We did it, we survived wedding season. And by “we” I mean my family and myself. While there are certainly other “we’s” I could be referring to, this is without doubt the most challenging part of wedding season, juggling weddings with personal life and trying to keep everyone in the household afloat. When I sit down with other creatives for a bit of community and to pick each other’s brains, the subject of balance inevitably arises, as if I or someone else out there has unlocked some secret mommy code to making it all work out. However, the truth is, there isn’t a magic formala. There isn’t any one way to keep your time spent between weddings, servicing future brides and family time all in balance. On top of that, every season is different. One minute you have a baby who naps three times a day, then that skips down to two and before you know it you have another baby and a toddler that doesn’t sleep at all. There’s a constant evolution of your routine and a little flexibility is a must.
Photography: Hetler Photography
I’m coming off of a six week stretch of feeling like a hot mess 100% of the time. The beginning of the summer was slow, intentional and nice. There were a couple of weddings, planning sessions of the future and many beach days in the mix. But as soon as August rolled around, that leisurely pace dissolved. No matter how thoroughly I thought I had prepared, madness struck. At the end of the day I’m working within tight deadline and with a perishable product, it’s simply the nature of the business. Only so much planning can be anticipated. So when someone asks me how I do “it”, how I manage being a wife, mom and entrepreneur all at the same time, its all I can do not to laugh. Life looks blissful, right? I have cute kids and get to play with flowers all the time. The truth is, there are nights that I’m stirring dinner on the stove while simultaneously answering an email on my phone. There are “date nights” spent with a glass of wine in one hand, and napkin folding tutorials in the other. My Jeep constantly contains a change of shoes and other clothing, clippers (because you never know when I might drive past something worth foraging) and the dance between placing carseats and centerpieces in the vehicle has been never ending. My children still have unpacked suitcases on their bedrooms because the amount of spontaneous and less spontaneous trips to Nina and Papa’s house for babysitting purposes has been outlandish. After five years of business and being a mom, this year I *almost* felt like maybe things were coming together and perhaps I finally found my stride. But at an 8:00 am trip to Lowe’s the Friday before a huge wedding, one child threw that thought from my mind as she began to vomit in the aisle. Exhausted tears welled in my eyes as I realized I should never be so prideful. I also cannot do this alone, I cannot be in two places at once and I humbled back into failure mode. Suddenly I completely understood the pre-feminism days when a woman’s place was in the home.
On another occasion, I was called the Energizer Bunny. As if I never tire and can easily work for days on end preparing for a wedding weekend and then breeze through a 20 hour wedding day. But this bunny, has no life left over come Sunday morning, and if it weren’t for the understanding of my husband, we’d never make it to Monday. I usually sit still, as though I’ve been flattened into motionless line on the pavement by a Mack truck, functioning as little as possible and so grateful that someone else is there to tend to the needs of the girls, and also make dinner for me.
I love wedding season so much and am not complaining about it in the least bit. However, I think of when people say that it takes a village to bring a wedding to life and how true that statement really is. But it’s not just a village of wedding vendors, it’s the people that stand behind those vendors. The behind the scenes faces that never get hugged by the bride or feel the love that hangs in the air on a wedding night. The spouse, family, babysitters and friends of each photographer, videographer, dj, caterer, server, venue owner, calligrapher and many more, who simply understand that as soon as May rolls around there’s a person that’s mia for a few months and but needs their support.
Back to the original question, the one about acheiveing life/work balance. There’s no one answer. My best advice, stop focusing on what doesn’t work for you but rather what does, even it it’s not what other business professionals advice you to do. Take help from anyone extending a hand. Most of all, love all those people that stand by your side when you haven’t washed your hair in a week, they’re your truest allies and spend every weekend off with those you love.
With all of that said, just remember that no one really has it all together all the time. This was the smoothest wedding season to date, and I only have high hopes for next year. But I’m still exhausted and looking forward to a season of rest. There is no magic formula, no amount of meal planning and charts can save you from the unexpected tasks that mom’s and boss ladies are invediabley going to have to juggle. And if someone wants to label themselves a “lifestyle expert” I give them all the props in the world, but can’t help but wonder – who, regardless of your career, really has life all figured out???