December 30, 2010

It's all Relative...Part I

Relationships. You might ask what they have to do with a wedding blog; the answer? Everything

As an event coordination company, we sometimes find ourselves walking a delicate tightrope between keeping our clients happy and maintaining good relationships with our trusted vendors. I believe 100% in going the "extra mile" and asking our vendors if they are vegetarian, so that in the few minutes we have to grab a bite while, they don't end up with just a salad on a workday that often lasts 8 or more hours. I also trust that if vendors have very specific dietary needs, they are professional enough to bring their own snacks. We planners try very hard to balance between our own preferences (I would personally love it if there were a rule that no bar or drink station be more than 50 feet from the CENTER of the dance floor) and our clients' specific requests. 
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In my career, I've successfully handled many sticky wedding-related situations from acrimoniously divorced moms and dads (and the dates they bring to the wedding functions), in-laws on the outs, squabbling siblings and goofy groomsmen who thought a few (more) pre-wedding cocktails wouldn't make any difference...much to their dismay when they got up to give their toasts. From well-meaning parents who 'surprised' their children with a large live band (in addition to the live band their children had already carefully selected) to entertainment who refused to stop the music so the couple could cut the cake, to maids of honor who forgot the wedding was about the bride and groom, not their own recent nuptials, I've been privileged to watch of all sorts of relationships blossom and unfold in the time leading up to and including the one day that a wedding actually lasts.

It has been my special pleasure to watch some heart-stopping moments unfold at or around weddings as well.
I've seen parents fly literally halfway around the globe from tiny rural countries to attend their children’s' wedding, in a ceremony they didn't understand a word of. Brides and grooms and family and friends who learned songs, poems, parts of other languages to bring their new family closer together during their toasts. Touching (tear-jerking!) moments of silence for parents and loved ones who had recently passed, their pictures sitting in a special nook or hanging from the brides' bouquet. Grown brothers embracing each other in tears, a baby sister singing beautiful acapella renditions of her big sisters' favorite song. One incredible team of vendors helped me pull off a spectacular Persian-Italian double ceremony wedding, the day after losing a beloved fellow member; even if they did so with tears in their eyes and a lump in their throat like mine at the loss of a beautiful person, the clients and their families were having so much fun they never knew. 
Couples who included their own children and those of their new spouse, in their ceremony so the children could feel special and loved. Revered grandparents, some over a century old, given special honor for attending - and having a great time. Sorority sisters, fraternity brothers and colleagues traveling long distance, taking time from work and their busy family lives to toast the newlyweds. Military men and women who took special leave to attend the wedding of a couple who were both in the navy, and had planned their wedding to give them the best possible chance of attending. Mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles and cousins from 3 to 73, dancing to whatever music the deejay played, they were having such a good time. These moments don't just happen in movies - I've actually seen all of them (and many more!) unfold in front of my eyes.

The most important relationship, of course, is the one that brings everyone together in the first place - that of the bride and groom. Even though I adore weddings and all the hoopla and details that go with them, I usually manage to remind couples that their wedding day is not supposed to be the best day of their marriage, just the first of what will hopefully be many wonderful years of happy memories. Happily the great majority of 'my' couples in the last fifteen years have stayed together and I see or hear from some of them from time to time, and I am delighted to say that they are fulfilling the wish I have for all of them - a long and happy marriage that started with a great relationship. So how to make sure that when you have only to take a deep breath and walk down the aisle, there aren't any 'sides', just one big happy family, and a cohesive team of vendors, all working together to keep you having a great time, all night long?

Well, you could always elope*...but for most couples, it's simply not an option - they want and need to involve their family and friends in their wedding celebrations. Our next entry will highlight some of the best ways to keep all your relationships special during the planning process.

*This is myself and my husband, about to elope. Granted, we eloped with two fabulous photographers and a team of dedicated helpers and vendors (and some champagne) without whom our wedding would never have been so much fun. If you and your intended are seriously considering eloping, consult your wedding planner (or potential wedding planner) for special packages. They may surprise and delight you with their range of options!

Look for "It's all Relative...Part II" Monday morning.

Ariel will be doing a "2010 Warp Up" and "Friday Flower" post tomorrow, so be sure to check back.

Happy New Year!



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