‘Keep calm and get married’ the saying goes. That’s very well in theory, but the lead up to the big day can turn even the calmest of women into bridezillas. It’s not uncommon for brides-to-be to get so stressed that they have nightmares about all the things that could go wrong in the run-up to the day. I had them, including one in which I turned up late to my own ceremony, half-naked with horrible make-up on. I laugh now, but at the time it wasn’t nice, and reading all these perfect wedding-planning stories, I felt like there was something wrong with me. One friend of mine (I shall call her Zenzilla) was so laid back, she could fall over – and that was lovely for her, but it did make me feel like I was doing something wrong to be feeling so overwhelmed at times.
Fast-forward two years after my big day and I now know that I was not alone. Wedding planning anxiety is very common. Luckily for me, I established routines and ways to keep my nerves and anxiety in check early on; and I’m happy to share some of these tips with you.
Firstly, don’t try to please everyone: I changed my wedding date twice in order to please certain people. In the end, I put my foot down and refused to be swayed by yet another opinion. It’s inevitable that not everyone will make it to your wedding, especially if you are an expat marrying abroad. Unless your wedding is being paid for fully by a family member, no one has the right to dictate key elements of your special day, and even then, it’s still your day and compromises should be made.
Next, hire a planner or an on-the-day coordinator. The reduction in your stress levels will be immense. I was a complete control freak and planned my entire wedding alone. While I enjoyed it, it was no easy feat and I am so happy I decided to hire an on-the-day coordinator, who liaised with the venue and contacted all my suppliers to ensure they were prepared and had the necessary permits. She even got phone credit for me on the day itself!
Thirdly, be organised and start early! I cannot emphasise the importance of starting your planning early enough. I have spoken to several brides who have left things right to the last minute and have been disappointed as a result; either their dream wedding venue is fully booked or they can’t have their gown delivered on time. Also, consider creating a wedding file: I still have my wedding file packed full of notes, lists, pictures and contacts. I am so glad I had this trusty red file with me at all times throughout the planning process, as being organised is key!
My next tip is to take time out! It’s really easy to get totally consumed in the planning process. You live, dream and breathe weddings for approximately six to 12 months. You spend your lunch hour browsing pretty Pinterest boards, you swoon over wedding gowns, and you scrutinise all the small details. That’s fair enough, I understand, I’ve been there. But make sure you give yourself a break, even for a day or two. Your mind needs downtime and your fiancé would probably like his lady back for a while.
My fifth tip is to take care of your well-being: You’d be surprised by how many of us neglect ourselves during the planning process. Eat a balanced diet, get regular uninterrupted sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise and make time for you. Book in monthly massages or a day at the spa and completely unwind from work, wedding plans and life in general.
Lastly, remember why you are getting married. If you feel your stress levels mounting, take some time out with your fiancé. I get that having the picture-perfect wedding is a dream, but honestly, on the day, the small details really don’t mean a thing! It thundered and rained on my wedding day (set outside) and the van carrying all my wedding DIY broke down halfway to the venue; I simply took a deep breath and said “que sera, sera” (whatever will be, will be). It was such an incredible day, rain, thunder and all, and the memory will stay with me forever.
Ah, and I almost forgot – delegate! You’re not superwoman; get the hubby-to-be involved in the action and delegate some tasks to your bridesmaids. And take it from me, it will all turn out just fine.