Oftentimes when giving tours of the Mansion to potential brides and grooms I am asked, “what do most people do?” While I’m happy to relay typical arrangements of tables and chairs or layouts that harmonize fire code with aesthetics, it seems to me that the question is actually much more loaded.
The pressure put on couples (by themselves or others) to conform to certain ideas, ideals, traditions, and desires is real. I see it every day. I experienced it myself. It varies in shades and degrees from wedding to wedding, but it is always there. And it is perfectly natural and to be expected — two people in love from two different families [we hope, but that’s a different blog] and backgrounds are uniting in a singular celebration in a finite period of time.
Amid all the excitement it can be weirdly easy to confuse your opinions with those of your loved ones, or feel pressured into conforming to suggestions you don’t love. Your best friend continuously tells you what colors she thinks you should use, your favorite uncle has written a song he insists on singing during your ceremony, and your parents feel they should get to cast the final vote on every last detail because that’s how their wedding was planned. And yes, you want to be inclusive, and maybe someone will have a stroke of brilliance that you never would’ve come up with…
But. Each couple deserves a wedding that reflects them as a couple. The two of you should dream up a vision together that becomes the foundation for the event. You have the right to decide if a particular tradition is or isn’t meaningful to you. It’s okay if you & your fiancee don’t really care about flowers even though everyone else seems to. Don’t worry so much about keeping up with the Joneses or being Pinterest perfect or agreeing to things just to appease certain people. Your wedding will be happiest and most meaningful to all of your guests if it echoes you.
So the question is really, “how do you keep the wheels on the wagon?”
Step 1: Breathe. In and out. Slow is good.
Step 2: Remember, everyone involved cares deeply about you. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so passionate. (This is an important marriage lesson in general.)
Step 3: Tell yourself that this is all completely normal. Because it is. It really, really is.
Step 4: Listen to the idea. It just might be a good one, or half a good one.
Step 5: Thank your loved one for the suggestion. Whether it’s “yeah, that’s similar to something we’ve discussed,” or “I hadn’t thought of that before, but we’ll take it into consideration,” be kind and acknowledge it’s coming from a good place. Sometimes recognition of a suggestion is all that’s needed.
Step 6: Gently remind your loved one that it’s your day. Be firm if you have to, but the key word is ‘gently’. Emotions are already high and there’s no need to be nasty. The point will be made. Slow your roll, ‘Zilla.
Repeat all (especially Steps 1-3) as needed.
Trust the foundation that you set as a couple — and I mean that in life and in wedding planning. The rest will fall (okay, sometimes hurtle) into place.
Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional. When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.