We’ve all heard the cliché about ignoring the elephant in the room which literally and metaphorically is very hard to do! Visualize with me: an elephant must fit in the door, it’s pretty loud when it makes its noise, probably won’t fit on any furniture, probably won’t be using your bathroom.
Physically ignoring an elephant in the room is impossible.
Sometimes we find ourselves in social situations where metaphorically speaking, there’s an elephant in the room that everyone is trying to ignore. The difficulty is that everyone knows there’s an elephant. Everyone is aware that the elephant can’t sit on the couch, that if it gets hungry it will probably have bad table manners, that the door is so small that once it’s inside, it’s probably not leaving.
This is the problem. What if the elephant stays? It has figured out a way to pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea, and invite itself into the family dynamic. Aunt Sally and Uncle Louis really wish the elephant would just leave so the family gathering can resume “like normal…” but the reality of the situation is that the elephant isn’t going anywhere.
So now what?
So often in wedding and event planning, there are family situations that very much resemble the elephant. There’s a person or a situation that just…isn’t…going away. What are we supposed to do? Don’t they know this event is important? Can’t they just do what we want and be respectful, for Pete’s sake?
Because this is a thing, good event coordinators will often ask (with complete discretion, compassion, and confidentiality of course…) if there are any family situations to be aware of. This is not to be nosy! This is to help navigate any sensitive areas that, left ignored, might actually get worse rather than better. Questions may include, but are not limited to:
- Do we just have two mamas and two daddies represented, or are there any bonus parents we want to make sure to include?
- Are there any people in the couple’s life that were uninvited but may try to attend anyway, that we can let our security know about so no one has to worry about a safety component?
- Have there been any recent deaths in the family but may still involve emotional sensitivity, so that are staff is aware of what topics not to discuss?
- Are there any other topics we should know not to discuss?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help your vendors help you enjoy your event more!
In August of this year, we took a field trip to the Indianapolis Zoo for my daughter’s birthday. One of the exhibits had several elephants, looking huge and majestic. But there was one, who was swaying. We don’t know why; we took a video and throughout my narration I was saying, “Is she in labor? Is she hot? Does she hear music we’re not hearing and she’s dancing?”
And that was the answer we went with. We don’t know the truth. We don’t know why she was swaying. Goodness, we don’t even know if she was she 😊 But if you’re gonna have an elephant, and it’s not going anywhere… let her dance.
Let the elephant dance.