Wedding Refocused: For Marriage or Wedding?
Thursday, January 9
Are We Getting Married to Have a Wedding or Having a Wedding to Get Married?
This blog post is written to create a dialogue and provoke the question of ‘why?’ This post is not intended to speak against anyone’s decisions (past, present, or future), business or service. It is simply offering the question: is there another way?
I believe with a wedding refocused there can be another way.
I started off in the Wedding industry loving everything about it; creating events and weddings that would ‘wow’ guests was my pursuit. But as I poured myself into this industry, and the ‘social’ world that comes with it, I found myself burning out and asking ‘why?’
For the same reason I have asked myself, “why Hallmark holidays and Christmas presents?’ If we don’t look at the ‘why’ behind the things we do, we will find ourselves going through the motions of what society wants us to do; usually this has consumers spending money.
Wedding Costs on the Uprise
A snippet from an article by Brides: “Bad news for anyone with wedding planning in their future (or, alternately, good news for lovers of luxury): In just the last year alone, average wedding costs have skyrocketed. In 2017, a wedding typically set couples and their family members back about $27,000, but in 2018, that number increased to more than $44,000, according to the Brides 2018 American Wedding Study.”
According to Wedding Wire: “the average wedding cost in Canada is roughly $29,450 – which is pretty steep, especially if you’re working with the average millennial budget.” Another 2017 statistic states that the average wedding in Canada is $42,400.
For those of us in the wedding industry, this uprising trend is good news! Yet for some reason this was rubbing me the wrong way; I just couldn’t help but wonder, why?
How is it that we are able to justify spending an exorbitant amount of money on one day? For some it requires a loan, only to bring debt into a new marriage (and we all know that is never a good thing!); it may even cause parents to dive into their retirement fund or take out a loan.
If spending this amount of money is not a requirement to get married, why do we do it?
With this thought lingering in my mind, it led me to asking more questions:
- Why do we host weddings the way we do? What is the reason for the big production?
- Why do we justify spending all this money for one day?
- Are we okay with the waste from this one day?
- Is it worth incurring debt for this one day if it creates financial strain in the marriage?
- Do we need a year or more to plan a wedding?
- Why do we allow ourselves to get obsessed and stressed over silly wedding details?
- And most importantly, why does it feel like we are spending more time preparing for a wedding than the marriage? (Considering how high our divorce rate is, we should all be asking this question.)
Are we getting married to have a wedding or having a wedding to get married? These are two very different perspectives when planning a wedding.
As I began asking myself these questions, I found myself rethinking my business. How can I be authentic in this industry when I have these questions? I found myself pulling back and putting a pause on SWE; avoiding the influence of social media to do some soul-searching to determine if this was something I still wanted to be a part of. A question I’ve been pondering for a couple of years now.
I considered getting out of it all together, but there is something within me that just can’t let go. I am a hopeless romantic, I love helping people, and organizing is in my blood. I can’t help but think that there has to be another way!
A Lesson From The Good Old Days
So I ask, is it possible that we would benefit from a wedding refocus? Perhaps a trip back in time might help us see that it is possible to get married without all this production. Weddings from our grandparents days could teach us a thing or two…and save us some money! There is something about these good old days that represent a simple way of thinking and living – with less stress and debt.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about having a beautiful wedding day. I’m just a firm believer that beauty can be found in simplicity, and wedding debt is not a necessity (or a good idea!) to get married.
Perhaps money isn’t an issue, and lucky you! I would still encourage you to ask the why behind your decisions. It can be the difference of hosting a relational wedding or having a production.
A Wedding Refocused
I would like to share some benefits of a wedding refocused with some thought-provoking questions.
Is it possible….
- that having an intimate wedding to include those that are closest to you will bring more value, as compared to a large wedding where you are meeting some for the first time, or seeing some for the very last time?
- that your day would be just as memorable without all of that money spent on all the ‘extras?’ The money you would save could go towards an awesome trip, your mortgage down payment, house items or emergency fund would be more beneficial?
- that a ‘simply’ beautiful wedding would save you time and stress?
