How To Stay Sane While Planning for Your Wedding!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Monday, July 13, 2015

3 Couples. 3 Weddings. 3 Budgets.

I pride myself on not being a “wedding factory.”  I’ll officiate only one wedding a day and most weekends I’m booked with just one wedding, typically on a Saturday.  Recently, I had an unusual weekend where I was booked with three weddings – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Each was unique and so different from the other two.  Yet, they all shared one thing in common. . .let me explain. . .

Friday night I was down in Orange County for the wedding of Suzie and Jared (names changed),  Jared is an actor and keeps busy with TV work.  He hasn’t won an Emmy, but his profile is high enough that his engagement was highlighted by People Mag.

Suzie and Jared asked their guests not to take photos during the ceremony and not post anything of the wedding to social media. 

I’m biased – while I love my technology and have everything that begins with the letter “i” I don’t get why guests want to spend the ceremony taking snaps with their smart phone or tablet.  It takes them so out of the moment and experience.

It was wonderful to look out and see 120 people focused on Suzie and Jared and not craning to get some amateurish shot.

As I spoke I happened to notice a young guy in the third row.  He had a rugby/soccer build and before the ceremony had been joking and flirting with several single women – clearly making the most of the moment!  Now, though, I caught a glimpse and could see that there was a change in his face – he looked visibly moved as Jared and Suzie exchanged vows. 

I was reminded – again – of the power of ritual to connect us to a deep truth.

Saturday night was in Malibu at a high-end resort with a view of “forever.”  Everything about Karli’s and Chip’s wedding was more elaborate than Suzie’s and Jared’s.  But there was nothing stuffy about any of it.

It was a windy day and Karli’s veil was billowing up into her face.  Laughing, she turned to her maid of honor who was frantically trying to grab it and said, “Oh, just step on the darn thing!”  And so the maid of honor did – no more whiplash from the veil!

And then on Sunday I flew up to Sacramento for a wedding.  Dale’s and Kevin’s wedding was simple, minimal DIY. 

The ceremony began and Kevin was BEAMING –I mean BEAMING – as he watched Dale walk down the aisle with her mom.  I suddenly realized that for the first time in my life, I may have been witnessing true “euphoria.” And it truly was magical.  WOW!

Three unique couples.  Three weddings.  Three different styles and budgets. 

And what did they share in common?

Alice Walker has one of her characters in The Color Purple ask this question:
“Tell the truth, have you ever found God in a church? I never did. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too.”

While these were not church weddings, with a nod to Walker, I’d rephrase the question as:   
“Did I ever find magic created by the budget of a wedding?  I never did.  Any magic I ever felt I brought in with me.  And I think all the other folks did too – bring the magic with them.”

It’s the magic that people will be talking about for years to come. . .

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The "I" Who Says "I Do!"

However richly inspired by love, marriage is a high wire act
that is usually attempted by two nervous wrecks
who just go for it, reeling with bliss and blind with the hots.
The rest is work, faith, and destiny.

                                    Lear’s Magazine, February, 1991

Marriage is “work” in the best sense of that word.  And, yes, creating a life with another is an act of faith, BUT, it’s not mere destiny.  You create your own destiny as you journey along to your destination.  Here’s why. . .

true story
The summer after ordination, I was assigned to a parish on Long Island, New York.  A few days after arriving, the parish secretary, Marie, took me aside.  Distraught, she told me that her daughter, Clarice, had filed for divorce—just six months after the wedding.  She asked if I would meet with her and talk some sense into her.

I doubted that Clarice wanted some stranger to “reason” with her; yet, out of respect for Marie, I agreed.  And out of respect for her mother, Clarice agreed to meet with me.

As soon as I closed my office door, I reassured her that I had no intention of trying to talk her out of her decision; but, since we both agreed to meet, we might as well spend fifteen minutes behind closed doors.  I admitted that it was none of my business, but just out of curiosity, I wondered what had happened in the span of six months to want her to dissolve her marriage.

Embarrassed, Clarice told me that she and her husband Frank had dated since high school.  They continued on through college.  Everyone just presumed that some day they would marry and once out of college, the pressure was on.  She then told me something that I’ve never forgotten:  “We didn’t want to disappoint our families and so we decided to get married and we just got caught-up in it all.”
Then one day, some six months later, they realized that while they still loved each other, they had no desire to spend the rest of their lives with each other.

I don’t tell this story to either shock or depress you.  Rather, I tell it because it reminds me that during wedding planning it’s so easy for a couple to just get “swept up” in it all. 

As outrageous as it seems, in planning your wedding it’s easy to lose a sense of who you are, of who your partner is, and of who you are together.

To use a favorite word of mine, life can get very whack-a-doo!

SANITY SAVER questions:
·      Do you know what you need and want from yourself, your partner, and your marriage?
·      Why are you marrying this person?  Of all the people you’ve known and dated, why him – why her?

Can you answer these two questions?
Can your partner?
Do you know each other’s answers?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

How Tiger Woods' Ex-Coach Challenged Me To Think About Weddings!

Note:  even though I begin this post talking about golf – it really is a wedding post!

When I’m not officiating weddings, I’m a corporate communications coach and trainer (  I offer workshops on what’s commonly referred to as “soft skills.”  However, as you know there’s very little “soft” about customer service, team building as well as managing all those difficult conversations!

Last year I began coaching professionals in the world of golf  – long story!  Up until last year, my experience on the greens was limited to miniature golf.  While it will be a long time before I don’t feel self-conscious playing, I have learned a great deal about the sport and the giants who’ve made it the avidly popular sport that it is today.

One of those legends is Sean Foley, who is one of Tiger Woods’ former coaches.  Recently, I read an article where he was asked this question: “You’ve always said that golf would never define you.  Do you still feel the same after taking on Tiger?”

Here’s his answer:
“Golf instruction is what I do for a living, but it doesn’t define who I am.  I’m not here to revolutionize golf instruction.  I’m here to touch the individual lives of the people that I work with.  I was raised on the idea that when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night the goal is to leave the world in a better place than you found it.”

Foley is much respected in the world of golf and it is remarkable that he can say that golf doesn’t define him.  His answer challenged me to think about what defines me.  In addition, it got me thinking about weddings (which I’m more times than not thinking about) and what a wedding actually celebrates.

Does a wedding celebrate what defines YOU?  Does a wedding celebrate what defines YOU as a COUPLE?

In order to say “I Do” to another person, don’t you need to be able to say what defines you?  And can you really venture forth into the unknown future together without knowing what defines you as a couple?

Sean Foley has a very clear sense of what his defining goal is when he wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night.  Do you, individually and as a couple, have just as a clear a sense?

I know – kinda an odd questions for a wedding blog BUT I think knowing who you are as a couple, knowing who you want to become, can only help you be and become the people you want to be and become!