After the initial euphoria of getting engaged, booking the venue and starting to plan the big day has worn off, most brides-to-be fall into a slump. They hit the wedding planning wall. With sooooo much to do and (usually) limited resources, what started out being fun and exciting now seems pretty overwhelming.
In this blog I provide some advice for those who are midway through the planning and, honestly, just feeling a bit over it all. Here’s 6 things to remember when your wedding planning gets tough.
1. You are not alone
If you’re sick of filling in “contact me” forms and daunted by the number of tasks still on your to do list, please believe me when I say this… you are not alone. Every single person who has ever planned a wedding has been where you are right now. It’s relentless. It’s massive. It feels like you’ll never get through it all. And it’s really. Freakin. Hard.
Sadly no one tells you this at the beginning. Unless you have a straight-talking, no BS friend who’s already been through this, chances are no one warned you. Maybe women feel embarrassed to admit they’re struggling. Maybe it’s the fear of being judged. Or maybe they just don’t want to scare you! Whatever the reason, the frustrations of planning a wedding are glossed over and covered up far too often.
But I can promise you, it happens to nearly everyone. Don’t believe me? Jump into any wedding Facebook group and post the question… “is anyone else so sick of this, they want to elope?” and see what happens!
2. It’s YOUR wedding
Another thing that causes stress for many future brides is their family and friends. Normally it’s not intentional and comes from a place of kindness but jeez, it can get annoying!
Suddenly everyone has an opinion on what you should wear, what you should eat and who should be invited to YOUR wedding.
If you’re in this situation, try not to let it get to you. Remember that these people are most likely wanting to help. To avoid things getting heated when you disagree, try this… take a deep breath, smile and say something like “that’s an interesting idea, thank you, I’ll definitely consider it”. This usually diffuses most situations and gives you breathing room to make your own decisions.
Because they MUST be your decisions, ultimately. You and your partner. This is a day to celebrate who you are and what you love. Don’t be snowballed into doing what other people want. You’ll end up regretting it if you do.
3. Go back to basics
A good strategy to stop you tearing your hair out or calling the whole thing off, is to simplify. Yes, there are millions of things you COULD have but what do you actually need? Are the things you’re stressing over really necessary or are they just obligatory wedding fluff?
When I work with clients, we create a unique Wedding Concept, right at the start. The process of doing this helps the couple to understand what is important to them and how they can weave the magic of their relationship into the story of their wedding. Instead of trying to make all their ideas fit into a predefined theme, they only book and buy things that align with their concept. The experienced of planning the wedding is enriched and the day itself is more personal and memorable.
Even without a clearly defined Wedding Concept, you can still go back to basics. For example, if neither of you have a sweet tooth, why spend hours and hours (and hundreds of dollars) choosing a cake? Because tradition dictates that you must? Sorry but that’s BS. Maybe you prefer savoury... how about a cheese-wheel cake? Or a sushi cake? Or no cake at all? All totally fine.
Don’t buy into all the hype that you need to have X,Y & Z for your wedding because you don’t.
A celebrant, two witnesses and yourselves. That’s all you legally need. The rest is all completely optional so have fun with it.
4. Arguments are par for the course
Even if your partner is the most chilled out person in the world, chances are you’re going to argue about the wedding. Too much involvement will stress you out, too little involvement will stress you out. With so much time, money and effort going into this, it’s inevitable that tensions will run high and you’ll take it out on each other.
As a general rule, one person will assume more responsibility than the other (you KNOW that)! which can lead to feelings of resentment or frustration when the other half isn’t seen to be pulling their weight. I always say that weddings bring out both the best and the worst in people and this is mainly due to the high level of emotions involved.
If the occasional (or constant!) arguments are bothering you, just bear in mind that it’s very common to react this way in such intense situations. Think of it as a test run for your marriage, remember this is a long road and there will be some bumps along the way!
5. It’s ok... to be NOT ok
This point ties in closely with the first one but I think it’s important to let you know that stress, anxiety, overwhelm and even downright panic are all perfectly ok right now. These are normal states to be in at this stage of your life.
Planning a wedding is a HUGE job. There are HUNDREDS of tasks to be done. The pressure to plan the perfect day can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders and that’s alright. Interspersed with the joyful moments, there will be some challenges. No rainbow without the rain right?
How you deal with these feelings will determine how you find the entire wedding planning experience but the first step is to accept that they can and will occur. Unless you are superwoman (and even she didn’t plan a wedding) you will feel some degree of anxiety along the way. There’s a reason why Bridezilla is in the dictionary!
6. This too shall pass
An oldie but goodie, obvious but so relevant to where you’re at right now. No matter how challenged you are feeling, remember this won’t last forever. It’s like a roller-coaster, ups and downs but ultimately it will end. And what’s waiting for you at the end? Only the BEST DAY of your entire life!
The average engagement sits somewhere between 12 and 18 months. It’s a sizable chunk of your life but hopefully only a fraction of your life together. Take it step by step, one day at a time and you’ll get there eventually.
And when you do… I absolutely promise you… it will all be worth it!
Wishing you all the very best.