After working in weddings for several years I’ve seen all sorts of brides and grooms. I’ve had those who are super laid back and calm right up until the day of the wedding when they suddenly panic about everything, those who stress their way through the whole planning process and then finally let go on their wedding day realising there is nothing more they can do, and then those who are just so relaxed the whole way through that you are sure they are going to suddenly lose it on the day but they don’t!
From my experience with couples, these are my top tips for how to be a relaxed bride (or groom)…
Tip #1 – Remember that you’re in a relationship
Planning a wedding really does take over your life and can place your relationship under a lot of pressure – not only are you dealing with the changing nature of your relationship but you are also having to make decisions together which have financial as well as other implications. You might never have been placed in this sort of situation before and it can be difficult. Make sure you talk things through and be fair to one another – listen to each other’s views and ideas, understand what is important to each other and be prepared to compromise on things. This will place you in great stead for years of joint decision-making! Also make sure that you take time out from wedding planning to just enjoy each other’s company like you did before you got engaged!
Tip #2 – Share the load
As much as we like to believe that brides and grooms share the wedding load, we know that it’s usually the bride taking on most of the organisational work. Planning a wedding can become like having a second job – it’s a lot of work and stress for one person to handle. Grooms, make sure you let your bride know that you are willing to help wherever possible. Even if you don’t get much of a look-in, take an interest when she does start talking about the wedding. You might think she wants you to say “Whatever you want”, but receiving your honest opinion will make things a lot easier on her. And brides, try and let your groom be involved. He may not have given as much thought to this day as you have, but it is his day too and this means he should be involved in making decisions as well as taking on some of the work. Even if you don’t think so, you will need him at some point in the process, and it’s so much more fun and rewarding to work together to create a day that you both enjoy. Also remember to be open to offers of help from family and friends. Of course there are things you want handled by a professional, but allowing your loved ones to be involved where possible will not only make them feel special and make your day more meaningful but it will also take pressure off you.
Tip #3 – Be organised
Do as much as you possibly can as early as you can. If you can get the big ticket items like venue, caterer, photographer, videographer, stylist, florist and furniture/décor hire locked in you can relax and then worry about the little details later. Many vendors get booked a year or more in advance, so getting in early is the best way to avoid disappointment and get your planning on track. Another bonus is that once you have your vendors locked in they will contact you at the appropriate times to finalise details so you don’t have to try and keep track of every little thing that needs to be done.
It’s a good idea to be organised from an administrative perspective as well. Keep a file or electronic folder containing all vendor information including contracts and invoices and to set payment reminders in your calendar. If you are able it’s also worth paying off some of those invoices early so you aren’t left with too many payments needing to be made in the couple of weeks before the wedding when you will have other things to think about.
Tip #4 – Choose the right vendors and then trust them
Choosing the wrong vendors can actually result in more stress for you. You want vendors who you can trust and won’t need to micromanage – this means vendors who are professional, experienced, enthusiastic and share the same style as you. It is definitely important to look at a vendor’s previous work, experience and client testimonials, but in the end you also need to like them so make sure that you meet with them and see whether you click before signing anything. Finally, once you lock them in, trust them to do what you are paying them to do. The right vendor will add so much value to the planning of your day, well beyond the fee they are charging.
Tip #5 – Recognise the real significance of the day
Look at your wedding day for what it is – a celebration of your love and commitment to one another, shared with your loved ones. Remember why you are getting married in the first place – no, it’s not for the pretty flowers, expensive dress or delicious food – so if any of those details are stressing you out don’t let them. Appreciate that this is going to be an amazing day but it’s not because of the details – it’s because you are making a lifelong commitment to your partner and you will probably never again get to have all of your family and friends together in the one place at the one time. Enjoy it for what it is and don’t sweat the stuff that doesn’t really matter.
Photo credits from top to bottom: Teneil Kable; iZo Photography; CJ Williams Photography; Teneil Kable; Samm Blake.