A Groom With A View: Directing A Wedding

Special Guest Blogger and Mr. Yenta himself, Bryan, is here to share a little inside information from the groom’s point of view. This movie buff breaks down the players in a wedding, making comparisons and analogies that will make you want to give this post a standing ovation. So grab your popcorn and soda, sit back, and relax because this installment of A Groom With A View is totally Oscar material. ACTION!

I remember hearing an interview with Jon Favreau, director of Elf and Iron Man, about how, for a director, making a movie is really just a series of decisions. People come to the director and ask questions about seemlingly minor details like “should the car be blue or red in this scene?” The director may not have given any thought to this question until it comes up, and in virtually no time, they have to decide what to do. And they may get many differing opinions from their cinematographer, producer, production designer, and anyone who wants to share their thoughts. But the decision ultimately lies with them and they still have to make the right call. And they probably won’t know if it’s actually the right call until the movie is finished. And by then it may be too late to change it.

If you’ve ever planned a wedding — and if you’re a regular on The Wedding Yentas, then you’re probably in the thick of it — this may sound like a familiar scenario. In my last post, I compared wedding planning with making a movie for exactly these reasons. Planning a wedding is probably about 90% just simply making decisions and hoping they turn out right on the big day. And for most brides who’ve never planned a wedding before, there is a lot of pressure to make the “right” decisions. Because of this, they will (hopefully) consult everyone under the sun: the groom, the MOB, the MOH, maybe even other family members or friends who have gotten married recently. (And hopefully TWY too!) But, just like the movie director, the decision ultimately has to be made by the bride (and the groom, or whoever is doing the planning with them).

While I already had a good idea about this during my own wedding planning process, now that I get to watch as my sister (and her fiance) plan their wedding, I’m realizing just how true that analogy rings. Every day there is another decision to be made, and my sister is a first time “director,” so she’s feeling the pressure. I think the important thing here is to examine what it means to make the “right” decision. Who decides what the “right” decision is?

In the case of a movie, there are many people who decide what was right. The crew will have their own opinions, and the writers, the producers, the studio, the actors… everyone! Everybody involved with making the movie will judge whether the director made the right or wrong move. Of course the critics will dissect every little decision that was made and call it out in their reviews as well. The real test, though, lies in the hands of the audiences who come to see the picture. For most audience members, little decisions may not matter so much, but the big ones certainly do — they determine whether the audiences like the overall film or not.

Again, weddings are similar. The crew in this case is made up of all the people helping you plan the wedding: your parents, the groom’s parents, your siblings, your wedding coordinator, your friends. You will get solicited and unsolicited advice from just about anyone who has an opinion. Thankfully, unless you are a celebrity, your wedding probably won’t be subject to reviews from any wedding or fashion critics. However, most brides and grooms and their parents are definitely trying to please their “audience,” the wedding guests.

This is where I think a director (and the bride) has to be careful. Pleasing the audience (the guests) may sometimes threaten the integrity of the film’s script (the bride’s vision of her perfect wedding day). The balancing act between “pleasing your guests” and “doing what you want” is definitely tricky.

And let’s not forget, the decisions you make as a director affect what it costs to make the movie. So if you are producing and directing, it may be easier to make expensive decisions. Otherwise, you’ll have to consult/lobby the producer first and make sure the budget can support your decision.

Of course this analogy (that I’ve probably taken too far already) falls apart when you realize that a movie ultimately needs to turn a profit, and a wedding clearly doesn’t. But it’s an interesting comparison to make because of the sheer amount of decisions there are to make in both scenarios and the impact they have on each other and the final outcome.

I will end with my [unsolicited] advice on the best way to make wedding decisions — the wedding decision flowchart. Hopefully by following this, the movie that is your wedding will get five stars and two thumbs up. And a Golden Globe. Okay, and an Oscar, too.

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