Planet London guest blogs for Emerald Connect again, this time exploring the typical happenings and occasional stresses of executing the perfect lesbian wedding. Even with an expert events organiser at the helm, Katie Bennett-Hall, founder of the one-stop lesbian and bi-women events site, explains how sometimes you just can't foolproof plan everything...
In keeping with turning traditions on their head, my wife and I became civil partners on a Friday 13th nearly four years ago.
This was a wedding day, (I can call it that now we have officially converted marriage, and the conversion is retrospective), three years in the planning. Three years in the fastidious, fine detailing, planning and budgeting to create the perfect special day that could be shared with as many family and friends as possible. But, as you will read, we depended on our fair share of good luck to see us through the process from start to finish.
We started out a time when suppliers had not quite got their heads around same sex ceremonies. Wedding fair visits meant encountering numerous misunderstandings and assumptions around same-sex weddings, what the groom would be wearing and how to set up photography for two brides. Today, behaviour would be deemed inappropriate and borderline discrimination.
The venue however was brilliant. Again, we were lucky to find a great team to guide us through the many issues every wedding faces (apart from not catering enough for a very hungry crowd and running out of food in the evening!).
The author and her new bride enjoy the happiest day of their lives
As with planning any big event, we tried to cover off all eventualities, and barriers, ensuring we all – guests included- had an unforgettable occasion. We chose a location that was central enough for people to get to, and contained a reasonably priced hotel on site. We chose a menu that could cater for all tastes and avoided fussy foods, and we balanced all the trimmings against a budget that could cater for 150 people.
As a project manager and events planner myself, I brought all my day job skills to the table and depended on my keen organisation to ensure the smoothest possible run for the most important day of our lives. With spreadsheets galore everything was precision-planned to the smallest detail. We were determined nothing could go wrong on the day.
But life doesn't always stick to even the most foolproof of plans. Having such a long engagement meant things changed. From the original invitation list, two people sadly passed away before the big day; several friends started families meaning we had to plan around babies and toddlers, relationships ended and began - names and numbers were constantly being revised in light of things very much out of our control.
The summer before the wedding both our mothers became seriously ill and there were long periods in the months running up to the day that neither would have been well enough to attend had the occasion been sooner. We even began to consider changing the date to make sure they would be able to be there. Luckily and thankfully, they were both well enough to make it in the end.
Despite the stresses and dramas right up to the last week, everything turned out well on the day - the happiest day of my life. All the planning paid off to good effect and there were no nasty surprises (oh apart from the DJ getting sick and his replacement being late). My planning definitely put us in a good position, but I can’t help but think that at any point, something might have gone off course and caused us major stress and expenditure. Luck, it seemed, was on our side.
Having looked at the wedding insurance policies Emerald Life can offer, it is reassuring to know that couples like us, planning to tie the knot in the not too distant future, can have a better piece of mind by protecting themselves, their loved ones and their big day, because if anybody knowns just how many variables there are, and what could go wrong at the drop of a hat’s notice, it’s us. Today, my advice to anybody thinking of tying the knot is get wedding insurance, you just don’t know what’s around the corner.
Planet London is a social tool where lesbian and bi-sexual women can find a plethora of information about events, nights out, family, educational, cultural and other social activities in London. Visit there site at www.planet-london.com to plan your next day out.