- that you would enjoy the idea of a shorter engagement so you can get on with your married life sooner? (After-all, we never know what tomorrow will bring.)
To paraphrase my husbands thoughts: you will never find yourself sitting on the beach telling strangers how extravagant your wedding was and the amount of money you spent on your wedding day. Most likely, your guests won’t either (and if they do, it will be short-lived).
Learn From Others
One can gain a lot of knowledge from married couples by asking them what they would do differently. The key is to ask this question before you begin the planning and spending. The answers may not surprise you: (But you also many not find these answers on the internet without digging. Wonder why???)
- Spend less money on your wedding.
- Have fewer guests.
- Don’t bother with the wedding party.
- Forget the little details that just don’t matter.
LIFE IS SHORT, GET MARRIED!
A refocused-wedding enables you to get married sooner so you can begin enjoying the rest of your lives together (with more money or less debt!).
As you can see, there is a new passion brewing inside of me. If you have an upcoming wedding and desire to do things differently, let’s chat!
Check back for more wedding refocused tips.
Finding Myself Outside of Work
Wednesday, May 1
Some of you may have noticed that I had unplugged from social media as of July 2017. I am happy to say that I am cautiously excited to get back into wedding planning with a social media presence again.
But I must say, it’s been a bit of a journey getting here.
I thought I would share some of the life lessons that I learned along the way; perhaps they may even help others.
I started Sharon Webb Events six years ago from a place of passion, visions, and dreams. Although it started off as a happy place, it became an unhappy place. Amazing how that can happen, right!? If I had to guess, I’m not alone.
I fell into some traps. I was determined to do it all and be it all. The chase for success, trying to be everything to everyone, combined with a personal life that demanded more of my time, it was only setting me up for burnout. I poured myself into every wedding and event while planning the next. I was doing all of this while still working a full-time job on the side.
I became undone in the summer of 2017. I wasn’t sure if I should share this part, but I feel inclined to because it’s part of my journey. We all can fall victim to something like this, and it’s important that if it does happen, you know you’re not alone.
It started with a former client being determined to taint my name all over social media with false accusations. Being a people-pleaser and one who wears her heart on her sleeve, this was devastating to me. Ultimately, I had no control over what she was putting out there. In great despair, I became angry at myself for allowing this to unravel me. Now looking back I can be thankful for this moment because it expedited me to the place I am today.
My human nature wanted to go and defend my name, but I knew I had to trust God with this one. And I am glad I did. Interestingly, without me knowing it, people came forward in my defence, some I didn’t even know.
God is so good when we give Him room to shine!!
My prayers were that God would protect me, give me strength, and bring me a fresh perspective through all of this. I told Him that if I was going to be torn apart and brought to tears over anything, it was going to be over something that breaks His heart, not over something as insignificant as this. So that week I decided it was time to re-evaluate my identity and value.
It was time to take a much needed personal break, which led me to a social media unplug. I battled whether or not I was going to continue SWE or put it to rest.
I decided to start of with just slowing down with SWE and only take on weddings and events that would allow me to maintain a healthy restful balance. I would handle inquiries as they came in, but I wasn’t going out looking for them. At first I was afraid of letting go. What if I unplug and everything I worked hard for disappears?
It’s hard letting go when we are convinced by social media that when we are out of sight, we are out of mind, and dare I add – insignificant. It’s a lie.
This fear was all the more reason I knew God was asking me to surrender SWE.
The act of surrendering was not unfamiliar to me. I have been on a personal journey to surrendering for quite some time, beginning with the struggle of infertility. Recently I started Freely Surrendered as a way to share my story and encourage others to begin their own personal journey of surrendering. When God was asking me to surrender SWE, I knew that I just needed to trust Him.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Life is just easier when we trust Him. He knows what’s around the corner; knowing what we need in this moment to set us up for the next.
That following Fall of 2017 a family member, who is like a sister to me, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then in the Spring of 2018, my mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer. In between all of this, there were so many other personal things that were demanding my time and attention, it just caused me to spiral. I was faced with anger and depression – causing me to be an emotional mess. Yet, I still had to keep it together.
