My best friend recently told me "Weddings bring out weird in people." And it's so true. Take every family reunion, every holiday meal, every tension-filled family debate and multiply it. That's how much passion people have when it comes to weddings! Sometimes this can be a GREAT thing. Channeling that passion in the right way - into joy, excitement, and happiness can turn an event into a once in a lifetime experience that everyone will cherish. And many, many weddings ARE like that.
But, some need a little bit more work to get there. Wedding planners can have a huge impact on how tension can be diffused and mediated so that all weddings CAN be that way. Being able to resolve conflict, mediate arguments, and be a sounding board for both the bride and her family is a huge part of making a wedding that once in a lifetime event.
1. Don't be afraid to slow down.
If you've done the planning well, all the little details will have been determined, and barring an extreme emergency, the hard work is done - and now it's time to be available to the bride and groom and keep things on schedule. But if something happens that needs mediating or resolving, the best course of action could be to slow things down. Give the bride and groom some space to themselves to remember what the day is about. Allow the situation to cool itself and get the family focused on why they're there in the first place! That leads me to my next point...
2. Be flexible!
Timelines for people like me are a life-saver, and are just about the only way I can stay organized and on top of things!! I learned a long time ago I'm very much a out of sight, out of mind person, so if it's not written down I'll never remember to accomplish it. But it was a harder lesson to learn that even if your timeline is perfect, the event won't be. So be prepared for anything. Have a back-up plan in mind, and be ready to switch gears whenever needed. Bride and father of the bride in an argument right before their dance? Move it to after the dinner or right before cake-cutting! The bride, and their guests, are going to enjoy the dance so much more if it's not happening during an argument. Everyone is going to remember the beautiful moment and how it felt to share that with everyone - not that it didn't happen at the scheduled time.
With all that in mind...
3. Don't get involved in family matters!
Even if you're a best friend coordinating or helping make the event perfect (I've worn this hat many a time), the best thing you can do is focus on the bride and how this is going to be the one day of their lives they will forever look back on as a foundation for their life together. Even if you mean well, trying to get involved in solving a family matter will only make it worse for yourself in the long run! If a family member is causing a problem, try to find another family member who can help and let them work it out. As an event planner, you're there for the bride and for that day - no need to complicate matters by putting yourself into a family dispute!
At the end of the day, I can't say that I've ever been a part of a wedding that has been anything but beautiful and a wonderful reflection of the couple! However, I have seen some hints of these dangerous behaviors as tensions are high and emotions are involved, and I know I've heard the horror stories!
I always remember to focus on the reason we're all gathered - for the bride and groom and their commitment and promise to God and each other and it makes following those steps so much easier!!