Happy 2013 everyone! My name is Jessie and I’m a wedding planner _ stylist based in the Cotswolds. I’m a regular guest blogger here on LoveLuxe but also have my own little blog where you can read my musings about life and work in Gloucestershire!
To kick off the new year I decided to write a very personal post about my own wedding experience, in the hope that it might lift and give hope to others finding themselves in a similar situation. As a wedding planner I am often helping couples to navigate family disagreements – like christenings and funerals, weddings tend to bring out both the best and the worst in people – and sadly there are also times where I’m asked to help couples find meaningful ways to honour lost loved ones on their special day.
My own predicament was born out of a long history of dispute between my parents following on from their divorce many moons ago. Whilst I’ve helped a number of brides _ grooms figure out seating arrangements that suit recent splits and new partners, or guided them through various traditions and rules of etiquette that have needed to bend slightly to include everyone – my own experience that I lived through over two years ago now, was one that brought particular upset and conflict to my family.
You see, my own mother refused to come to my wedding, on the grounds that I had “chosen” my father above her by inviting him to my wedding at all. She gave me an ultimatum, one that I chose not to indulge, and has cut off contact with me ever since. She didn’t help me choose my dress. She wasn’t at my hen do. And even though a small part of me had hoped she might see sense before the big day, she didn’t turn up after all. Worse, she made sure my stepfather of over 20 years didn’t come either. Actually she tried to stop quite a few people in the end, but luckily not everyone was so malleable!
I won’t go into the horrible history between my parents and their divorce (seriously, we’d be here all day!), but let’s just say that it was a rather messy affair and one that happened when I was only 4 years old… so a looong time ago! Nonetheless my mother never really let go of all the anger and hurt that surfaced during that time and the years afterwards, and very sadly she let that affect what was supposed to be one of the most magical days in my life.
Well… the hope that I wanted to share with anyone finding themselves in a situation where one or more of their family members or friends can’t (or won’t) be present, is that my wedding WAS magical despite the drama beforehand. It was the single most happy and proud moment of my entire life to date, aside from the birth of my own baby girl last year.
I have never attended or worked at a wedding where that wasn’t the case. There is just something in the air. Something immensely powerful about two people joining forces against the world and declaring their love for each other. And then there is everyone else, everyone who does attend and shares that feeling, who support you whole heartedly.
To prove it I thought I’d share some pictures of my me at my own wedding (with thanks to Kay Ransom). Seriously, look at my smile… it’s HUGE! You would never believe that just 24 hours beforehand I’d been sat crying whilst changing my table plan to miss off two of my parents. In fact, I think the sadness I felt before only served to double the happiness I felt as I started my own new family, determined never to make the same mistakes that my parents did.
I also wanted to share a couple of photo’s of my two sisters who were bridesmaids, they felt that the day was incredibly special despite the family feud – although I think they probably found it more emotive than our “regular” guests, but they also wore big smiles all day. I love the second shot below of them in an embrace, it signifies further unity in the face of everything.
I remember clearly sitting down with one of my sisters godmothers just weeks before my wedding day, and she gave me a fantastic piece of advice. That no matter what, whether we had children or not, when you marry your life partner you become a new family, a new unit. One with your own set of rules and expectations.
It really helped me move on. And now that I have my own daughter I have vowed to always support her and put her happiness far above my own. If she wants me to, I will be there to help her choose a wedding dress one day. And no matter what the family circumstances are, I will be there on her wedding day, no doubt sobbing into my glass of bubbles and hopefully wearing a gigantic hat!
Someone took this picture with a disposable camera… I love it!
If you are a parent reading this, then my advice would be this: remember that a wedding day is about two people. It’s not about whether you approve of their colour scheme, whether your new girlfriend can sit on the top table, or who walks the bride down the aisle. It’s about showing your support for two people taking a giant leap of faith together. That’s all.
Next month I’m hoping to write something a little more upbeat and less about me (!), on how to save pennies and manage your wedding budget. I want to show you that you can have luxe for less!
Credits: all images (excluding the last one!) via Kay Ransom, Kay Ransom Photography