Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Weddings Are More Than Just Flowers

As a wedding planner, I’ve more and more noticed how families and family issues can affect weddings. I thought that that kind of drama was something I would only see on “Say Yes to The Dress” but in reality, families are dysfunctional….even mine! We each have our idiosyncrasies and not only butt heads and disagree with people outside our families but inside too. This can cause a volatile mess.

I am such a people pleaser and as an intern  to other planners, I was there to make sure the family had everything they needed and was completely comfortable. I always took this job very seriously. I had a few weddings where the mother of the bride was more needy than the bride and groom and was in my face all day requesting me to do things where the planner went “hold it, we have other priorities.” Sometimes things are already taken care of or the requests are just nit picky and unnecessary. There have been times where the family members (brothers and sisters) in the bridal party talk about “just keepin’ mom happy” which helps provide insight into the situation. Or when the bride is getting ready and she grits her teeth when she talks to her mom…calling her mother is another indication.

There’s always the issue of choosing not to invite certain family members , which can cause an array of issues. I have seen family members that were invited show their frustration over uninvited family members and help fuel more drama. I have witnessed uninvited family members show up before a ceremony and put the bride into uncontrollable tears that made me worry we weren’t going to get her to settle down and get her down the aisle.

The bride and groom’s relationship in itself is a whole other ballgame. They will disagree over certain issues, get frustrated over one another’s amount or lack of involvement, and in the process hopefully learn about compromise and all the little things they will deal with for the rest of their lives in their marriage.  Although I would never get in the middle of the relationship, I know that I will have people, especially brides, vent to me about these issues. It will be my job to help navigate the situation and help show different perspectives and ways the situations can be fixed.

Then there is always the inevitable situation with money.  Who is going to pay for what? With things like divorces, individual financial situations, people getting married at older ages, etc. this can cause very sticky issues. Some people think that because they wrote a big check to help pay, they have a big say in things and make it about themselves. Some couples don’t want to put burden on their families or deal with any drama so they try to cover the costs themselves even if it places them into debt.

Now, as a planner, you do more than just go through flower and music details. Many times you can wind up being the family therapist. I feel like I can offer support or advice, but I question how involved I can get in these situations. Do I tell a couple that they should forget about their feelings about certain family members and just invite them all? Do I advise against going into debt because after all, it is a day that is supposed to celebrate the rest of your life not put you under?

Every situation for me is going to be different and there is no formula for anything.  I am going to have to listen very closely to each and every situation and navigate them very carefully. It’s not ever going to be easy because weddings come with a lot of emotion. I as a planner have more than a timeline to create. I have to be a solid foundation and shoulder for the bride and groom to lean on for this very important day in their lives. It’s a big responsibility. 

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