This past December, my fiancé and I got engaged. I've never been one of those girls who dreamed about their wedding from a young age, so once the engagement excitement subsided and I actually began to contemplate a wedding, I was (am) at a bit of a loss at how to proceed.
I've always felt that the little details some brides-to-be agonize over (the flowers in the centerpieces should have six petals, not five! Did my bridesmaid dare to paint her nails red with our coral dresses? The ink on the program doesn't match the ink on the invitations, oh the humanity!) are the details that your guests don't notice, and wind up costing you precious dollars and, even worse, enjoyment on your wedding day. I feel that to sweat the small stuff is to forget the goal of the event in general: to celebrate your love with the people you care about. However, now that I'm faced with the task of putting together a party that my closest family and friends will enjoy, I'm starting to sweat at least a few things; it makes me appreciate the work the hospitality industry faces every day in designing spaces and experiences that speak to people and make them comfortable, happy, and eager to stay just a little bit longer.
A wedding may be a more selfish event than most, because first and foremost, you're planning it with your desires in mind. What do you want your wedding to look/feel like? What kind of event do you want to have? How will you communicate your respective personalities through color, decor, music, food? However, the deeper into planning mode you get, the more you worry about everyone else, because after all, a wedding is a hospitality event. What kind of wedding will your guests enjoy? What special considerations must you make for your guests? For those loved ones who are spending money and time to be with you on your wedding, how do you make it the most painless process possible? Having been on the other end of this exchange a number of times, I know how little details can make a big difference—just not the details we tend to obsess over. Authentic personal touches and thoughtfulness go a long way where stunning centerpieces and flashy favors fall short. Anyway, now that it’s my turn to take the plunge, I've learned that a wedding isn't all about you and your groom-to-be; it's more about your tribe as a whole, all of your friends and family members (and crazy uncles, and that guy no one remembers inviting) and how you all come together to enjoy each other's company and celebrate.
In researching venues, it's become apparent what a booming business the wedding market is for many hospitality spaces, and the lengths that some resorts and hotels will go in order to accommodate and assist with a wedding and/or honeymoon—if you want some gorgeous and luxurious examples of this, check out the spa piece from our July issue.
I have fourteen months to plan, and I'm hoping to do it without the help of a wedding planner. While it's definitely shaping up to be one of the toughest events I've ever organized, at least I know I'm in the best possible industry to find the perfect space and the perfect atmosphere for what I hope to be a stress-free, fun, and memorable day.
Have any words of wisdom for me? Let me know in the comments!
The view from the infinity pool at the Strawberry Hill Hotel & Spa in Jamaica. Not a bad place to spend your honeymoon!