Wednesday, 29 October 2008

What Not to Buy

OK. The world economy is in crisis. People are losing their jobs and homes and we are all having to think twice, tighten our belts and get by in a more thoughtful, resourceful and much less extravagent manner than before.

So, what does your already cash strapped bride and groom really, really not need? Yes, an expensively packaged survival kit full of basics that they already have and things that they are unlikely to ever need. But, Frit Fru Wedding Planners in Calgary have come up with some anyway and they truly are a cornucoppia of things that will only serve to overload your mind even more.

The Wedding Day Survival Kit is supposed to 'Keep the bride smiling all day long by giving her the gift of peace of mind.' It's list of 30 items includes toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, antacid, facial tissues, static remover(?) and The Grooms Survival Kit -'He may be manly, but he's not immune to last-minute catastrophes,' includes a styptic pencil (obviously) lint remover, adhesive bandages, and wrinkle remover(genius).

We all know that bad publicity is better than none at all and in linking to the site, I will probably alert the attention of a bride or two who decides that they must have one. I'm telling you-ya don't need it! It's all very well being prepared for any eventuality but in this situation it creates hysteria and anxiety about all the things that could, in your head, go wrong.

This is all presented in a humorous, tongue in cheek kind of way so that you feel like you are having a bit of fun while still be practical and organised. It's clever and likeable but resist being reeled in. This is the commercial world of wedding planning dazzling you and stripping you of your common sense. I'm here to save you! If something does go'wrong' you can improvise and bet your bottom dollar that somebody around you will be able to help admirably.

While the wedding industry keeps on sending the message to buy, buy, buy, I will continue with my message to not, not not. In these frugal times , especially, Keep It Simple-strip it back to basics and you will be pleasantly surprised not just by how much money you can save but by how unencumbered and liberated you feel!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Love Alone Is Not Enough

Yesterday, October 21st was our 8th wedding anniversary and it is true to say that it was a difficult day. It would be easier to gloss over things and report that the day was filled with fun, laughter and celebration but that would be a fabrication and nothing short of hypocritical considering that my entire business premise rests on authenticity and being true to oneself.

To put it simply, we are quite different to each other. Our outlook on life, expectations and perception of the world that we live in is often way out of tune. My glass is always, at the very least half full and Gary's is ...yes, that cliche. I love life and all that it has to offer and Gary, with his poetic bent and artistic talent and temperament is consumed with all that is wrong with our world. We exist and experience life in a most polarised fashion and it is makes harmony and compatability difficult to attain.

I love him and he loves me and, we love our son who, in turn loves both of us. We are a family and this makes it even tougher to admit that below the surafce, there is serious dissatisfaction. Eight years into our marriage and 21 years after we first had a secret date, our future together is not assured.

I am relieved to have the courage to confront the truth which means that we can attempt to deal with it. It is out in the open. We are not putting a band aid over it and hoping that it will just heal itself. It won't.

I'm sure this situation is not just my reality but an echo of many marriages especially of those unions that cross two or three decades because we change, do we not. Individually and together. That is why the promise of being with one person, forever is an almighty comittment and one that needs more consideration then it is given. I believe that the best that you can do is have honourable intention and the wisdom to live each day as honestly and truthfully as you can. Use your marriage to nurture your friendship with each other, practise acceptance and exercise non judgement. That will all lead you to somewhere worth being, somewhere positive.

My wedding vows come back to me, over and over again. I have always stressed their importance and the need to really connect with the words and draw them into your body. Mine had a profound effect on me on the day and they still do. I said.... ''I'll be true to you as I will to myself and never, intentionally hurt you... I promise to endeavour to be the best I can both as a person and as your wife....''

I chose my vows very carefully and resisted being carried away on the fairytale element of a wedding day because I wanted the significance of the day to be a strong foundation of our life together -and it has been. I continue to strive to uphold my vows and that is why we are here.

Our 8th Anniversary turned out Ok. It was loaded with emotion, punctuated with searing poignancy and as always, where my husband is concerned, not without humour. I bought Gary a book about surviving life and he cooked us dinner which we ate by candlelight... with our 4 year old, who insisted that he was hungry and should be involved. That night he learned the meaning of the verb to gatecrash.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Name Game

The nuptial journey decision to keep your name, change your name, double barrel or merge your names is causing quite a dilemma. Unless you are an uncomplicated, traditional type of which there are dwindling numbers, then you will be wrestling with letting go of your single name especially if you are more mature. There are forum debates galore about it where the feminist inclined voices say strongly and clearly, No! This is my name and I'm keeping it .FOREVER!

