Is Control Ruining Your Wedding?

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!



On my Facebook page recently I posted this tip of the day “Planning a wedding is great and very exciting but remember to focus on the relationship. Without it there won’t be a wedding” and one of my male followers wrote “Indeed…I felt like a spare part at my own wedding!”

Needless to say, I found this a very disturbing comment and it confirmed what many of us have known but don’t want to talk about.   Most brides think it’s ‘their’ wedding and act accordingly.  As the Bridal Coach I’m not interested in whether people like everything I say, I’m more interested in keeping it real so here goes!

You are embarking on one of the most important journeys of your life and you’ve chosen to do it with another person…a person that you love and he loves you.  Not every guy is interested in every last detail of the wedding as you are but he would definitely like to be involved in some way.  Nowadays, most couples are paying for the wedding themselves, he’s financially committed already, so include him.

I’ve spoken to many brides about this and they say that their fiancé does things differently than they do but that doesn’t make it wrong, just different!  I’m sure some of you have watched ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ and have seen that although the groom may be coming from a different perspective, he gets it right in the end (most times). 

So here are my top tips for engaging the groom in the wedding planning…

1.  Your way may not always be the right way if it’s not right for both of you.  Include him in the wedding planning from the start and find out what jobs he would like to do, no matter how large or small.  Keep him involved!


2.  The term ‘bridezilla’ exists for a reason.  Don’t become one!    50% of marriages end in divorce so start as you mean to go on and treat him as an equal.  Even if he doesn’t want to be involved in every decision, tell him what the decisions are so that he’s not surprised on the day.


3.  Respect the way that he accomplishes the task.  He may be slower or faster than you in his execution of the task, so let him do it his way.  You will get the result you want if you respect and support his way of working. 


4.  The only surprise that the groom really wants on the wedding day is how you look.  He needs to be included in everything else.  It’s all about how you present information to him.  Make it fun, make it enjoyable, make it personal to both of you. 


5.  Keep it simple.  He doesn’t want or need all the detail that you do.  Present the information to him in a short, concise way so that he gets the information he needs quickly and efficiently.  Less is more!


6.  If he has ideas of his own, listen to them, love them for 15 minutes and then see how you feel.  We all want our ideas listened to and his are relevant too. 














I read a lot of wedding magazines, as I’m sure you do too, and they are full of great information.  Recently I was looking at a magazine and it had this free 2-page wedding planning list that covered everything from deciding on your wedding date to what to eat the night before your wedding.  The one thing that none of these lists mention and, in my opinion, is the most important item on your wedding planning checklist is to talk to your families about their expectations. The thing is that when we get engaged we are in a ‘love bubble’ and start focusing on the venue, the beautiful wedding dress we are going to wear, the beautiful flowers, the food, the guest list, the transportation, the wedding favours and forget the most important item, which is speaking to our respective families about their expectations and involvement in the wedding planning. I can see some of you nodding your heads as you read this because you know exactly what I’m talking about!  Guess what, your parents have probably been thinking about your wedding day as long, if not longer, than you have and they have expectations that they may never have verbalised to you.  So this is the time to discuss them.  Communication is key as your families will be your support system during your wedding planning, whether financially, emotionally or both. Some parents may offer you money towards the wedding, some may want to invite their friends, some may want you to have a large society wedding and you may want a small intimate wedding.  Believe me, I have heard them all and what I have learned is that everyone involved in the wedding, especially your family has an opinion on what kind of wedding you should have.  MY TOP TIPS

  • Sit down with your respective families and make sure you and your fiancée are in a very good state of mind.
  • Focus on getting a positive outcome from the discussion.
  • Stop thinking about what your family is going to say and trying to mind read them.
  • Listen!  They will tell you exactly how they feel but if you’re talking over them or thinking about the next clever thing you are going to say, you won’t hear them.
  • Smile.  It will soften the whole conversation and allow you to say difficult things without being offensive.  This is not the time to alienate your family.
  • Be willing to compromise but not to the point that you forfeit your wedding dream.   It is your wedding; they have had their turn!
  • Give your parents designated roles in your wedding planning.  They will feel involved and you can control their involvement.
  • If the situation becomes difficult SBS…Stop, Breathe, Solve.  This works every time!
  • And finally, if your family really wants something to happen at your wedding that you don’t agree with, tell them that you will think about it and get back to them.  This will prevent a confrontation and give you and them time to reconsider.

Your wedding is about love, joy, commitment, closeness, friendship, fun, families coming together and so much more so keep these thoughts in the focus so that you achieve them!

The Truth Behind Choosing Your Wedding Dress

When choosing a wedding dress I would say the most important piece of advice I can

Jeremy Brandrick, Wedding Dress Designer

offer is to have fun and enjoy the time you spend choosing your wedding dress.  As this is the dress you are wearing for the most special day of your life, it is meant to be the best experience you have shopping EVER, and if it isn’t, then go somewhere where it is.

Secondly, I would stick to your budget. It avoids disappointment during this fun period of shopping. There are beautiful gowns out there at every price.  Also, I would offer that a good sales person or designer would give you a decent consultation over Champagne or tea to really discuss what you are looking for and offer suggestions before you start even trying dresses on.

