Whether you’ve been dreaming of a princess gown for as long as you can remember or the only aisle you’ve ever imagined walking down is at the supermarket, every bride gets a little overwhelmed once that ring is on her finger. Where do you start? What’s the first thing to do? What most brides don’t do is take the time to relax – enjoy the glow of being engaged before the mayhem sets in. There are a few exceptions where timing is of the essence (e.g. deployment, school or career obligations), but in general, every bride-to-be has the luxury of taking at least a week to relax and enjoy her engagement before the planning begins. For those anxious brides, don’t fret. My next blog will tell you exactly what to do first to start planning the wedding of your dreams.
And I wasn’t kidding about the manicure! Never before and never again will so many people be looking at your left hand – unless you happen to be the one hand model reading this blog. So my advice to all the newly engaged – take a deep breath, relax, enjoy being engaged and don’t forget that manicure!
A couple of weeks ago I was watching Good Morning America and saw a piece about a man who proposed to his girlfriend by creating a movie trailer and surprising her in public in a movie theater with a marriage proposal. A quick browse on GMA’s website led me to several other “out there” marriage proposals. In fact, GMA even ran a contest early this year called “Extreme Love” where they promised one lucky winner a dream wedding if he or she had the most extreme proposal story. Even Ford Motors and Steve Harvey teamed up to look for “The Craziest Wedding Proposal.” I guess a Jumbotron just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Now that I’m rounding the corner to my mid-30s, I’ve had the opportunity to hear more than my fair share of engagement stories. There’ve been impromptu vacations to romantic locations, fancy restaurants rented out for family and friends, surprise photo shoots (or portrait artists) at the place they met or location of their first date and even new puppies wearing engagement rings around their necks.
All of this got me thinking – when did the bar become so high for marriage proposals? Now don’t get me wrong – I’m a sucker for a good love story, but when does it go from a creative surprise for the person you want to spend the rest of your life with to an over the top stunt for 15 minutes of fame? Is our devotion to someone measured by the number of YouTube hits we get?
You may be longing for a great story to tell your friends (and eventually your grandchildren), but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’ve found that one person that you can’t imagine spending your life without. So if you’ve been waiting for your man to finally propose, you may want to think about taking some of the pressure off the proposal. Let him know that he doesn’t have to win any proposal contests – he’s already won your love. The love of my life proposed to me at home in our living room and I can’t imagine having been any happier had he written it in skywriting over Lake Michigan!
Marisa on her Wedding Day
Lots of people speak metaphorically about growing up in a family business, but I can literally say I grew up in the wedding and event planning business. My mom and aunt started Party Panache out of our house three decades ago, and I had the luxury of spending my formative years amidst the best arts and crafts projects a little girl could ask for. I was decorating paper with bows and rhinestones before I was potty trained. By the time I was off to school, Mom and Adrienne had long since left the house for their new office and showroom, but I didn’t lose my passion for all things girly and sparkly. Combining that with my entrepreneurial spirit got the better of me, and by age 9 after tiring of bake sales and lemonade stands, I took to selling “party favors” to classmates on the school playground. Who knew that it was against school rules? Let it go on the record that it was the only time I was ever called into the principal’s office.
Growing up in this business, especially in New York, there was never a shortage of interesting characters and hilarious stories. There was the dancer that came to our house to teach my family how to do the Electric Slide so we could showcase our skills on the 1991 Bar Mitzvah circuit. And I’ll never forget the male face painter who showed up dressed in turquoise tights and a feathered cap long before fascinators were ever popular among women. Everything about him was colorful.
While I moved away from home to pursue my own goals, event planning was always part of my life. I spent four years at Wharton earning a BS in Economics, but when I turned 21 I got a part-time summer job slinging drinks for the well-heeled at catered events on Long Island. Even after graduating college and moving to NYC for a job in investment banking, I would take any chance I could to accompany the Party Panache ladies to events – even just to help with set-ups. I loved being around all that creativity and glamour (and was secretly keeping up with industry trends). In 2005, I decided to go back to school for my MBA, and left my NY roots to move west to Chicago. Not quite ready to branch out on my own, I accepted a job in brand management at a local Fortune 500 company. Soon after, I met my future husband and knew that I had found a new home in Chicago. Fast forward several years to my realization that the corporate life and the politics that come with it were just not for me. A few weeks ago I worked up the courage to resign from my job, and now I’m looking forward to a future filled with endless possibilities.
As I planned my own wedding last year, I pored through tons of wedding sites and blogs written by brides giving out helpful advice. It was a fun distraction from whatever it was I should have been doing at work, but at the end of the day, I realized I didn’t need advice, but instead could be giving it. And hence this blog was born.