You know your mother has always dreamed of giving you the Big White Wedding, the one her parents couldn’t afford for her. You know your dad will be nervous but proud in equal measure and has been keeping his top-hat specifically for your big-day. You’ve got to accommodate every diet from gluten-free to vegan, via all the allergies and intolerances and that’s before you’ve even started on the table plan. Just who is this wedding about anyway?
Planning your wedding to please everyone, is a sure way to make it a stressful process and something you’d choose to forget rather than a memory to treasure. Why not be bold when planning your wedding, and decide to please only yourselves? Here are my top tips on making the wedding of your dreams a reality, by choosing not to be focussed on your guests:
- This is YOUR day and the two of you (and perhaps your kids) are the focus; the whole reason everyone is coming together is the two of you. Embrace this at every level and make brave choices for your day, so that everyone who attends says “the whole wedding was so them!” If your friends know you for your love of the outdoors, care-free lifestyle and wonderful barbecues, then don’t feel obliged to organise a formal event requiring dinner-jackets. If you’ve always promised yourselves a wedding on a beach, with close friends and a glorious sunset, don’t opt for a Registry Office, with bland vows and a formal dress code. Make your choices about stamping your personalities on the day and you will all have a wonderful celebration.
- Do wear what ever you want, no matter who tells you to re-think your outfit. There will always be someone who says your choice was inappropriate, so ignore their opinions and wear the outfits that the two of you want. Who says a lesbian couple can’t both wear a wedding dress, or that a couple getting married for a second time shouldn’t wear white? It’s your day and you’ll look back with regret if you don’t choose what you really want.
- As Wedding Celebrants, like myself, become more popular, people are becoming more and more creative with their ceremony. It isn’t a competition; your ceremony doesn’t have to be two hours long, and your vows don’t have to be poetry. Working with the right Celebrant will allow you to create a celebration that reflects who you are and include anyone that you choose to have as part of your service.
- Don’t believe the images you’ve seen of the calm couple, before the wedding, calmly ticking off their list of jobs and smiling as they sift through the replies to their invitations over a dry sherry. Planning a wedding can be a hugely stressful and difficult thing to do, so if it’s not your strength, ask for help. If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to hire a wedding organiser, even for only part of the work, it will allow you to focus on the positive aspects of the planning, like cake-tasting and choosing wines. If you are doing everything yourselves, then be real. This is about ONE DAY in your lives together, so don’t burn-out attempting to make party favours.
- Choose your Best-Man, or Best-Woman, or Head-Bridesmaid, before you do any of the planning. Make sure it’s a friend you can confide in, in total confidence, who will not go to pieces when you say “that’t it, I’m calling it off” or “If I see one for fruit cake I think I’ll kill someone” but will, instead, take you by the hand, pass you a tissue and a g&t, listen to your wows and then whoop you back into shape. Having this person in place is crucial to your wedding-day-wellness. I cannot emphasise how important this is.
Smiling, that was key for me. Reminding myself every time I thought it was all too silly or complicated or political, that the reason we were in this crazy situation was because we were getting married. We were starting the rest of our lives together, and the only people who mattered in that chapter was the two of us. Remember to smile, to focus on the love you have for each other and remember, the guests will all leave at the end of your wedding day; you two get to stay for the rest of the journey.