Humor, People

The business of weddings

I believe that ‘wedding’ is not one and the same as ‘marriage’. A happy marriage is not dependent on a successfully-staged wedding though many a happy marriage had such to begin with. This doesn’t mean though that a couple should forgo the wedding or cut back on what would make their wedding a day to remember.

Girls dream to have a fairy tale wedding and I believe they should have that. The criticism against “lavish” weddings is that they’re not tantamount to the love the couple have for each other. I agree. It’s not, necessarily. But that’s the first step to completely enjoy a wedding– to know that wedding is not equal to marriage.  So when their marriages go bad, unless they were wed at gun point, girls should never ever regret their weddings. Besides, who is the bride or groom who’s able to predict their married life one, five, or 10 years into the future?  If couples could, would they even want to venture? So go ahead have that dream wedding!

I’m saying this because early last year I’ve been intimating to a couple of friends that I’d like to try the work of a wedding planner. They thought I was joking because the change, from a development researcher to wedding planner, would be quite an extreme one and besides my marriage wasn’t exactly what a client-bride would want to hear about. I countered that actually my wedding was a successful one which is why I’ve retained a separate and positive view of it. But how to actually become a planner for another’s wedding was the real deal breaker.

Fortune or fate, whatever, was quick to respond, within the same year, in fact, because it sent me close, albeit briefly, to the business of handling weddings. My task in this area was to receive requests to rent one of the most sought after wedding venues in the City if not the North. By all appearances, the task looks inconsequential -receive the request, read, check for details such as venue availability, hand it over to the boss for approval – but it really was more. Planning a wedding officially starts with the choice of a venue, with that we were an important link in the chain of the wedding story of bride x and groom y. We were part of the fairy tale dream wedding come true of bride x.

The request letters only detailed the wedding date and time, still I wondered who are bride x and groom y, what brought them together, and what led them to finally choose the venue. I’m sure wedding planners are provided snippets of their clients’ story not so much as subject of casual talk with the couple but as crucial input to the rendering of the overall feel of the wedding. As each couple’s story is unique so is the wedding plan.

But I did meet one couple. They came in person to hand their letter of request. I chatted them up a bit seeing that they looked somewhat harassed. I said that I’m inspired to see they’re hands on with their wedding to which the lady enthusiastically recounted that yes it was difficult but they were both enjoying it too. I said something about knowing how that must be for them and joked that maybe I could be their wedding planner. She giggled. He laughed. And both said why not? Even if it’s not going to happen, I thought this was part of selling the whole premier venue brand.

During the setting up of the venue for a wedding reception, I went around the area to see if I could pick up the couple’s love story from the design. At the doorway to the reception hall a set of old world luggage set caught my eye. My guess was the newly weds met while on travel or that travel figured significantly in their courtship.

I remember at this point a similar story, of how my hosts in one of the villages met. The man is a native of the village where I was assigned and the wife hails from a town in the Visayas. After several months staying with them and unable to contain my curiosity any further, I went ahead and asked how they met. Turns out they were just waiting for an audience because they took their time through dinner telling me their story. Theirs they said was a chance meeting, at the provincial capital on a market day.  The girl was at the time on vacation from the Visayas and was accompanying a relative. The guy was at the time unloading their produce off the vehicle, also at the marketplace. He turned his head and it was when he saw her. The rest as they say is history. When they told me their story, the man was approaching 60, the wife 10 years his junior.

It is said that in no other time in a woman’s life is she more radiant as on her wedding day. I’m sure its because in no other time is she full of hope and love and showered with the same; in no other time is the celebration all for her. Everything around her is beautiful. The spoiler witch if there’s one is banned. Everyone present has only good wishes for the bride, is extra helpful, extra caring, extra good everything. Everyone lets the bride have all the floorspace. Even the groom doesn’t intrude in that space, he waits for her at the head. So how can a girl not be radiant on her wedding day?

When the ceremony finally begins and the implication of the words Dearly Beloved… sink in, persons close to the couple suddenly struggle to put a lid on their emotions. The bride’s mother because if it is the first wedding in the family she now finally understands what her own mother must have felt at her own wedding. The father, because the reality of handing over his daughter to another man and the ramifications of such have finally hit him. But a wedding is not a funeral so tears are reined in as everyone sends nothing but their best wishes alongside the couple’s own promise of mutual faith and hope in the union.

That and some hours afterward to toast and celebrate the newly weds, as far as I’m concerned, is the end of the wedding, a total of six hours give and take, and what takes place after that – marriage – is a different matter altogether the outcome of which thank goodness isn’t in a wedding planner’s job description.

So who doesn’t want to be a wedding planner? She gets to arrange all the fun part.

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