Me, not being chill, about being chill in wedding planning

Me, not being chill, about being chill in wedding planning
Ash and her crew, photographed by my mate James

One day soon these texts will be inside the covers of a book I've been thinking about for far too long. It's a real adventure to share it with you here on the blog and in email before I send it to my editor and publisher, so if you have thoughts on where the book should go or if I've made a mistaek, jump into the comments section to let me know!

An attack on being chill, and then, what you actually, probably mean

In my years as a marriage celebrant a common statement couples make as we’re planning their ceremony is that they want a ‘chill wedding’.

This sounds like a great idea, compared to all those stressful weddings we’ve heard about. The problem with chill is best described Priya Parker in her book The Art of Gathering when she says, “chill is selfishness disguised as kindness.”

When you host a wedding you’re doing just that, hosting. The whole vibe of this book is to establish and develop purpose and intent around what you’re hosting, and when we say we want to make it chill we’re negating our role as host.

Things that are chill, are relaxed, they’re a lazy weekend, by the poolside in a resort, but events with intent have leadership.

As you arrive at a purpose-driven event planned with intention we know why we’re there and what’s happening. Not because there are signs pointing the way, but because our decisions have been made with clarity and intention.

When you abdicate leadership you create a vacuum that can and will be filled with useless traditions and other people’s opinions.

This isn’t to say that an intentional wedding is intense and stressful. It’s just not chill. Everyone at an intentional wedding can tune in to the vibe you’re laying down. There’s no guesswork involved. There’s a plan being executed by your wedding-creating experts, and there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

By chill, I mean no-stress

When most people say they want a chill wedding, they’re not talking about some kind of loose shin-dig, but they don’t want there to be stress on the day. I hear that and please, do not worry at all, but stress at a wedding originates from one or more of three places:

  1. Un-communicated expectations
  2. An amateur team creating the wedding
  3. Unwanted input from friends, family, or traditions.

Un-communicated expectations

This might sound crazy, but we don’t know what we don’t know. If you have an expectation of someone, it’s your sin if you don’t communicate it. And you might think it’s something they should know, but at the very heart of what we’re doing here is changing expectations and dropping the status quo, so expectations can be expected to be different. Communicate your expectations.

This is actually great life advice.

An amateur team

A solid source of stress at a wedding is when “this is supposed to be happening now” and it’s not happening, and it’s either because the people making it happen are incompetent, or the timing for the wedding wasn’t well planned. Two signs of an amateur team. By amateur team, I’m taking a clear swipe at your friend who just bought a camera and is ‘really into photography’ whilst also taking a shot at the alleged wedding professionals who don’t know how to create a good wedding.

A professional says that something will take 30 minutes and it just does. A professional says that something will happen, and it does. Amateurs do neither.

Unwanted input

Finally, this is the hardest nut to crack, and it reminds me of our two pregnancies. For most of my life, I’d successfully avoided ever talking about a vernix or colostrum, but the second you announce you’re pregnant every conversation with anyone, even strangers, is about this how this impending joy is about to spring forth into your life - and most of it is bad advice. Not bad in the medically-bad advice, but bad as in it’s not contextually personal for us. It’s other people’s experiences with birth or parenting and their experiences aren’t necessarily ours.

So if you need to to be, be polite, nod and listen, and thank them, and then change the subject to that local football team and how well they kicked a ball on the weekend.

These people, as lovely as they are, don’t know that you’re having a wedding with intention, so don’t expect them to be on the same page as you.

If you’re really into the art of creating events, Priya Parker’s ‘The Art of Gathering’ is a great read
Up next is a dive into figuring out how people like you get married
Josh Withers

Josh Withers

The original rebel, husband, father, nerd and also a marriage celebrant for the world's most adventurous couple getting married today.
Baja California Sur, Mexico