Times Of Joy And Stress

Times Of Joy And Stress



KELSEY HARPER-PARKER

In the time leading up to our wedding, my soon-to-be-husband and I experienced a combination of many emotional states. Relaxed was definitely not one of them.

Tyler and I got engaged last September, shortly after finding out we were expecting a baby boy (my second, his first). We very quickly decided on a smaller destination wedding, as a large soiree was out of the question budget-wise. Also, we agreed that we didn’t want strangers at the event or to have to catch up with anyone we’d had to invite out of obligation. We wanted our guest list tight. We envisioned a charming setting under a white tent with delicious food, overflowing drinks, flowers everywhere and the people who truly made an effort to be in our lives on the regular.

I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into in terms of taking on the planning, coordination and flowers for my own wedding while newly pregnant. Having been in this industry for five years, I knew it would be difficult, but we were working within a budget and this seemed like the best solution. Plus, how could I let someone else do something I was not only fully capable of, but had been dreaming about and pining after for years?

The planning took a full year. Pregnant wedding dress shopping was not easy, but it was a challenge—and I love a challenge. When things didn't work out, others fell into place. We decided on Maui as the destination, which seemed like the most fun for our short, sweet guest list of 40, and we dove right in with the planning. We managed to take a "baby mooning” and wedding planning trip in February to meet with our vendors and finalize all of the details before the baby came. That alleviated a lot of unknowns that were creating stress for me.

For every couple, there comes a time—generally when the wedding week arrives—when things come up that are out of your hands. You just have take what’s being thrown at you and roll with it. You have to realize and come to terms with the harsh reality that your vendors may not meet your expectations, two hurricanes may be heading your way and the house you rented may not quite be what it seemed. These were all issues we dealt with in the final days before our event, but, rain or shine, we were going to get married. Maybe it would be under the dreamy beautiful white tent with hung chandeliers and candlelight or maybe it would be in a family friend’s mosquito-ridden guest house. We were going to make it happen no matter what, and we did.

But the road was bumpy for me getting there. Generally speaking, I’m pretty good at navigating my stresses. Being a mother to an infant and toddler and owning a business at the same time brings about stresses all day long, so I feel like I should have been equipped to deal with this situation. The truth is that I was not at all. I don’t think I could have gotten through it without my friends, who all pulled together to call every indoor venue on the island of Maui. Then, a stranger called me, this guy who worked with one of the venues we had reached out to, and gave me some unsolicited advice: He reminded me of the mantra my midwife chanted to me between contractions, the mantra my son sings to himself while riding his bike after watching Frozen and that is, “Let it go.” It was all that I could do.

Luckily, the weather made a swift change, heading north just in time for our big day. Literally, at 6am the day of our wedding, our rentals vendor decided they would in fact show up for us after threatening to cancel. We could not have gotten through this, set up the evening or broken things down, without the help of our family and friends, some of whom trekked all the way from New York to be with us.

Covered in mud, we danced the night away, took shots of bourbon and swam in our underwear. We were together and that was all that mattered at the end. Sometimes even the most joyful situations have tension attached to them. It was an essential lesson in letting go.