It’s holiday engagement time and that means I’m doing lots of consultations with newly engaged couples. Lots of them are planning to elope, or have fewer than 10 guests at their weddings so they want to keep things as easy and simple as possible. We can do that. But we still need some input from the two who are actually getting married!
Over the years, I’ve had a number of “carefree” brides during the planning process who didn’t really have opinions or strong feelings about anything we were putting together. These women are the total opposite of the trendy DIY bride that we encounter so frequently. I must note, however, that almost all of these women are eloping or getting married with fewer than 10 guests in attendance so they have less pressure on them overall. But I’ve encountered a few “carefree” brides who were really Bridezillas in disguise… they just claimed they had no opinions and didn’t show their true colors until they arrived on the island.
If you’re eloping using one of our “Keep It Simple” packages, there’s not a lot of decisions for the bride and groom to make. Accommodations, flower selection, ceremony plan, location, cake flavor, etc. But these are all super fun things. They don’t have to crunch big numbers to figure out how to afford catering for 60 guests or worry about whether their villa is accessible for the elderly.
There are some things that I can make happen for your destination wedding with very little input from you. You want to do a snorkeling tour or go horseback riding or some other activity – no problem. Dinner reservations – gotcha covered. I’ll set it all up for you and add it to the schedule you’ll receive when you arrive. But as to the specific details of your wedding ceremony (your vows, for example) and reception, I need a little more input on the front end.
You have to choose a cake flavor. Can I choose one for you? Sure I can. And I actually have. But it’s YOUR wedding cake. Don’t YOU have an opinion? Doesn’t one of you prefer chocolate or carrot cake? I’m happy to order what I like, but won’t you be disappointed when you find out that I’ve always wanted a chocolate cake with whipped peanut butter filling like a reverse Reese’s cup? Yeah, I thought so. This is your wedding cake and it should be something you love. Hate cake? Okay let’s do cheesecake, or pie, or flan or another fancy dessert. But you have to tell me what you like. I’m a wedding planner, not a psychic.
I cannot, and will not, plan your wedding ceremony for you. I provide every client with a planning guide that is not too far off from Mad Libs for weddings. You can cut and paste together whatever ceremony best suits you. And if you’re super lazy or crunched for time, there are five complete ceremonies you can simply steal and change the names. Best ever is when the couple is so busy, they just send me a sample ceremony with the original couples’ names still in it. Yeah, we’ll fix that. But it’s a little ridiculous. These are the VOWS you are taking for your married life with this person. You really think I should be the one to choose them? One groom never got around to writing his vows and so the bride and I substituted the Dr. Seuss wedding vows instead. Boy was he surprised when the minister told the groom to repeat the words: “I will love you in a tree.” Gotcha!
A bridal bouquet is a very personal item too. Some brides absolutely hate roses, or lilies, or the color purple. Since I haven’t known you forever, or in most cases even met you, I don’t know what kind of flowers make you smile. All you have to do is send me a picture if you don’t want to waste time discussing your floral desires, but you have to give me some clue as to what you want. I’ve literally had girls that said “pink and white, you choose it.” Okey dokey, I can do it. But I’m biting my nails for three days ahead of the wedding praying she really will love the bouquet we bring her on her wedding day.
The WORST brides to work with are the ones who refuse to engage regarding their elopement planning before they get here. I have a reality check for everybody. We are not sitting around our offices waiting for a random couple to walk in and say they want to get married. And even if we’re planning on executing your wedding and we’re under contract, giving us less than 24 hours’ notice that you’d like to double your flower order, arrange for private catering, bring in not-previously requested music, or take a helicopter ride is not really on our list of favorites. Just because you were too busy to deal with the details before you got to the island doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to make all your wishes come true if you finally share them with us when you arrive here. Hello, we’re on an island seven miles off the coast of another island… nobody can run to store for you to pick up last minute silliness. We will always do our best, but we wont’ always succeed.
Here’s the deal – it’s okay to say “I don’t care” and leave it to us to take care of choosing the restaurant for your wedding dinner, selecting your activities, and even putting together a bouquet with minimal guidance, but there are a few things that I mentioned above that you must personally attend to in advance if you want to have them at your wedding. Otherwise, when you hear the words “too late” or “unlikely” from us when you ask for something, don’t be mad at your wedding planner. Give yourself a swift kick in the ass for refusing to get involved in your own wedding planning.
If you haven’t checked out my new Sandy Malone web page yet, don’t miss it! We have a cool new “Ask Sandy” section where you can get free advice on real topics of concern to you. And you might learn something from other people’s questions too!
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!