Photo by Aaron + Whitney Photography of rebels B+S at The Greenpoint Loft
I started Modern Rebel in 2015. I was fresh off a break-up and felt like I could hardly see the fog in front of me. I remember riding the subway and playing this game - spot the wedding rings. I would find the people who were without and I would feel a little less alone. I remember feeling pretty decided that I was on a path to perpetual single life, and I felt somewhat content about that. Marriage was INSANE anyway - right? I mean, how could you honestly believe you could spend the rest of your life with one person?!
But like so much of life and growing up, you quickly realize that what you were so so so so sure about actually looked entirely different from a different angle - and you change your mind. It’s one of life’s greatest gifts that we can change our opinion about something, isn’t it? And nothing quite does that like falling in love. Who knew that a year later, I’d be madly in love with somebody new, moving in together before we’d even been together four seasons, and married only 3 years later. All the while, Modern Rebel was blossoming into a real business and I’d spend my weekends wrapped up in other’s love stories and the weekdays wrapped up in mine.
6 years later, I’ve planned hundreds of weddings and the great honor of my life is not that seemingly perfect moment when the transition from first dance to rockin’ dance floor happens [although, that does feel good!] - it’s when I feel truly connected to the two people who are partnering up. When I see that special sauce they’ve got + I get to know - they’re in this forever and this is going to be SO GOOD - for them, for their community, for the world.
Because what this unlikely wedding planner realized in planning all these weddings and meeting all these couples, and falling in love herself, is nothing quite makes the world go round like relationships. If life is the bread, relationships are the butter.
So, why does it feel so often that the wedding industry forgets about the good stuff and gets fluffy? Couples can become so overwhelmed with the to-do lists, the must-haves, the traditions, the guest lists that the relationship feels a little like its been left in the corner. And who is to blame the couple? It’s the natural existence planning a wedding! ANYONE would get overwhelmed! When I planned my own wedding, I cried. A lot. …And I plan these things for a living. But when it’s your own - emotions are inevitably involved and it’s hard not to feel like you just went from being your fiancé’s hot date to their stuffy project manager co-worker.
This is why as a wedding planner, I started asking our couples questions more often in our calls. I always start with a check-in - where are they at emotionally? Wedding planning doesn’t exist in a vacuum and HOW are they prioritizing their relationship right now? Forget the plans - we won’t let those fall through the cracks [that’s our job], but how are you two as a couple? I recommend carving at least 1 night a week where there is a moratorium on wedding talk. Nothing wedding related can be mentioned! Then, I recommend at least one time a week where you have a “meeting” to talk weddings + other to-dos: my husband and I still do this [sans wedding plans] and we call it the “Circle of the Wagons.” I’ve heard other couples call it their “State of the Union.”
We launched our Perks Program: a database of discounts for our couples geared toward life/relationship stuff - marriage counselors, spa days, financial planners, sex toys for them to access forever + beyond.
Plus, if I can encourage a date night - I do! Back in October, Modern Rebel hosted a series of “virtual date nights” for our couples to sign up for. From Chinese cooking classes to wine tastings to tarot readings - we wanted to make it easier for them to have fun on this wedding planning journey. The response was amazing. It turns out couples don’t just turn into “brides” and “grooms” during the wedding planning process - they’re PEOPLE! People who love each other, who deeply need and value connection, and who are embarking on a lifetime of commitment to each other.
Wedding vendors must show up for their couples plans + their relationships. It’s one of the finest services we can offer is to celebrate their partnership with an incredible party but also keep celebrating it afterwards by making sure they invest it in along the way.
And like Julia Child famously put it, “With enough butter, anything is good.”
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Modern Rebel was founded in NYC + brings events to life across the US + Canada.