I can’t imagine what life would have been like had I been in the midst of a full wedding season. Had I not listened to God, and had taken on more weddings and events, I would have spread myself thin even further.
In this season I had so much doubt whether I was making the right decision to let go, but now in the big picture, I am so glad I did. It was a reminder that in the moments I feel things aren’t going the way I planned, God is still working it all out for good. I just need to trust Him.
A New Perspective
For so long I have been searching for a place to attach my self-worth and identity. Having had a difficult childhood, faced with infertility, and depression in my adult years, I just longed for something I could be proud of. But in the searching, I lost myself.
There may be times God requires us to slow down, and when we don’t listen, He might slow them down for us. This was my experience. Except I didn’t just slow down, I broke down. I was in a long dark season where all I could do was look around me and see all the broken pieces; wondering how on earth will something good come out of this.
Being forced to re-evaluate my life and values, I found a new perspective.
Society has us place too much value in the wrong places; this got the best of me. Always being asked, “What do you do?” and “Do You Have Kids?” made it difficult for me to see my self-worth. I felt that at my age I should have been further along in my career and have accomplished something I could be proud of. I began seeing myself as a failure. All of this because of these two questions. I was tying my self-worth to a title. Since I couldn’t have the title ‘mom’, I found myself chasing after a title of success.
I’m going to digress here and just ask if we can please begin asking different questions when we meet people!? Here are a few to help you get started:
- What is your passion?
- What breaks your heart?
- What is on your bucket list?
- What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone?
Deep questions, I know. But don’t we want to go deeper in our connections with people? Or do we really just want to keep our conversations superficial and acquire an Instagram worthy life?
My friends….we are all more than the sum of what we do!
I may plan weddings and events, but it most definitely is NOT where I need to find my identity or self-worth. It is NOT who I am.
TRUTH AND LIES
I discovered that there were quite a few lies that I started to believe as my truth. Lies that society has us wanting to believe and to make decisions around. Do we really need to society and others to determine our self-worth?
How many of the following lies have you been believing?
- I need to be everything to everyone. LIE
- I should accept every opportunity that comes my way. LIE
- I need to be busy all the time. LIE
- I need to be fully booked in order to be successful. LIE
- I have to be on social media and check messages at all times. LIE
- If I’m successful, I will have value. LIE
The secret to happiness? You do you!
You don’t need be like others. There is no room for comparison, because you were made to be different.
You don’t need to be everything to everyone. That is an impossible feat.
You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything. In doing so, you may say ‘yes’ to something that wasn’t meant to be yours.
You don’t need to be busy all the time. The secret to life…less is more! Less busy, more living. We can get caught up in this trap of appearance and looking busy. This is why I dislike the questions people tend to ask: What are you busy with these days? How many weddings do you have this year? Do you have a busy wedding season?
You don’t need to be fully booked to be successful. Who defines success anyways? I will never lay on my death bed wishing that I had worked more. But I will always be thankful for the memories made with family and friends, and the people I helped. I’m not saying that there is no value in working – we all need money for our basic necessities. But when can you say you have made enough? There will always be the push to make more money. It is up to you decide when enough is enough.
Your life is bigger than what you do for a living. Your life doesn’t have to be all about what you do. It’s okay to unplug. In fact, I highly recommend everyone unplug every now and then. I get that society is all about the ‘right now’, but your messages can wait. For those that can’t appreciate the hours you work, perhaps they aren’t your ideal client.
What you do should not be who you are. You are not the sum of what you’ve accomplished. You are worth WAY more than that!
A New Passion
After a renewed mind and fresh perspective, I began finding a new passion for weddings again. Except, with a few tweaks. I decided that if I was going to continue SWE, I needed to stay true to myself.
I have accepted my personal life must come first. Given my personal life and circumstances, it requires more of my time and must remain a priority. SWE will need to come in second. I know this is opposite of what society would have me say, but I’m okay to being different.
I was led to believe that if I don’t work at it full-time I should not be doing it; I won’t be taken seriously, and won’t be respected in my field of work. I disagree. I believe I can still offer a professional and exceptional service for the clients I take on. If I don’t look ‘busy’ enough for someone, then they most likely are not my ideal client.
