5 Friyays: December 14

5 Friyays: December 14

Welcome to the middle of December! For us here at ARHQ, we are in the throws of wedding mania as my baby brother ties the knot to his beloved this weekend. We have folks in from a few different countries and several states, and the celebrations are well underway as you read this. In light of how much of my brain is being occupied by visions of tulle dancing in my head, this Friyays will be all wedding themed! With a twist, however. Below are my five tips for a conflict-free wedding day – all of which can be applied to any important day in the life of your family or organization. 

*In full disclosure, I adored my wedding day – and I actually had three of them to the same dude, which is a story for another time and largely Theresa May’s fault – and so some of these tips come from personal experience. This is is how I managed my dream wedding – and my dream was to create a space where everyone who was gracious enough to give of their time and money to affirm our covenant would feel honored in return. We took no one lightly who attended, and planned a lot of the day with others in mind. For us, that was success. So if your priorities are different, then this may seem a little trite or saccharine. For me, it means that I look back on that day with total joy (with two noted exceptions that are best discussed offline!) 

What Are The Non-Negotiables?

This is a question EVERY bride and groom must ask themselves. What does your wedding day mean to you THAT YOU CAN CONTROL? This will not only help determine your budget (key to the planning of any event) but where your emotional energy can go. If you are a super foodie, for instance, that may be a priority and you can sacrifice some cost on photography (because iPhones really are great these days I promise) to get more creative catering. Maybe food is an afterthought to you, but the video needs to be professional grade.

Also of note is the non-negotiables in the ceremony itself. Do you feel really, really strongly about the music? Then die on that hill and maybe let your future mother-in-law have a say in the readings and that’s okay. Weddings are a lot of emotional negotiation – what are you willing to bend on to make someone else’s dream come true? If you know the non-bendy elements in advance, the negotiations will go a lot smoother. 

What Can Someone Else Do?

Spoiler alert: people LOVE to be helpers. Love it. When someone asks you how they can help, you can be that 99% of the time, they authentically mean it. What can you delegate to someone else? Does your best friend’s mom have a lot of spare time? Great, she can go pick up all the gift bags you’ll use to give gifts to to the bridal party. Your future spouse have a job with flexible scheduling? Amazing, use that. You have out of town guests who are flying in? I’m sure someone else can pick them up. Delegate the details so that you can be present in the moment.

What Have Other People Done That You’ve Hated?

Our answer to this was make people wait forever while photos are taken. Solution: majority of photos were taken before the ceremony (my “first look” shots are still some of the most treasured) and people got food at a cocktail hour ASAP. We also don’t love the announcement of the bridal party at a reception, so we didn’t do that. We let the DJ announce us as a married couple because that was important to my husband’s family, but I put my foot down at the bridal party.

Every event you’ll plan in your life or business has been done before and someone else has done your rough drafts for you. This is, in fact, the entire point of Pinterest. Take notes from them and it’ll help you enjoy your day more.

What About It Is Going to be Hard?

Weddings are emotional before any potential conflict even arises. Most folks I know have a picture in their head of how “it should be” that is a quasi-amalgamation of Hallmark movies and family weddings. Inevitably, something about their particular day will be different than that “how it should be” and that could cause pain.

This is where your people come in. If you have always dreamed of buying your wedding dress with your mom, but your mom isn’t in your life, then be honest with your closest pals and come up with a solution to make that situation work for your heart. For me, one of the hard things was that because we lived in Belfast but our wedding was in America, we had a lot of people who meant the world to me that couldn’t be there. So our solution was to make sure our venue had wifi and we asked our guests to post tons of photos and use the same hashtag. That way our favorites back in Belfast could follow the hashtag all day and feel as included as they possibly could from a distance. It wasn’t perfect, but it was workable.

What Will Bring You Joy?

All you actually need to be married is two folks who aren’t married to anyone else sign a piece of paper declaring that and someone has to witness it. Done. Everything else is a party and parties should bring joy. If your wedding is a nightmare because of decisions other people have made (think Meghan Markle and how her family was behaving), then I beg you to consider what will bring you joy. For my husband, he was overwhelmed with the hundred or so faces looking at him as we made our vows, so he asked our officiant to have us hold hands really early in the ceremony. That helped ground him to to the moment. I wanted to make sure I had photos with specific people, so I literally made a list and emailed it to my photographer. She made sure I got every photo I wanted because photos bring me joy. We wanted an afterparty with our 25 or so closest friends who were there and so we made that happen – and we mandated everyone wear pajamas so we could just “be” together. The tiny moments where you can breathe with each other are holy and I hope you can consider them.


Some fun things, here’s our first dance song, which is still one we love.

Here’s the song all of our friends crowded the floor for, since it’s one of our anthems

And here’s the one we all belted the night before in a karaoke bar in Atlantic City because you can take people off the island of Ireland, but you cannot take the island out of our souls. Singing this Christmas classic in the middle of February to a room full of befuddled Americans is a memory I will treasure FOREVER.

So that’s it from me, folks. Dr. Hinson will be back next week with her Friyays and we’ll be done talking about weddings, we promise!

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