Friday, December 17, 2010

5 Tips for Planning a Wedding During Residency

Shauna and Matey
My dear friend Shauna (who I met on an orthopedics rotation) recently married in the last month of her intern year. I asked her to share 5 Tips for those of you who are also planning your big day amidst the craziness of residency. This is what she writes...
Planning a wedding during residency might not seem like the best
timing, but in medicine (especially in my field of Emergency Medicine) we know all too well that life can be unpredictable.  I met my fiancee in my fourth year of medical school, he proposed soon after, and we didn’t have much time to plan a wedding before our big move across the pacific ocean and to New York City for residency.

We wanted our wedding in Hawaii where our families still live and to have it in the summer (during my only vacation). The challenge was ahead... planning a wedding thousands of miles away during my intern year.  Sound impossible? I thought so at first, but it ended up being better than I could have imagined. Here are some tips that I picked up along the way...

As a doctor; you are probably accustomed to not asking for help and handling situations all on your own; however, this is not the time. There is no time to do it all, so I suggest you use your friends and family as much as possible. Get in contact with that friend from college who majored in communications, design or fashion and now, while you are working 80 hours a week, seems to somehow have all the time in the world. The one who is talking about the awesome art exhibit going on, or being FACEBOOK tagged while doing tequila shots at that new bar that you can never make it to.. This allows you to utilize your friend’s skills and at the same time creates an opportunity to see him/her . I had a friend who works in fashion help me scout out the best boutiques for wedding dress shopping, and she also did my alterations for free. Another friend, who majored in web design created our wedding website; and my chef friend designed our menu. Also, get your physically fit friend to be your personal motivator/trainer to stick to your wedding diet and exercise regime. Tell them that their help and time is the only wedding gift you will accept. Make sure to schedule any meetings about wedding details at that great new bar or restaurant they have been raving about so you can finally have a glimpse of their glamorous lifestyle while working on the wedding.

It is essential that you hire a “day of” wedding coordinator. I initially thought I could get away without one, but I am so glad I eventually came to my senses. Most charge $1000-2000, which seems like a lot to spend for one day of work, but my day-of coordinator was worth her weight in gold. Talk to friends that have hired a day-of coordinator for their own weddings, or find a good one on or wedding websites like My coordinator prevented many disasters from happening, and pulled together all the
details of the wedding day beautifully.

3. CHECK IN WITH YOUR FIANCEE AND DIVIDE THE TASKS. Often when wedding planning one person finds themselves taking the reigns, while the other partner may end up feeling left out or under-represented. You already have very little time with your fiancee as it is being a resident; don’t let the wedding become a third wheel. Even if your partner states he or she has very little interest in the wedding planning; give your fiancee free reign over aspects that they find most interesting. For instance, my fiancee could care less about place settings, or flowers, but he wanted to be in charge of the band, the play list, and the alcohol. Make sure that both of you are involved, and try your best not to let wedding details become a source of discontent on the home front.

Balance is important; you don’t want to expend all of your energy on one day and hate the other 364 days in the process. Your free time is vital and limited; use some of it doing something totally unrelated to work, or
wedding planning to develop the other aspects of your life and relationships.

Seriously, you work in an environment where people live and die every day, you have witnessed much more in the last few years than most people will see in their entire lives. Your experience in medicine gives you a unique insight that allows you to see beyond the minutia (to put the inner bridezilla at bay). Yes, you might be a type A personality; partially how you got through medical school, but remember your patient’s need your attention to detail, so let the wedding planning be the more relaxed and enjoyable part of your life.

In retrospect, the time I spent on insignificant details was not really worthwhile at all. I can’t recall what color the ribbons around my roses were. I don’t really remember what font I used for the program, or who sat where and how many forks each person had… what I do remember is the look in my fiancee’s eyes when I walked into the church, the words my dad whispered to me as he escorted me down the isle, and the crazy dance moves that my 90 year old great uncle bill threw out on the dance floor to “sexyback”.


Congrats to Shauna and Matey!
Thank you for contributing to HOSPITALstyle.

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