Chances are, you or someone you know has read the #1 New York Times Best-Seller: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In this guide to help organize and de-clutter your home, Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo walks you through her (sometimes quirky) philosophy on creating a serene living space filled only with objects that bring you joy.
Some of Kondo's ideas may be a bit far-fetched for the everyday de-clutterer. For example, she encourages readers to thank physical objects for working hard. She also believes you hurt your socks' feelings when you don't fold them and put them away properly (If this is true, it explains a lot about why my feet hurt after a wedding day. Unappreciated socks getting revenge!). However, I found that putting her core concepts into action has significantly simplified my life. My home feels more zen-like, and I'm better able to focus on my relationships, especially my darling wedding clients.
When you "Kondo" your home, the results are so immediate and pronounced that you can't help but wonder how her principles could improve other aspects of your world. Since the biggest part of my daily life involves working on my clients' celebrations, I began to wonder: what would happen if I "Kondo-ed" a wedding? What would be the impact on event design and execution if my clients applied these minimalist principles to "tidy up" their weddings?
And so, I share with you the core lesson from Marie Kondo's book:
KEEP ONLY WHAT SPARKS JOY
When it comes to organizing your home, rather than implementing rules like, "Throw it out if you haven't worn it in 6 months," or "Get rid of it if it's out of fashion," Kondo asks us to place our hands on each object we own and ask ourselves, "Does this item spark joy?" If the answer is yes, it stays. If the answer is no, it goes.
The reason this approach works is that it addresses our underlying motivations for ownership. Owning something is about so much more than exchanging money for a good and then placing it on a shelf. The things we own are physical expressions of our values, fears and emotions. Sometimes we buy things out of sheer boredom. Sometimes we keep gifts because we feel guilty about letting them go, even though they have no place in our lives. Sometimes we spend money on things because we feel that we are "supposed" to due to social pressures, even when those things don't necessarily bring us happiness. But when we step back, take a breath, and ask ourselves, "Does this object spark joy?" we are freed.
While a wedding may not be a physical object, my experience has led me to believe that this important occasion is a moment in time that couples come to own by creating it through an extensive and often stressful planning process. And for that reason, the same motivations of ownership apply.
If I had a dollar for every time a client made a wedding purchase or decision based on rules of tradition or concern about what guests would think, I would be writing this blog post from a beachfront villa in Cabo (sadly, I'm in Dallas on an unusually chilly spring day). It is my belief that couples would be much happier if they approached each aspect from a place of joy, not fear. "Kondo-ing" a wedding means handling each discrete element with care, and taking the time to question ourselves in every step of the process, in order to create a more beautiful and joyful event.
Couples, ask yourself these questions when planning your wedding:
- Does each person on your guest list spark joy? Or are you inviting some people out of feelings of obligation or guilt?
- Does your professional team spark joy? Have you sought out wedding vendors who truly connect with your personality and event vision, or are you just checking off the list with things you're "supposed" to book or vendors who have elite reputations? (Note: Your whole vendor team should have stellar reputations. I'm simply encouraging you to think about whether a brand name is clouding perception of an actual connection.)
- Does each wedding party member bring you joy? Are you including certain people to avoid confrontation or drama? Do you know without a doubt that each party member will be a positive part of pre-wedding festivities?
- Does your budget bring you joy? Here's a hidden secret: spending money on a wedding really can be a happy and positive experience, but only when you feel comfortable bidding adieu to the money you've set aside. Is your family depleting savings or racking up debt for the wedding? Are there things you can cut back so you will not be stressing about credit card bills during your honeymoon?
- Does every element of your floral plan make you feel joy? "Kondo-ing" isn't about a spartan or austere space; it's about a space filled with joyful essentials. Is it possible that you are spreading things too thin because you're afraid guests will judge you if you don't have large centerpieces? Would it be better to re-allocate your budget toward a few key knockout elements that you really truly love, and let other things go? Can (or should) your beautiful location speak for itself without additional enhancements?
- Is your planning process sparking joy? Are you enjoying your engagement, or are you staying up until 2am on Pinterest to ensure you don't miss out on one of thousands of possible DIY ideas you could implement in your wedding? Are you taking care of yourself by eating healthy and hitting the gym or yoga studio, or is wedding planning consuming your life?
- Does every part of your timeline bring you joy? Have you scheduled enough time to be present in the moment? Does the schedule of the day reflect your personality? If you're a more private or conservative person, you don't have to give in to an uncomfortable garter toss just because it's tradition. If you're a morning person and typically in bed by 9pm, you don't have to do an all-night dance party - an elegant brunch may spark more joy for you.
"Kondo-ing" is scary. It means letting things go - and in the context of planning a wedding, that can mean challenging traditions in some very real ways. However, as much as it's about letting things go, this process focuses on cultivating true joy. I challenge you to apply this wedding-changing magic during your event planning process!
Need some help along the way? Contact me - I'm happy to help you focus on joy while we plan your wedding together as a team.