The best wedding planning advice I ever received

By Chantel Simmons

When my husband proposed seven years ago, we were so excited to get married. What we weren't excited about was table linen colours and seating arrangements. What we did care about was having our closest family and friends with us -- and that everyone had a good time. We also couldn't decide where to make everyone travel to -- his home province or mine (neither very glamorous!), so we decided on a destination wedding. Plus, his uncle is a minister and mine's a bishop, so jetting off to the beach seemed like the best way to stay on neutral ground.

When we started planning, my husband gave me a good piece of advice to ensure I had the wedding of my dreams. It's such good advice that if you're getting married, I highly recommend it. He told me to choose 3 things that matter, and then let the rest go. This was the best advice he could've ever given me (where did he get it? No clue).

I choose these 3 things:

1. Dress
2. Photographer
3. Flowers

The Dress: Easy. I didn't want it to be over the top (because that's not me) but I also didn't want it to be plain, just because I was having a beach wedding. I chose a dress with a small train and had it hemmed for heels (what sand?). At the last minute I added a veil. I probably didn't need it with the wind from the ocean, but you only get married once, so why not?

Photographer: Most destination weddings include a photographer. I wasn't taking my chances -- you can't retake your wedding photos! OK you can, but I didn't want to do that--so I hired a photographer and offered to pay for her one-week vacation in return for her services the day of the wedding and the photos included. She accepted and even brought her husband with her, so they made a vacation of it, which I loved! When the "photographer" at the resort showed up at the wedding, I recognized him as one of the busboys from the restaurant. I wanted to hug my photographer.

Flowers: I tried to arrange for the flowers before we got to the resort, but between the language barrier and the fact that the resort has about 3 weddings a day, I was not going to get to pre-plan. When I got there, I assumed I'd be whisked off to the flower shop, where I'd choose the flowers I liked. Um, not quite. The "planner" showed me a laminated piece of paper with 7 bouquets. Seven ugly bouquets. My husband told me to explain what I wanted. Why didn't I bring a picture? Not sure. I decided to focus on colour instead of flowers to keep it simple. Pink. Pink bouquets to match my bridesmaids' dresses. On the day of the wedding, the planner called. "The flowers are orange." I reminded her that I ordered pink. She said she knew that. That's why she was calling. I told her to find pink flowers. And when she had them, to bring them to the room. Pink flowers arrived half an hour later.

A few other things didn't go exactly as planned. It rained after the ceremony, so some people got wet. But it's good luck, and you're in a hot place. The food was mediocre -- but it was an all-inclusive resort, so it was free, and we just drank more. We chose a chocolate and strawberry layer cake (don't ask - the choices were limited). When I saw it from afar it looked scallopped and pretty and I thought they'd decorated it with flowers and engraved our names in it. Turns out it was more like a botched icing job with some finger prints thrown in. I have no clue what flavour the cake turned out to be -- though I did notice there was parsley in it. Our dancing took place at the disco, where we gave the DJ a CD with our first dance. He really liked that song, because for the rest of the night, he played it about seven more times -- between his club mixes. But you know what? It's a good song. That's why we chose it.

So not everything was perfect. But the three things I obsessed over? They were pretty close. And the other stuff? I didn't let it bother me, because I'd made the 3 Things Pact. And no one really remembers every little detail of every wedding they go to anyway, do they? While writing this post, I asked my best friend if she remembered what she ate at my wedding. She said she had no clue. But then she reminded me about all the fun times we had that week. And that's better than having the best cake of my life any day. Besides, all the screwups make for funny stories.


  1. Wonderful learn, I just handed this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on that. And he really bought me lunch as a result of I discovered it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! Anyway, in my language, there aren’t much good supply like this.


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