I need to leave margin in my life. I have accepted that I was given a gift to plan and organize. SWE is one area I will use this gift, but I am also called to use it in multiple ways. This requires me to leave room so that I can serve. Life is bigger than me, and I must live as though I believe that.
I am a minimalist at heart, and have had a growing passion to incorporate this into weddings.
Our society has gotten distracted with beauty – focused on the image of the wedding, rather than the reason for the wedding. This distraction can cause financial and relationship strain, which isn’t a good start to a thriving marriage. This led me to a passion for weddings with a ‘less is more’ approach. I guess you can call it a minimalist approach. That’s right, I just added minimalism to weddings! I’m so excited!!
My vision is to bring weddings and minimalism together. I believe that couples can get married without all the extra fluff, expenses and stress, while still having a beautiful wedding. Using a minimalist approach provides couples financial freedom and the ability to focus on what really matters – the marriage.
There are many creative ways to do this, and that is the fun part! Stay tuned for some exciting new packages to reflect this new passion of mine.
MY HOPE FOR YOU
I know you’ve just read a whole lot of words; thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. Whatever your journey, my hope is that you are able to free yourself from any unhealthy expectations – whether they are placed on by you or society.
My hope is that you find your self-worth and identity in something greater than the busyness of ‘work’. You are worth more than your image on Instagram or any title; don’t look to others to determine your value. If you find yourself scrolling through Instagram feeling you don’t measure up, perhaps it’s time for an unplug.
If you are hanging onto an expectation with a tight grip, perhaps it’s time to start your own personal journey of surrendering; trusting it all to something bigger than you. Your clenched fist containing your hopes and dreams could be keeping you from experiencing something greater. Opening your hands doesn’t mean that you will lose everything, it just allows for more to come in.
For each day you are given breath, may you treat it as if it were your last.
Shaun + Trudi: Vintage Wedding
Saturday, September 15
Shaun and Trudi had a hands on approach with all of their decor projects; transforming the Roland Hall like never before.
After setting up all the decor, there wasn’t much more for them to be concerned about. They were very intentional with their wedding planning; setting their day up to be a relaxing one. They wanted to wake up on their day knowing they could just take it all in; enjoying their day along with their guests.
Coordinating a wedding like this is a breath of fresh air. With this laid back approach, it really doesn’t leave much room for stress. One can enjoy the day along with everyone else.
Photos by Rachel Froese Photography
More wedding details found in SHAUN + TRUDI’S WEDDING PORTFOLIO.
Tyler + Kayla: Intimate Celebration
Thursday, August 23
Tyler and Kayla wanted to stay true to who they were, and it led them to to planning out two celebrations. They hosted an intimate wedding with their closest family and friends, followed with another celebration a month later with all the people they love.
These two brought the true purpose of a wedding back to life with a focus on their marriage ceremony; it couldn’t have been more intimate. This ceremony will most definitely be a one remembered by all that were present that day.
This celebration shows that minimalism and weddings can go together. One can have a beautiful wedding without all the extra fuss and expenses. It is a reminder that it’s not about outdoing others or impressing guests; it’s about the purpose for the day – the marriage.
Video by DT Visuals
More wedding details found in Tyler + Kayla’s Wedding Portfolio.
Dylan + Ravae: Enchanted Garden
Friday, July 6
Dylan and Ravae hosted their wedding at the family yard, which formed a beautiful backdrop for this romantic enchanted garden wedding. As soon as guests would arrive, they would be captivated by all the beauty that was present. The floral arrangements over the arch was absolutely stunning. Floral Fixx outdid themselves as always. But the beauty did not stop there. Guests were wowed as they entered the clear canvas tent that was strategically decorated from end to end. No detail was spared, and you will see that as you scroll through their gallery.
This wedding is sure to inspire!
Photography by Jay Siemens
More wedding details found in Dylan + Ravae’s Wedding Portfolio
Martin + Briar: Vintage Garden
Saturday, June 23
Martin and Briar solidified their commitment with an outdoor wedding at a family friend’s property. The beautiful large willow tree may have formed the focal point for the wedding ceremony, but all eyes were on Martin and Briar as they exchanged their wedding vows that day. And a thank you to mother-nature; the weather delivered that day couldn’t have been better.
