Who am I kidding? It’s wedding season, and here at APW we’re just giving into its thrall. This anonymous post nails so many things, including the pressure of planning, the magic that a wedding (can) bring. And. Because there is so much good stuff in this post, let me draw your eye to one line. Later this week, we’re going to talk about being a guest at a wedding, so until then, I want us to not lose this wonderful line about Other People and the wedding: “Well, if their wedding was half as amazing as ours was, I can now understand that they didn’t actually care about those dresses (well, maybe a little). Mostly, they just wanted to feel that magical feeling again.” Because this, you guys, this is it.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a people pleaser. I’m also an over-achiever. I like to be liked. I like to succeed. I care what people think of me. I’m the kind of person who “takes one for the team” if it means avoiding conflict and reaching the end goal more quickly. I’m passionate about many things, but I approach those things with equal parts reason and practicality. Maybe it’s because I’m from the Midwest. Maybe it’s because I am a first-born child of multiple divorces. Maybe it’s because in my career, I lead teams of creative people and daily navigate fast paced, emotionally charged environments.
Newly engaged people take note: the above traits will not serve you well in the early stages of wedding planning. In fact, if you’re not careful, you may quickly start to feel like being engaged is nothing but an endless series of opportunities to disappoint people. You will immediately be expected to have and share strong, public opinions on many issues, most of which you likely never considered before. You will endure stares of shock and horror when you announce that you don’t want your bridesmaids to wear matching dresses, and that you’re considering wearing a short white dress instead of a ball gown. You will constantly be told: “Do what you want! It’s your day! It’s all about you!” You, being a practical people pleaser, will realize that those statements are not actually true. You will probably feel compelled to point out to people that it’s not all about you; it’s your fiancé’s day too, and in a way also the day of your parents, and your entire guest list. You will want to please the guests so they don’t judge you, after all. I won’t sugarcoat it: at this point, crying (lots of it) will probably ensue.
Here’s the secret I know now, that I wish I knew then. This thing, this wedding that at times feels so overwhelming you wonder why they’re not using wedding planning as a legal form of torture, it will provide you with a kind of joy you’ve never experienced before. It will give you a feeling that I can’t compare to anything else in my life up to this point or put into words. It’s something that you have to experience in order to feel. Suffice it to say—it actually is worth it. And remember all those people you felt like you were disappointing back in the early stages of planning? Well, if their wedding was half as amazing as ours was, I can now understand that they didn’t actually care about those dresses (well, maybe a little). Mostly, they just wanted to feel that magical feeling again. It turns out; they were already in on the secret too.
And here’s the other thing. You and your fiancé, and the love and happiness that will be so incredibly evident in each of you, that’s what sets the tone for the big day. Nothing else. If you’re happy—they’ll be happy too. So don’t spend your precious time worrying about pleasing others. Please yourselves as a couple and the rest will fall into place. Make decisions together and from your gut and then don’t look back. Weigh input from other sources, but ultimately do what feels right to the two of you. Because even when they were received with shocked stares, none of our decisions ever seemed anything but obviously right to us.
My husband and I can both honestly say that working through the planning process together, as a team, helped confirm what perfect partners we truly are. We naturally fill in the gaps for each other. Where one lacks, the other excels, and vice versa. It really is an incredible realization and one not to be missed.
Recently, I was feeling guilty about missing my family and friends spread out all across the country (warning: this is wedding side-effect). To make me feel better, my very wise husband said: “Ultimately, everybody just does their own thing.” He’s right of course, and that’s how we approached our wedding. Sometimes it’s okay to be different. Sometimes it’s okay not to please everyone. Sometimes it’s okay to let your passion outweigh your practical urges. Because weddings and marriage should never be about taking one for the team. They’re about creating a new team with your partner, where you’ll never feel like you have to.
Photo by: Emily Takes Photos (APW Sponsor)