Byron Hackett is the Managing Editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

Hackett: The trials and tribulations of weddings

Weddings. What a wonderful and painful tradition, all at the same time.

(A side note, the basement saga is still ongoing, although a sump pump has been installed and so far it seems to be keeping out the water. Keep your fingers crossed this is the end of the saga, for your sanity and mine).

That opening statement certainly needs some hashing out and if you were hoping to read a diatribe on it, you came to the right place.

First, weddings are wonderful for a number of reasons. Who hasn’t shed a tear when they’ve seen a close friend tie the knot or danced well into the morning hours celebrating a successful union. I’d venture a guess that there aren’t too many people reading this who don’t have a good story or two from a wedding they’ve been to.

When I was a kid, about three or four, I was sitting in the front row of my uncle’s wedding and on the video, all you can see is a little blonde kid making strange faces for the entire ceremony. My mom never fails to bring it up. Thankfully my aunt and uncle gave up razzing me about it long ago.

When I was the best man at my friend’s wedding a number of years ago, I typed my speech out and printed it, weeks in advance. As the wedding got closer, I had more and more things to add. The wedding was in Ontario, I only arrived a few days before and didn’t have a chance to update the paper and print it out, so I simply updated it on my phone and figured I was set.

What I didn’t realize is that after a certain amount of time (iPhone technology was a bit different back then) my phone would lock and I would have to retype my four-digit pin every time I needed to read a part of the speech. Imagine standing up in front of 100 or so people, frantically typing in your phone code every five minutes. Several self-deprecating jokes were made, the crowd loved me in the end, fun was had by all.

I’ve been the emcee at a wedding, I’ve been the best man, part of a wedding party and just a plain old person in attendance. Every time it’s special, every time is unique.

This, of course, brings me to the painful part.

Weddings can be painful for a few reasons. Like the newly formed tradition of a weekday wedding, although completely necessary to cut costs, but hard on some attendees.

Long ceremonies – especially outdoors – can be a real pain, but again serve their purpose for those who have them.

Over speeched. Speeches that go way too long and don’t really ever get anywhere happen at every wedding and there are plenty of promises that it won’t and it still does more often than not.

Expensive. I’m sure we all look at weddings and wonder if the money couldn’t have been better spent somewhere else. For the memories made it’s worth it, but the thought almost always crosses your mind.

And the most painful for some: the planning.

The money; the venue; the guest list; the food; the photographer; the music; the dresses and the suits. The list is endless.

As someone who is going through all of this, for me anyway, everything has gone relatively smoothly and it hasn’t been painful but I can easily understand how it can be. I am almost certainly jinxing myself 364 days away from my wedding but I’m ready to throw caution into the wind.

I’m really excited to get married and excited for the wedding. But sometimes I wish I could wave a magic wand and have all the planning done and just enjoy the day, even if it’s still a year away. The list is complete, the invitations out and all the responses in and ready to go.

But I know that’s not going to happen and I know all this isn’t supposed to be easy.

I will say making the six-plus-hour playlist for our wedding was a fun night. Amongst the pain, I’ll remember that moment and the joy it brought in the planning. We’ve had some really special moments asking people to be involved in the day, people that have really helped us get where we are today and that is another bright spot in the planning.

Even as I say it can be painful, I asked for this. Even as the list is long, I know how special it will be to bring all the people who have been a part of my life together for one night. But more than a year away, when the to-do list is still a bit long – the stress starts to build a little bit.

I’ll keep my spirits up and think about when our dogs come charging down the aisle to see us. Or when I get to see my fiancée in her wedding dress for the first time. Those moments and all the other memories we’ll make that day, with friends and family by our side, will almost undoubtedly make all the stress worthwhile.

Byron Hackett is the Managing Editor of the Red Deer Advocate.