Today I want to focus on the incredibly important subject of how its people who make weddings, not things.
In a similar vein in recent days its been that focus of my home town that People make Glasgow when we are in times of crisis.
We come to work together, to stand tall, to support when things go wrong, and when we need somebody.
In a Wedding situation this is never more important.
The lovely Suzanne of Paper Tree Design has shared her touching story of how she believes that its people, not details that make a huge difference when times get tough.
“I had sat down to answer some questions for a feature, and was happily working through them until I got to the last one, it read – are you married?”
“Do you have any first-hand experience of searching for wedding products/services that you want to share?”
“It rather stopped me in my tracks, I am married and I do have something to share, but it’s not what you might expect.”
“Charlie and I married on the 21st of September 2002, it was the most wonderful day but there was a point where we really did not know if it would go ahead.”
“From the moment we were engaged we knew exactly the suppliers we needed, a venue and a photographer, the rest became a family affair.”
“I come from a creative family, we makes things, learning to sew aged 4 at my mothers knee I went on to study Fashion & Textile Design at University so there was no question about who was designing and making my dress.”
“We divided the creative tasks between us.”
“Mum would make the bridesmaids dresses, my sister was in charge of flowers & table decorations with help from mum, Stella (my bridesmaid) and I were to make all the stationery, my mother in law was making the cake, I had it all planned.”
“I wanted to do all the little details myself, a little bag for the flower girl to carry a toy bunny in, favours for the reception, and even had design ideas for bespoke jewellery.”
“We booked the church, found our venue on Dartmoor and secured a wonderful photographer.”
“I started on the dress design and had the fabrics and trims picked out, everything was heading in the right direction.”
“But something wasn’t right, mum wasn’t herself when I called, she was tired, a bit under the weather.”
“At first we didn’t think much of it, but it became apparent she wasn’t well.”
“There were tests and hospital appointments, I began to worry, I just knew in my gut it was not good.”
“Then 4 months before the wedding, on the weekend of the Queens Golden Jubilee we received devastating news, mum had cancer and it was terminal, doctors couldn’t say how long she had, but it was months not years.”
“We were numb with shock and didn’t know what to do, the thought of a wedding without mum was horrendous.”
“We spoke to the vicar about either postponing, or bringing it forward, just us and family, but mum was adamant, we were to have the wedding we planned and she was determined to stay alive long enough to see us married.”
“So, it was decided, we carried on, however it became apparent mum was just too ill to do any of the tasks planned, and my sister was also struggling.”
Alison became cook, housekeeper and carer whilst working full time herself, it was all too much.
“We did our best to move things around, I made the bridesmaid dresses and my mother in law made the table decorations but it wasn’t enough.”
“With frequent trips home to Devon to be with mum I was under pressure too and things just dropped to the wayside.”
“My dress was rushed, shoes a size to big, bespoke jewellery dropped, no wedding favours, no pretty table plan and the night before the wedding we realised we had no place cards for bride and groom, and my sister had dropped 2 dress sizes since her final fitting 4 weeks earlier.”
“But in the end none of it mattered, it was the most wonderful day full of joy and love created by everyone who shared the day with us.”
“Mum looked amazing, managed the whole day, and everyone rallied around.”
“Mum left us on the 13th of November 2002, 6 weeks after we were married.”
So what advice do I have based on our experience?
“It’s the people that make the wedding not the things, no one noticed my shoes were too big or we hadn’t given out favours.”
“They commented on how nice the vicar was, how friendly the staff were at the venue, how discreet the photographer was, and what a lovely atmosphere the day had.”
“Bear this in mind when you choose YOUR suppliers.”
“It is as important to find suppliers that you like and feel comfortable with as it is that they are skilled and you like what they do.”
“It may seem like a silly thing to say but it’s important to feel you can trust them and that they have your best interests at heart.”
“Imagine how you would feel if you had to talk to them in a crisis, would they bend over backwards to help you or would you be made to feel like a nuisance?”
“We had an amazing photographer who understood our situation completely, changed the shot list at short notice to make sure we had lots of lovely pictures of my mum, and was very discreet in doing so.”
“Weddings are emotional at the best of times, you don’t want a supplier that could stress you out, or upset guests so choose carefully.”
“On a practical note, don’t take on too much yourself and have a back up plan in case anything goes wrong.”
“If you are a creative like me then it’s going to be hard to give some of it up but if you source suppliers that work with you rather than imposing their ideas on you then you will achieve amazing things!”
“If your reason for doing things yourself are financial then there are ways a good supplier can help.”
“I have helped before by supplying component parts of stationery for the bride to assemble, saving her the cost of us assembling them, and have supplied matching card for the bride wanting to handwrite their place cards.”
“Look for suppliers that are flexible and can offer more than one thing in case you need any emergency extras, and ask their advice if you are in a pickle, they may be able to help you or recommend someone else who can.”
“Make sure you know what the lead times are so you are not disappointed if you do need to add anything in at a later date.”
And what of my experience have I brought to my own business?
“I always remember that everything I do is about the couple and the dream they have, and my job is to contribute towards the joy of their very special day.”
“I will listen and advise but never impose, and I always go the extra mile to help which I feel is the responsibility of each and every wedding supplier.”
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by planning for our Weddings, and focus on all the little details that whilst very beautiful, are just things.
What really matters is a celebration of love and togetherness, and those that you love and care most about in the world are there to celebrate that happiness with you.
Life as we have seen can be snatched away in an instant and some may have to face these Big days without their special people.
That is why its imperative that you have a support system that has your back, and you trust that support system to be there for good and bad.
Thank you so much to Suzanne for her moving words and great advice.
Suzanne was blessed with some incredibly supportive people to bring together her day albeit not what she had first imagined.
Please choose your Wedding Suppliers carefully so that you feel assurance that should be in a situation where things are out of your control that they have your back too.
Wedding Images: Janine Hall Photography – http://www.janinehallphotography.com
Stationery Images Cristina Colli – http://www.cristinacolli.com