Natalie Dawson How to Plan a Chaotic Wedding

How To Plan a Chaotic Wedding

October 8, 2021

I made a decision: My reactions to adversity are a demonstration of what type of partner I’m going to be

If I could give myself a little credit here, it would be that I know a lot of other people who, given the same circumstances Brandon and I have been going through, would be completely freaking out. Really emotionally reactive in this situation. And trust me, I’ve been stressed out by this, but what I’ve wanted to show Brandon, and what Brandon has shown me throughout this process, is that, no matter what, we’re solid. 

Our relationship isn’t centered on an event. On a party. Our partnership is bigger than this. So, big picture-wise, the way we’re going to respond to our plans going awry is really going to be a reflection of the type of partners we’re going to be to each other when things get stressful. If this whole deal is any indication of that, then I think we’re looking toward a pretty bright future together.

COVID-19 derailed our wedding by a year, but not our relationship

Brandon and I had planned to get married in 2020. We had an international destination planned, the venue booked, guests invited — everything was in place, and we were ready. We were so excited. Then COVID hit. Then we lost our venue. Then we learned that we couldn’t even enter the country where we were planning to get married! I had traveled to New York for my dress fitting and then literally two days later everything — and I mean literally everything — shut down. 

The whole thing fell apart. But we didn’t. We looked at all of the good things happening in our lives and in the business, and decided to push things off a year. It was disappointing, but we weren’t going to let the situation destroy all of the good stuff that we had going for us. 

I lost a bridesmaid (but gained some valuable perspective) 

One of my best friends, someone who I’ve had a close relationship with for at least the last 15 years, kinda dropped out of my life all of the sudden. They weren’t supporting me, weren’t supporting our relationship, and wouldn’t really communicate with me about what had happened. 

So I had to decide, do I want to try and force this, or do I want to be surrounded by people who love us and who support us? It wasn’t a difficult decision. I’m bummed, but this is my wedding. I shouldn’t have to worry about this sort of thing on one of the biggest days of my life.

We lost our hotel block. We lost our venue. We lost the beach. (Like, really lost the beach.)

I’d like to think that we’re pretty incredible planners. We have really busy lives, so every hour of every day has to be planned down to the minute. So many of these details have been in motion for about a year now, but now — two months out from our wedding, mind you — things have really started to unravel.

First, we learned that we lost the hotel block for our wedding party. Then, we lost the venue we had booked for wedding-related events. Then, and this is probably the craziest part, the beach, the fucking beach were going to get married at, was hit by a storm and completely washed away. Sucked it right off of the cliff line. Which brings me to the next challenge. 

Set a budget. Focus on what you really want. But give yourself some flexibility.

Yeah, I know some of you might wonder why the budget is so important to us, but here’s the thing— our goal is to create a really great experience for ourselves and for our loved ones. We’re not interested in spending money for the sake of it. 

Sticking to the budget has been a real struggle for us, and it’s not because of our being extravagant, either. It’s because each and every day that we get closer to this wedding, another thing falls apart. I’m scrambling to cancel this and reschedule that, and the closer we get to this date, the more expensive things are getting. 

But I don’t want to cut corners when it comes to things like our photographers or the house where our families are staying. Those are some of the most important things to us, so that’s why we worked on a budget together, set a threshold, and then gave ourselves about 20-25% wiggle room in case something went wrong. That’s the same advice I’d give anyone. No matter what your financial situation might be, set a budget that gives you some wiggle room. You’ll be glad you did. 

Bottom line: This wedding is happening

When it comes to our work, Brandon and I are chaos managers. We excel in sifting through the smoke and rubble of other people’s businesses, finding the valuable parts, and helping them rebuild their organizations into enterprises that perform better than they thought possible. If we can do that for them, we can certainly do that for our own wedding. Shit happens. That’s a given. But what truly matters is how you choose to respond to it. And this shit is not gonna stop us from getting to say, “I do.”

Want to learn more about how I’m navigating business, life, and achieving my personal, professional, and financial goals? Then you need to subscribe to the WorkWoman podcast! We get into everything — career, relationships, and more.
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