It’s wintertime and most of you brides are in the middle of planning their wedding for next summer. By now, you’ve probably reached a state where you wake up regularly from nightmares about all the possible things that could go wrong on your wedding day, am I right? Let’s just hold on there for a second and remember that you are planning the best and happiest day of your life here!
BEST and HAPPIEST day of your life? Wow! You better get back creating those Pinterest boards of possible hairstyles. If you really want this to be the best and happiest day of your life you better get going!
See the problem? You are mentally stressed and exhausted, yet you are planning something that’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life. You don’t realise that your own expectations of your wedding to be the happiest day of your life is what puts all the pressure on you.You can’t even complain about it to your mum and girlfriends – because you’re planning your wedding!!! How could you complain about getting married? It’s the best and happiest day of your life!
You’re trapped in the wedding planning trap.
Take a step back and realise that planning the “best and happiest day of your life” is the source of your mental stress, not the solution. So what do you do?
I’m writing this from the perspective of a bride. I just got married 10 months ago and had to plan a wedding too. I even had to plan it mostly on my own because my fiancé couldn’t be with me at the time. It was particularly difficult, because I was the first one in my family getting married, first one of my cousins and even the first one in my whole friend circle. Not only did I have to plan a wedding and no idea how to do it: I also graduated from university and moved from Munich to Sydney – all in one week! I packed my stuff, sold my furniture, quit my lease, wrote my bachelor thesis and planned a wedding, all on my own, all at the same time. Yet I wanted the whole experience: The white dress, the rings, the cake, the flowers, the dancing… I wanted it all! The six weeks leading up to the wedding I got terribly sick. Twice. I didn’t “just” have a cold. I couldn’t leave the bed for a week. The six weeks suddenly got reduced to four and the different deadlines moved closer and closer.
There were some things I wish I handled differently, but I am writing this with a lot of hindsight too. So let me share some tips with you on how to plan a wedding smoothly and without the stress and pressure. Learn from my experience instead of your own, because you only get to plan ONE wedding.
Oh yes, before I start I want to make one thing clear: My wedding was the best and happiest day of my life – so far.
- Keep it simple
With that I don’t mean in any way that you should give up on the whole wedding experience, if that’s what you want. What I mean is to let go of all the FOMO (fear of missing out) and focus on what’s really important to you. Chances are, the more you try and fit into one day and the more vendors are involved, the more can go wrong, the higher the chances are of an exploding timeline and a chaotic outbreak as a result. Give yourself some space. Breathe.
Examples: You don’t have to entertain your guests with fun wedding games throughout the whole day. The majority of your guests are probably relatives and friends who haven’t caught up in a while, only getting together on special events like this, and therefore have a lot to talk about anyway.
- Keep it real
Stay true to yourself. Don’t do things just because they are expected. Don’t do things just because everyone else is doing them. Don’t do things just because a bridal magazine stated them to be a “must do” or “must have” of the year. Trends are changing all the time. Two years ago it was shabby chic vintage, last season it was rustic countryside and wild flowers, next season it will probably be all about technical innovative devices like 3d printing, robots and drones and who knows what else (Yes, I am serious!) Trends are rising from an artificially created desire by a wedding industry that wants to make money off you.
Staying true to yourself also means being able to say “no”. There will be quite a few people telling you what they think you should do on your wedding day. These people can be wedding vendors, but also your family, friends and especially your bridesmaids. If you keep it real, it will all come together in an organic way. The pieces will fall into place. Everything will feel right to you and therefore to everyone around you. The last thing you want is feeling out of place at your own wedding.
Being the first one to get married in my extended family and friend circle played to my advantage in that case. I didn’t know the traditional way of “how to do it”. I didn’t know what exactly was expected. I didn’t read bridal magazines and I hadn’t even discovered Pinterest at the time. Every idea came from within myself. I was thinking outside the box without knowing it and it was liberating.
- Keep it fun
After all, it is your wedding day and it should be fun planning it. Getting out of the house to plan the wedding was a welcome distraction for me, after sitting in the library week after week, reading boring and dry scientific books and papers.
- Manage Expectations
Managing expectations means to clearly communicate what it is that you want for your wedding day. To yourself and others. It also means to give clear instructions to your vendors, bridesmaids and other people involved in order for them to be able to deliver what you expect from them.
Clearly communicating your expectations and saying “no” doesn’t make you a bridezilla.
It makes you a pleasure to work with. It makes things easy for yourself and everyone else. A bridezilla is a bride who failed to communicate her needs, failed to manage expectations, failed to let go and is anxious to control everything and everyone on her wedding day.
Managers who run a successful business know how to delegate. A bride who organises a successful wedding does too.
If everyone knows exactly what they have to do, you can let go and focus on what’s important: Having fun and eating cake.
- Let go
“Letting go” doesn’t mean to let go of the idea, that your wedding will be perfect or that your wedding will be the best and happiest day of your life. Your wedding will be perfect. And it will be the happiest and best day of your life.
By letting go of FOMO, letting go of other people’s ideas and expectations and letting go of the fear to lose control, you already followed the most important steps that lead up to a perfect wedding day.
What you need to do now is to reflect on your definition of a perfect wedding day and maybe redefine and shift your mind from one definition to another: Is your wedding day the happiest and best day of your life because the timeline holds up, your guests are well fed and entertained and nobody spills red wine over your custom tailored wedding dress? Or is it the happiest and best day of your life because you get to marry the love of your life?