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Things I’ve learned about Weddings

February 15, 2011

If you want to learn about people and how they react in stressful situations, study people who are planning a wedding. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve become far more emotional (especially in regards to anything wedding related), than I was a month ago. I just about cried when someone told me that my idea of a dessert buffet was likely not going to happen, ’cause it was too much work. They were right, but still… I had almost tears over desserts. The only tears the desserts deserve are tears of joy and happiness while being eaten, not tears of frustration and sadness when being planned.

Of course, all this emotion, stress and frustration (which will eventually result in a beautiful wedding day) is currently teaching me a few things about people. For anyone out there who is currently planning a wedding or going to plan a wedding, here are my words of advice.

Everyone on your guest list has different ideas and expectations of what the day will be.

To me and M. , as the bride and groom, we except the day will be about us declaring and celebrating our love for each other.

To my parent’s it’s a day of watching their daughter take another big step in her life. To our friends, it’s a day to party, eat good food, and dance till the wee hours. To some it might be a chance to hit on single folks, to other’s it’s a chance to see old friends. Some people look at a wedding as a big family reunion. And I’m sure a lot of guests look at it as an excuse to buy new clothes or rock those 3 inch heels they never get to wear.

Most of the time, these various expectations over lap.  M and I want a party with good food and dancing, as well as a chance to see family and friends and rock some hot new clothes. But once in a while, the expectations don’t mesh, or someones idea of how those expectations should be put into actual planning don’t align with yours.  There are times when people, in their enthusiasm for the way they want the day to be, will unwittingly step on your toes. These are often done with the best of intentions, like if a friend gave you a huge stack of CD’s with music they think would be awesome for the wedding, except your music tastes don’t match at ALL.  Or if someone gives you tons of suggestions for vendors without knowing that they’re out of your budget range. These people aren’t trying to hurt you or put you in an awkward situation, but sometimes they do without realizing it. And sometimes the affront is a lot bigger than just to your music taste or your budget. Sometimes, it’s not just an awkward situation they’ve put you in, sometimes they really hurt your feelings.

Sure, you can stomp and cry and pull the “but I’M the Bride!” card. But other times you have to just shut up and move on and not make a big thing of it. Because it’s very likely that not just your emotions are running high, but other people’s are. These people are your friends and family, they’re excited for you, and excited to share the day with you. They want it to be the best it can possibly be, but they might not realize that what’s perfect for them is not for you. If you go all bride-zilla on these people who love you, there might be a lot of hurt feelings, some that might ruin friendships.

I’m not saying bend over backwards for everyone, I’m just saying think about where other people are coming from. This is your day, and you are the centre of attention, but that sometimes means that people will remember what you do and say a LOT more on this day than on any others.

When some friends of ours got married a few years ago, M was one of the groomsmen. We were both so excited about the wedding and then the night before, my parents called to tell me that my Opa had passed away. I was devastated and it was all I could do to hold myself together during the ceremony and the reception. And M was so torn because he had groomsmen duties to attend to, but he also wanted to be near me and support me in my grief. The thing I remember most about that wedding is that both the bride and the groom took time out of their day to come and give me a hug and say they were so sorry to hear about my Opa, and that if I needed anything (a tissue, a drink, a laugh) to just let them know. I’m sure having a red-eyed and bawling girl who kept pulling one of the groomsmen away wasn’t their idea of a perfect wedding, but they handled it so graciously that I will never forget it.

I know I sound so zen and relaxed saying all this, but coming to this realization has not been easy. And I expect that it might not be easy on the actual day of the wedding when everyone’s plans come to fruition. I will likely have to re-read this and remind myself of why I didn’t just throw a bride-zilla fit in the first place. But relationships are worth more than the illusion of one perfect day. After all, isn’t that what marriage is about, building a relationship that lasts?

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