As we were driving away from our wedding venue (wow - it feels so good to write that. We have a wedding venue. We know the place where we're going to get married.) In between all the excited oh-my-goshes, we started talking about what it might look like. About how the day - our day - might look and feel based on the site and what the site provides. This somehow led to our first wedding tiff, which led to a bit of an aha moment about how to approach these logistical discussions in the future. (Or at least, how to try.)
Our site provides tables and chairs for the reception hall, but we're not allowed to take the chairs outside for the ceremony. Fair enough - so we'll have to rent chairs for outdoors. And the chairs we rent will likely be prettier than the chairs provided by the venue, which are black plastic. Now, I care more about practicality than prettiness, so I figure we'll either use the black plastic chairs inside (we can decide on decor based on the chairs, if I care enough) or we'll ask friends to help carry the pretty white chairs inside to re-use after the ceremony. If we ask 30 of our able-bodied friends to help us carry three chairs apiece, we'll be done in no time and we'll have a prettier reception hall in the process. As we drove away from the site, I had a vision of the ceremony set-up, the reception hall, and of all our amazing friends trooping together from the ceremony site back to the brick reception hall that filled me with absolute utter joy for our day and for our wonderful friends.
J, on the other hand, didn't seem quite joyful about this vision and flatly responded, "I'm not asking my friends to work at our wedding."
I looked back at him in surprise as all my beautiful visions of a low-key do-it-together wedding were falling to pieces around me. "But, I was thinking we could ask people to help with one or two very discrete, simple, over-in-a-minute tasks. If they ask. It will make them feel more invested and it will help a lot. I'd love to help my friends and their weddings and I'm sure some of them will want to help us too."
No. He still wasn't going for it. "I'm not having friends fly in from all over the country to then put them to work. Friends who live in town, fine, let's ask for help on the decorations and planning. But I'm not asking people to help who come in from out of town."
I was trying to think if I had any reasonable counterarguments but no, I really was asking guests to work at our wedding. I was trying to think whether it would be terrible to put the word out only amongst local friends that we needed chair moving help. I was wondering if other people would just chip in when they saw chairs getting moved (I mean, I'd certainly chip in in a similar situation.) I was trying to rapidly calculate whether the budget could handle two or staffers for an hour to help move chairs (no, it can't). I was trying not to panic and cry over my fading wedding happy-community vision. Despite being near tears that he couldn't see the obvious beauty and simplicity in my brilliant ideas, I held my emotions together and tried to speak calmly about my vision for the day.
"I guess I'd been hoping our friends would help us out with the entire day- not out of obligation, but because it would be fun. We'll get there early Sunday morning, get some music going, pour some wine and diet coke, and get a decor party happening. Frisbees, horseshoes, and baseball* would be great too, especially once everything's set up and we can just hang out, then get ready, until all the guests arrive. I just envisioned the day as purposeful-but-fun. I'm looking forward to having everyone around and working with our community to make this happen. I saw the chairs as just one piece of that - grab 30 people and get it done in 10 minutes."
And with that, he got it. And once we got home and he read Sara's summary of her wedding process at 2000 Dollar Wedding, he really got it because he could see it. It was part of the overall vision of the day and not just "hey, find your big strong dude friends from college and tell them to schlep chairs."
I'm coming at this planning stuff after a year of reading blogs and having come to some alternate conclusions about "the way things are done." He is not. And so we both need to provide some context for our points of view in a non-tearful manner, and we both need to listen, and I think this wedding planning thing might just work out.
*There's a baseball diamond at our site. It's just one of the many awesome things about our future wedding location.