How do you decide what's right for you? Is keeping your name a bit like keeping one foot firmly in your single life and then are you truly committing as much as you can? Or, is that a very simplistic view that undermines female equality. Is our world now just too contemporary that taking the mans name seems archaic, an outdated, chauvinistic leaning that only men in the deepest , darkest north of England have?

Well, I'm an independent sort of girl but rather liked taking my husbands name. It was the kind of change that I needed to make me realise that I really was married. It was fresh and new and different. I still use use my single name of Stratton and both names as a writer and coach. But my family name is Hughes. I'm all of them-happily.

In deciding I think that it's necessary to delve and work out how deep the name identity goes for you. What are your values, your morals and your attitude to being married? How do different names affect the children-if at all? Or, if you go for the double (barrel) how does that work out in the future when Chloe Sefton -Webb wants to unite with Thomas Holby- Derbyshire. What on earth will they do? It's a very real problem looking at the names of kids in schools these days there's more double barrels than at the average polo match. The local comp has gone all aristocratic and though it sounds quite natty and creative -it's not very practical. It will be a nightmare to trace lineage. And right there is a very sound and sensible reason for taking the blokes name-if only for family purposes. And to that people will say well why not the womans name-to which I answer -why not the blokes-it's traditional, quite romantic, what's the problem with it? Keep it simple.

Freedom to choose is good-yes it is , we all deserve it and we need to do what is true for us. It's just that I think given the chance, some people are prone to making a big fuss and drama about that which they are not really too bothered about just to be noticed that little bit more. I also think that some are resisting the so called less glamorous side of being married. Mrs to some isn't very sexy sounding but it will be what you make it. Take Mrs. Robinson, for example...

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A Fools Paradise

I'm in a rebellious phase. I cannot see the point of buying ridiculously expensive clothes-even new clothes. I'm getting much more pleasure from retro shops and car boot sales. I have no interest at all in designer names and labels unless they are big old bargains and terriffic value. Of course, I know that generally the material is good, wears well and mostly the craftmanship is superior but I do think that the prices are so over inflated for people with too much money and little sense. Exclusive they may be but that doesn't always mean tasteful or stylish.

So news of the Designer Wedding Show at Battersea next week caused a big, involuntary sigh from me but then further reading that the average budget of a visiting bride to such an event is around £89,000 made me feel, well frankly... SICK. Yes, I felt nauseous reading that.

We are in a strange time, where excess and waste seem to be out of place yet some people in different spheres will carry on as normal and believe that spending huge amouts of money equates with happiness and style.

Don't be misled. There is no need to spend such vast amounts of money-in fact it's positively foolish and the chances are that the significance of the day for these brides will get rather dwarfed by the cut of the jib on the haute couture and making sure that each and every guest is suitably impressed by the lavish vittles on offer.

The words exclusive, couture, 'celebrity' florist make my eyes glaze over. I couldn't be less interested. I love art, creativity and originality but I want it to be for everyone , for the people, withour any snobbery attached and I find lack of funds and resourcefulness far more creatively exciting. I 've said it before. Give me a low budget film against a block buster any day. I love what's real and true and raw and feel mildly entertained but unmoved by anything that is overstyled with too much money thrown at it.

Wedding s are just the same. Keep it simple, sane, honest and true and work with a budget that's comfortable for you. Never mind haute couture, that's haute wisdom...

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Just Doing Your Thing

The best thing about coaching and running workshops is when you can see that you are making a positive difference to someones experience and helping them to get the most out of this time in their life.

I believe, completely, that the way that getting married and planning a wedding is presented by the media has a negative impact on most people. It appears to be daunting and overwheming and unneccessarily expensive. So many people end up in debt, anxious, feuding and the real reason for getting married gets lost in a sea of stress and confusion.

Yesterday I had a phone call from a couple who had been on my 'Creating an Authentic Wedding' workshop and they told me that the greatest thing that they took away from the afternoon was that plannning their wedding was a real privilage that they deserved to enjoy. From that day they relaxed, took their time and great pleasure in every little decision that they made together while also having fun being creative. Also, being environmentally and ethically aware their wedding completely honoured their values and was as green as they were able to make it so it fulfilled them on lots of levels and others benefitted too.

It's not rocket science just a nudge to let the commercial aspect go and come back to yourself. Express yourself, reflect what's true for you and put together something original and authentic. The rewards of that are great and letting go of the wedding template is a big relief. Getting married doesn't, repeat DOESN'T have to be stressful. It can be the most memorable, rewarding time-if you will allow it to be!