Wedding Planning

LEARNING TO LET GO IN WEDDING PLANNING

A potential bride was interviewing myself and my associate who would be spearheading her event. She said she was a control freak, going to worry about every little detail. My associate said, "well, you're in luck, because you're talking to two control freaks."

I had to learn the hard way, though, to let go what I couldn't control, and savor what I could influence.  For my wedding, this meant that the lighting wasn't appropriately handled the way the venue should have, but everyone had a good time so ultimately that wasn't a big deal. For my life, the beginning stages of starting the business, it meant, my clients were well taken care of within a centimeter of their lives, but my dogs weren't walked for 3 years.  My house was untidy, not stylish, and my car was a cesspool, but I had literally not one moment to pause and fix those things.

But ultimately, the business started growing on its own, because I DID take such good care of my clients, and I started having time to walk the blessed dog, vacuum the car, and rearrange some furniture (my house still is kind of ugly, but dammit, it's finally clean).  So what was vitally important those first few years?  Pleasing my clients. Listen, House Beautiful wasn't going to photograph my house anytime soon - who cares what it looked like?  (The dogs? they needed a walk, that's for sure. And I walk them every morning now!)  Here are a couple tips for knowing when to let go.

In wedding planning, Accept what you can't Change.

With your wedding, it may mean not having the all-peony bouquet you have been dreaming about since you were a kid, but it may mean having a unique one totally unseen on all of Pinterest with less expensive flowers and voila - now you actually have a special bouquet that no one else has.  Maybe it means not getting the trendy "farm to table" caterer celebrities have for their wedding, but the food truck you got blew everyone away with its great food.  And the money you saved will now go towards a house! - nice trade-off, right? 

LET GO OF PRE-CONCIEVED NOTIONS.

Maybe you grew up dreaming of a beach wedding, but your family lives inland.  Perhaps you always wanted to get married at a Tuscan-style estate, but realize it's way to expensive to hire a private mansion.  The wedding planning process is usually the first time as an adult you'll learn to "kill your darlings" - and feel okay about it. What can you control, and what can't you control?  Release what you can't overcome and welcome what you can. You'll be a happier bride or groom, a better host, and most of all, what was so important at the time of your wedding won't matter so much ten or 15 years down the line.

Humans of New York: Breaking free from Tunnel Vision

From my first time to New York since 9/11.

From my first time to New York since 9/11.

Often, we get caught up in our own thoughts, our own problems, to the point of being solely consumed by them - i.e., tunnel vision. When I was becoming overwhelmed with the stress of both working my crazy schedule and attending to family matters - and struggling to balance both- I would catch myself thinking negatively. I'd stop and breath, and think about all the resources I have - a stable home, a good career - and it shook me out of my ennui. I can steer my own fate, and lots of people in our world, can't.

The Humans of New York project allows you to, at any time when you are down the rabbit hole of wedding planning, learn about how other people are living, what they are struggling with, what little victories they've enjoyed - and bring you a little closer to understanding your fellow human, exercising that empathy muscle. And let's acknowledge that wedding stress IS valid- a problem is a problem - but connecting with others is proven to reduce stress. And even if it's virtually - it's a start.

A couple stories on the site to get you started:

I thought this one was wryly funny

"Today in Microfashion" is an easy win - pure joy showcasing kids in cute outfits

A compelling argument for living in the moment

 

The TV that I Love So Much: My favorite shows

You may have already read how much I looove TV, and being a TV producer in my past life, I'm totally allowed.  It's basically the way I chilled and kept calm throughout the crazy of being a wedding planner.  There is a fine line between tv that soothes, and tv that ennervates. Here's some shows to check out for comfort viewing:

Anything British. Even if someone dies.

British TV shows are THE BEST. Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming are the kings of this stuff.  And even if someone dies (a la BBC murder mysteries), it's all good because calm people with delightful accents are on the case. My favorites: Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis, Endeavor, Rosemary and Thyme, and Grantchester.  Non-crime related, check out Victoria and of COURSE, Downton Abbey.

Lifestyle Reality Television.

This stuff's my jam - I worked as a TV producer for a few years, on HGTV, FoodTV, and E! content.  I loved it!  (Check out the main show I worked on, Designed to Sell - the best ever, in my humble opinion!)  My new favorite is Tiny House Hunters (I saw a family of 5 - yes, FIVE - squeeze into a house that fit on a driveway).  Other fun reality shows to check out:  Fixer Upper and the Baking Championship series on FoodTV.

