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Most wedding ceremonies last for about an hour.  Add a sit down dinner reception and the celebration will last for several hours. Decide to invite your guests to a romantic setting where everyone stays in small cottages and the celebration lasts throughout the week-end (I actually know of someone who did just that) and you might get 72 hours of wedding celebration.

 But I think that I am safe in saying that whatever the length of the celebration, it pales in comparison to the time spent planning for the special day. Brides-to-be spend hours preparing. They try on dresses, taste entrées, make music selections. All the hours spent in the prep can be exhausting and frustrating but those hours can also be sources of some amazing memories.

A photographer, hired to record the special moments of the wedding day, is considered a necessity. But what happens to all of those special moments that occurred during those numerous planning days? They get filed away and too often (I fear) forgotten.  Yet they are the very moments that help to make the big day such a magical event.

 What I am about to propose (no pun intended) is that there could be someone who records some of those special wedding prep moments – someone who becomes a memory-keeper for the bride. And that someone could be you.

Who me?

This job is designed for someone who is close enough to the bride to naturally be included in much of the planning. It doesn’t mean you actually have to be with her everywhere she goes for wedding prep but it assumes you are close enough to the bride that she will be sharing her big-day planning experiences with you on a somewhat regular basis.  It assumes you’re willing to keep little notes on the events as they occur and willing to keep a temporary secret. And most importantly, you think it sounds like fun!

What tools do I  need?

Get yourself a small, basic notebook. It should fit easily into your purse or pocket. It shouldn’t be fancy. Resist the temptation to buy something that might invite you to focus on something other than just recording facts. Don’t worry about what you write – just write. There will be a chance, later on, to rewrite entries if you decide. Save the descriptive phrases and fancy verbs for then.

  How do I do this?

You are not going to be lurking in dark places with your notebook.  In fact, you don’t really have to keep what you are doing a secret. You’ll see why I think it’s fun to keep it a secret later in the blog. As you become privy to information, date and record it in your notebook.  I am assuming that, if you are choosing to try this activity, you know the bride fairly well.  Record facts that you feel will be meaningful to her. Be kind. If something happens that might be considered embarrassing, exercise good judgment. You know the bride so you are best to make that distinction.

What memories do I keep?

Some of the memories that are perfect to “keep” will be obvious.  A mother-of-the-bride getting teary when she first sees her daughter, in a wedding gown, might be predictable. The words she uses to express her feelings will be personally unique and meaningful. They might even hold some surprises.  When the florist, who has been working with ten other clients that day, calls the bride by the wrong name, it might be annoying at the time but it could be funny, later. As you go along, you’ll recognize the opportunities where you should record a fact.  Regardless of what you do or don’t choose, you really can’t do this job incorrectly. Let your genuine love and friendship, for the bride, guide your choices.

What do I do with these collected memories?

Think of times and places where it might be fun to use these bits of trivia.

How about a bridal shower?  We’ve all been there. It’s the chatter that goes on, between guests, while playing those shower games that makes them fun. Bride Bingo, without it, can be down-right painful. Try the challenge of turning bits of information about the wedding and your unique memories into a game.  You could divide your memories into categories and have party guests try to answer easy 100 point questions or be challenged by those 500 point questions.  Obviously, only a few people may know the name that the florist accidentally used when conferring with the bride, but it will make for fun conversation.  Typically, the bride knows all of the answers to any bridal game question. But even she may have to search her memory for some of these answers. If you have kept your memory keeping a secret, these little facts will be a fun surprise, for the bride, as well as the guests.

Responsible for a wedding toast? Your memories might provide just the additional anecdote, funny or sentimental, that you were looking for to complete that toast.

You can eventually turn your notes into a gift. At this point, you might purchase or make a little book that is a bit more decorative and rewrite some or all of your entries. If you feel comfortable adding those descriptive phrases and fancy verbs, now is the time. I personally feel that the memories themselves are special enough but that is up to you. This little book of memories could be a Happy First Anniversary Gift.

I think that you will find, while collecting all of these memories, it has made the planning steps more meaningful and more enjoyable for you. That’s a perk right there!

Celebrating a friend’s wedding day is incredibly special. Celebrating a friend’s preparation for that day, by being a keeper of the memories, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay, with both of you, forever.

I have been a memory keeper, myself, but I was recording for another unique event. If you have questions or would like a little additional help, please feel free to ask. If you decide to “become a memory keeper”, I’d love to hear about your experiences.