*Received 24th February from a dear friend and ex-colleague,
Once In A Lifetime
The phrase you will most likely hear more than any other during
the planning of your wedding is "once in a lifetime".
Now when it comes to the wedding preparations in particular, my
wife and I (and apparently for many couples I've spoken with) agree
that it's something you'd really *never* want to go through again.
It's nothing short of a roller-coaster ride with lots to do and
thousands of opinions from everyone on how to do them
all this with the pressure of knowledge that you really only have
once chance to make it "perfect".
I know that while I was going through it, good advice was invaluable
amidst the countless opinions I received. With that in mind, I'd
like to share with you some of my wedding experiences and some of
the important lessons I have learnt - in the hope that they will
make your once-in-a-lifetime journey to your wedding day a wee-bit
- Let someone else coordinate.
Trust me when I say that there are a million things to do and it's
good to make it someone else's responsibility to keep track of what
needs to be done when. Trying to do it yourself is tough because
there'll be so much to keep track of. This may or may not be the
best man, but it's good to find someone who has had experience planning
weddings. When my wedding preparations started, I basically tried
to be the coordinator myself, but soon I found that trying to be
the lead coordinator for the church ceremony alone was already quite
let alone coordinating two other dinners (one for my
family and another with my friends). Besides, I soon realized that
as the main "participant" in each of these occasions,
I really needed someone in the background to oversee and give the
instructions there and then. A HUGE load was lifted off my shoulders
when I finally found friends who were willing to take complete care
of the different functions. I gave my instructions/expectations
and they took over, checking back with me whenever necessary. With
the right persons in the right places, my wife and I were free then
to concentrate on the things only we could do - like testing her
gown, food tasting, getting RSVPs, etc.
- Delegate and Trust.
I found that sometimes in wedding preparations too much time is
spent on insignificant things (like searching for that "perfect"
when was the last time you noticed the ring-pillow?)
and too little time on some very important things. One thing I would
spend time on is thinking of people you trust to attend to things
they are good at. After you've found them, trust in their tastes
and let them run the show. Don't second-guess them all the time
and don't try to have a say in everything (e.g. all the color themes,
what flowers to use, how they should be arranged, choosing and buying
the clothes for the flower-girls or pageboys).
- Know Your Deadlines.
Reading all the magazines in the world are useless if you don't
do what you're supposed to do. Planning a schedule is essential
when trying to reduce stress when planning weddings. But planning
isn't the easiest thing in the world when you realize you don't
know how long it takes to do the many wedding tasks - e.g. how long
does it take to print program sheets/ invitation cards, how early
should I book a caterer, when do I need to arrange for the photo-shoots,
etc. Having someone with experience really helped - I was then able
to plan reasonable deadlines for tasks and ensure that things that
needed more time were given ample time (at least for most of them
Besides knowing when, you also need to learn how and what to do.
To be honest, it's really overwhelming to realize that there are
so many different vendors to work with - it's hard to know where
to look for them, how to choose between alternatives, what are reasonable
packages/prices, what to expect/demand from them. I was unsure about
all these when it came to ordering a wedding cake, finding a wedding
photographer, looking for a caterer, sourcing for a car
God for friends I could call for expert and experience. The truth
is that recommendations become exceptionally important during this
time because with such little time to make so many decisions, they
are the only things you can rely on.
- Helping Hands.
I have never been one to like to trouble others - always feeling
very much like I am imposing when I do seek help. A good friend
advised me that during a wedding, it's okay to impose. Truth is
I would never have had my perfect wedding without the wonderful
help of all my friends. Don't be afraid to ask, and while you should
be appreciative, don't worry about telling them exactly what you
want or don't want, making clear your expectations - and of course,
a thank you card/gift goes a long way after.
These are just a few of the many precious lessons I've learnt about
wedding preparations. At the end of the day, I think the most important
lesson of all is that the couple needs to spend more time preparing
for the *marriage* then for the wedding - since the latter lasts
for a day or two but the former is for a lifetime. That is not to
say that the wedding preparations are not important - but rather
to find the right people to attend to them so that you and your
spouse may ready yourselves to enjoy that "big day" and
to be ready for all the days that follow after.
~ A Word of Thanks ~
Having said all that, I'd like to express a personal word of thanks
to Kim for all her wonderful help during my wedding. Your advice,
expertise and referrals were truly invaluable!