Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It’s not about you!

When I was sixteen years old, my best friend (since the age of six) lost her father to a horrible battle with cancer. On the day of the funeral, after the service, I met my parents in the back of the church where I began crying uncontrollably for the first time since his diagnosis. The funny thing is that my immediate thought for my friend was, “Who will walk her down the aisle at her wedding?” Since I was not a person who grew up dreaming of her wedding day, that was an odd thought when you consider all of the other key moments her and her sisters would experience without their father.
The truth is no matter how cynical of a person you are and how non-traditional you think your wedding will be, most people who have relationships with their parents dream of having them involved in their wedding day. Some little girls grow up dreaming of planning their wedding with their mother while Daddy supportively writes checks and then swoops in on the day of the wedding to walk his baby girl down the aisle. The planning process is a breeze, the night flows perfectly and you can prove it all by the photographer catching that “money shot” of Dad kissing one cheek while Mom kisses the other.
Unfortunately, our parents do not always cooperate with our visions – much of the time because of reasons that could be helped – and their selfishness and stubborn attitudes prevent sane decisions. The reality is that I’ve had more than one client who had to deal with parents threatening not to attend their child’s wedding due to things not being done the way they wanted them done. In one case, I had a father follow through and not show up to the wedding at all and I am on the verge of a case where a mother will not be in attendance.
It is perfectly normal to get emotional about decisions made while planning such a big event. The wedding is essentially about the bride and the groom joining their lives, but I can see where Mom might get a bit competitive with her friends who recently had daughters get married. Wanting everything to be perfect is typical when you love someone, and we know that most parents always want everything perfect for their children. But there is a difference between the parents who want things perfect for their child – and those who want it for themselves.
When you start threatening to skip the wedding, if your child does not choose the favors that you want, you might want to step back and check yourself. When you are not even paying for the wedding and you cannot seem to stop saying the words “I want, I want, I want” that’s called selfish. And when you cut off all contact with your child in the middle of the planning process and then show up the week of the wedding just to look good to your friends, you probably do not deserve to be there.
Can any parent out there please explain to me why your child not getting married in a Catholic Church or not having the cake you were hoping for is worth losing the relationship and missing one of the most important days of their life? It is my job to up-sell and I make a living off of people believing that they need to consistently out-do the friend that married the weekend before them, but even I do not get it! I guess one of the things that sets me apart from other people in the business is that I’m still a realist, and the reality is that no amount of flowers or choirs singing at a wedding ceremony is worth jeopardizing a relationship with someone you love.
I know there are people out there who can flip this and say, “Why not just give in to your parents if it means that much to them?” The answer – because it’s not about them! It is hard enough to plan a wedding these days without having the extra drama of a parent who just needs attention.
I know this might be my most harsh entry yet, but I cannot stand to listen to one more crying bride who feels that she is at the mercy of a parent who couldn’t care less about the true meaning of her special day. You know that I will be the first to call out a bride on her attitude and I believe, especially when parents are paying, everyone needs to keep their priorities in check and pick their battles. But the parents’ threats and walking out is getting really old.
For all the parents out there who think that not inviting your seventh cousin once-removed is more emotionally draining then never speaking to your child again, please think about the parents who would do anything possible just to see their child get married. Life is short and monumental moments are few and far between, so if you are lucky enough to be on Earth to enjoy them together, sit back, enjoy the cocktails and thank God for giving you one more memory with your family!