We at The First Dance love what we do!
One fun challenge we have is convincing marriage educators that the wedding is NOT a distraction in a relationship but is the single BEST OPPORTUNITY for couples to begin hashing out the issues they’re having around money, budget, general “project management” as a team (if it’s not the wedding it’ll be home buying or remodeling, trip planning, etc), family, in-laws, how they balance their relationship with the competing demands of wedding planning (later will be demands on just LIFE, jobs, family, etc.) People in the “marriage world” see weddings as an extremely materialistic distraction and often bemoan “if couples only spent 1/10th the time on their relationship as they do on the wedding……..” It’s fine to complain but if you’re in your 50’s, planned a simple cake and punch wedding 25 years ago, it might be hard to relate to the wedding culture today!
Wedding coordinators and event planners see first hand how wedding planning can get a little out of control. The worst situations are when these professionals just know the couple is not going to make it… they have “divorce” written all over them. It’s hard to help people plan a wedding when you don’t even know why or how they’re going to be married! It can also be hard to love your profession, service, or product, and watch a bride (or her family) go off the deep end. You can’t just say, “seriously, it’s _JUST_ a cake woman, calm down!” because, well, as a cake baker you just can’t!
So here’s our story!
When I got engaged, as the daughter of a marriage and family therapist, I was DETERMINED to have an “intentional engagement” and not let the wedding take over. I was arrogant about the wedding industry and the experiences that some people seem to go through while planning their wedding.
Then time passed. Checklists grew. Wedding magazines piled up. And I knew…. I got it.
Comparing wedding planning to marriage planning is a bit like telling a pregnant woman to STOP WASTING TIME OR ENERGY on her pregnancy and delivery (because after all, that is just a blip of time.) It would be instead trying to tell her to focus on her PARENTING SKILLS and child development research. Now anyone who has had a child knows that is total crap! The biggest issue you face is all the pregnancy drama and the fear of having this baby! I remember HAVING my firstborn, as a tiny baby, and reading the parenting magazines getting super stressed out at all the issues parents of 4 year old’s face. Or trying to comprehend HOW my tiny 8 pound baby was going to be doing all those things some day and absorbing the advice that had no relevance to me at the time. (I quickly realized I just had to ignore those entire sections, knowing when my kid became that age, the magazine would be more relevant.)
The wedding is THE event, just like the pregnancy and delivery is THE EVENT. The pressures you face are not about how much you love your fiance, but how you’re going to juggle the demands of everyone in the family, get the budget figured out, buy, order, meet with vendors, and pull off an event bigger than you’ve EVER planned and likely EVER WILL AGAIN! The “event” you already succeeded at was FINDING, DATING, FALLING IN LOVE, and getting engaged to your partner.
But you know what’s exciting about wedding planning? It’s actually a wonderful “crash course” in your married life. Has your mom gone over the edge? Guess what, she might do that again if you chose to have children some day! Are your friends raging with jealousy and acting very odd? They may do that again and again if you get a bigger house than them, or have kids when they want kids, etc. Are you and your fiance fighting about a friend you hate and he loves to hang out with? Think BIGGER than the wedding guest list…. think about how much control you can or should have over your loved ones social life as a married couple.
The goal on our website is to help navigate the relationships but to also “translate” wedding speak into marriage speak. Our photography page, for example, helps you think about wedding photography as it relates to your marriage and future. How does the wedding party relate to your marriage? We write about that too in What your Wedding Party can Teach You About Marriage. And of course, we started the series with what wedding planning can teach you about marriage. We have more on the guest list, are writing more every day.
Check back soon to The First Dance!