The celebration began with a vintage garden tent reception. Although it was gorgeous from end to end, it was the love and laughter that filled this tent that that really shined.
Photos by Carrie Lynn Photography
More wedding details found in Martin + Briar’s Wedding Portfolio.
Beautiful Outdoor Wedding
Tuesday, November 21
It’s always exciting when one of my couple’s get’s their wedding featured by a wedding editorial.
Garrett and Jenny’s Wedding was featured on Host Winnipeg. Threaded with details, yet minimal; a perfect combination for that couple wanting an intimate wedding. Don’t be surprised if you get whisked away to Italy as you scroll through their gallery.
And if you can’t get enough, check out their wedding portfolio for more of their beautiful details – Garrett + Jenny’s Wedding Portfolio.
Featured on Dear Bride: “An Italian Inspired Backyard Wedding”
Host Winnipeg: Beautiful Outdoor Wedding
Nature Inspired Wedding
Thursday, November 9
It’s always exciting when one of my couple’s get’s their wedding featured by a wedding editorial.
Dylan and Amanda’s Wedding was featured on HOST WINNIPEG. This one is sure to inspire if you are looking for chic, simplistic, modern ideas. And if you can’t get enough, check out their wedding portfolio for more of their beautiful details – DYLAN + AMANDA’S WEDDING PORTFOLIO.
Featured on Host Winnipeg
From the Bride:
“We wanted our day to be a celebration. We wanted a day with our family and friends where we could all laugh, dance, and make memories. Our venue helped solidify what tone we wanted for our wedding. The airy reception area had glass doors along one side which opened up to a beautiful patio that overlooked garden beds, trees, and the river. We couldn’t dream of competing with the beauty of the venue, so instead we tried our best to extend that beauty inside. We kept with neutral tones and lots of greenery. I think my favourite feature was the arbor that my Dad made for our ceremony. We got married under it and now it will forever be a permanent fixture in our backyard to remind us of the day.” ~ Amanda
Modern Garden Inspired Wedding
Wednesday, September 13
It’s always exciting when one of my couple’s get’s their wedding featured by a wedding editorial.
Carl and Jayna’s Wedding was featured on Host Winnipeg. This one is sure to inspire if you are looking for chic, simplistic, modern ideas. And if you can’t get enough, check out their wedding portfolio for more of their beautiful details – Carl + Jayna’s Wedding Portfolio.
Featured on Host Winnipeg
From the Bride:
“My wedding theme was modern organic, inspired by a garden. This meant incorporating lots of greenery and white flowers. I didn’t directly choose any wedding colours; all I wanted was for the colours to be quite muted and neutral, but for the main focus to be the greens in the greenery.
Rather than think about lots of projects, I put my focus into a couple of little things. For example, we put candles everywhere. It wouldn’t have made such an impact if there weren’t as many, so I definitely think this paid off and made them really beautiful.
I can’t believe how well my vision came to life, thanks to my wedding coordinator, friends, and family. Most of it had to be set up the day of since there was a storm expected for the day before, so a lot of the decorating and final look was a surprise to me. Everything turned out so so much better than I was expecting and I will remember that day forever!” ~ Jayna
Garrett + Jenny: Italy Inspired
Saturday, June 24
Garrett and Jenny had a beautiful intimate wedding that couldn’t have been more perfect for these two. Saying their I Do’s in a park surrounded by trees, followed by their Italian inspired backyard reception – all of it was planned with great intention.
Intimate weddings like this allow the couple to add greater detail without a larger budget. Garrett and Jenny ensured that every guest was taken care of with a five-star experience, and couldn’t have curated their wedding more beautifully!
Photos by Esther Funk Photography
More wedding details found in Garrett + Jenny’s Wedding Portfolio.
THIS WEDDING GOT FEATURED!
Dear Bride: “AN ITALIAN INSPIRED BACKYARD WEDDING”
Host Winnipeg: Garrett + Jenny’s Beautiful Outdoor Wedding