How To Stay Sane While Planning for Your Wedding!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An English Wedding In Santa Barbara

What Luck... from Shade Tree Films on Vimeo.

Lora & Gary got married at The Farmhouse in Los Olivos, last August. Ironically, I received a link to their wedding video just a few days before Brian & Carey’s Farmhouse elopement was highlighted in the New York Times.

Lora & Gary are from England where by law you’re not allowed to have an outdoor ceremony! So, they gathered up close family and friends and made their wedding an adventure for all.

Their video brings back great memories and was created by Shade Tree Films. I was impressed with Chad and Drew when I met them and am even more so, now that I’ve seen and been a part of their work.

When not officiating weddings, I’m offering seminars to companies on interpersonal communication skills, as well as coaching clients one-on-one. I was so impressed with
Chad and Drew that I recently posted about them on my other blog, You might enjoy reading what I had to say about them over there.

Enjoy it all!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The NY Times Highlights A New Trend In Elopements

The New York Times Sunday Edition profiled a new trend in elopements and I was tickled to see that they highlighted a couple whose wedding I officiated last year.

Carey and Brian got married at The Farmhouse in Los Olivos, just north of Santa Barbara. The setting was wildly romantic and was made even more sensual through the creative magic of Lisa Vorce and her team.

Aaron Delesie (one of my beyond fav photographers) captures the exotic intimacy of the moment.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

How To Find The Right Words For Your Vows

For it was not into my ear you whispered, 

but into my heart.

It was not my lips you kissed, 

but my soul.

Judy Garland

During your time together, what has he said, what has she said, that inspired you, encouraged you, excited you?

During your time together, how has she, how has he, affected you in ways that no other person has?

Answer these questions and you are well on your way to writing your own vows!  And if not your vows, then the personal words you share with each other on your wedding day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Joya & Emre and The Black-Eyed Peas

Joya and Emre were married a year ago this month and their wedding video is one of my all time favs!

A year later, those of us who were a part of this great celebration are still laughing over this video. . .


Kudos to David Robin for directing this video!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Magic Of Asking What Your Partner Thinks

Carly Cylinder, owner of Flour LA, is a florist that provides nontraditional designs for weddings and events using eco-friendly flowers.  While I’ve not had the pleasure of working with Carly, I very much want to after reading her posting in today's Huffington Post!
From her vantage point as a florist, she writes about what she thinks are the four most important words a couple can say to each other:
When I meet couples for the first time during their consultations for wedding flowers, do I, the lovely innocent florist, make subliminal summations on the probable longevity of their marriage? Of course I do! And I think I've got it down to a science. . .
I've noticed that there are some couples that you meet where you know that this is meant to be. They didn't settle, they found love, they make each other laugh and it is just easy. Although her fiancé may not give a damn if there are roses or dahlias or freesia or mums in their wedding, she will ask him, "What do you think?"
This one little question, four little words tied together to show a mutual respect, is one of the best, if not the best, questions couples can ask each other. Those are the four words that can predict the success of a marriage. This applies to any aspect of life: from asking each other's opinions about where to eat or where to vacation to decorating the home to bouncing business advice off each other -- asking "What do you think?" shows that you value your partner's opinion.

What a great insight!
Yes, it’s true that there are (many) aspects of wedding planning that a groom, by virtue of being a guy, is not going to be either excited about or interested in.  Yet, I believe your wedding is not some kind of a reality- themed party simply celebrating the whims and likes of the bride!
Your wedding is a celebration of the life you have created and of the life you pledge to continue to create.  “What do you think?” can only truly be asked if the two of you have been talking about your shared vision of your celebration. 

The quality of your life is based on the quality of the communication in your life.  “What do you think?” is a question that speaks directly to the quality of your relationship.

I’ll also add two points:

If you’re a groom, please remember:  when your fiancée asks what you think, she really does want an answer!  I’ve met with couples where the bride asks her groom “what do you think?” and he shrugs his shoulders, grunts and says, “I don’t care.”  I’ve never met a bride who felt reassured with that answer.

Here’s the thing––I don’t think you can “not care” about your wedding and still care about your marriage.  You may not have a strong opinion about flowers, you may feel overwhelmed with the politics of the seating chart, but to say you “don’t care,” well that’s something entirely different.  If you don’t feel strongly about some aspect of the wedding, say something like, “I don’t have a preference, so I’m happy with what you decide.”  Those words will have a positive impact, rather than tossing off an “I don’t care.”

Caring enough to share your thoughts, opinions, needs, and wants will go a long way to reducing the stress that comes with planning your wedding.

AND. . .

If you’re a bride, please remember:  you can talk about your wedding for only so many hours in the day!  Throughout your engagement, make sure that you and your fiancé consciously, deliberately talk about non-wedding related “stuff.”  Even though you’re engaged, there really is still more to life than the wedding!  Let “what do you think?” be laced throughout all your conversations and not just the wedding-related ones.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"The Alchemist" ~ Paulo Coelho ~

When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke – the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. 
Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing.  Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. 
And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. 
It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hey, What's Going On?

