Life (and weddings) do not always go as planned.

Did you miss me? When I opened the paper Sunday morning there was no Pocono Wedding Talk  and I was stunned. After over a dozen years of writing this column something happened last week. I forgot to submit one. Blame it on the Thanksgiving holiday week, which no doubt threw off my routine, blame it on my aging brain, or best of all, I’ll try not to focus on blame. But it did get me thinking about how mistakes will happen. 

Yes, things don’t always go as planned in many aspects of life, and that is certainly true for weddings. 

Although not all of us have attended weddings recently (or ever) – evaluating your experiences can be a good way to help you avoid mistakes. Couples may recall what they loved about weddings they’ve attended, or what they did not love about them. Did it feel boring? Did things move too slowly? Was the music too loud? Was the food fantastic? Was the DJ rockin’? Was the Celebrant awesome?

Once you think about those pros and cons, you can become pro-active to try to ensure that your celebration is the success you want it to be.

Here comes the cake (don’t drop it)
Thank you Lisa Rhinehart for your amazing photography!

Notice I say successful, not perfect.

There is a mass medial idealization of weddings, summed up in an expression I see often that says: Best Day Ever. That’s setting the bar really high. Should we even aspire to this?

If you have an expectation of perfection you will likely fall short. Just acknowledging that is a good start; know and accept that every little thing may not go your way.  But if you relax and ‘go with the flow,’ you will have a wonderful experience. No one intends be become the ‘bridezilla’ – but some detail can trigger a nervous bride (or groom).

Traffic tie-ups, bad weather and so many little things are not in our control. However, it is reasonable to want the big things to go right! That would include the ceremony and special moments such as toasts and big-ticket items such as food at the reception. 

A little rain won’t dampen your spirits.
Rhinehart Photography

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but once, and only once, I was late for a wedding. I have officiated nearly 1,000 at this point, just for perspective. But here’s the important part:  the wedding party and the entire group of guests handled it beautifully. They sang songs together as they waited for me to arrive. What an amazing way to deal with the situation. They were all laughing and singing, and when I entered, they let out a big cheer, as I walked straight up to the altar and we began! I hope it never happens again, because I may not be as lucky as that.

Here are a few common concerns you should be prepared for:

Have a good back-up plan for weather conditions if you are planning an outdoor ceremony or reception. 

Speak frankly with anyone expected to make a toast and even offer help. Let them know if some stories might embarrass you, or what they can focus on. 

Be careful about alcohol consumption which, when starting too early in the celebration, can cause many things to go wrong.

A guest list spinning out of control is another problem confronting many couples. Use tact in explaining to family that weddings are expensive; simply say that as much as you’d love to have so-and-so, your budget simply doesn’t permit. 

Your perfect dress, its wants to be worn comfortably!
Rhinehart Photography

Women, please try on your dress again before the wedding, with your shoes, and actually walk around in it. Many women discover too late that the dress is simply too long or the shoes too uncomfortable. While you can’t change the dress, you can hem it!

For the DIY folks – problems I have encountered include big beautiful floral arrangements that do not have a base heavy enough to support them. I’ve seen them blow over during outdoor ceremonies. (I once had groomsmen quickly gather rocks and put them into the flowerpots to stabilize them.) I’ve also seen arches and arbors fall over when not secured properly. 

But most importantly, give yourself the room to feel many things. There is an unrealistic expectation not only about the dream wedding, but what it will feel like. You think it will be the happiest day of your life, but it’s possible that it may turn out to be the most tiring day of your life. It is not unusual to have doubts, sadness, fear, and many mixed emotions on your wedding day, or leading up to it.  Being nervous is very normal. I often remind couples that if they weren’t nervous, I’d be worried about them. You are nervous because it is important. 

So, while you may wish to work out all the details of your celebration, do not ignore your feelings. A wedding celebration is more than food, dancing, flowers and a big party. It is an important milestone in your life, so give it the emotional space it deserves. 

find me on facebook – Lois Heckman, Celebrant, and Instagram – Lois Heckman

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