“IF you allow FEAR to BE your CRUTCH, you have ALREADY accepted a LIFETIME of DISABILITY.”

“Miss Wendy I’m not sure I want to go through with this wedding.” Ugh oh. Here we go. Finding out why someone is or has cold feet can be like pulling stickers out of work boots. It’s a painful and slow process.

“He has been acting detached. I think he’s got a side fling or something. We no longer have a connection. This pandemic has greatly affected our relationship.”

Frankly, this pandemic has affected everyone’s relationships. Look around. We are spoon fed fear by the media on a daily basis. We are facing an economic meltdown of small businesses and even corporations across America. Fear is and continues to be a cloud over all of our heads. We’ve been under this cloud for months now. MONTHS.

I’m often asked by people about “how this pandemic has affected my business?” Other than scheduling changes and protocol, the short answer is not much really. Daily I have new requests for services. Daily I have new inquiries for prison weddings as well as traditional services and ceremonies. Daily I have had current and former clients contact me with issues outside of my role as a planner and officiant. My phone has not stopped ringing during this pandemic and client consultations have went on even though the future of restrictions being lifted is left in the air. We wait.

Meanwhile, job loss and moving have impacted a number of my clients living in large cities. They are making a run for it. They’ve realized and recognized that living in liberal cities and states to get better jobs that no longer exist have left them options they previously hadn’t known existed.

Many of my clients marrying inmates in Texas live outside of Texas. Many fly into Texas to marry and fly back out after the wedding.

Still other clients have decided to downsize. They are preparing for a recession by cutting their expenses and I’m not only referring to living expenses. I’m referring to event expenses too.

This morning while posting a client question pertaining to “not wanting a traditional wedding because I don’t have many friends. Is it okay not to have a large wedding?”

I answered that “no one needs a large wedding unless they want one. You can choose to elope. You can have your wedding at my home. We can have a wedding on the courthouse steps. We can also have a small ceremony in your backyard. You aren’t obligated to entertain friends you don’t have or family you don’t want to share your joy with.”

I was (yet again) surprised to find a venue owner commenting and effectively spamming and back linking her website on my post by promoting her venue.

What the heck is the matter with people who have no idea how classless promoting themselves on someone else’s posts is piggybacking? That’s not how social media works folks. I’m on staff at several venues and don’t promote other venues unless of course my client asks me to do so. Why would I? Line jumping yourself on someone else’s post has (for reasons I will never understand) become commonplace.

There was a guy on LinkedIn who continued to comment on every one of my posts by commenting with his site that I tired of deleting the comments and blocked him. I’ve had a few “what the?” Moments on social media over the years. Lazy people piggybacking or back linking on others posts because the person they are spamming has a wider audience. News flash lazy folks, no one gave me a larger social media following. I earned it by spending hours and years promoting my connections. I have never spammed or back linked my sites to anyone because such self promotion tactics are not only rude but also unprofessional. I’m not afraid to call out someone for stepping out of line. In fact, in my line of work, I do so frequently and with regularity.

It’s not easy to surprise me but it has happened. Throughout this pandemic, I’ve had more than one surprise come flying my way.

I’m often asked “what is the most surprising thing someone has asked you?”

Well, that would be the time I was asked to perform a ceremony at a nudist colony. Upon learning that the prospect expected me to perform in the nude myself, I took a hard pass. I don’t HAVE to work. I enjoy working but not enough to do something I’m incredibly uncomfortable doing.

One thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is to say no. Set limits. Be accommodating to clients whenever possible and treat them and their needs as I would want someone to treat me as a client. Of course, I would never ask or expect someone to do anything they would be uncomfortable doing but some people will ask for an apple and expect a pie.

Recently, a mother asked “do I have to invite my ex to my daughters wedding? He’s not paying for anything and hasn’t been involved in her life for twenty years.”

This is a tricky question. What does your daughter think or feel about him being present at a life event? Will it cause conflict or anxiety? Will the father expect the honor of walking your daughter down the aisle? This issue needs to be discussed with your daughter before making the decision yourself. Why? Because it’s her wedding.

Another mother who had remarried asked the same question in a different format. “My husband has raised my daughter not her father. Why should I invite a Deadbeat dad?”

Again, this topic needs to be discussed with the daughter.

Parents who are footing the bill think that they are entitled to make decisions about the other parent and while I understand their strong feelings, this topic needs to be discussed with the bride. It’s important the bride feels involved in the planning process. It’s her wedding.

Cutting budgets and cutting guests is a realistic occurrence these days. You don’t have to invite everyone.

You don’t have to serve your guests steak and lobster. You don’t have to provide an open bar. You don’t have to include a plus one. You don’t have to allow children but if you choose not to don’t make exceptions for one family and not another. This type of “your kids are welcome but so and so’s kids aren’t” decision making on your guest list can AND will create conflict at your event.

“I don’t want to deal with the drama of having to make decisions.” Okay. Don’t but elect someone to make decisions for you. Or, let me give you options and you can choose what will work best. I need a budget. I need something to work with. I need some degree of input.

What I don’t need is your friends or family members calling me to give me their opinions regarding your event.

“My circus has enough clowns and someone needs to close the tent.” That someone is me. I’m going to close the tent and limit the chaos. I’m juggling between new and existing requests for services up to and beyond 50 clients the past 6 months of this pandemic and the last thing I need is input regarding guidelines from someone other than my client unless of course that someone has been elected by my client as a go to.

Drunks on location giving roasts instead of toasts continue to amaze me. Simply because you suddenly find yourself with a captivated audience doesn’t mean “it’s a great time to test your comedic skills at my couples expense.” Be polite. Share humorous stories but for goodness sakes set boundaries. A new bride doesn’t want to hear about her new husbands old flames or escapades. Keep it clean. There are often children on location. Save the curse words. Elderly guests don’t want to hear F bombs at a wedding. Frankly, no one does. If you are giving a toast, your role is to honor the couple not to “take center stage and make yourself the star of the show.”

There is etiquette at a wedding. There is a time and place for raunchy jokes and a wedding isn’t one of them.

Revisiting my security requirement for open bar events, I require security for your protection as well as my staff and your guests. Nothing is worse than a belligerent drunk destroying a joyous event. Trust me that security is an investment worth factoring into your budget if you plan on an open bar. Don’t let your guests bully you into that open bar though. Cash bars work well by limiting a buffet of free booze.

You are happy with your wedding dress choice but your friends aren’t. Who cares? It’s your wedding not theirs.

You want to reuse a previous wedding ring to save money. A ring blessing is a great way to do this.

You want both of your parents to walk you down the aisle. Do it. Do what you want at your wedding. Make decisions based on how you want your day to go. Don’t let outsiders influence those decisions or choices for you.