| Wedding Planning |
Think positive. Be positive. Is the
contemporary mantra about everything. Including
wedding planning. However, while it might seem
counter-intuitive, doing the opposite when planning
your wedding is absolutely the best way. Focus on
the negatives (as in what are the things you
definitely don't want) to kickstart your planning.
In fact, I've built it into my process with couples
and it delivers tremendous results.
One of the first things I discuss with couples when
we start getting down to the nitty gritty of what
they want for their ceremony is what they don't
want. In an industry where we focus on a couple's
wants for their ceremonies, that might seem a very
odd thing. It is not. It is a methodology that
delivers huge benefits, saving time and quickly
reducing what seem like infinite possibilities to
much more manageable numbers because it points the
way to eliminating broad categories rather than
minute specifics. The specifics will come later.
For example, the one thing that every marrying
couple must have is someone authorised to solemnise
your marriage. 'Negatives First' planning will very
quickly narrow down whether that person should be an
Authorised Marriage Celebrant, like myself, a member
of the clergy, or a State-Appointed Marriage
Officer. And that will help to eliminate some broad
categories of venue.
'Negatives First' planning
is a natural inclination where the choices are
When we are faced with many alternatives it is a
natural inclination to reduce the overall number of
things we need to choose from down to a manageable
number. That's the concept behind the practice of
shortlisting. While it is possible to shortlist
positively, that is, only put something on the
shortlist if it meets all your criteria, a far more
efficient, and arguably more effective, way is to
reduce the number of possibilities before you spend
a lot of time on each one. .
This is a common method used by people recruiting to
fill a position. It is also a method that is often
used when you are letting your fingers do the
walking. You do a quick scan to identify a single
reason to exclude a service or option from your list
of possibles. And once you have found one reason,
you spend no more time on that particular option.
When people are recruiting staff, it happens on a
first scan of the application. When you are
Googling, it's the information on the website or
Social Media that constitutes a substitute for an
Let's step away from wedding planning and look at
what happens when you are in the market for a new
vehicle. You might think you have made a positive
decision to buy, for example, a 4 door sedan, but,
in reality, you have already decided against a 2
door, a hatchback, a convertible, a hatchback, or a
ute. That you haven't registered that you have
already made multiple Not That
decisions that have reduced the list of possibles to
manageable proportions is possibly down to
familiarity and past experience. Neither of which
you will have when it comes to making decisions
about your wedding.
Let your fingers do the
Negatives First planning starts before you make
contact with any venues or any wedding service
vendors. Developing your list of deal-breakers and
using it to help you flick before you tick as you
browse will save you a lot of time and a huge amount
Identify the deal-breakers
Identifying the deal-breakers is a three step
process, each step of which you would apply at the
browsing stage of your search.
Most of us have a list, short or long, of general
deal-breakers. Things you just won't do, or hate.
The things we won't eat (mine are oysters and
brains), Phobias (heights are my bug-bear).
Activities we don't enjoy - camping tops my list.
And so on. Planning a wedding is not going to
miraculously make you feel OK with anything on your
list. Nor will anyone you want to be part of your
wedding be comfortable if you wedding includes
something on their deal-breaker list. Being aware of
the deal-breakers is a great aid to narrowing the
choices because it can help eliminate whole
categories of possibilities, particularly for the
The second step is to go less granular, more
specific, to develop a list of deal-breakers for
specific categories of service that are not
dependent on your final decisions about your wedding
style - your celebrant, your photographer, your
videographer. This list of deal-breakers will have a
lot to do with your values, and is a way to quickly
differentiate in a crowded market.
Down the track, being aware of deal-breakers, what
you don't want will also help you to be quite
specific when asking for recommendations, because it
won't take much effort to turn the list of negatives
into a list of positive characteristic. for example,
instead of googling or asking for recommendations
for "a celebrant" in a particular geographic are you
would be able to google specific search terms or ask
for "a celebrant who ..." This should cut down
the number of recommendations you get, and help you
to quickly identify any celebrants contact because
they don't meet your requirements or don't come
across as a good fit.
Identify anything that
could be a barrier to one of your guests
Primarily these barriers tend to be related to
health and/or mobility issues and are most likely to
be most relevant to your choice of venue.
Armed with a good
understanding of your negatives, it is time to
flip your focus
Most wedding planning advice suggests you lock
down your budget and define your style before you
start serious planning. From what I have observed
over 14 years as a marriage celebrant that route
could well lead to budget blow-out for two reasons.
- Estimating costs without a clear idea of what
it is you're costing can lead to significant
- Opting for a specific style, without a clear
idea of the totality of your choices, seems to
lead often to premature shopping, change of
mind, and double spending.
A good handle on your negatives makes it that
much easier to flip your focus, take stock of the
means and materials at your disposal, and, though
creative brainstorming and some outside-the-box
thinking, imagine the possible end result and how
you will make sure the choices you eventually do
lock in will deliver everything you want within
the budget you can afford.
Thanks for reading!