April 23, 2017

J. Marlow

You just got engaged!  You’ve known each other for a while.  You’re sure about this next step.  Your families are thrilled.   Now you can start planning the wedding of your dreams.

With all this promise, excitement, and optimism, why is planning the wedding so emotionally charged and, oftentimes, a difficult process to go through?

Start with the fact that, other than the downpayment on a first home, as a new couple it is the most expensive investment you will be make without any experience or direction of how to do it.  

Combine that with two separate families, friends, and self-proclaimed experts on both sides who offer opinions and absolutes about everything.   Then add in the people writing the checks and it quickly becomes a complicated, charged situation.  

Wedding planning is about decisions - multitudes of decisions from the date,  location, budget, guest count, look and style of the day, menu, beverage, the dress,  invitations, florals, entertainment, photography, just to name the obvious.  

Discussion, compromise, navigating family needs on both sides, interferences, decisions, and money management are all part of the process and become the microcosm of the bride and groom’s future relationship.  

Oftentimes a wedding consultant is brought in to help navigate the couple and their families through the process of planning this important day.  Most planners come with a list of decisions that need to be made, a schedule of when they should be decided upon, and a wealth of ideas and suggestions about who to work with and what its going to cost.

In my experience, a wedding planner has to do more than take the lead in helping the couple and their families manage this process.  Because everything about weddings is so emotionally charged, a planner has to be sensitive to those times when the couple don’t see eye-to-eye about their decisions, when parents may be too intrusive, when things start to feel tense or out of control.   

Their job is to listen carefully to each side and help the bride and groom find a consensus that works for both.  They have to take themselves and all their planning lists momentarily out of the equation and focus on the emotions of the bride and groom without necessarily knowing their backgrounds or family dynamics.  This is a special skill because a wedding planner is not a psychologist but, at these charged moments (and there may be many of them) they are required to become one.    

Ultimately, a successful wedding is more than the outward look and feel of the actual wedding day.  Its about two people working together in a way they’ve never had to before to create a day that psychologically marks the beginning of their new life together.  A great wedding planner can make a huge impact on how this process unfolds.