Tis the season, folks, and I’m not talking about Christmas. I’ve been so out of touch for weeks and it’s all because of weddings. And today my husband and kids are at my cousin’s wedding while I sit home sick with a headache, thinking about weddings. There are 38,000 couples registered at theknot.com planning to get married today, 07-07-07, so I guess it’s fitting to think about weddings–specifically “perfect weddings.”

I recently heard a wedding planner’s ad on TV promising the bride-to-be a “perfect wedding day,” and I had to laugh. I think we’ve lost all perspective about this, to be honest. I should qualify my remarks by first sharing with you that my own wedding didn’t happen at all as I’d planned it…it was, in fact, cancelled the night before, just after the rehearsal, due to bizarre circumstances. I won’t go into details, but the bottom line is that my fiance and I were actually married exactly four months later in our apartment by a notary public, and we’ll celebrate our 13th anniversary this fall. So I suppose I have an unusual view of this idea of “perfect weddings.”

I read about weddings and work with many brides and their families and friends, and you get this sense of the shared experience, how brides and grooms want to share their unique personalities and relationships with their loved ones and how they want them to enjoy the day. At the same time, you hear stories about friendships torn apart and families fighting for years after weddings (let’s be honest…haven’t we all watched Bridezillas?). The trouble seems to come when peoples’ expectations don’t match the experience (or they’re afraid that they won’t). But who is telling people that they should expect and demand a “perfect” day?

Weddings are big business (and they’re a big part of my business, so I don’t want anyone to think that I take them lightly!), and I think this has led us to focus on details that aren’t that significant and to lose sight of what’s really important. Losing the experience of a wedding made me realize how important it is to celebrate the beginning of your new life with your spouse. It’s the only time you ever get to stand in front of everyone you care about and express how you feel about that person. But I am certain that if I’d had the wedding I planned, the memorable part wouldn’t have been the flowers or the cake or even how much of my bridesmaid’s cleavage was showing! (How many brides obsess about this? More than you know!)

My idea of a perfect wedding is to have all the people you care about there and on their best behavior, if only for that day. A perfect wedding would have a meaningful, mercifully short service, an edible cake, some dance-able tunes and comfortable shoes. A perfect wedding would have attendants who were happy to be there and didn’t want to kill me after all was said and done. A perfect wedding would have cute and useful favors (notice how subtle I was there? I couldn’t resist!) that wouldn’t sit on the floor of your guests’ cars for the next six months. A perfect wedding would leave my parents’ finances in good shape. A perfect wedding would be perfect rain or shine, in or out, zit or not, wardrobe malfunctions, flower girl tantrums, makeup retouches and all.

So if you’re planning your wedding, give your parents a call and THANK THEM for all of their help and support. Then call your future in-laws and THANK THEM for welcoming you into their family (even if they haven’t…imagine how they’ll feel if you thank them anyway!). Then hug your bridesmaids and maid of honor, and save a special kiss for your fiance…with any luck, you’ll have a happy 12+ years as I have even if everything isn’t “perfect” about your wedding day.

(And don’t forget to call me to talk about your favors…I will promise as close to perfection as is reasonable, and for sure they’ll be cute and useful! :0)