I was chatting with an old friend from graduate school yesterday afternoon – it’s been three years since we’ve heard each other’s voices! In the years that have gone by since we left South Carolina, we have lived in many different states, tackled and achieved a handful of dreams (she has “Dr.” in front of her name now), and ultimately settled into our respective lives way more confident and self-assured than we were 10 years ago. It’s incredible how you can hear that sort of thing in someone’s voice after time and experiences have passed… and that was all before the catching up even began.
This dear friend found herself ENGAGED a few months ago, and while we talked about her wedding and reviewed some of the more logistical and less romantic parts of the couple’s big day, we found ourselves reminiscing on those conversations we had at Ruby Tuesday’s in 2009 about how she thought wedding planning would be. Oh, how different things are now.
Anyway, one of the first things I asked her before she got too deep into her details was, “How do you want the day to feel?” And y’all, it’s so important that you answer this question before you get too far. If you can, have your key players get in on that decision, too – whether that’s your soon-to-be husband or wife, the best man, your sister/MOH, etc. Even if it’s just you doing all the planning, sit down and think about how you want to feel as you make your way from your engagement to the ceremony to the reception to your grand or simple exit and beyond. This “idea” or “feeling” will help you to set a tone with your vendors, your wedding party, and your guests… maybe even your marriage. You will notice once the day arrives (and it will be here before you know it, so don’t forget to call your DJ tomorrow and get that makeup trial scheduled ASAP) that the emphasis you’ve made on your wedding tone carries through it all. And it doesn’t matter if you’re aiming to make your day feel like the Oscars or the Golden Globes (huge difference), whimsical with some Harry Potter subtleties, or a relaxed bbq with some romantic or meaningful touches strewn through the day. Make it yours.
And here’s the other thing – don’t be apologetic about whatever it is you come up with. The thing I found to be absolutely refreshing about how my friend answered this “tone” question was how honest she was. She said that she just wanted the day to feel like everyone was at a tailgate. Naturally, my wheels start spinning as I remember tailgating with her at our alma mater and visions of orange and purple (and if she really wanted our mascot roaming through cocktail hour) started taking over. While that’s not really what she’s going for, her vision is achievable in every choice, rental, timeline arrangement, purchase, and so on that she makes. In her case – what makes a tailgate? A tailgate is a build up or celebration of something to come and a day well spent in camaraderie and excitement – and sometimes it’s even more memorable than the actual game. There doesn’t need to be a strict schedule, but there does need to be a focus on activity and reminders about why you’re all there throughout the day/evening.
Maybe this is the perfect reason to make it a wedding weekend to let everyone reunite or get to know each other and build up all the excitement for a day or two prior to the ceremony and reception. If the budget (or limitations on traveling guests) make that harder for you, consider simply opening up the bar before the ceremony and asking guests to arrive for an hour or so prior to the ceremony start. Or change up the schedule entirely and go TRUE tailgate. Flip your order and hold the reception first and end with the grand finale of you two tying the knot. There are special considerations with all of those ideas, but what is a wedding if it’s not yours?
This is just the beginning of ONE way to set a tone and see it through the planning process, but we’re here and ready to help you do this for your unique style, too.
Now, back to wishing it was football season. Go Tigers!