As most of you are aware Ian and I got engaged recently. We are over the moon and in being totally honest, have loved planning a wedding so far. I hadn’t spoken about this here because I didn’t think it fitted however a recent conversation made me realize that actually, weddings can be a really stressful event for some people. During a night out recently while chatting about our wedding someone said to me ‘I am so glad it is all behind us, I found it very stressful’. While I appreciate everyone’s experiences are different and big events in our life can at times become stressful, my own experience so far couldn’t have felt further from this description. I appreciate that we are only five months in but we really haven’t gotten frazzled about anything yet and we have most things booked. Nonetheless, this comment hit a cord and got me thinking. On further investigation, I realized that the event of a wedding is a common cause of feelings of overwhelment and increased pressure in our life. According to the pain doctor in the UK, 23 % of people say that getting married is the most stressful thing they have done. Therefore, I thought I would share my top tips to help prevent this wonderful time becoming anything else but joyful. Before I get started, it is important to highlight that just like most people there are parts of the day that will be difficult and there are people who won’t be there that we would love to be. Nevertheless, it is important to focus on the abundance of love available on such a joyous occasion without giving too much heed to things that we wish were different. Life changing events, positive or negative are experienced in different ways however so much of our coping is based on our reactions to scenarios. I think the way you view things in life always impacts how they affect your mental health. For me personally getting married has always been something I have dreamed about from a young age. I have a shoe box (boot box – big box) of cuttings and memorabilia I have been collecting for as long as I can remember with the hope of one day getting to experience a wedding. Therefore from the minute we got engaged, I have embraced every celebration and decision with complete joy.
We were both discussing it recently and agreed that we have never received so many lovely wishes of congratulations, kindness and love from our friends and family. It has been amazing and so lovely to experience. This showering of happy wishes really wasn’t something I had anticipated. As significant as it is in our life that we are getting married, we appreciate that everyone else is busy with their own life therefore we are really grateful that people have taken the time out to celebrate with us.
In the hope to dissipate some of the notorious wedding stresses, I am going to share what we have found helpful so far:
- Financial Cost
I used to often wonder if the massive expenditure for one day is a waste. Last year, I had the pleasure of being bridesmaid for my best friend Aoife. Through this lovely experience, I quickly realised that the expenditure is not just for one day. It includes all the lovely days you spend with your bridal party picking dresses or suits, celebrating the engagement, enjoying countless bottles of champagne together, dinners, hen parties and stag parties etc. Each of these days are mini wedding celebrations and they provide the chance for you to spend time with the people you love most in the world. Once I changed this thinking, the cost of the wedding no longer held as much significance because it is more than worth it for these wonderful experiences that I will always cherish and remember.
- ‘Do Your Own Thing Be Your Own King’
One of my favourite quotes has always been ‘Do Your Own Thing, Be Your Own King’ or in this instance ‘Be Your Own Queen’. It has never felt more important than when planning our wedding. Everyone has an opinion about what a wedding should be like and whether that comes from a place of love or judgment it really shouldn’t influence the day or the couple’s decisions. You are never going to please everyone despite your best efforts so make sure to remain true to your wishes and values first and foremost before you take anyone else’s on board. I think having self-awareness and being clear about the types of things that stress you out is important so that you can pre-empt any possible anxieties and manage them early on in the planning.
The most important thing to both of us is that people enjoy the day. There is no pressure in anyone to perform in keeping with usual traditions such as speeches, prayers, night before routines unless people actually want to partake in the day. One example of how I did my own thing is that I went wedding dress shopping on my own. I was really nervous about wedding dress shopping because I even sometimes find it difficult to find a dress to wear as a guest at a wedding. I had visions of not being happy with any dress. I didn’t know how I would react seeing myself in a wedding dress and I wanted to get a sense of the styles that suited me before inviting my lovely bridesmaids to share the experience. I told no one and happily went to the first wedding dress shop. It was such a lovely relaxed experience which I really enjoyed and would highly recommend doing if you are worried about this aspect. I really think it enhanced my enjoyment of wedding dress shopping with the girls when it came to it.
- Try Not to Argue About Any Decisions With Your Partner
I understand with so many decisions it can at times easily lead to a disagreement. In our experience if our conversations about wedding planning ever get heated, we remind ourselves of the actual meaning of the day and refuse to allow planning become something that we are disagree on.
- Share the Load With Each Other
While we have loved planning for our wedding there is no denying that there is a lot to be done. I have been pleasantly surprised at how hands on Ian has been. To be honest he has probably done more than me. It has made everything so much easier and less stressful. We are both very similar with what aspects are important to us and have really enjoyed discussing ideas together. It is so important to be supportive to one and other and understand why different aspects of the day are important individually and collectively.
- Know the Experts to Call on For Advice
Ask fewer people but the right people for advice as it is often more valuable. We were torn between two venues and requested the assistance of my trusty uncle Frank and his wife Ruth as they are big entertainers and are very familiar with both venues. They really helped us weigh up the pros and cons which assisted in making this decision.
Also trust the people you are paying to provide a service on your wedding day. Try to use professionals who are familiar with the venue. This will save time as the photographer will know the most idyllic spots for photos. Trust that the florist knows what flowers will suit best and the stylists are well capable of insuring you and your bridal party look their best. Let the experts lead their area of expertise so that you can enjoy the day that is; what you are paying for after all.
- When Choosing Suppliers Make Sure That You Like Them and Trust your Gut
When picking your florist, band, photographer, videographer, makeup and hair artists, cake artist, wedding coordinator make sure that you like them. They are going to be around you on one of the most important days of your life so make sure that they are positive people who will enhance your day. This has been really important for us when choosing professionals to be involved on the day. We have decided to not use certain suppliers because We just didn’t find them warm so go with your gut and know what is important to you and your husband to be. It is also important that the suppliers work well together particularity the videographer and photographer.
- Celebrate All of the Little Things
You only get married once so make sure to enjoy the process. We have made a conscious effort to celebrate all of the little milestones like choosing a venue and they have been some of the nicest evenings spent together. Just yesterday I said yes to the dress. I had taken my beautiful bridesmaids with me dress shopping but was torn between two dresses. I needed my lovely mammy’s advice to make the final decision. We had the most magical day together and she knew straight away which one suited the best and clarified what my heart was already saying. Memories that last a lifetime are made and I’ll always remember the look on her face when I came out in the dress. We celebrated with a lovely lunch and champagne in the Shelbourne Hotel. Ian’s parents are coming to Dublin in a few weeks so that we can take them to see the venue and I will show his mother my dress and create meaningful memories with them also. These types of days are so lovely and are what makes getting married so magical so make sure to cherish them; so that you will add to your memory bank with those you love the most.
Most of all don’t lose sight of the fact that this is a very happy and joyous occasion. What matters is who is waiting for you at the top of the aisle and having your loved ones with you on the special day so if you find yourself worrying about the smaller details always bring yourself back to this.
I hope you found it helpful and if anyone would like to share their wedding planning tips and tricks please do so below.
Happy Sunday everyone,