How Planning Weddings Made My Divorce Easier
So, I think we've covered this whole "I'm a wedding planner" thing. Instead of repeating what you all probably already know, I wanted to share a different perspective of how this career has inspired me and enhanced my life.
Let's just say that my ex-husband and I hit a point where we were struggling in ALL expects of our marriage--financially and romantically. My youngest son was born in November of 2013 and after him the Titanic started sinking. We panicked but we held on and tried to stay afloat for as long as possible. With two kids in daycare, I realized very quickly that we needed a third income. I decided if I was going to have to be away from my sons, I would spend that time doing something I loved. I didn't want to feel like I was "working".
So, I decided to use my college degree, (Can you believe that people ACTUALLY still do that?) and started coordinating and planning weddings. Although my background was in facility and event management, the only experience I had with wedding planning was from my own, but I caught on quickly and it didn't take long before I was booked solid!
I should have been overjoyed because I was pursuing a field that I loved and I was bringing home more income, but it was not a happy time for me. I was tired and honestly, my marriage was JUST. PLAIN. AWFUL. The day finally came when I told myself, "it's really over,” and although we both knew it was, neither of us took action. We had been friends since we were 13 and even though we were miserable, I didn't look forward to the day when he wouldn't be my best friend anymore.
I remember working a wedding in 2016. I had known the groom since kindergarten. His wedding was a month before our 10 year high school reunion, but it probably should have just been the dang reunion. SOOO MANY PEOPLE. I enjoyed working with that couple, I enjoyed their families, and I loved everything about their wedding. But it will always stand out to me for one not so great reason...
I was asked exactly 9 times from peers and parents of my peers,
"So how are you and your husband doing?"
Oh God. It was awful. What was I supposed to say?
"Oh ya know, not great Susan. Pretty sure we're going to start talking about divorce here soon. But hey girl, how's your kids?"
I mean, what would YOU say?
I think I beat around so many bushes that night, you would've thought I was a damn landscaper.
That night was a turning point for me. I hated living a lie. I hated feeling fake. Throughout my crumbling marriage I had never worked a wedding and felt any kind of sadness, but that night I felt lonely AF. My lack of a solid union and having to hide it, made me HATE my job that night. I didn’t want to hate what I had grown to love. That night left me with a lot of things to think about and more importantly, actions to take.
After talking to my ex-husband about our plan to "transition" in to separation, I did something that most people probably wouldn't agree with....I made a Facebook status. I did not do this to earn sympathy, gain “likes”, or to discuss the details of the situation. I did it because the 16th biggest city in the nation, is really freakin' small. There will never be a wedding that I work in Louisville, Kentucky, where I know absolutely no one. Between the guests, the vendors, AND my clients there are ZERO weddings with an unfamiliar face. That being said, I did not want to be asked at a wedding about my marriage, no matter how serious or minute the conversation was meant to be. As a professional I needed to keep my head level while working, but as a person I just didn’t want to discuss why I failed at doing the one thing everyone else appeared to be doing with ease...making a marriage work.
After we separated and were in the beginning stages of our divorce, I was UNGODLY NERVOUS about how I was going to be able to keep my emotions in check while being around love and romance every single day of my life.
I bet when you read the title of this blog, "How Planning Weddings Made My Divorce Easier", you probably thought that I was going to say that seeing everyone soooo in love was inspiring and gave me hope in finding my true love. Right?
My friends used to say to me,
"I don't know how you do it. I don't think I could have your profession and go thru what you're going thru."
Ultimately, I just decided to take things one day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time.
For the sake of being honest, I'll admit that every now and then I'll watch couples, young and old, slow dance, and I'll feel a little down. I'll wonder when that will be me. I don't have those moments often but occasionally they happen. So yes, there is some sadness there still. I'll even go as far as to say that I'm very disappointed that my marriage failed. BUT because of that "failure" ... I was forced to get uncomfortable, and you know what they say, "growth doesn't happen in comfort zones."
It's not something that I've ever been able to explain to people, but I think I’ve finally got it.
In the months (maybe even the year) leading up to our separation, I was numb to all things. I didn't feel a lot of joy, instead I had brief moments of happiness. If a friend was sad, I could be sympathetic but I felt ZERO empathy. I didn't believe that I was any different than anyone else on this earth. I lived a very robotic life, with no hobbies or goals outside of mom stuff. I simply went thru the motions. My life was gray (meh.) But divorce meant dealing with a lot of change and a lot of confrontation, two things I hated, so I chose gray until life was too dark to ignore.
Planning weddings has forced me to snap out of the funk. It gives me the chance to stretch my brain and apply critical thinking. It's made me realize that even though I am an extremely anxious person, I work really effin' well under pressure. It's allowed me to rebuild myself and find myself. The girl that used to look at the ground when she met new people has no problem expressing exactly what it is that she wants, and more importantly needs, from people. This career has molded me into a brand new person and brought color back into my life.
If you know me, you know that I still cry at most of my weddings. I have had a front row seat to some of the most touching grooms’ reactions, Maid of Honor and Best Man speeches, father daughter dances, and even some memorial events that had my mascara JACKED. UP. It is rare for me to work a wedding and not shed a single tear or feel some kind of immense amount of joy. I probably go thru just about every emotion one can have during a wedding weekend and I love it. I truly believe that there’s a difference between existing and living and for the first time in a long time, I'm alive.
Every day I deal with the affects of my divorce. I have two kids, that I have to answer to and take care of and they are a constant reminder of "what could have been." But the fact of the matter is, I'm not the same person that I used to be and I have my job to thank for that. I am no longer numb. I am no longer complacent. I am no longer terrified of change. I am evolving daily and looking forward to getting to know me better. I know that this career was put in my path to distract me from the hard time that was ahead. Not only did it distract me, but it made me stronger.
I am happy and excited to keep experiencing this beautiful life with the two most handsome little boys I’ve ever seen. The three of us will continue down this journey of transformation and growth. I must say, our future looks pretty damn bright!