I speak to a lot of brides and a topic that comes up again and again is control. When a bride begins to plan a wedding she is suddenly put in control of a lot of things like a large budget, where to have the wedding, who to invite, what to wear, what to eat, what music to have and so on.
Of course, she includes her fiancé in these decisions as much as possible, however she is ultimately in charge. As she makes more decisions, she becomes more confident and more overwhelmed at the same time! She also wants more control and begins to realise that there are some things that she can’t control like weather, relatives and travel. And as one bride recently told me that “The things I can’t control stress me out the most!”
The thing is that when the bride is planning the wedding she can begin to develop disproportionately strong feelings over details. Especially the details that she can’t control and this creates intense stress. Here are some of my top tips to manage unrealistic expectations about things that you can’t control:
- SBS…Stop, Breathe, Solve! This is my number one tip as it works every time.
- You can’t control the weather so let it go! You live in the UK so it’s very likely that it will rain. If the sun comes out, it’s a bonus!
- As yourself, will this apparently life-altering detail really matter a year from now, or even a day from now.
- Check in with your fiancé regularly to see how you both are doing and ask him if you are behaving out of character around the wedding planning. Listen to his answer!
- Friends, relatives and alcohol can create a feisty situation. Once someone has had too much to drink, coffee won’t instantly change it so ask for help from other friends and relatives to help diffuse the situation.
- Keep everything in perspective. It is a wedding, filled with love and joy, not how rare the beef is or how cold the Champagne is. What matters are you and your fiancé’s state of mind and mood. Keep them positive!
- Some brides I talk to regret that they got so stressed during the wedding planning and want a chance to do it again because they realise it can be a wonderful experience. Get it right the first time…enjoy!
- And finally…your wedding day is meant to be a joyous time but there will be more wonderful and joyous days in your married life so take the pressure off and have fun!
The first day of any year is a weird and wonderful thing. Some people feel refreshed and raring to go. Bring it on they say and stare down the New Year with renewed energy and determination. Others look back at the previous year dwelling on all the things that have gone wrong. Regretting things that they did and wishing that they had done them better. Stop it! The best thing about the past is that it’s over. You did the best you could with the information and experience you had at the time. The important thing to remember is to take something away from any situation or decision that you think you regret. Otherwise, what’s the point of going through it? There’s a silver lining to every negative situation, you just have to make sure you have your eyes open so that you can see it!
Which brings me to the important bit…forgive yourself. Yes, that’s right…forgive yourself. Someone has to! You are your own worst critic and until you forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you think you have made, you won’t move on. Some people worry about what other people think but guess what…people don’t think about what you’re doing nearly as much as you think they do. The person’s opinion that really matters is yours. You’re with yourself more than anyone else. You talk to yourself all the time, whether you realise it or not. It’s called your internal dialogue. And guess what? You can control what you say to yourself and how you say it. So be kind to yourself. Talk nicely and forgive yourself for whatever it is you think you did wrong. Make it your new mantra for 2011…’I forgive myself’. It’s amazing how a few words repeated over time will make you feel different. You’ll see. You will begin to feel lighter, clearer and softer.
And one more thing. While you’re at it, forgive others as well. Grudges are a useless waste of your time and energy. In the lead up to your wedding there may be people that really annoy you and may not understand what you want, need and desire. Let it go. Forgive them for not being able to read your mind. They’re human, just like you and may not be psychic so communicate clearly, ask for help and accept people’s limitations…we all have them!
I got a frantic phone call the other day from a bride to be saying that she is getting married next weekend and is ‘rubbish’ in front of the camera…her words not mine! She wanted to know if I could come and help her before the wedding although it was very short notice and I said I could. In fact, we’re meeting on Sunday to get her in a good state to work with the photographer and camera so that she feels and looks good in her wedding photos.
There are 2 reasons I tell you this and the first one is about YOU, the bride. I see brides do this all the time. They spend months making plans, finding the wedding venue, tasting wedding cake, buying the dress and going to the fittings, choosing the flowers, and on and on. They forget about themselves! I know you might be saying, no we don’t, but you do. I’m not talking about manicures, pedicures, massages, make up and hair trials, I’m talking about enjoying the process of planning, having fun with it, keeping the stress low and looking forward to your important day with curiosity and excitement. How many of you are really excited in a good way?
Secondly, it is a lot easier than you think to make some changes now. My frantic bride thought it was too late to do anything about her situation but it’s not. The beauty of the human brain is that we learn quickly and we learn even more quickly when we are passionate about getting something right. How ridiculous is it that you are spending large sums of money and time on planning your wedding and all you are feeling is stress? So, my suggestion to you is build in some time for yourself. Put aside a bit of time everyday where you are alone and breathe deeply, make some good images of what the next step will look like and how much fun it will be and make sure your internal dialogue is saying good things to you and if not tell it to SHUT UP! You will begin to notice how much more enjoyable the wedding planning process becomes and I’m sure your fiancé will notice too! This is meant to be a time to plan for a great event so get yourself into a great state and the fun will follow.
You may be saying how does this advice help a bride who is not good in front of the camera? Easy, if she feels calm and confident it will show in her eyes, smile and posture so the pictures will reflect this and she will be much happier with the result. Go on, do it…what do you have to lose?