It happens to the best of us – the most naturally sunny personalities sometimes get a dark cloud over our heads. When things go wrong, it’s easy to look at the worst in people, the worst in situations, the worst in life.
But here’s the thing: negative energy saps the life out of you. Just like the profound lack of sunlight during the winter causes a great many people to develop depression in the form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a profound lack of positive energy can truly bring a person down.
This is true in all aspects of life. Things happen. Things that are out of your control. You lose your job because your company is in the red. Your landlord suddenly decides to break your lease in favor of his college-aged son who needs to move in last week. Your car is totaled in an accident with an uninsured driver just after you spent $3000 replacing worn-out parts.
It seems like weddings magnify the effects of bad situations. They’re highly emotional, highly anticipated events, so it’s not surprising. Extreme emotions magnify both the good and the bad, and when you’ve been thinking and dreaming and planning about a single day for months or even years, it’s very easy to get caught up in the idea that it must be perfect.
But here’s the thing: Very little in this life is perfect. In fact, it’s safe to say that something will go wrong on your wedding day. Whether or not you know about it, no matter how well-planned your day is, there is always a hiccup.
When it happens – because it will – there are two ways to handle it. Positively, or negatively.
I have a fantastic example from a wedding from a few years ago. My bride, Emma, had just been through a stressful few minutes waiting for a bridesmaid who got stuck in traffic. She managed to not only not freak out – but to SMILE – throughout the whole ordeal. Finally the bridesmaid showed up (poor thing was more upset than Emma, I think!), and it was showtime. I cued parents and grandparents to walk down the aisle. Then bridesmaids and groomsmen. And then closed the doors to the chapel so that Emma could make her grand entrance.
Of course there was no way for me to know that the doors themselves would lock when closed.
Thirty seconds later, with the help of a guest seated in the back row of the church (and a huge giggle from the rest of the guests, I might add!), we were able to get the doors open. And Emma and her dad went down the aisle toward her new husband. Her only response? “Did that really just happen?” she asked, giggling.
Yes, she giggled.
And grinned. She wasn’t worried about the small stuff. This was just another little bump on the way to being Chris’ wife. Which was imminent. No biggie.
And another example, from a wedding I did in May: after an absolutely lovely (and suuuuuper short!) ceremony, Nicole and Lawrence took photos with their photographers. They made their grand entrance, had their first dance, ate dinner, cut cake. And then… The lights went off.
We were at a ranch in the middle of nowhere. The lights were off. Like, truly off. I found out later that a fuse had blown, which is apparently common in remote areas because tree branches or even animals can trigger them. But in the mean time, we had an hour and a half left of the wedding, the sun had just gone down, and the lights were off. It was profoundly dark all around the property. Of course, Nicole’s decor plan included about a zillion tea lights, plus some battery operated lights for the photo booth and bar. So we gathered everything up, the DJ went out to his car and grabbed his guitar and portable amp, and we had a party. A dark, kind of strange party for a wedding, but a party nonetheless.
After I’d called the power company to attempt to get a repair person there ASAP, I was struck by something. Nicole was laughing, taking pictures with her friends. She was enjoying herself. She was actually having fun. After the wedding I mentioned to her that it had been a different experience for me, but kind of nice. She agreed. “I will definitely remember it!” she said. “It was fun!”
This is in direct contrast to the stereotype of the “Bridezilla” (which I’ll tackle in a later post – or posts!), whose chronically bad attitude seems to cause things to go wrong around her, and whose approach to those often tiny details being incorrect sends those around her spiraling into chaos… I’ve seen it happen. It’s not pretty. And I’ve seen it get so bad that it ruins friendships.
Here’s the thing: There is not a wedding planning problem in the world that is bad enough to warrant the ruining of a friendship. True story. There is always another way to look at things.
I’m reminded of a friend who, when faced with the fact that he couldn’t get into his storage unit to pick up his things after a year of living abroad, spent a few minutes wondering why the $#%&^ his sister didn’t know the rental office would be closed on a Sunday, where the @#!$!* she was, and why the %#^&*! this would happen to him… And then calmly went to the nearest hardware store and bought himself a set of industrial box cutters and cut the lock. There is always another solution to any problem. The trick to staying positive is to, as the highly-popular internet meme (which started as a genuine morale-boosting effort during the second world war) says:
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have the freedom to have a “moment.” Lord knows that sometimes the best things in life come from the worst moments of panic. But my best advice for anyone – planning a wedding or not – is to let yourself get over it. Instead of wasting time on “Why me?” or stress over what’s “supposed” to happen or posting backhanded subversive comments on your Facebook wall… Take a deep breath, fake-it-till-you-make-it, come up with alternate plans if necessary, and be positive!!!