Summer 2020 and we are starting to immerge from ‘lockdown’. The landscape does not look like it once did, but that’s not to say its worse. Financially though, it might be. Does that mean that what you wanted for your day should be or is affected? Are the things you really wanted but now can’t have at all? Perhaps you feel the small stuff doesn’t have its place anymore as it feels inappropriate to faff about favours but actually your really quite sad about that? Here is how to reach out and ask your guests to help.
You might be right of course about feeling awkward. You might need to check in with yourself, as with health and love actually having to be at the top of our list, we feel guilty about just wanting something a little indulgent and unessential. I totally understand that. Sit with that. Sleep on that, question those emotions BUT don’t beat yourself up, or feel you ‘should’ go without.
This is your dream, your wedding day, your ode to your marriage, and if you want to throw the kitchen sink at it, then do! Don’t feel bad. Celebrate your enthusiasm to it, your devotion to making it lovely, and your dedication to seeing it through properly, lovingly and joyfully. The best part you don’t have to do it alone.
So how can you develop this idea?
Reflect, audit, invite, celebrate.
You might find that you just need to look outwards a little from your worry, and in towards those with whom you feel you’re trying to please. Hopefully, you see its not about you trying to please them, but about them coming to support you. You might find, and I’m sure you will, that they would be delighted to step forward.
Everyone wants to feel proud of their own wedding day, and we all want our guests to feel delighted by it all. Some of our guests may have already been married, or already been to a ton of weddings which have all merged into one blur of a wedding season a couple of summers ago… but what if you could change that? What if you could get them engaged in the day, get them feeling some sort of pride and commitment to that special rite of passage that they will be sharing with you, and getting them realising that this wedding is as unique as you are.
Step 1 – Reflect – What is it you really want?
What is it you feel you are missing? Might it be an object, or a feeling, or some ceremony content, like inspiration for a reading? What frivolous luxury makes your heart sing? Something from wedding shoes to a farewell tunnel of sparkers at the end of the night to see you off.
Asking people for money can make you feel like you owe them, or you now have a duty to them. The solution to this is to ask them for their love and time. It’s priceless.
If you invite them to contribute their skill towards your wedding, everyone’s a winner! They get out of buying you something and trawling the internet or shops for something they aren’t sure you even want and no one likes wasted money. But what they do get out of it, is an act of love and generosity, which makes them feel all fuzzy and loved, and gets you what you wanted, needed or desired.
This approach will also work for those that do actually just want to give you money because it’s the easy option. IF that’s the case – RING-FENCE that money. Tell them ‘it went on the 100 sparkers and bucket of sand’ or ‘that money will pay for my bridal bouquet, thank you‘. That way, they feel they have enabled and facilitated you getting want you wanted and really contributed to the day in a specific way that they can be proud of.
It’s a win-win with bells on. That guest now has a unique personal investment in your day, and you are happy and grateful and free from obligation or duty.
Step 2 – Audit – What can you delegate and who can you invite to take that on?
Write all your wishes down – what you want, what your worries are, what things you spotted that inspired you. Then go through your friends and guest as if you’re doing a skills audit – you will be surprised how much help, skill and talent is potentially there to tap into and harness.
Perhaps a friend is a graphic designer and could design your stationery for you. All you have is the printing cost….but, of course, they might offer if they know the numbers.
One might work in a gift shop, and can get you (or them) a bulk price on some little gorgeous trinkets for the favours, or eco balloons, or chocolates or pretty umbrella’s, or natural confetti etc…
One might be a baker. You might want to double up wedding cake and pudding… so If you know numbers, a friend might bake with love, 100 cupcakes for example, or one fancy gorgeous cake for you to cut and share
Perhaps you could following Princess Beatrice’s footsteps, and if it’s not a dress or diamond tiara, then perhaps a string of pearls?
Think about the day in blocks of time – the before, the during and the after. Do you actually need someone to be clock watcher and make sure people are in the right place at the right time?
Do you need a car to take you to the airport for the honeymoon and collect you again?
Step 3 – Invite – how to ask without feeing a burden
So, without sounding crass, appeal to their vanity while giving a gentle pull at their heartstrings. Harness their talents. Embrace their gifts.
People who love you would love to help. They might feel really honoured that you thought of them, or remembered their skill, or thought they were good enough to ask them to do something for you on your big day – it just might bring them a whole lot of joy!
You, or some of your would-be guests might have been one of those people who picked up a skill or two in those past 4 months of lockdown in Spring 2020. Lockdown was a hive of creativity for people. Poetry reading went through the roof, painting hit new heights of popularity, sewing and crafting got a new lease of life, and entrepreneurs flourished. So perhaps someone could write you a reading for the ceremony, or paint you a feature piece for you to remember your day by? Or embroider your napkins for you as a keepsake for all the guests?
There are so many possibilities!
Once you know what you want, and who to ask, and how to ask them, the next bit is managing expectation. So be brave, If you have a vision, it’s so much easier to share that and for them to be inspired. If you don’t have a vision, then ask them to give you a couple of ideas or examples for you to choose from, and then leave them to it.. but with a timeline, and check in’s along the way.
Step 4 – Celebrate – share the love and pride
On the day, perhaps at the speeches when people are being thanked, share the value of your friends and families skills and devotion to the day – with all these priceless tokens of love for you all to enjoy. They might blush and feel amazing! They helped make the day unique, lovely, and memorable for all the right reasons.
Let your photographer know – and give them a list of the artefacts or contributions or moments that you know have been gifted. Capture their work and use that image for a thank you card for them. Trust me – it will make both your hearts sing
So, ‘you shall go to the ball Cinderella’ said the fairy godmother. So say to your self, ‘our day IS worth the love we may receive’. So go ahead and ask. You won’t know if you don’t try, and you won’t get if you don’t ask!
Good luck – although all your need is authenticity and love.
Photos – from Queen Bea Photography @queenbeaphotos