Sunday, May 18, 2008

So, whose wedding is it?

I always tell my clients: "it's your wedding." Recently, a mother of the bride corrected me: "no, it's my wedding. I'm paying the bill." And even more recently, a couple told me: "it's our families' wedding. Our wedding would be the two of us at the justice of the peace, and afterwards knocking back some shots at the bar with our friends."

When Mr. Billy and I were in pre-marital counseling, the counselor dedicated our first two sessions to managing expectations. "What are your expectations of marriage?" I guess the same question should be asked when you start to plan a wedding, because whenever one party's expectations aren't met, conflict arises, and the process becomes strained and stressful and unhappy, and sometimes that unhappiness and conflict trickles into the marriage and still sometimes destroys it before it even gets started (okay, okay, this is the dooms day scenario).

Recently, I was helping a friend plan a party. And a friend of said friend, who is the go-to baker in her circle of friends, assumed quite naturally that she would be asked to bake the cake for the celebration. She didn't wait for an invitation either, she just went about purchasing the ingredients and brainstorming ideas for the cake's design. Why wouldn't her friend ask her to bake the cake? that's her expectation. Talk about an odd conversation when it had to be explained to her that the cake had already been ordered from a professional baker.

Do yourself a favor and eliminate the odd conversations and have a meeting with all parties involved (whether they're contributing financially or not), before you begin planning your wedding. Manage the expectations from the start for a smoother more joyous process and no simmering bad blood long after your wedding day is over.

I know, I know it's not easy. Personally, I was just there: "um...ah...well...I'm very happy that you want to cook for our wedding...flattered really, see.. can I put this? hired a caterer."


Vicky @ Event Accomplished said...

Great post Leslie. I find that one of the sources of stress during the planning process is from lack of communication and I think if couples take your advice and discuss things early on, they could avoid unnecessary stress as the wedding gets closer.

David said...

You said it best! It is "your" wedding. When my wife and I got married there was a lot of talk of what "you do" for a wedding. We threw all that out the window and did what we wanted to do. Somethings were traditional... others not so much:

But in the end it was a wedding that our friends and family still talk about as one of the best they went to because we made it our own!

Leslie said...

David - thanks for the video. That was funny!