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Attitude for Weddings

I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the wedding of my eldest brother a few weeks ago. He’s now married to a great woman. She’s been able to help him bring his life into focus and as I said in a toast for them — they bring out the best in one another. I honestly can’t think of a better compliment for a couple in love — that they bring out the best in each other.

Their wedding was beautiful. While I’m not a huge fan of Catholicism, I do appreciate the value of a wedding before Christ and in front of friends. Their reception was at the Edgar County, IL airport — the same airport my brother operates an aircraft out of. They and the wedding party traveled from the church to the airport in a series of old cars including “The General Lee” — a car that my brother has been restoring and enhancing for a few years now.

I certainly can’t find fault in anything about the wedding itself, even with the rain that kept us inside the hangar and effectively eliminated the private air show they were going to do. I did, however, make an observation about how peoples’ attitudes about weddings differ from one person to the next.

When I got married I was quite direct (perhaps too direct) with the guests at our rehearsal dinner. I told them that their responsibility was to help to ensure that Shelley (my wife) and I had the best day possible. They were encouraged to address minor family issues themselves. In fact, I was quite clear that only Shelley, the minister, and I couldn’t be kicked out — everyone else was expendable. Perhaps I was a bit heavy handed in that respect. The trick, was that I was clear in that I expected everyone to help us have the best day possible.

This is my core operating mode for other people’s weddings. No matter who’s getting married, no matter what’s going on, I’m keenly focused on making the day as special as possible for the bride and the groom. That means being as selfless as possible. It means asking what they need. It means just being present in the same space as them — while giving them space. It can mean ignoring my own desires or needs. It can also mean putting things in place so that when they’re ready it’s available.

My wife used to work as a wedding photographers assistant many years ago. In that work she carried a “wedding emergency kit” — a kit that had all of the essentials that you might need should someone forget something, tear a dress, or have a problem. The kit includes duct tape (which apparently has held together more than a few wedding dresses) as well as pins, hose, etc. My wife put together for her new sister in law a kit — so that their day could be the best possible.

I’m not going to presume to tell you how to approach the weddings you attend — however, I can tell you that there is absolutely magic when enough people adopt this attitude. Problems like flowers that get broken are fixed. A lack of drinks is transformed into a plethora of options. Missing items just seem to appear. I invite you to see if you can make this kind of magic happen at the next wedding that you attend.


  1. Your ideas are spot on, Rob. Moreover, I suspect that most guests would have a more memorable, enjoyable time if they feel they have contributed in some way, however small, to ironing out the wrinkles in the lucky couple’s special day.

  2. Hey Rob,

    I’m originally from Paris! Small world, eh?


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