I'VE learnt a few things about weddings since being a minister and being formerly married to an experienced wedding planner. I've learnt that a great wedding is a cocktail of certain things — and though most brides, and their mothers, usually want to pull off something wonderful, they don't always know how to do that.
In fact, hiring a high-priced wedding planner doesn't always guarantee a fairy tale-type experience. Big budgets don't guarantee an awesome event either. What guarantees a great wedding is the right mix — the "wedding cocktail".
No, I'm not referring to a cocktail that is served. I'm referring to the cocktailed event — the mix of things that should be planned for the wedding and that happen on the day, those things that should happen in order for the couple, their family, and their guests to go "wow". So, what are the ingredients?
• The right attitude of the bride and groom: These two people can make or break their whole evening. Why? Because everyone usually takes their cue from them. Guests are usually expecting the bride and groom to be upbeat, in love, and ultra-excited. If they're acting weird, grumpy, spoilt, etc, it dulls the experience. Whenever a wedding is planned, the couple must be excited about their day. They must know that it's not about the wedding event as much as it's about their pursuit of an adventure together. The bride and groom must be revved up!
•The right planner and emcee: If the couple uses a planner — and it is recommended they do — in order to give them the freedom to "party", they must choose one wisely. The planner must be able to work on his/her own initiative, after capturing the concepts from the couple. The planner must also absorb any stressors and effectively shield the couple before and during the day. This person should work closely with the emcee, the minister, and other vendors, to facilitate smooth operations. The emcee must also be the right individual. They must have a great mix of professionalism, be down-to-earth, familiar, and creative. The emcee must appreciate and fit the kind of experience the couple is after. The planner facilitates the excitement about the day while the emcee cheers it on. And the better they are, the better the day goes.
• The type of ceremony: Wedding ceremonies can often be very mundane, seeming to be run-of-the-mill; most people can often predict what's coming next. However, some couples and their ministers have attempted to break out of the mould and become creative and novel. Yet, a novel, creative ceremony can be disastrous too. There has to be the right mix of the creative with the traditional for the event to have a great impact on the couple and their guests. The ceremony should fulfil the cultural feel of a wedding while pursuing a novel experience for all. There should also be a good mix of professionals, family members and friends executing the event. Family and friends bring intimacy to the experience, so though a couple may have the budget to hire workers to man everything, it is not prudent to do so.
• The location of the ceremony and reception: Where the event is held matters significantly. Booking out the Ritz Carlton doesn't automatically mean a fairy-tale wedding as any beach, riverside, garden, or poolside wedding can be a fairy-tale experience too. Wherever is selected, once the above-mentioned elements are included, and comfort, convenience, and a sense of adventure are covered, the event has a high probability of being a slam dunk!
A great wedding is about giving a couple a great start, filled with laughter and love. It's about giving them the best support for their pursuit of happily ever after. A great wedding is not about great expense as much as it is about a great experience — that's the real wedding cocktail.
Rev Christopher Brodber is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail him at email@example.com.