In the past I have likened weddings to live television awards shows, in the sense that there is only one chance to get it right, and if something goes awry, you have to make it work. At least with a Broadway show, there is always the next night’s performance. But my point is, when you only get one chance to do something, and you want the results to be fantastic, there is a lot of pressure riding on every decision. Then add the huge financial commitment, and it’s easy to see why even the sweetest of couples might go ballistic at any given moment.
[Cue: “Pressure” by Billy Joel]
Now for today’s comparison: It is my belief that most brides feel the same sense of urgency on their wedding day, if not more, than an Olympic athlete does on the day of their competition. Just like many brides dream of their wedding day from a very young age, many Olympic athletes dream of being on the winner’s podium from a very young age, and there is just one shot to get it right. Talk about Stress!!! At least Olympians are also encouraged to get psychological help to deal with the pressure. (Maybe therapy should be a requirement to get a marriage license)
I love to watch Ice Skating and Gymnastics. The beauty and artistry matched with incredible feats of physical strength is breath-taking and they make it look so easy, even as the commentators critique every wobble. Yeah, right! Most people, if they can skate at all, can only do so in a forward fashion. Likewise, most people couldn’t even walk from one end of the balance beam to the other without falling off. This stuff is HARD and the pressure to be perfect is constantly there. Just one “wobble”, one slip-up…and you don’t get a medal and everything you’ve spent years devoting your life to is gone. This is the pressure on today’s brides and it’s not fair.
We need to stop selling “perfection.” Nothing is ever perfect. Perfect is about as realistic as an airbrushed model on the front of Playboy Magazine. Now this doesn’t mean we should just “wing it”…absolutely not! We should plan for every contingency, every possible scenario. Then we have to let it go. We shouldn’t get so caught up in “the plan” that we suck the life out of the wedding day.
This is why I love my job so much. I love the advance planning. I love the security it gives both my clients and me. I love that we each know, in advance, what we want to happen and the results we are expecting. But again…I can’t reiterate enough that beautiful things can happen in between “planned moments”, if we are free enough to let that happen. It’s true, we don’t get a second chance…this is “live theatre”…but more importantly…the wedding day is not the “goal” like an Olympic medal, it’s the beginning of a new life with the person of your dreams. If we remember this, a lot of the crazy wedding stress will naturally fall away.