It's About Him, Too
Let me tell you a little story about Brian. (If he knows I'm writing this, he would kill me! So, shhhh.... don't tell him) Brian and Erica have been in love for twelve years. I've known them for about six. Erica called me last fall and told me that after all those years of being together, Brian FINALLY asked her to be his bride. She asked if I would help turn their big day in to the fairytale she had always dreamed of. Of course I would! I scheduled a consultation with her, and we sat for hours discussing the details of her vision. Erica is a wonderful girl with a big personality, a large, beautiful family, and two sweet kiddos. We discussed roles and responsibilities, and she wanted everyone to be included in the love of the day. Then she said, "But you know Brian. He doesn't want any attention on him at all." At first, I laughed and thought to myself, "Yeah, I can see that." Since I have known Brian, he has always avoided the "spotlight." If he has a choice to hang in the back with the guys instead of being out socializing with Erica as she buzzes around a room, he takes it. Sometimes I wonder what he thinks of me with my overly-aggressive friendliness and hugs. I don't always realize I'm going in for the big squeeze until it is too awkward to not just go for it. (And, I know some people aren't really huggers- but I just can't help myself. I guess it's a southern thing. Maybe I should work on that.)
Anyway... When Erica left, I stepped right in to "planner mode," started organizing notes, whipped out the vision board, ran over everything we had just talked about- and there it was. "Brian doesn't want any attention on him." How am I going to pull this off? We all know what happens at a wedding, right? A bride AND groom stand up in front of people to profess their love and commitment to each other. The entire focus of the day is on the two of them. There is a head table facing the guest. They dance together, just the two of them, in front of everyone, and all eyes are on them. They cut the cake, they feed each other, there is a toast or two, they are in front of people the entire time. How am I going to keep the attention off of him? I had my hands full with this request, for sure.
Many months of planning with Erica, compromises with Brian, and I was sure that even the groom was going to enjoy the day. I kept telling myself, "Remember, it's about him, too." We planned a small, intimate family wedding ceremony with a large reception to follow. All festivities would happen at their home, in the beautiful country, where Brian is most comfortable, and with plenty of places for him to "escape" for a while. But, the best laid plans can sometimes go awry. That's exactly what happened. Wedding week was a fast-paced, stress-filled time of a last minute venue change and the reconfiguration of everything. My main concern was about Brian. We were taking him out of his comfort zone and putting him smack down in the middle of change. As a wedding planner, it's my job to make sure the bride and groom enjoy their day more than anyone else. That's the most important thing to me. It was time to act. I knew Brian was handy, always helpful, and sitting around would have just made him nervous, so we involved him in as many of the last minute preparation changes as we could. We kept him hopping until it was time to go to the groom's room to begin dressing for the ceremony.
The ceremony began and, as they normally do, things started happening at a natural pace. Brian and Erica said their "I dos," took family pictures and enjoyed their first few minutes of finally being married. When they were announced at the reception, they took their place at the "head table" that we strategically placed in the middle of the room. They were surrounded by family instead of in front of them, and the love and support was certainly all around. Dinner was served, and a wonderful mariachi band serenaded the guests while they ate. It was absolutely nothing but love, music, laughing, fun, and family. I was so relieved to see Brian relax and enjoy himself. After the mariachis finished their set, the DJ announced the couple for their first dance. "Oh boy. Here we go," I thought. They made their way to the dance floor, and their song began playing. An old familiar song they had loved as a couple for a very long time. They danced, held each other, and no one else was even in the room but the two of them. It was magical. I stood at the back of the room and observed the guests enjoying the loving couple dance. It was truly special. When the song ended, Erica's father went to the floor and accepted Erica from Brian for the Father/Daughter dance. Brian cut through the crowd and headed straight for me. "Oh No!" My heart was pounding. That was the first time he had really been in front of everyone all night. Was he mad? I held my breath. As he approached me, I was floored. There was so much emotion on his face and in his eyes. He wrapped his arms around me and gave me one of those big bear hugs I usually push on to others. He held on for a long while. "Thank you," he finally said, "Thank you. Thank you." He wiped away a tear. "I am so happy." And, in that very moment, so was I!