I believe brides have had an idea of their perfect gown in their minds from a very young age, and certainly once engaged they put a lot of research into looking for dresses.  It is a store’s or designer’s job to make sure it is the right wedding dress for them, tweaking here, advising on more flattering silhouettes there, adding flowers or bows here and so on. For example the bespoke arena where I work, and with my collection, I hope the designs serve as more of a spring-board or showcase of ideas and the endless possibilities that are open out there for every bride.  

You should never be rushed or bullied around or feel uncomfortable in any way.  Having said that, if you are comfortable with the sales person or designer, I would then offer the advice to listen to what they suggest.  They may come up with something that you would never have thought of and it turns out to be amazing.  They have helped many brides and the good ones have a wealth of knowledge. 

Now I hope that all my comments above are taken positively, but honestly, what could be the most expensive garment purchase you ever make should also come with the best experience. 

On a more practical level, I say that a bride needs to consider her body type in shopping for a wedding dress.  Most brides already know their own body types and what suits them the most, but don’t be afraid to try a few gowns on as an affirmation of what suits you best.  Pretty much every issue of every bridal magazine or website always has a ‘what type of dress is right for your body type’ section and as part of a brides research she should be well aware of it.  But again, a good sales person or designer may be able to offer alternatives.  

You need to consider height, weight, body proportion, anything you especially would like to conceal, is there anything you would especially like to show off?  A long neck?  Beautiful arms?  Wedding dresses are perfect examples of clothes that can both conceal and enhance at the same time. You shouldn’t spend all day pulling your dress up if it is strapless.  That means it either doesn’t fit, or plainly just that you are not used to wearing strapless.  All of my strapless gowns for example already come with a bridal corset inside, so: a) you get part of your trousseau with the wedding dress, and b) it forms the foundation for a strapless style constructed over it. If you are not used to strapless, then perhaps cap sleeves or something else is better for you.  Consider how long you are going to be wearing the dress. If it is all day, then will you need one with a bustle so you are able to dance later? 

The weather is a factor even, even which shade of white or ivory or colour that works best with your skin tone.  One thing also about fabrics, do you remember when Princess Diana got out of the carriage when she married Prince Charles, her wedding dress was creased to Heaven and back, so perhaps do a little scrunch test yourself, some fabrics naturally look creased, Silk dupion always does a little, it part of its charm.  Duchesse satin holds itself very well, chiffon can look creased in a very short space of time, especially if you are sitting for a long time in the back of a car or at the reception, so try out different fabrics while you are shopping too. Anything slightly synthetic will, I hate to say, perform better than pure silk, that’s why they are made! 

The train length is also important, it relates back to the kind of aisle you are walking down, to what type of veil you are having.  Also remember that for most of the service people are going to be looking at your back.  So gowns with back interest are always appropriate, beading or lace on the hem of the skirt, bows or flowers.  But then, pretty much all of the wedding photographs are going to be of the front of the dress, so again consider ornamentation.  Beware though of over-gilding the lilly.  There is no need to have a heavily encrusted bodice all the way up to your bust if you are going to be wearing a lot of jewellery that would make for a very visually busy décolleté.  

Also, when you buy an off the rack style or semi bespoke, there are often massive alteration charges that sometimes negate the original price tag, which are all included when you go bespoke.  Certainly for a bespoke company like mine, a lot of the actual cost comes through fabrics and the amount of handwork that physically goes into a dress.  If you are buying fabric at £95 a meter and a dress needs 10 meters then it quickly mounts.  Team that with £5 tulle, but you need 150 meters of it, in an underskirt that takes 40 hours to make at £35 an hour you can begin to understand the complexities of cost in this arena. But that’s not to say that custom needs to cost the earth.  

Personally I think a simple wedding dress with a £20,000 price tag on it just because it is in this store or by that designer is pointless, and especially now brides at all levels of the market are understanding cost to value ratios. If you buy a £500 dress for example, make it a simple design, as a £500 dress covered in lace, heavily embroidered and beaded with a cathedral length train is more likely to look like a rag as there are too many expensive elements that should cost more, that you really are buying poor workmanship, even if the design is the best ever.  And similarly, why bother buying a simple dress for £20,000, throw it all on! 

Finally, my last piece of advice is to shop within your budget and be aware of extra costs like alterations. You commit to a dress months in advance and deposits are not cheap.  Also, when you have chosen the dress, STOP looking or you will drive yourself insane on top of the rest of the wedding planning, if you shop smartly,with the correct sales person you really shouldn’t make a mistake.

Also, remember whom the day is about.  Your Fiancé and You. I believe each bride would have an idea of her Fiancés taste so will dress appropriately, but you are not dressing for your mother or mother in law to be, so the dress should reflect you not them.”

Jeremy is a friend of mine and he lives and designs in New York although his bridal dresses will soon be available in the UK.  Have a look at his website.

I Forgive Myself

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!

Where are you on your list of things to do?

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?


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