I tend to become very close to my clients. We’re dealing with very intimate parts of their lives and our conversations sometimes start on the surface but always go deeper. One of the things that fascinates me the most is how strongly their past plays a part in their wedding. Looking at the relationships that the parents have with the bride or groom, you have divorced parents, deceased parents, parents who have been together for 30 years and parents who have been estranged from their children…it’s so deep how our past molds us and the decisions that we make. I started looking at the family dynamics that I’ve run into throughout the years and it made me wonder, “How did we get here?”
A few years ago, I had a bride whose parents recently went through a messy divorce and the tension at the rehearsal was so thick, even I was uncomfortable. You could see the discomfort oozing from the bride’s sister to the point that she had tears in her eyes. I told her to go take a break and if anyone asked for her, I’ll say she went to the room for something. The bride took a few shots before arriving at the rehearsal in order to calm her nerves (i.e. numb her feelings) and the mother-of-the-bride was glued to my hip. I already knew the story so I made sure to tiptoe around any possible emotional bombs. When the pastor asked, “Who gives this bride to this man…?” I was so nervous, I thought I was going to pass out. I’m a little dramatic so there’s that. It wasn’t the first time I’ve dealt with divorced parents but everyone’s emotions were so raw. I appreciated how everyone came together for the wedding day and truly understood that that day wasn’t about them and their feelings. Suck it up! You have a daughter to marry off!
As the wedding reception progressed, I stopped running interference because the couple was so in love that my focus had shifted. It made me think about how the groom had helped his bride through all of the awkwardness and tension of the day. It’s already emotional enough to start your life with someone without having to worry about your dad’s girlfriend saying something inappropriate in front of your mother. They had been dealing with their past for the entire planning process and now they were focusing on the present. They had been building a life for themselves and their vows were beautiful and full of promises to be faithful and to always communicate and love. Seems typical but they held a deeper meaning for me, knowing their history.
For me, one of the most rewarding things about my job is how I get to see these families grow. I had a bride whose wedding I planned last year, call me earlier this year because she was in town and we needed to catch up. We’re sitting at lunch and she’s telling me how they’re settling into their new house and how she’s getting used to their new city and I’m thinking, “She better tell me she’s pregnant!” She finally says, “Ok, soooooooooo I’m pregnant. No one knows yet but I had to tell you!” She was only a few weeks along but I was so excited for them. This bride was eager to create her own family. Not necessarily eager to have kids right away but it was really the icing on the cake. She and her husband were so in love and worked so hard at their relationship. It was long distance at times and that always puts a strain on things. She and I became very close and many of our conversations had nothing to do with her wedding at all.
As I drove away from lunch, I remembered a conversation we had about some issues that were going on in her family. Unfortunately or fortunately, I could relate so I offered as much advice as I could. My job is to be there for my clients but in this moment she wasn’t a client and this wasn’t my job. We were friends and we were getting through this rough time. Luckily, everyone acted like they had some sense at the wedding and everything was flawless, obviously. She’s due in a few weeks and I’m anticipating the arrival of their beautiful little baby. They’ve already begun to create their future.
My girl, Oprah, talks about gratitude all the time. Everyone is talking about it nowadays, actually. It’s kind of become the gluten-free of emotions. When I’m super stressed out and want to scream at the top of my lungs, I pretend to find gratitude in the sunshine. Yes, pretend. I really want to scream but I don’t want to be left out of this gratitude movement so I participate. I never understood truly being grateful when you’re over everything until I made myself sit down and reflect on this past year. I’ve made lifelong friendships with clients. I’ve been allowed to be a part of some of the most intimate and beautiful moments of these people’s lives and I’ve worked with the most rockstar vendors I could ask for. People always ask me how I deal with all of the stress of these weddings and at the end of the day, we’re all here because two people have made the commitment to come together in love...and for that, I’m grateful.