When you mention to anyone that you plan weddings, among other things, they automatically imagine frothy white dresses, flowers, a radiant bride and groom, lots of good food and great company.
While this is happily quite often the case, there are times when as a planner, your skills and expertise are stretched. For example, there are some people for whom the decision to get married is one that has been made during difficult circumstances, such as a member of the wedding party having been diagnosed with a life limiting illness.
Because of the circumstances there are quite often heavy demands already placed upon the immediate family and organising a wedding is another strain that becomes a weight on their already overtaxed resources. While some will savour the prospect of having something to distract them temporarily from the reality of their situation, some prefer to use an outsider whose expertise can be relied upon to make things happen.
It is situations like this which will stretch your professional skills to their extremes.
Whilst there are still details such as dresses, flowers and food. The most pressing challenge becomes one of time and making sure that an event can be executed flawlessly and on budget in a very short timescale.
Hospital appointments and treatment regimes become the main focus of attention which means that quite often, schedules have to be re-arranged at the last minute to be able to accommodate such changes.
When sourcing a venue, access to rest facilities, privacy for ongoing treatment and fast transport links to and from hospitals become the focus of attention, rather than the capacity of the dance floor.
Choosing the right transport to accommodate wheelchairs or IV drips is a factor that needs to be considered as is the availability of a private room where members of the wedding party can rest or receive treatment if needed.
Finding a great photographer and videographer to ensure that magic moments are captured and that the appurtenances associated with the illness do not dominate the event are crucial to the couple having the best day possible. And all of this has to be sourced within the tightest timeframes.
Even though all these factors need to be considered there are still activities such as choosing the dress / cake / flowers etc that are just as, if not more so, important to ensuring that the occasion is not eclipsed by the dominance of the illness and which will allow a short respite from the daily reminders of a diagnosis.
It is important that the couple and their family enjoy their Wedding Day for what it is and not as something that is second to an illness. Although the wedding may not be the one that a couple would have chosen in the first instance, it is imperative for them to celebrate their special day with those people that they love the most in the way that they want.
Although these weddings are quite often emotional, and more so than average, it is impossible not to be affected by the proceedings, after all we are only human. However, it is imperative that as a planner, you remain focussed on the task to ensure that you can give someone a very special day to remember.
It is an honour to plan any wedding, but when you are given the responsibility under such difficult circumstances it is an opportunity to help ease a little bit of the personal burden of someone who may need not just a planner but a shoulder to lean on when the going gets tough.