Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Starting with the End in Mind

Since this blog is all about weddings, I should probably state for the record that my life does not completely revolve around weddings. My "day job"--if you will--is working as an educational consultant. I give workshops for teachers and coach them about how to be more effective in the classroom.

However, even this work reminds me of weddings!

Today, for example, I talked to teachers about the concept of "backwards planning" their units. First, they come up with the vision. What do they want students to think, feel, and do by the end of the unit?

Second, they figure out how to measure that vision. How will they know whether or not the vision has been achieved? How will they test whether or not students got it?

Third, they plan the smaller daily lessons that prepare students to achieve the vision.

This backwards-approach works for weddings, too. What a great way to plan!
  1. What do you want to think and feel about your wedding when it's all said and done?
  2. What do you want your guests to think and feel about your wedding when it's all said and done?
  3. What are the smaller details that align with creating those feelings?
I think too many of us start with the details first. What will our colors be? Will we have a sit-down dinner or a buffet? Will I wear a veil or not?

The night Matt and I decided to get married, we went out for Mexican food and tried to list the overarching goals/principles for our wedding:
  1. To bring family and friends together to reconnect and form new friendships.
  2. The experience will not be overly-orchestrated. It's a celebration of our love, not a show.
  3. We will fight consumerism by spending only $2,000 max. The Wedding Industrial Complex is conspiring to make us think we have to spend more money. But we want to make the event special with sincerity, not money.
  4. It will be good for the environment.
  5. It will be connected to nature.
  6. We will have real time to spend with guests. We want to be able to spend quality time with our friends and family. We don’t want to follow the traditional pattern of a few wedding “events” where the bride and groom only have time for a “meet and greet”: rehearsal dinner, reception, brunch the following morning. We want more of a family & friends reunion.
  7. We will make all the decisions ourselves so our wedding represents us.
  8. We only want to be surrounded by our closest friends and family.
  9. We want to be relaxed and fully present.
These goals helped ground us throughout the entire process. When I really wanted photo stamps for the invitations, I stopped to realize they wouldn't actually accomplish any of my goals (they just would've been cute). When I started to doubt my dress or my ring or my shoes, I realized the ones I had picked were perfectly aligned with helping me be relaxed, comfortable, and fully present.


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Meg said...

Wise words, these. I wrote about something similar for Snippet and Ink awhile back, "the wedding mission statement" is what I called it. Yours makes me want to reconsider ours a bit... I too wanted more of a laid back reunion vibe. I think it might be time to circle back to some of those ideas. Hum.

Rebecca said...

I just love this post! I'm also a teacher and planned our wedding on a budget (is there any other way?). Thanks for sharing these great connections!

Anonymous said...

In the middle of a losing-focus, holy-moley, how are we actually going to make this work meltdown after a mom guilt trip today, I took a few minutes to do a little online searching. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas-- as soon as I read "backward design," I was hooked. When planning for my students, I always think about what I want them to be able to take away (and remember and carry with them into their actual non-school lives), so your message about community and connection struck a chord. Thanks for helping me to get back on track. I hope that you and your husband are having a wonderful time.

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