Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Extreme Wedding Planning... How NOT To Please Everyone!

As any bride-to be will tell you; there is no such thing as smooth sailing when it comes to planning your own wedding. The mere thought of trying to satiate and impress both sides of immediate family, as well as extended family, close friends, work friends, old friends, new friends... well, it's enough to prompt a cold sweat before a seating plan even appears on the scene. Now consider tackling this organizational ordeal from almost half the world away and without a fiance or bridesmaid in sight.

This was exactly the challenge that faced me in the Spring & Summer of 2011. Freshly engaged and beyond eager to start realizing the biggest day of my life, I was confronted with a hurdle I had never before contemplated. How do you get all these people, in all their varieties, to the same venue, on the same day, when for at least half of them that venue would be 4,000 miles  and several thousand $$$ away? My fiance and I were baffled. As we added up costs (and then quickly subtracted them again!), it became more and more obvious that something would have to give, and it was either going to be our dreams, finances and psychological stability or Aunty June's invitation. Now I am blessed with the most understanding, level headed Mother Of The Bride that I could ask for. As she watched my fiance and I Skype and type with desperate ideas of cut backs and financial shortcuts, she spoke out with great compassion. Just 4 simple words that would set us free: "Why don't you elope?"

Genius. And surely the fact that it came from the Mother Of The Bride, the second most important woman in this whole fiasco, gave us license to go ahead and run with it! So there was our answer, so simple I can't believe we didn't think of it ourselves. We began the search for the perfect secluded location for just the two of us, away from prying eyes and tradition. All we needed was some natural beauty, a Minister, God and each other; we finally settled on Driftwood Beach off of Jekyll Island, Georgia. We found a wonderful wedding planner, Carla Pryor (links below), who worked with endless patience despite my constant absence all the way back in the UK and made every detail manageable and magical. On a bright and sunny Saturday morning in September we dressed up to the nines, walked down to Driftwood Beach in our sandals and exchanged vows. The only thing we really spent a substantial amount of money on was our photographer Chris Moncus and he was worth every penny for the moments and memories he captured that day. Later, around midday, we changed out of our wedding outfits in the waterfront restrooms, climbed into our Ford Fiesta and drove down to Florida with the windows rolled down, the sun streaming in and our favorite songs ringing on our ears.

Many people ask us if we regret not having our families present and the truth is I will always wish that our nearest and dearest were standing there beside us on the most important day of our lives. Thanks to technology though we were able to have our families (including mine all the way back home in England) tune in and rev up with excitement as we woke up, got dressed and shared toasts for the big day ahead. The buzz was unforgettable and no one was left out of the circus of our wedding day routine. In fact, I am fairly sure that my families own 'American Themed Party' suited them down to the ground, back on the other side of the pond! My wonderful mother, grandmother, aunts and cousins helped me pick out and finalize my dress choice, whilst my closest, dearest friends celebrated my last few weeks as a single lady in style. The gang was all there.

Quickly we learnt that it's impossible to please everyone and nowadays it is so easy to get wrapped up in the pomp and circumstance of a wedding day, that personal finances and stress levels bear the impact. Our choices were not traditional by any means but we still have the very traditional memories of our loved ones all around us, celebrating with us and supporting us all along the way... We just broke the mold a bit is all.


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