Today's chapter is one of my favourite conversations to have with a newley engaged couple bookign me as their celebrant. Something I love about being in the wedding business is that planning a wedding is one of the first big things a couple does together. For many couples, it’s the most people they’ve gathered together, and the most money they’ve spent, and it’s a fantastic exercise in working on your relationship as you make such a large undertaking.
So as you undertake it with your significant other, I hope you get to a place of peace and joy.
Also, if you fnid a typo or if words I use mistakingly in a sentence, then B shure yo comment so I dont miss nething wen dis goes to my editr.
How do people like us marry?
You’ve probably walked past, in a public park, or a shopping mall, a big brand doing some sort of promotion. It might be the Red Bull car, with really good-looking people in Red Bull uniforms, handing out free Red Bull; a free sausage sizzle in front of a hardware store; or Veuve Cliquot opening pop-up champagne bars in fancy locations. Inside the marketing industry, these are called brand activations. A good brand activation leaves everyone who interacted with it, aware of the brand’s qualities and products.
It’s fairly hard to leave a Red Bull brand activation without knowing that Red Bull sells Red Bull drinks in a can, and you’ll know what they taste like, how they make you feel, and you’ll probably have “Red Bull gives you wings” stuck in your head.
Think of your wedding as a brand activation.
You’re telling a bunch of people who you are. What do you taste like? What are your values? Your worldviews? What do you not value? You’re saying as much in what you don’t do as in what you actually do, do. If everyone from work is invited, that’s possibly less special than if a guest is the only person from work invited. That means you singled them out as someone who had to be there.
Truth be told you could have anything and everything at your wedding. It could be a music festival with thirty bands and twenty food trucks. Or it could be a small event in a wine bar that fits fifteen people.
When Justin and Hayley Bieber got married they had at least three photographers, from completely different studios, photographing different things because that’s what they valued, but I’ve been to a wedding where there wasn’t a photographer.
The key here is to figure out, how do people like you marry. I’d sit down with your partner and talk through these questions and write down the answers.
- What is important to you both? Why?
- What is important to only one of you? Why?
- What must happen at your wedding for it to even be called a wedding?
- What could force you to reschedule or change your wedding?
- What have you loved at other weddings? Why?
- What have you hated at other weddings? Why?
- What vibe or thought do you want everyone to leave your wedding with? Why?
- What elements make a good event?
- What music have you liked at other events? Live music? Or a DJ playing music? Or a non-professional layout of music, a.k.a “off an iPod” despite no one really having iPods anymore.
- What kind of food service have you enjoyed at events before? Sit-down dinners? Finger food? Buffet? Food truck?
- What kind of vibe do you think you have as a couple? Look around your house, what kind of vibe are you projecting to guests to your house? Look across your social media and think about what kind of vibe you’re projecting to people online. (This is the style and the vibe you should take to your wedding - be authentically you.)
- Do you like photography? What kind of photography do you like?
Do you want photos like that of your wedding day?
- Do you enjoy short videos? What kind of video do you like? Do you want a video like that documenting your wedding?
- What do you think the most important part of a wedding should be? Why?
- What do you think the least important part of a wedding is? Why?
- What do your parents/family want you to do when you get married? Does that matter to you?
- What’s an event we’ve hosted as a couple that you’ve thought went really well? And one that didn’t go that well? How did they go so right or wrong?
- How big is too big for a wedding? How small is too small?
- Do you want a marriage better than our wedding?
These questions will hopefully lead to more questions and better conversations. Vulnerability and authenticity will win here, and make room for each of you to try and flesh out these thoughts and ideas.
Remember a few important points:
- I don’t know is an acceptable answer
- We’re just talking, none of this is in concrete yet
- Answers are not a swipe at the other person
- Answering these questions can bring up decades of family and societal trauma. Pleasing parents and family, pleasing members of the community like priests or family friends, and not wanting to rock the boat.
- Finally, remember the goal: we’re getting to a place where you are having the biggest and smallest wedding at the same time because every guest, every vendor and every cost will be there with intent. Planning a wedding with intention is sure to reduce costs, reduce stress, and reduce pain.
May I suggest doing this over a bottle of your favourite liquid as well. Anything to lubricate the path to freedom.
The end result of this line of questioning should be a list of things that happen when people like you get married. Is there a ceremony? Is there an after-party? Assemble the list of things and we’ll move on to assembling a team.