A bride recently informed me that she was down a bridesmaid.  One of her friends, a bridesmaid, didn’t make the bridal shower and didn’t tell her beforehand.  The bride explained to her friend that since she didn’t have her back, there was no point in having her remain in the wedding party.

This bride is not a Bridezilla––she’s anything but.  She felt her decision was the honest thing to do and I was impressed at how levelheaded and assertive she was.  I wish, though, she had found out why her friend has been consistently flaking on her bridesmaid’s duties.  She still doesn’t know.

Here’s the thing. . .often times, what is most obvious is not most true.  While the bridesmaid didn’t have the bride’s back, the bride dismissed her without ever finding out what was going on.  For the sake of the friendship, it’s important to know––was she a thoughtless flake or was something else going on?

Yes, it’s true that people can say and do some really, really strange and downright irritating things to an engaged couple. Perhaps you’ve noticed?! 

If a friend or family member is acting in ways that confuse and/or frustrate you, rather than presuming they don’t care, take the time to do something that’s known as PERCEPTION CHECKING.

The checking has four steps:

1.     Ask your friend for some time to talk––in person if possible.  If not, then by phone (or Skype).  Don’t try this via email or text.
2.     Describe for them the pattern of behavior that’s confusing you––no judgments or interpretations––just the facts.  For instance, they weren’t able to go with you when you picked out your dress, they haven’t helped with the shower, etc.
3.     Offer TWO possible interpretations for why this pattern is happening, i.e.––I don’t know if work has been busy for you and you haven’t been able to get away or if I’ve done something to hurt you.
4.     Then ask them to clarify: I’m confused and I want to make sure that you do have my back, so what’s going on?

If they say “nothing,” then repeat the steps, stating the pattern, offering other possible interpretations, that you need their support, and that if they’re not able to give it that’s okay.  You just want clarity.

These four steps will increase the chances that your friend or family member will not become defensive and instead engage you in open conversation.

If they do resist, become defensive, or get “weird,” then you can decide to disinvite them to you wedding or from being part of your wedding party.  This is not punishment; rather it’s an honest act of honoring you and your partner and your mutual sanity!

Often times we’re not aware of how our behavior is affecting someone––even a close friend.  Perception checking is a way of keeping a clear head in a time when things can get very unclear.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Solving The Politics Of Walking Down The Aisle

During a recent meeting with a couple, I asked the bride if she wanted to be escorted down the aisle by her just her father or her father and mother.  She quickly glanced at her fiancé and hesitated in such a way that I knew something was up.  Turns out, she and her parents are in a strained period of their relationship.  And while they’re going to attend the wedding, there’s not a lot of warm, fuzzy love going round.  The bride asked if she could just walk down the aisle alone.

Basically, she and her fiancé can do whatever they want—hey, this is their wedding!  However, my experience has been that no matter the length of the aisle it is an ENORMOUS walk for any bride to do alone.

And so we came up with an easy and, I think, elegant solution.  The groom’s parents will walk down first, followed by the bride’s parents.  The groom will stand on the aisle at the top last row and wait for the bride as she makes the walk, on her own, from the back holding room.  Then, together, they’ll walk down the aisle.

Given that they’re paying for the wedding and have been together almost five years, there is a symbolic logic to their walking together at the beginning of the ceremony.

Different?  Yes, this is not traditional.  However, this solves the “problem” of how to tell her father that she doesn’t want him to walk her down the aisle.  More importantly, the bride honors her feelings and she and her fiancé have a ceremony that speaks to their integrity as a couple.

Trust me: there is a simple and elegant “solution” to any and all problems you may encounter in the planning of your wedding.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's Love Got To Do With It? Everything!

I recently read a blog post in the Weddings section of The Huffington Post titled “Do We Really Know What Love Is?”  It’s a provocative title and an even more provocative entry.  Vicki Larson begins by saying:

Love is why we marry, or at least that's what many of us believe. . .That's fine except, what is love? Many of us are stumped to define it, and even those of us who can define it often find that others may not agree with our definition. Yet we all have an idea of what love is.

A friend, a college professor who teaches a class in love, says her students are terrified of having to define love, terrified by the idea that love should even be defined. Hate, narcissism -- they have no problem agreeing on definitions for those. But love? They shrug, a defeatist shrug, and say, "Well, it's different for everyone."

Is it? If love is different for everyone, then what love are we talking about when we're building a marriage around it or divorcing because we no longer have it? What love are we talking about when we insist people marry "for love"?

It got me thinking––what is my “definition” for love?  One of my favorite reflections on love comes from the writer Marguerite Yourcenar who described her ideal partner as:

someone who bolsters our courage and approves, or sometimes disputes, our ideas; who shares with us, and with equal fervor, the joys of art and of living, the endless work which both require, never easy but never dull; someone who is neither our shadow nor our reflection, nor even our complement, but simply him/her self; someone who leaves us ideally free, but who nevertheless obliges us to be fully what we are.

What is your understanding of love?  Your partner’s understanding?  Can you put it into words?  Let your understanding of love guide you in creating your ceremony.