Tuesday, October 12, 2010
#106: Wedding Day Regrets
When people claim that their wedding day was perfect I don't believe them.
Actually, scratch that. I believe that it *felt* perfect because they married the person they love in front of lots of other people they love, but no wedding day comes without its imperfections. The trick to feeling like the day was perfect despite its imperfections is to let the mini disasters slide off your back, and to prevent a major regret from happening.
But how do you avoid having a major wedding day regret? It's simple really:
1. Be clear on your major goal(s) for the day. I advise you to focus on broad emotional goals (how do you want to feel during various parts of the day?), versus tiny logistical goals or goals regarding how guests will feel (because you can't control people's feelings). Keep your goals to a minimum - maybe 3, tops.
The goals according to my vision board were to A) have a very spiritual/ prayerful/ community-oriented ceremony; B) create a very casual, relaxed atmosphere; and C) have FUN (by dancing my butt off throughout most of the reception).
2. Do everything and anything you can to make sure that these goals are accomplished. This means hiring a coordinator or enlisting a friend whose sole task is to help you with this. It may mean letting go of smaller goals in order to focus on the major ones. And it means having a back-up plan if, during the day, you feel like this goal is not being accomplished.
There were lots of little things that went wrong on my wedding day, most of which I can let slide. But there's one goal of mine that wasn't accomplished, and it seriously killed the whole experience for me: I didn't dance my butt off. And as minor and silly as that goal sounds, I cannot stress how important it was to me.
In retrospect, it's fine that the caterer ran out of food after 1 hour, and that we ran out of alcohol after 30 minutes. It's fine that I didn't get to take all of the wacky group photos that I hoped for. It's okay that I was running around in my wedding gown trying to set up the reception venue with my guests so that we could start our bbq. And I can deal with the fact that so many people had to leave early. But it's not okay that I didn't have fun. This is no mini misfortune for me - it is a major regret.
Treat your goals the way the president treats his children - assign them your best secret service dudes, make them your priority, take every precaution. If I had done this I would not have taken so many "risks" -- not hiring/ assigning an official DJ, not buying the more expensive sound system with the kick-butt sub woofer, and not reaching out to my husband or best friends during the reception when I realized I was not having a good time (they totally would have crowded around me and danced had I confessed).
Like I said, there's no way you can host a wedding without a hitch, but by focusing your efforts on creating a certain kind of experience for yourself, it is certainly possible for you to have a wedding that feels perfect despite the imperfections.
It's sort of like life; on your death bed you might look back fondly on many wonderful years and have no major regrets, but no one has lived a life without mistakes - things you wish you would have experienced, words left said unsaid, and words you wish hadn't said out loud. However, these mini misfortunes and big (ish) mistakes fade into the background so long as your primary hopes and goals were accomplished. Same goes for your wedding.
Engaged couples: What are your major goals for the wedding? What are you doing to ensure that these are reached?
Married couples: What is your experience with wedding day regrets (or lack thereof)?
Tomorrow I'll talk about how to survive post-wedding blues and major regret. Stay tuned!