Bride Vs Groom has marked quite an extraordinary journey for me, not just in the act of writing (or at least checking and editing) a blog post virtually every day for the last three years but in the unexpected path my life has taken since we began writing it in what seems a lifetime ago. I never expected my life to change so drastically when I asked Dom to marry me, after all we had been going out for seven or eight years before that and I think I’d always known we’d get married one day. But change it did, and this little blog has been following the changes every step of the way.
We’ve been so busy of late that we actually forgot to celebrate Bride Vs Groom’s third birthday and it’s funny to think back over all the changes that have taken place over those three years. When we first pressed the button that turned BvG from a vague idea into a living, breathing (not literally) entity I really was a Gormless Groom. It was only in the previous year that I had actually suddenly found myself attending lots of friends weddings and before that I had virtually no knowledge of the subject other than what I had gleamed from many years of dating a wedding photographer. I knew that getting married was something I wanted but, aside from the occasional vague ideas of how I might propose (and the eventual hard planning, fall-back planning and final profuse sweating and panic of trying to actually go through with it) I hadn’t really given the actual process of getting married much thought.
So, having eventually found a ring and said the four little words that had set me out on a journey seemingly akin to that of Frodo’s journey to Mordor, surviving only with the help of a wise wizard (though in my case the wise wizard in question had considerably less facial hair – fortunate as I intended to marry her), a few months in I found myself wanting to flex my writing muscles and keep a little diary of our adventures into the wedding world. Coupled with Dom’s constant ideas for helpful wedding related articles meant Bride Vs Groom was born.
Around this time, with plenty of help and encouragement from Dom, I was also starting to turn my film-making hobby into a potential side-business as I was planning on leaving my full time position as Chief Technician for a popular regional theatre and go freelance as a lighting and sound designer and technician – a career path that I had been following since the age of 15 and that I was fiercely passionate about. But, having started to create the odd wedding film (along with my soon-to-be brother in law) for some of Dom’s couples, suddenly we found ourselves heavily in demand and the side-business quickly became a full-time job.
So, in the matter of a few months or so, I went from a gormless groom with NO idea about weddings to a daily wedding blogger, wedding filmmaker and fiancé to a wedding photographer whilst simultaneously planning our own impending wedding… it’s fair to say my wedding education was swift and comprehensive! The “Gormless Groom” character may have remained here on the blog but behind the scenes I was gaining growing expertise in the area.
So 3 years in, what has this Gormless Groom really learnt about weddings? Well apart from going from zero to FAR too much knowledge about bouttoniere’s and cufflinks, I think I’ve learnt about what’s actually really important in making a great wedding. It’s not the big headlines you might expect – the venue, the details, the dress, the food… all of these things can of course help to set the tone and make everything look perfect but they are finishing touches: the polish, not the substance of a wedding (and polish too hard and you’ll only damage the finish!) No, there are only three things that for me truly define a great wedding:
Firstly (and most importantly) it’s about you, the bride and groom, relaxing and completely enjoying yourselves. If you’re relaxed, if you don’t allow little problems or setbacks to spoil your day, then everyone else will follow suit. Yes you want your wedding to be well remembered by everyone else but it’s a billion times more important that you yourselves can look back at it with perfect memories (even if some of your memories from the evening are perhaps a little hazier!)
Secondly it’s about personality. It’s all very well having beautiful, elegant table centres and having everything looking pristine and perfect, but pristine and perfect is rarely the most fun, and weddings are ALWAYS about having fun. Make your wedding about you: an expression of yourselves, your family, your own tastes and no-one else’s. Make it fun, make it lively and atmospheric. Given a choice between a beautiful Horse Drawn carriage for that grand entrance and an awesome wedding band I’d choose the band every day of the week, month, year, decade and century. Create a party mood, make sure everyone’s relaxed and having fun and everything else will fall into place.
Finally it’s about people. DON’T INVITE PEOPLE YOU DON’T REALLY WANT TO BE THERE. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked to remove shots from wedding films because the bride and groom are not really fond of the person being featured. This is probably your one best chance to bring all the people you love and care for together in one place at one time and that’s an amazing thing. Don’t spoil it by inviting people that might spoil your day or that you feel you “have to” invite. Having only great people at your wedding makes for a great atmosphere which makes for a great day. It’s not easy excluding people but in the long term your day will be far better for it.
So, whilst the Gormless Groom’s journey is far from over, so far it’s been quite the adventure and shows no sign of slowing down. The world of weddings is a wonderful place to be and whilst I never expected to find myself so immersed in it I’ve loved every minute.
Bring on the wedding season, bring on the madness, I’m ready for you!