Monday, January 4, 2016

What I Would Change About My Wedding: A Wedding Planner's Perspective

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Photo by Peter Blahut

Yup that's me, in all my '90s bridal glory. This year would have marked my seventeenth wedding anniversary. Regardless of the fact that I am no longer married (we divorced seven years ago), my wedding day still holds fond memories for me. In all the drama that was my divorce -- and there was a lot of it -- I wouldn't trade my wedding day for the world. I have great memories of fun with my family and friends, photos of my daughter in the cutest flower girl dress, and cherished memories of my father who is no longer with us. Looking back now I wish I'd had looked at it for what it was -- a chance to create memories and not been, dare I say, such a "Bridezilla." Even if the marriage didn't last, I still wish I could look back on the day and feel like I had appreciated these memories as they were being made, instead of focusing on all the small, unimportant details. The saying, "Had I known then what I know now" is very relevant to me. Being a wedding planner, sure there are a few details I would change about the d├ęcor and my '90s style wedding dress, but a few key changes would have made a huge difference on the wedding day itself.

I would have delegated more.
I'm a wedding planner -- also lovingly known as "a control freak" by most of my family. I was a wedding planner in the making in 1998 -- not a professional wedding planner yet, but still possessed the trait that makes it difficult for me to give up control. My big DIY project for my wedding was my wedding favors. I bought these cute little terra cotta pots and filled them with wax to make candles. Long story short, my easy DIY project turned into a tedious time consuming pain in the ass. And like any bride, I left finishing my DIY project to the last minute. I remember leaving for my nail appointment the day before the wedding, only to come home to find that a few of my bridesmaids had graciously finished them all for me. I quickly examined all of them to make sure they did them correctly, and sure enough, they were done perfectly! I wish I had just asked for their help in the first place instead of trying to do it all on my own and wasting so much time on such a small detail.

I would have had my parents say a speech.
This is one of my biggest regrets. My favorite part of the hundreds of weddings I've planned is the emotional speeches from the parents, and I am sad that I didn't get to experience that with my mom and dad. Despite the fact that I am no longer married, this would have been something I definitely would like to rewatch on my wedding video. At the time, there was a bit of tension with my in-laws, and I chose not to have any parents speak at the wedding to avoid any drama. Silly me! There may have been tension, but I am sure they would have only said loving things about their son in their speech. I regret letting petty differences affect the memories I could be cherishing today.

I would have had less bridesmaids.

Let's face it, there are friends that you have that you just aren't going to be friends with in ten or twenty years from now. I had five bridesmaids -- my best friend as my maid of honor, my cousin and my sister, as well as my ex-husband's cousin and a girl I was friends with at the time of my wedding. I obviously don't see my ex-husband's cousin anymore, and I haven't talked to that one friend in over ten years. Choose wisely, even if you have a lot of close friends and are feeling pressured to have all of them in the wedding party. A small wedding party is more manageable and carries a lot less drama!

I would have had an unplugged wedding.

Ok, so we didn't have iPhones in 1998, but people still had cameras, and at times I felt like I was being harassed by the paparazzi! Being pulled away from special moments to turn towards guest's cameras to pose, instead of being able to soak it all in. Take my advice -- going unplugged not only allows you to be in the moment, but lets your guests enjoy every detail as well, instead of seeing it all through the lens of a camera.

I would have invited kids.

Gasp! This is one of the biggest issues for some couples, and while I always tell my brides that this is their wedding and no matter what, guests should just show up and shut up, looking back I think I should have made a different decision on this. We wanted my daughter and Godson to be the only kids at the wedding, as they were the flower girl and ring bearer. But looking back, was it really such a big deal? Despite the fact that my ex-mother-in-law told her family to bring their kids even if it stated otherwise on the invitations (see point #2), I wish I would have just invited the kids. Sure there would have been a few more rugrats running around, but would it have been the worst thing? Sometimes you have to pick your battles, and this would have just saved a lot of drama. Look at it with perspective and take the high road for the sake of your sanity. Sometimes these things become more about a power struggle and getting your own way than what's best in the long run.

So my advice, from a wedding planner and past bride -- plan your wedding with memories in mind. Don't let little issues and problems be what you remember of your day. That is what a wedding day is all about isn't it? Creating memories. Your memories of the day will last forever, make sure they are good ones.

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