The Bachelor still hasn't jumped the shark...even when a shark showed up on the actual show. (ABC)

The Bachelor still hasn't jumped the shark...even when a shark showed up on the actual show. (ABC)

 

"Can I steal him for a minute?"

So I watched THE OG Bachelor, seasons 1-3 WAYYY long ago and man, have things changed.  The show is a beast now - massive episodes and cray cray contestants, and it's unbelievably hysterical and ridiculous.  When wedding planning gets absurd, this will make you feel like it's a little less absurd after all. For a one-two punch of comedy, be sure to read recap blogs afterwards, especially I Hate Green Beans and Guy in Austin.

And This is Why we Control Alcohol at Weddings

I've had clients complain when we've cut shots at the bar, or told them they can't have self serve beer or wine on the tables.  And this is why:

Maid of Honor arrested after drunken rampage

Because even when you DO control alcohol, there's still the chance someone will go off the deep end like this poor girl.  And while it may be funny to read or watch, it really wasn't at the time - this lady just about ruined her friend's wedding.  It's so important to have a bartender on hand to control alcohol and ban your bridal party from drinking hard alcohol before the ceremony. Trust me on this!

Wedding Planning Communication Tips from the Golden Girls

Recently, at a wedding we coordinated, a bridesmaid quoted the Golden Girls theme song in her speech.

She is my hero. 

All my friends who know me, know I'm a huge Golden Girls fan. You want to talk peak TV? This is one of the best written and performed TV series ever (and created by a woman, the brilliant Susan Harris).  We're all a little Rose, Dorothy, Sophia, and Blanche.  Take them all together, and you have a group of women who represent optimal communication skills with loved ones.

Weddings require constant communication - business negotiation and sharing creative choices with vendors, passing along organizational directives to venues and coordinators, and lots (LOTS...lots) of potentially volatile conversations with family, depending on your kin's unique dynamics.  But if you follow these communication tips straight from my favorite TV show ever, you'll be able to navigate potential landmines with much more ease.

Don't get offended by honesty.

Words can hurt - but there's a difference between fightin' words and 'telling it in like it is.'  If you're always late, and a bridesmaid warns you to better be on time on the wedding day - don't be offended, she's helping you build in a cushion to your timeline.  The Girls never pulled any punches with each other - but there was sincere affection behind all their barbs.

Via Touchstone Television /Buzzfeed.com

Via Touchstone Television /Buzzfeed.com

 

Forgive and forget.

You can hold a grudge six ways to Sunday that your stepmother is stealing your thunder by obsessing over HER dress search for the wedding and never letting you be the star of any wedding related outings. Guess what - calling her on it probably won't make it better, it'll just make her more defensive.  Laugh it off for what it is, and if something truly serious comes up, gently bring it up with the offending person, clear the air, and offer forgiveness, otherwise you won't be able to move on - and then how are you going to have room in your heart to let in the joy and happiness of the wedding itself?  The Girls were almost brutally honest with each other, but they listened carefully and resolved situations in order to preserve their friendships. If they came across someone who wouldn't budge, they shrugged their shoulders and moved on.

 

Via quickmeme.com

Via quickmeme.com

Have some cheesecake ready at all times.

Worst case scenario?  Set any troublesome relationships off to the side for a night and indulge in a little self care.  A yoga class, drinks with your (sane) friends, reading a good book with a cup of tea, binge watch your favorite show (ahem), tucking into a cheesecake with your fiance around the kitchen table - these problems aren't that big a deal in the long run, and you don't have to solve them.  Give yourself a break!

 

Me and Drunk People

So, I've started to preach something very brash at wedding rehearsals:  Please, bridal party, DO NOT DAY-DRINK. If you do, make it champagne or wine or beer- no hard stuff!  I warn them that bridal party members who overindulge too early can commit some pretty serious offenses - from smoking in a shuttle to barfing in the venue - that racks up costs for the bride and groom.  This may sound a little overreaching, but after dealing with too many a-hole drunkies at weddings, I'm totally fine risking offending people.  When dealing with drunk people at weddings, I'm cool as a cucumber, because I've almost literally seen anything - nothing shocks me anymore.

I was watching Dateline (as every true crime fanatic does) and during the interrogation footage, saw how collected and unflappable the detectives were when the ridiculous happened. Below, for all intents and purposes, is me at a wedding, dealing with drunk people.