Thursday, June 29, 2006


Wow. What a week. With an endless amount of work to do, it seems like I'll never work my way out of the piles and piles that are collecting dust on my desk.

What am I getting at? I'm not really sure. Just letting off steam, really. But, I thought that I'd tie my venting about long hours at the office (and associated stress level) into a comparison of the stress that accompanies planning a wedding.

I haven't yet experienced planning a wedding, but I've seen friends and family members in the throes of the wedding planning process. And one thing I've seen is that many brides-to-be have virtual meltdowns when it comes to the little details, as well as the larger picture.

I guess I'm pondering the overarching question of WHY planning causes so much stress -- as much as it's a lot of work, isn't it supposed to be FUN?

I can definitely say the same about work. Why am I so high strung about things? Shouldn't I be enjoying what I do?

Both questions have different responses because different factors are involved. At work, I have to deal with clients (who are dealing with lots and lots of money). With a wedding, a bride to be is dealing with wedding planners and vendors--but at the end of the day, she has to remember that SHE's the client.

So let's go to the next question: What's the end result?

If something goes wrong at work, I *could* get fired -- but it's highly unlikely. As one of my more senior colleagues has always told me, almost everything can be fixed.
I really believe that the same goes for wedding planning - and guess what? You aren't getting fired -- in fact, you're in the position to be firing others.

In the end, it's (whatever "it" is) not the end of the world. Really -- it isn't. If your centerpieces don't turn out the way you want them (i.e. the flowers are wilting earlier than anticipated)?

You can fix it - and if there isn't enough time or if you simply can't? It's ok.

With work, what happens if you make a mistake? Or something goes wrong? Someone you don't know very well yells at you. With weddings, what happens if your vendor makes a mistake? Either you yell at someone OR you take it. And deal.

I believe in the latter theory -- live and let live. I'm NOT saying lower your standards -- not at all. But it's important to remember what's important in the end -- and hold fast to that.

I've come to the conclusion that the follies and foibles that occur really should not be the cause of supreme stress -- while I may say that now, I have to remember that when I return to the office tomorrow.

For the sake of your friends and family (who will be your guests at the wedding), I would keep that in mind during the wedding planning process. No, I haven't planned my own. But I've seen far too many people I know succumb to this absurd level of pressure, and I've lost a friend as a result of complete narrow mindedness in terms of wedding planning.

Believe me. You'll have your moments. But smiling instead of tearing your hair out about a mistake is a lot better way to live your life - both in the office and out.

Stay tuned!


Megan said...

I think that (some) women feel that more pressure is on them to have the perfect wedding because they feel that somehow it predicts their abilities as a wife- to plan, be a gracious host, look great, make everyone feel good and have a good time. It is also the first time that the two families come into contact in a mass quantity and that you meet his distant Aunt Martha.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's official. As of two weeks ago, I'm a "Mrs." And I thought this would be a perfect time to respond to this particular piece. Yes, wedding planning can be stressful. Yes, wedding planning can be fun. You really have to make the most of everything though. Because, God willing, this will be the only time you'll ever have to plan a wedding. I look back now at all the blood, sweat and tears (a little dramatic- I know), and think, "it was all worth it". The day of my wedding, things went wrong (I forgot to wear the throw garter and still didn't have it on when the dj announced the bouquet toss!), but for the most part, it didn't matter- nobody else notices these things except for you! Basically, what I'm trying to say is...don't worry about everything so much!! Everything will, and does, fall into place just like "they" say! And life as you know it goes on after the honeymoon (trust's kind of a downer). It really put things into perspective for me. Best wishes to all you future brides!

Twistie said...

This sort of stress is precisely why it was important to me to take a loooong time (18 months) planning my wedding. That way I had plenty of time to get exactly what I wanted with plenty of breaks so I could remember that the wedding is one day while the marriage would be the rest of my life. Trust me, all you future brides out there in Brideland, a generous planning schedule is worth its weight in gold for keeping your head screwed on straight.

Oddly enough, some of the best wedding planning advice I ever got wasn't about weddings at all. I used to do a lot of amatuer theater, and my favorite director had a saying about acting that stood me in good stead:

Audiences are stupid. This wasn't really as rude as it sounds. His point was you know the show better than anyone likely to be in the audience. The audience will accept what you show them as long as you do it with authority. IOW, your wedding guests won't know what precise shade of yellow the ribbons were supposed to be or what exact romantic gesture you had planned for the moment you're declared legally wed. If you don't let things faze you, they'll be convinced it was what you meant all along.

Most of the people there have come because they love you or the person you're marrying. Most of them haven't been in on the planning. Most of them couldn't care less whether the icing on the cake was supposed to be pink or white. Most of them have no idea and less worry about whether the bridesmaid's hems all match perfectly.

What they will notice isn't the tiny details, but the broad strokes. They'll notice if the bride is stressed and shrewish or if she's relaxed and happy. They'll notice if there's enough food to go around, if the band or DJ plays music that gets them out on the dancefloor, and whether the bridal party is composed of people who look like they're doing life with no possibility of parole dealing with a demanding or stressed bridal couple.

Don't oversweat the details. As nice as it is to have everything exactly the way you'd like it, that's never going to happen. Something will go wrong. Some small detail will be overlooked. That's the nature of the beast.

So take your time and keep your focus on what's really important. I guarantee your guests will remember a great bash that way, no matter if the caterer delivered the wrong cake, the DJ plays a couple songs you detest, or there's a slight flub in the great ring handoff during the ceremony.

Relaxation and flexibility are the keys to not being That Bride.