Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Recession: Don't Take It Personally

These are strange days. The economy has brought out many different traits in people that were less obvious in more rosy times. However, many folks insist on pushing forward as if nothing has changed, when in fact everything seems a bit "off," if not downright scary.

All things wedding have been impacted, too. Bridal budgets are strained, and couples are planning honeymoons with an eye not only on location but also on timing, as in, "If I take time off now to go, will it jeopardize my job?"

I have noticed that brides and grooms -- who for the most part used to be an exceedingly polite demographic group -- have gotten far more budget sensitive than in former days. I have always prided myself on being affordable, as I treat my officiant work more as a public outreach and less as hard-nosed business. However, I think that if I quoted a quarter somebody would try to negotiate three nickles plus a table grace.

An unwelcome trend has been the occasional hijacking of my work. Asking to see samples of past ceremonies is acceptable. Asking for samples, then having a friend or relative use one to marry you is not.

The irony is, I have always been generous about permitting my work to be used free of charge. All one has to do is ask. I also keep some basic ceremonies posted on my website which are there for general use by whoever wants to print off a copy.

It would be easy to get thin-skinned about the shift in the air temperature even in a wedding climate. However, it would also be a mistake. The public is simply extremely uneasy about the current state of affairs. Their periodic forays into bad behavior are not personal attacks.

When dealing with the public, it is important to remember that you are just a blip on their collective radar screen, and right now it all looks like incoming.

Try to gracious, patient, and magnanimous. Fake it if you have to.

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