Hope you are all well, and truly sprung into spring!
I’ve been a busy little bee since I wrote my introductory piece — booking up some of the key elements for mine and Ian’s big day, I promise, I will be writing lots about these in the coming weeks.
But today, and before I spend months writing about flowers and food and all the fun stuff that comes along with planning a wedding, I wanted to write a post on an issue which is really important to me, and I hope will resonate with a lot of you too.
Getting engaged is awesome, I’m sure we can all agree on that, no complaints, moving on! But for some of us, the attention that goes alongside getting engaged, the questions, the decisions, well, it can all be totes emosh and a bit overwhelming.
Especially if you are like me, and prone to bouts of anxiety and general over thinking.
I spend my working life making big decisions and delegating ideas and tasks under really tight time constraints, every day. For some inexplicable reason, this tends to mean that when I get home and I am faced with simple decisions over what to have for dinner, or what to watch on television – I am completely incapable!
So throw a wedding into the mix, and you have got yourself an explosion waiting to happen!
Since Ian and I got engaged I have questioned myself on everything. Including (but not limited to) the following:
1) Will anyone turn up (and if not, is it totes acceptable to drink all the table wine myself)?
2) Can I afford it?
3) Why does everyone keep asking me about a theme and feel, surely the theme is wedding and the feel is love?
4) Are there any diet and fitness plans that will turn me into Beyoncé overnight?
5) Can I afford it?
6) Is a runaway groom an actual thing?
7) Why have I been looking at “50 creative things to do with an old palette box,” for 6 hours? I was banned from the art room in school.
8) Am I even worth all this fuss?
9) Do I know what on earth I am actually doing?
10) Can I afford it?
And here in is the thrust of my post, in every one of those points above, is an intrinsic self-doubt that I have about myself. And as a chronic over thinker and worrier, a wedding can be a pretty big trigger point for some serious anxiety.
So, ladies and gents. Just how can we tackle wedding anxiety? Well, in my case, the answer is, write a list, obviously. Who doesn’t love a good list, AM I RIGHT?
(Disclaimer: I know for some this won’t even begin to mitigate against the pressure and stress, but personally I’ve found that starting small with something like a list can help me feel more in control!)
So, without further ado, here are the 5 stress-busting commandments that I will be trying to adhere to in the run up to next August, and although I know everyone is different, I hope some of them are helpful reminders to you too. If you have any anxiety reducing mantras that you are using, comment below, I would love to see them (and steal them!)
Finally, just remember we will all approach wedding planning in a different way, that’s why each and every wedding is wonderful — because each special day is a reflection of the special couple that plans it.
And by this, I mean go at your own speed in the planning process. It might be 5 weeks or it might be 5 years. Go for a timeline that feels achievable and suits your situation. Personally Ian and I have given ourselves just under 2 years for our planning, for a number of different reasons – but mainly because we wanted an opportunity to save up a bit as we didn’t have loads in the way of savings, and also, because of my M.E I wanted to be able to do things in phases rather than having to do it all at once. For others, 2 years might seem like an absolute lifetime, and there may be other reasons why you want to get hitched ASAP. A friend of mine planned her wedding within a few months because her dad was really sick, and she knew nothing was more important to her than having him there on the big day. However, if you have given yourselves a bit longer, don’t go making big decisions very quickly – there is always time to go away and make sure it’s the right choice for you. Appreciate that your vendors will need a decent amount of notice to make sure you are getting the best from them, and that the task you are employing them for is actually possible in a short space of time (invites, cakes, dress etc.) but if you have doubts before booking, sleep on it.
AWESOME VENDORS = AWESOME (stress free) DAY
This brings me to my next point. All the way through my wedding planning thus far, upon initial contact, if a potential vendor has not made me smile, made me feel excited about our day, or hasn’t come across as thoroughly knowing what the heck they are talking about, then the booking hasn’t been made. As a self-confessed control freak, putting this day in the hands of others is giving me ALL the sleepless nights. So it goes without saying that choosing great vendors has been of the utmost importance. Note, I did not say “the most expensive vendors.” Creative, hard working people within the wedding industry are worth their weight in gold (and every penny you pay for them) but value for money will look different to every bride. For me, the value lies in the fact that I can trust them to get it absolutely right for our day, and more importantly that I have cultivated a strong enough relationship with them in the planning process that they know what the day is all about for us. Always trust your gut instinct when it comes to vendors – after all, it’s your vision they need to realize, and no one knows that better than you.
YOUR HEART WILL JUSTIFY CERTAIN BIG SPENDS
Everyone has different priorities. That’s a given. So don’t compare your budget, and the things you have spent more or less on, with other weddings you might have been to. For some brides, a dress that cost earth will make them feel like they are walking on air and it’s a feeling they’ve always dreamt of. For others, a hessian sack will do if it means there can be free booze all day. Glorious flowers, a feast to rival Game of Thrones, Ed Sheeran singing you down the aisle, or just splashing out on a fantastic band (if Ed is busy). The fact is somewhere along the line there’s going to come a big ole cost that you know (after getting your breath back) will be worth every single penny because you know you’ll look back on it and remember exactly how awesome it made you feel for that one special moment/day. So don’t feel guilty, employ a little ‘you only live once’ and then maybe just switch your bank statements to online only and conveniently lose the password!
(BUT IT’S ALSO OK TO LET IT GO…LET IT GO…)
You would not believe it was possible for a 29-year-old woman to have so many nightmares over coconut matting marquee flooring. But believe me, the nightmares were bigger when considering paying for the alternative wooden floor and champagne carpet. What I am trying to say is there are always ways to save money, and there will always be compromises to make. Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful tools for inspiration, but they can also stress me the hell out. Why does everyone else’s wedding look so GOSH DARN amazing? The answer is usually either because, A) it’s an editorial not a real wedding B) The couple spent their priority money (see above!) on an awesome photographer or C) they are those hateful crafty types who can make a toilet roll tube into a work of art. Sorry in advance to my guests, because my wedding won’t be perfect – but totally us, neither am I minted – so you may just have to make do with an actual toilet roll tube as a favour. In short, concentrate on the small details that will actually matter to you and make a difference, the rest can be left to the inspo boards.
HELP, I NEED SOMEBODY!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Those toilet roll tube favours I mentioned above, sorry-not-sorry to my bridesmaids who will be making 90 of them. Say no more. Never forget as a bride and groom that the people around you can help, and will be harbouring secret talents you knew nothing about! These talents can play a tiny or a HUGE role in your day and will both lighten the load in your planning, but also will help to get everyone involved in a big way for your big day. At the moment my bride tribe and my mum are scouring every single home store in the country for rose gold photo frames, it’s like a really rubbish version of finders keepers, expect no Neil Buchanan and no one gets to keep anything. (Only 90s kids will appreciate the Neil Buchanan reference)
Finally, remember what (and who) you are doing it for.
To adapt a quote by F Scott Fitzgerald;
I love him, and that is the beginning and end of everything.