Real talk from a married wedding planner.
I am rapidly approaching my two-year anniversary (what?!) and it’s made me more introspective than usual. Planning a wedding is like cutting an onion – layers or something. It’s a difficult simile because it’s a complex experience – you deal with all the emotions coming at you from all angles. Even as you make every effort to keep your wedding “drama free,” like so many horror film villains, it [drama]. will. find. you. And despite it being the best day of your life, you will look back on occasion and wonder “what if?” about the linens, or the escort cards, or any number of the choices you made (except, god willing, your spouse). And if you happen to plan weddings professionally, you will continue to read the wedding magazines and blogs and make the whole situation worse. Like becoming Facebook friends with an ex – sometimes it’s healthier to just sever ties and not constantly surround yourself with images of cake designs you should have used or “first dance” songs you could have chosen.
In fact, Google “wedding postpartum depression,” and you’ll see a few women who can’t seem to step away from the blogosphere now that the affair is over. So, since I am in the business of helping my clients minimize the number of nagging “what if’s?” they experience after their wedding day, here are a few of the (dare I say) regrets that I have about my own wedding.
1) Hire a videographer. Do it. You don’t need fancy custom linens or an obscenely expensive dress (I had both). Go with the linens your caterer provides and shop around for dresses and put that money in a videographer. Still photos are great, but forty years from now when I’m not quite limber as I am now, I will try to recall with increasingly fuzzy detail how my husband and I cut a rug for our first dance. And when my grandmother passed away last year, I wished I had even a short video of her laugh. There are very few times in your life when you can pay someone (guilt free) to follow you around like the paparazzi and chronicle your every move. Your wedding should be one of them.
2) Hire a wedding planner. Yes, I’m serious. It doesn’t have to be me, but I recently apologized to my mother for NOT hiring a full service planner. Despite my best efforts (I do this thing professionally, after all), something triggered in my amygdala and I developed “bride brain.” (That is a very unique condition in which you start making all your decisions based on pure, uncut emotion). I had a budget (past tense) but I left it in the dust and started spending money hand over fist. And my parents (read: saints) just kept saying yes. Obviously, they don’t regret anything, but I know that paying someone to help me make those decisions while keeping an eye on the bottom line would have more than made up for the cost of hiring them. (I DID have my wits about me enough to have a coordinator onsite that day, but a little planning help would have gone a long way).
So that’s it. Luckily I had an overall wonderful experience and – while I could have chosen a different venue (I wouldn’t have; my wedding venue was – as the kids might say – the bomb) or picked different flowers or whatever – I will fondly look back on all the important choices I made for my wedding (including and especially my husband). I believe everything happens for a reason, so if the reason I have regrets is to better counsel my clients on ways to avoid making the same mistakes, then all’s well that ends well!