The Divorced Wedding Planner

The Spring after my divorce was final, I was prepping to go out and meet with my first post-divorce potential wedding-planning couple.  Out of nowhere, I had this pit in my stomach – can I be a wedding planner if I’m divorced?  Will people take me seriously?  I rolled my eyes, thinking that this was a silly notion, and finished prepping for my meeting.

At these meetings, pre-divorce, I would add in little bits of advice from things I did for my wedding – and out of habit – I did again at this meeting.  As soon as I said it, I wished I could have pulled a Cher and turned back time because right away I realized the next question would be “Aw, how long have you been married”, as it usually was.   Thankfully, this time it wasn’t, and I never mentioned my own wedding plans again (and haven’t at any subsequent meetings the last year, either).

Am I embarrassed to be divorced?  Not anymore.  I can tell you that embarrassment is definitely one of the stages that you have to work through when you go through a divorce, but it’s one I am past.  I don’t forgo discussing my own wedding planning at these meetings because I’m embarrassed, at least I don’t think so.  It’s just not something I talk about anymore, and truthfully sometimes feels like that was someone else’s life, because I feel like (and am) a completely different person now than I was then.  The biggest reason I don’t bring it up, is because I don’t want any couples I’m wanting to work with to decide not to hire me because I’m a divorced wedding planner.  It probably sounds hypocritical, in a way, to be a divorced wedding planner.  I know that it isn’t, but that little grain of self-doubt I had going into that Summer 2016 meeting was only amplified over the course of the last year by people saying things like “Oh – you’re still going to do wedding planning now that you’re divorced” or “Can you still be a wedding planner if you’ve been divorced”.  Yes, these things have actually been said to me.  Sometimes by strangers that happen to know I’m divorced and it has come up.  Sometimes by couples I’ve been potentially going to work with.  And even sometimes by well-meaning friends that don’t realize what they’re saying to me.

From the time I was 15 years old, I have been planning big events.  I love it, I’m passionate about it, and I put my heart into any event that I attach my name to.   I hate to think that because my marriage didn’t work out, that it somehow puts into question my ability to plan an event for another couple.  I was worried – for a split second – after my divorce, that because I was personally a “Hard No” on getting married again, that it would impact how I felt about working with couples getting married and being a part of their day.  In actuality – the complete opposite happened.

I don’t believe in coincidence, and I feel that the first couple that was sent to me post-divorce was for a reason.  This couple was amazing.  I could tell from my initial meeting with them that they were just so in love; they were best friends.   I’ll be honest, after that meeting with them – I went out to my car and I bawled.  To see two people that in love, made me realize that I made the right choice to continue wedding planning after my divorce.  I still believed in love, and to be immersed in it like I was with this couple and all of their loved ones on their wedding day was exactly what I needed to know I made the right decision to continue in my career path.  Not only that, it gave me something to look forward to again.   I’ve seen couples (not any of the couples that I’ve worked with directly) that clearly love each other and want to be married, but they get so caught up in the wedding planning details that they lose some of that spark for a while in the stress.  This couple had none of that.  They weren’t worried about anything other than just being together.  The emotion that came out during their First Look Photos are something that will stay with me forever.  Just love.  I left their wedding with a renewed sense of what love was and is.  It softened my outlook that a “Hard No” to me deciding to get married one day was more like a “Well, I’d have to be in that situation with the right person to know for sure”.

I was worried that being at all of these weddings would be hard in the sense that it would remind me that I am single.  It does, in a way, definitely make a person aware of their own relationship status when you’re at a wedding celebrating two people starting their lives together, usually in a room full of other couples – but I choose to look at it differently.  Instead of looking around reminding myself that I don’t yet have what these couples have, I look around and see all of the love that is in that room and what I hope to have one day.    I look around and see all the things that happened in my life to lead me to this point.  The point where I can look at myself and my life and know that I have worked so hard to get here and am finally at a point where I can say “I’m ready – and he’s going to have to be really special and deserving to be a part of all that I have built for myself and my kids”.    Don’t get me wrong, I still cry at every single wedding – but I did before my divorce too.   Hopeless romantic over here.

In some ways, I wonder if my divorce has made me a better Wedding Planner.  Again, I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, and loved being a part of the couple’s journeys in the Planning process – but now I feel almost more passionate about being a part of these couple’s Wedding Day.  I am now seeing beyond just the planning details and that couple’s journey, I’m seeing a piece of my own future in every wedding that I plan.  I’m learning a lesson from each of these couples about love and relationships, as each couple I work with is so different.   They have all taught me something, even couples I worked with before my divorce.  I can look back at each couple I’ve worked with and tell you something that they have taught me that will stay with me.  People always come into your life for a reason and to say I’ve been blessed with the couples that have been sent to me is an understatement.

I had someone also ask me once if I wasn’t in a relationship, how could I relate to a couple getting married?  If I had a failed marriage, could I relate emotionally to a couple or would run the risk of being a bit bitter that they had what I didn’t.  Say what???  I promise you, divorced people can still feel emotions and understand love and romance.  As I said, working weddings has actually helped me soften some of the barriers that divorce put up.  It added a much needed piece to the work I had already been doing on myself and for myself.  It has helped open up my vision to have an idea of what I wanted things to look like in my love life.  It helped prepare me to meet someone that came out of nowhere as an incredibly happy surprise in my life.  He changed my complete outlook on the types of men that are out there, and he also set a bar for what I will be willing to accept as a partner in my own life.  Although I wasn’t lucky enough to have a dating relationship with him (I actually haven’t dated at all since my divorce), to have met someone who set that standard for me on who a man should be is also a gift.   I am grateful for him being in my life every day – and the friendship that he has given me is something I don’t take for granted.  He is an amazing human, and whoever he eventually chooses to be with as his partner is going to be an incredibly happy woman.  If it can’t be me, I hope it’s someone so amazing, I have no choice but to like her and be really happy for them, because that is the happiness that he deserves.   To be able to have the feelings that I have for this man without fear or hesitation feels amazing, and shows me the growth that I have achieved in the last two and a half years.

See – divorced people aren’t the tin man from the Wizard of Oz without a heart!   Maybe working all these weddings for me is like when the Grinch had his heart grow three sizes.

So the long and short of it is – yes, I can still be a great Wedding Planner even though I’m divorced.  I’m not a hypocrite by wedding planning after divorce.  I can be both divorced and able to work with others on their marriage journey.  I’m still incredibly organized and great at planning details.  My ability to bond with the couples and be genuinely happy for them has actually gotten stronger.  My belief in real love is still there.   While I’m still personally checked in the “unsure” box if I would ever get married again one day, it doesn’t change my belief that marriage can work and the sheer happiness I feel for the couples I get to work with.

If you are planning a wedding and your planner is divorced (or maybe never been in a serious relationship at all), they can still do an amazing job – and maybe, just maybe, they may be the best person suited for the job because you will not only be inspired by them and their ideas, you will inspire each other, and know that your journey in love is fuelling their hopes and dreams for the future too.

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