Recently in NYC, two construction workers lost their lives in a tragic accident. The headlines the next day screamed how one of the victims was scheduled to get married in 3 weeks. Instead of relaxing and enjoying the fruits of her planning, there is a bride to be out there who is now facing the unthinkable – burying her fiancé while publicly accepting the reality that what was once in her grasp is now gone and the life she envisioned has irrevocably changed.
Living in NYC unfortunately this is not the first time this has happened. In the fall of 2006, Nicole Paultre Bell’s fiancé was killed just hours before their scheduled wedding. On a larger scale, I still remember that September 11th started out as a bright beautiful fall day that in an instant changed many individual lives permanently.
No one wants to think about the “what if” – especially while planning a wedding. Some people still believe just talking about “it” – be it death, illness or natural disasters is akin to “tempting fate”. However as any planner knows you don’t wait until the Titanic leaves to decide perhaps it would be a good idea to take swimming lessons.
Your engagement period is a time of planning. Couples should be both planning for their wedding and also discussing the important issues-good and bad-that may arise during their marriage. Remember as you take this step your partner is about to become your next of kin and it behooves you both to review what your wishes are before becoming each others legal guardian. Once you’ve talked about it you have to take the next step & put it in writing. The middle of a crisis is not the time for your partner to debate with your grieving family your desire not to accept life support or to donate an organ. We have become a transitory society – do you want to be buried in your family plot (in Hometown USA ) or do you want to be cremated? Have you started to attend Baptist church & your religiously casual family will balk at having a formal service? Are you an organ donor? Does your partner know that? What measures do you want taken in the event of an emergency? If your partner is unwilling/or unable to make these decisions who do you want to name as your medical proxy? For those already married have you updated your wills & insurance policies to name your partner as the beneficiary? If you have children have you outlined your wishes in writing for who will be guardian (both physical custody and financial custody) in case the unthinkable happens?
The point of this post is not to make you feel bad but public tragedies can serve as a somber reminder to make the time to have that discussion now.
Hopefully your envelope of wishes won’t be opened for another 70 years but as the Nationwide commercial says “Life comes at you fast”. My question to you is are you ready for it?
Michelle Gay has worked as a wedding planner for the past seven years in NYC.