Be a Guest at Your Own Wedding

Continued (page 2 of 2)

It was this sort of trust that Kit Turner placed in Sasha Souza to plan her Napa Valley wedding in November 2007. Although Kit and her fiancé lived nearby in Walnut Creek, CA, they didn’t have the time or the desire to coordinate the elements themselves. Kit wanted an intimate dinner party at a winery that would still be fun for kids. After filling out a questionnaire about her tastes, likes and dislikes, she trusted Souza’s judgment implicitly. For everything from the photographer to the string quartet, Kit didn’t spend any time poring over options. She just asked whom Souza recommended—and hired them. When the established budget demanded that a few last-minute corners be cut, Kit nixed the one design element she’d requested, a gate that was to decorate the ceremony… and Sasha surprised her by including it anyway. “At no point was I worried about how it would come off,” says Kit. “I knew she could do a far better job than I ever could, but I still can’t get over how beautiful it all was!”

Some brides have even fewer big-picture ideas for their day, allowing the element of surprise—and the indulgence of a carefree engagement—to make the anticipation and event even sweeter. CeCe Colhoun had only three wishes for her New Orleans blowout bash of more than 500 guests last April: She wanted to capture the spirit of her hometown, she wanted to enjoy time with her fiancé and she wanted to not be the bridezilla she feared everyone expected her to be. So when she and her husband were announced and entered the tent for their first dance, it was with the same awe as their guests’. They’d managed to steer clear of nearly all the details, from the lavish decor (they had only one meeting with the designer) to the cake (“I knew it was round, and that’s it!”) to what songs the band would play (“You don’t want to tell them how to do their job”). They’d hired people they trusted completely—NYC-based designers Van Wyck & Van Wyck—and given them free rein. “When you let talented people do their thing, they’ll do it the best they can,” CeCe explains. “If you know every detail, you’re going to look for what went wrong, and the last thing you want to feel is disappointment.”

Perhaps this is why none of these brides can summon any regrets…other than not having let go even more than they did, if that’s possible. “For brides, there is a risk of not being in the moment because you’re planning all year for this one day,” says Allison Page of New York City. She chose to marry in her hometown of Knoxville, TN, in October 2007 in part because she knew it would allow her parents full access and help distance herself from the process. So, beyond the few things she and her now-husband insisted on—serving a particular wine, flying in a favorite photographer from New York—the lion’s share of the event was left to her parents and the local planner they hired. The only downside? “There were moments when my parents wanted me to have more opinions,” she says. “If you’re spending a lot of money and investing in this idea you’ve had for your child, you want her to care! But I had so much faith in them, it afforded me the opportunity to not worry.” And they didn’t let her down. “It’s such a momentous day, your senses can’t take it all in,” Allison says, admitting that she didn’t even notice details like the chairs or the venue’s curved ceiling until a guest captured them in a painting months later. “But my wedding had the magical feeling I was hoping for, and that’s all I cared about from the beginning anyway.”

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