"Helping people who help people"

I was surfing the web and ran across a list of officiants (we’re hoping to get a good list going on our site since many couples don’t have a minister to marry them). Just like every other aspect of wedding planning, the expert advice was: officiants are the most important part of your wedding. Have you noticed EVERY wedding vendor has a great ability to say how they have the most important part in your wedding day? I certaintly don’t blame them for loving their craft and indeed most of us have the requisit flowers, cake, food, officiant of some kind, etc. It’s more about how they spin the argument/sales pitch that makes me chuckle.

The logic starts out something like this:

The average wedding costs [insert a dollar amount from $19,000-$27,000] and [insert vendor category] should be [insert a percentage from 1-40%] of your budget. You will get what you pay for so don’t necessarily book the cheapest option. Afterall, if you are spending [huge wedding budget] you certaintly don’t want to skimp on [insert vendor category.] Traditional wedding etiquette says you should have [insert details on the category] but many couples are now [insert a much more expensive, but more trendy way of doing things.]

I know from colleagues how challenging it is for wedding magazines because each vendor they work with believes they are the MOST important part of the day and as such need to be heavily pampered with compliments and head nodding. And I know from networking with and from my own wedding planning that each vendor loves what they do and can spin you into an expensive flurry of options that you simply can’t resist saying no to! It isn’t that they’re trying to rip you off. They are just extremely passionate about what they do and their worldview centers around their craft.

Even when you know for sure what you want, or don’t want, the pressures are great. Sometimes the pressures are internal – you thought you didn’t care about wedding cake and then you see the most gorgeous cake in a magazine ad or on a website and you can’t stop thinking about it! Othertimes the pressures are external – your groom is a tech wizard and requires the top photographer and videographer because of their high-end equipment, your mother has raised you with fantasizes about your wedding day that conflict with yours, or the most common that most of us face:

The external pressure of MONEY. Money has an amazing way of forcing us to reassess what is important and necessary. That gorgeous cake turns out to be $2,000 and you had budgeted $500? Where can you scrimp $1500 from your budget? You can’t? Hm, is the cake really worth it? You say you’ll use your year end bonus to make up the difference. Is that really what you want and what your groom wants? Will you really not regret that decision in a year or two when your furnace breaks down and you’re in the hole $1500?

The entire book we wrote, Take Back Your Wedding: Managing the People Stress of Wedding Planning is really about helping you get centered. Centering yourself in what is important to you and why (values, not wishes), grounding yourself with your fiance(e) and how you will work together in this wedding planning process, and what you value around family and your community. Sometimes a seemingly unrelated value smacks you upside the head and answers your dilemma. That cake isn’t about cake, it’s about comparisons with your friends who are having splashy wedding cake designs. You take a new look at what you’re planning, make some small changes to your choices, and voila, you stop obsessing over other peoples wedding plans. You haven’t spent an extra $1500 and in fact you’re alligning even more with your values than had you just gone with the expensive cake. You can honestly compliment your friends cakes while secretly being at peace with your less expensive but equally tasty one.


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