. There are lots of plates to keep spinning but focus on spinning your relationship plate and do the best you can with the others.
The discussions between the two of you about what you want and how you want your day to be need to be loving, accepting and generous. Remember the mantra of my lovely Californian friend Roxanne, ‘First seek to understand, then to be understood.’ Her point is – try to understand where the other person is coming from and their point of view before you leap into getting them to understand where you’re coming from. First seek to understand, then to be understood…
Once the two of you are on the same page, then you can stand united against the world – yay! That’s one of the points of getting married, to have someone on your side who always has your back. So have each others backs over those tricky discussions with family whether they be about money, cake or flowers. You want to face all major decisions, reach agreement and then move forward together.
Don’t be a doormat or a dictator
I’m not for a minute suggesting that you ride roughshod over family and friends and pull the ‘it’s my wedding’ card. Of course it’s your wedding but you want people to remember the run up to your wedding for all the right reasons. That when they had something to say, you listened. That they felt you took account of their views and if you had to say no, they felt you explained why.
Getting married doesn’t mean you become a doormat and do what everyone else wants but it doesn’t entitle you to become a dictator either. It requires you to be a diplomat. After the wedding you want people to remember you were a loving and generous couple who knew what you wanted and did everything you could to keep everyone happy. Most (reasonable!) people know you can’t keep everyone happy all the time. So when you feel yourself stressed or overwhelmed by something that’s going on (or going wrong) with your wedding planning, take a deep breath, picture your blissful wedding day in your head and rise above the immediate conflict. Be diplomatic, be generous, be as loving as you can be in response. Channel your inner Ghandi, think non-violent response…
How you handle your wedding, how organised you are, whether you stick to your budget, how you negotiate between you as a couple to reach agreement, your response when things go wrong, how you handle disappointment/anger/manipulation in others, all of this will stay with you. How you handle your wedding will be the blueprint for how your family and friends see you for a long time, possibly forever. And that’s why I say it’ll change your life forever, how you were in the run up to your wedding and how you dealt with things will always be remembered. Your family and friends will know if you’re the person to come to if they need help with something you handled with grace and know what you’re not so great at dealing with.
Be the best ‘you’ you can be
Decide how you would like to see yourself during and after the wedding planning. Organised? Decisive? Graceful? Cheerful? Laid back? Try picking 3 words to describe how you’d like to see yourself and be the best version of that you during your wedding planning.
In my next post I’ll pass on some strategies on how to handle those tricky situations when emotions seem to be spiralling. What can you do after you’ve taken that deep breath and the situation is all still there lookin’ ugly…
Don’t forget you can always drop me a line about anything wedding. You’ll reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org