LONDON, United Kingdom — The one person that the bride forgets to look after is herself. You may think this is an outrageous statement however it is true. I know that you might have heard that some brides are referred to as bridezillas, but this is because they are overwhelmed and focused on the wrong details of the wedding. A wedding is a microcosm of life on steroids. If you mix emotions with finances and relatives, then the outcome can be quite overwhelming and that is even before the wedding! Therefore, I have devised some great ways to de-stress yourself, not distress yourself and create some great ‘me-time’ so that you can enjoy every minute of it.
I would like to state that I am not a wedding planner, I am a bridal coach and my area of concern for the bride is her emotional health and wellbeing. I was an international catwalk model for 20 years and now, I am therapist within several methodologies and want to enlighten the bride on how to look after herself on the inside, and the outside.
Planning a Wedding is Like Running a Small Business
Planning a wedding is like running a small business. You have a budget, you need to hire staff, organise the food, the music and the seating plans, and then, be the star of the show. No wonder so many brides are in a state of meltdown when they are about to walk up the aisle.
I am sure we will all agree that when you have a plan, you get a much better result. If I asked you to drive from London to Edinburgh and I did not give you a map, it would take you a long time to get there. A bride puts a lot of emotional pressure on herself to plan and produce a fabulous wedding and walk up the aisle like a supermodel. But without a plan to manage her expectations, deal with difficult relatives, feel calm and confident when walking up the aisle, she will not get a great result. Many married women of all ages tell me that they wish they could do it all over again because their wedding went so quickly that they can hardly remember it. After planning a great event for years, you certainly want to remember as much as you can. So let’s have a look at some important points.
1. Have Common Sense
The first and most important one to remember is why you are planning this fabulous event. Most of my tips will sound obvious and more like common sense, but common sense is the most uncommon thing in the world, especially when planning a wedding!
I believe the purpose of the wedding has lost its meaning through the media, celebrity magazines and social media. For many people, it is more like a competition to see who has the biggest and best wedding whilst forgetting why they are there in the first place. The whole point of a wedding is to legally declare your love to another person in front of your family and friends, followed by a celebration and I think this has been lost in the desire to have the ‘perfect’ wedding.
2. Avoid Perfection
Take the word ‘perfect’ out of your vocabulary and replace it with the ‘best for me’. There has never been the perfect wedding and there never will be. I have spoken to hundreds of photographers and wedding planners and none of them have ever been to the perfect wedding. This word creates too much pressure to create something that is impossible. Therefore, relax and enjoy the good and bad moments. It will make your wedding more memorable!
3. Always Communicate
This next tip is so obvious but it needs to be said. Communicate with everyone, especially with the people closest to you, including your fiancé! Many brides do not include their fiancé in any of the planning or decision making; sometimes the groom only knows the time, the date, the venue and what he will be wearing on his wedding—the rest is a surprise. If your family or his family gives you money towards the wedding, thank them profusely and have a discussion about the money. Is it a loan? Is it a gift? If it is a loan, ask how long you have to repay it. If it is a gift, determine how much involvement in the wedding they want in lieu of the ‘gift’. These may sound like awkward questions, but I have seen many families fall out over issues like this and if its not sorted out at the beginning, it will rear its ugly head somewhere down the line.
4. Take Control of Your Wedding
Another major issue is how much involvement the family has in the wedding. I know in some cultures, the mother still believes that it is her wedding, but as I have said to many controlling mothers (with a smile on my face): “You are already married; you have had your turn and this is your daughter’s wedding”. This ‘advice’ is sometimes met with a stern look but they get it. Someone has to tell mothers to back off. Again, I have seen mothers and daughters’ relationships breakdown irreparably because of the control the mother takes over the wedding planning.
The Focus Is On You
So there you are on the morning of your wedding; all the planning is over and this is now all about you and getting ready, walking up the aisle and enjoying one of the most memorable days of your life but… will you? Are you ready or are you going to have a breakdown because you have thought of everyone else’s feelings but forgot about your own? At this point many brides tell me that they do not want to cry but they will because those are tears of joy. I do not agree. These are tears because you are overwhelmed and these can be avoided by preparing an environment that is going to make you feel good.
It is scientifically proven that we interpret our world through our five senses and the more positively we stimulate those senses, the better we feel. We can slow ourselves down and enjoy the wedding so that we do not feel that we missed most of it and want to do it all over again. So let’s get started…
- Smelling—The sense of smell is so powerful that it can take us back instantly to another time by just being a familiar smell. Therefore, create a wonderful smell in the room where you are getting ready with scented candles (if appropriate) or reed diffusers. It is amazing how a beautiful smell can calm you down and relax you.
- Hearing—Create a play list of your favourite songs, not sad songs, songs that make you sing or at least hum. Music is a powerful stimulant to release happy chemicals like serotonin so that we feel better. The additional benefit is that singing makes you breathe and brides forget to breathe!
- Seeing—Have your favourite photo of you and your fiancé in a picture frame in the room so that you can always look at it. If at anytime you are feeling overwhelmed, look at it and remind yourself what the wedding is all about.
- Tasting—Prepare in advance some bite size sweet and savoury foods so that you can eat them throughout the day to keep your blood sugar even and your energy high. Foods that have slow burning carbohydrates and high protein like fish, eggs and meat on wholegrain bread or crackers are your best options. This will make such a difference to your mood and your hunger and keep you balanced for the excitement ahead.
- Feeling—All of the above techniques will release endorphins and serotonin and you will feel amazing and in control of your emotions.
Just before you are about to leave for the ceremony, get everyone out of the room and take 5 minutes for yourself to breathe. Take three deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth and on the third exhalation as you let the breath out, sigh and say ‘all is well’ and then continue to focus on your breathing until that is all you are doing. Escort any other thoughts out of your mind and just focus on your breathing. This will give you clarity and calm and put you in a great state of mind for the ceremony.
When you get to the venue and before you walk up the aisle, take another 3 breaths as before and this time, on the third exhalation, smell your bouquet and then breathe out with a positive sigh and say ‘all is well’. Now you are ready and in control of your feelings, not the other way around.
You are in the most amazing state to create a wonderful atmosphere with your congregation. When you smile, people smile back at you and the energy in the room is positive. Non-verbally communicate with your congregation and thank them for coming by looking at them and smiling. If you find this difficult, look at their ‘third eye’ and smile. This is the space between your real eyes and slightly higher so it appears that you are looking at them in the eye but you are not. Magic!
And finally, now you are married and at the reception. Married couples tell me that it all went so quickly that they do not remember very much. In order to slow the wedding down and create even more wonderful memories, create some ‘us-time’. Every hour or as much as you can, disappear for 5 to 10 minutes to a pre-designated room where it is only the two of you and share your experiences and observations over a glass of champagne. Although you are two people in the same room, you have very different perspectives that are worth sharing during such a special moment of your lives. If you leave it until the end of the night you may be too tired or if you leave until the next morning, you may be hung over and not remember some of it.
I hope that some of this ‘me-time’ and ‘us-time’ tips will ease the making of your wedding and provide you the right platform to enjoy the most important day of your life!