This weekend I learned a new phrase, one I’d somehow missed in my 28 years of being on this earth: “The best is the enemy of the good.” It’s a Voltaire quote, that means, roughly, that good is sometimes good enough, and that our endless quest for perfection sometimes ends with us sacrificing good options while we look for the elusive ‘best’ option.
Whew. So is there a phrase that pertains to wedding planning more then this? As the cultural pressure mounts for us to have perfect weddings, I keep seeing brides (and sometimes myself) freezing like deer caught in the headlights. How can we make a decision on a florist until we have researched every possible floral designer working in our area, and found the one who’s style and vision best meshes with ours? How can we pick a photographer when the ideal photographer might be just around the corner, or just out of our price range, who will perfectly memorialize our wedding day for all time? How can we select one kind of guest book when we have so many options, each of which might capture our guests sentiments in an original yet emotional way? It’s our wedding day, it has to be the best, and it has to be right for us. With so many options and so much pressure how on earth can we choose?
Even practical budget couples can get caught in this trap. The Paradox Of Choice goes a long way towards describing what is going on. This (fascinating) book’s argument boils down the idea that the more options we have, the more we are both frozen with indecision and ultimately unhappy with our choice, because we fear we might not have made the best one.
Since I suspect we are all at times caught in this wedding planning trap, we need to identify it, take a deep breath, and realize that the best is indeed the enemy of the good. If we wait and wait to pick a wedding vendor because we’re not sure if the ones we have found are quite right, all of the good vendors might end up booked before we bite the bullet. If we immobilize ourselves when trying to make even simple wedding choices, we may well sacrifice enjoying our wedding planning for the quest to find ‘the best’ choices.
Every wedding choice we have made so far has been made like this:
- We did a lot of research to find out what the options were in our price range.
- We went out talked to people and looked at the choices first hand.
- We found something we really liked a lot. (When I walked into our venue, I looked around and said “this is for me”, and walked right in to the office to inquire about availability.)
- We obsessed about if the choice should really be this easy, if we should do a little more research, if we were going to miss something great by just going with our gut.
- We signed the contract.
- We felt relieved and happy.
I can’t tell you yet how this is all going to turn out on our wedding day, but I can tell you that we are probably going to have all our major contracts signed a full year before we get married. Which should give us a lot of time to chill out, and fuss around with the enjoyable details.
How have you wrestled with the wedding decision making process?
Picture: This is toooo many cakes to pick from, and this is just a few of thousands of options.