Achieving the Fairy-Tale
As young girls we imagine the perfect wedding day; the sun would be casting a soft, glowing halo on as we walk up an aisle coated in rose petals, looking the most beautiful we ever have a flawless white dress, while the man of our dreams waits to put a huge but simple diamond ring on our hand. It is the one fairy-tale that girls believe will actually come true. It’s the one we feel we can actually have. We might not live in a castle with a fairy-god-mother and magical woodland friends, but we can have the end-of-the-movie wedding. A wedding feels like the one new beginning that we can recognize and that we can control to make perfect. So, perfect it must be.
How hard could it be? We know our favorite colors and themes. We even found the dress, asked our best friends to be bridesmaids, and sent out save-the-dates from our amazing engagement photography session. We got this. But then our mother-in-law-to-be is upset because we didn’t invite her second-cousin, the caterer fees keep climbing, it might rain on the wedding date, and one of the bridesmaids in pregnant and due around the wedding date! All the details and things we didn’t think would even be an issue are major hurtles. The wedding has become a full-time job and the pure bliss of the day we imagined is no where to be found. It will get better right? On the day of the wedding it will all be alright? And when the big day comes, everyone has questions, can’t find something, needs to know how you want something, or is changing your carefully put together plans. All you want to do is be in the moment, but it feels like no one will let you be, and you are the only one who will not be enjoying this amazing day you have worked so hard for. It leaves you wondering who the fairy-tale is for.
This is the worst nightmare for every soon-to-be-married couple and unfortunately a reality for many. They say that planning a wedding can be harder on a couple than the first year of marriage. I worked for 15 years as a wedding photographer, and I have seen smiling, euphoric brides and brides in tears of frustration. I was sure that there was a reason why some weddings were fairy-tales and others were an obligation that the bride and groom couldn’t wait to be over with. No couple should feel that way about their wedding day. After analyzing hundreds of weddings, I found the big difference between idyllic and disappointing weddings was preparation and delegation. The happiest brides planned and wrote down every detail of the wedding and then gave it to someone else to deal with on the day of. Most brides either can’t afford a wedding planner or simply prefer to plan their wedding themselves, which most can do successfully. But it is when they neglect to hand over the responsibility of the event to someone not in the wedding party on the day-of that disaster happened. You simply cannot fully enjoy an event if you are responsible for managing it.
When I see a bride kept from enjoying her own wedding, this breaks my heart for every little girl in a white sheet, holding a bouquet of dandelions who dreamed of her special day. With this blog, as with my business, it is my goal to fully prepare couples for their wedding day so that they can have beautiful, joyful memories, rather than disappointment and relief that it is over. My biggest advice to any couple is to hire, bribe, barter, or beg someone to be the coordinator during the wedding. The best option is to hire a professional who knows how to handle the multitude of complex situations that arise during weddings. Even if it seems out of your budget, think about how much you would pay for peace-of-mind and a perfectly run event, then adjust your budget accordingly. On average, you can pay $2000-$8000 for professional pictures, but if you don’t have good feelings about the day, will they be worth hanging in your living room to look at every day? However, if you simply cannot afford to hire a professional coordinator, ask a very organized friend or acquaintance to field questions and easy problems that can come up during the day. Even a reduced amount of issues reaching the couple during the event can be a huge help. But make sure you ask someone who would not really be involved with the wedding to start with, this is not a job for the mother-of-the-bride or maid-of-honor, they already have jobs. And understand that while they will take some pressure off, they are not professionals and will not anticipate every problem or know how to handle every situation, so please remember to show them grace and gratitude even when issues and questions find their way to you.
Know that with any big event there will always be complications but the more help (and specifically professional help) you have the smoother the event will go. It is your wedding and everyone deserves to be in a fairy-tale for a day so make sure you get to enjoy it.