Know what makes me smile most after 20+ years of weddings?
It’s the things that went wrong:
· It rained, and I played guitar in a downpour as a kind soul held sheet music over my instrument (this was in my guitarist-for-hire days, before officiating.)
· The flower girl skipped nervously to the front of the room and dumped a basketful of rose petals in one quick pile.
· The groom forgot the license, so we had to meet up a day or so later to make it legal.
· The time came for the sand ceremony, and nobody had snipped the nozzles on the plastic bottles that held the sand.
· My wife and I showed up to co-officiate, and an auto accident had taken out electric power for the whole facility. (Thankfully, power was restored before the wedding.)
· The clerk didn’t include the license in the couple’s packet, requiring a second trip downtown for a duplicate and a quick signing after the honeymoon. (Takeaway: Check the packet!)
You get the picture: Anything that can go wrong just might do so at any time. Call it Murphy’s Law of Matrimony. (I see it not so much as a threat to the ceremony as practice for not sweating the small stuff in a marriage.)
Sure, you plan, prepare and double-check. But no matter how carefully you script your special day or how many spreadsheets or apps you use or how thoroughly you research and rehearse and think it through, things won’t quite align as you’d like.
These aren’t tragedies—just bumps in the road. They’re hiccups in the space-time continuum of your life together. They’re the lovable freckles on a favorite face. They’re inevitable and, for the most part, inconsequential.
Dealing with it
This isn’t an excuse not to prepare (see my tips for planning your ceremony). It’s an invitation to do all you can to make your wedding memorable, then relax and go with the flow. Unless it involves significant injury, property damage or legal trouble, you can usually deal with it, laugh it off and move on.
Props will fail. Children will stray. Your cousin’s phone will choose that precise moment to play her new Justin Bieber ring tone. And everyone will come together over it, laugh and remember it as a charming moment in a lovely day.
Unless you’re in the wedding business, you probably don’t plan more than the occasional ceremony. So arm yourself with all the right tools: forethought, shared planning and priorities, and an attitude that leaves you amused by the little surprises that any big event brings.
That’s also a great attitude to bring to a marriage. Come to think of it, that may also keep you sane during parenthood. (Just saying…)