Dear brides everywhere,
You are your own worst enemy.
Someone who knows (AKA me)
Wedding planning is naturally stressful. You could be the most chill, yoga practicing, namaste-ing bride on the planet, but I guarantee that something will stress you out while planning your wedding day. That “something” might come in the form of your parents, the wedding party, and even your guests; it should never come from you. Here are 10 things brides do to stress themselves out, and what they should be doing instead.
Window Shopping Post-Purchase
As stressful as the wedding planning process can be, a lot of brides like to relive the stress over and over again. They never check anything off their list, because they can’t commit to any of their decisions. I have seen brides not only keep their “wedding gown” dress board on Pinterest live after getting the gown, but some brides keep adding to it.
What. Are. You. Doing?
You have the gown and now it’s time to move on. Or maybe it’s not the gown, and it’s the venue or the floral style. Whatever it is, once it’s done, you need to get out a black marker and cross it off the list. Disable any Pinterest board you have with inspiration if you’ve completed that item on the wedding planning to-do list. Looking at wedding gowns after you’ve already purchased your wedding gown, will only keep you wondering whether or not you made the right decision.
How do you stop planning stuff that you’ve already done? Don’t commit to anything until your gut tells you to. It’s important to leave enough time for each decision you make while wedding planning. If you rush your dress appointment or anything else, it’s likely you’ll wind up with buyer’s remorse. Then you wind up wasting time (that you don’t have) questioning your decisions and looking for other options.
You don’t need to bring 18 of your besties with you to find your wedding gown or to any other appointments for that matter. We’ve all seen “Say Yes to the Dress”, and you know how that works out, right? Oh, your bridesmaids aren’t “like that”?
Yeah…until they are.
Look, I have worked with brides that had the best bridesmaids ever. Their squads were helpful, generous, friendly, and did everything a bridesmaid is supposed to do. But, full transparency here, that rarely actually happens.
Even if you do have that group of girls that is supportive AF, they all have their own stuff like schedules and opinions. This means you will run into issues trying to get everyone together on the same date and time. If you have multiple appointments for your gown and their wardrobe (and you will) then you have an even bigger challenge.
Later in this blog, I talk more about how brides create enough drama with their own schedules and wedding appointments…
Along with juggling the availability of the people you want to attend appointments with you, dealing with their opinions is a whole other ordeal. If you’re inviting people with you, that’s basically opening the door for their comments about everything. After all, if you didn’t care what they had to say, then why did you invite them? At least…that’s how they will see it.
It’s no different than venting to a friend about some drama you’re going through: unless you preface the conversation with, “I just want you to listen and tell me I’m right”, you’re going to hear what they have to say. Now, personally, I have started many conversations like that, but that’s just me. Regardless, telling anyone that is taking time out of their lives to be with you for anything wedding related, that they are just there to smile and agree with you, isn’t acceptable.
Wedding Planner Tip: Most bridal salons and bridesmaid dress stores place a limit on the amount of people you can bring with you. Be sure to ask about that when making appointments.
Avoid the drama of dealing with schedules and opinions and attend appointments with 1-3 people closest to you such as your fiance, maid of honor, mom, sister, etc.
Listening to Everyone (Including Google)
Planning a wedding is unlike planning any other event and there is so much you do not know. For that reason alone, you should totally hire a wedding planner, but oddly enough, that doesn’t always happen…
It’s perfectly OK that you don’t know how to plan a wedding or if you go into the process expecting everything to be easy. One of the most common things I hear from my clients when we’re planning together is “I never thought about that”. You’re not supposed to think of those things if you don’t plan weddings for a living, so don’t be hard on yourself.
That said, even if you don’t ask, you will be getting advice from lots of people. Your friend that just got married 5 minutes ago and now knows everything about wedding planning and your aunt that read something in a wedding magazine 20 years ago will have something to say…as will plenty of others. Usually, these people are coming from a good place and have the best of intentions. There’s something about weddings that just make people want to get involved and help.
Advice from outsiders can quickly get overwhelming and often times, it’s conflicting. Either it’s not the same from one person to the next, or it’s not the same as what you know or read. Between unsolicited advice and advice you flat out asked for, the “help” you receive can do more harm than good.
If you’re doing your own research and reading wedding blogs (like this one) then you’re getting another set of opinions to think about. I’m not going to downplay online research, especially since I write a wedding planning blog, but there is a lot of misinformation out there. It’s important to consider the source of the information and who their audience is. For instance, this blog is written by a wedding planner (hi there) and all of my advice comes from a place of experience.
You wouldn’t rely on WebMd to figure out if you had strep throat or just a cold, and you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet about wedding planning tips either.
You can help keep unsolicited advice at a minimum by being direct with those giving it. Express that you appreciate the help, but that you and your fiance have everything under control. Make sure you’re not constantly asking “what do you think?” if you want others to keep opinions to themselves. Because if you open that door, expect people to walk on through it.
It’s All About You, Except When It Isn’t
Planning a wedding is a very exciting time in your life; the operative words in that sentence are “your life”. The lives of those around you don’t just stop because you are getting ready for the best day ever. It’s not always easy to keep perspective, especially when dealing with any of the major issues during the planning process. That doesn’t mean that you get to ignore them though.
I’m a pretty big believer that most brides who become bridezillas, do so because of outside influences. Actually, I believe that everyone is who they are today because of instances in their lives up to this point. However, a big part of who a person is, has to do with all of their decisions that they are responsible for.
OK, that’s enough for my philosophical stuff in this blog…anyway…
No matter what you are going through as a bride, those people around you are also going through their own stuff. They do not want to only hear from you about wedding stuff. Be honest with yourself: do you ask others how they are doing? When you ask them, is it just to be polite so you can go into your current wedding drama? When was the last time you took a day off from wedding planning to have lunch with a friend and just listened to them?
Let’s go to the next level with this one: When is the last time you spent time with your fiance without discussing anything about your wedding? Do you have to think about it? Then it’s been too long.
The world was spinning before you got engaged and it will be spinning after you get married. If you’re not careful, the relationships you go into your engagement with, will all change if you think that world only revolves around you.
Fitting the Dress
It doesn’t matter how thin or fit my brides are, because the majority of them will change their diet, hit the gym more, or even hire a personal trainer before the big day. The need to look our best for the wedding day is understandable, but it’s so important to be realistic.
A big part of being realistic, is ordering the wedding gown for the size that you are when they take your measurements. Oh, you don’t like that size? You’re not really that size in every single dress you’ve ever worn in your life?
Build a bridge and get over it.
The size of the wedding gown means absolutely nothing and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re fat. In fact, if you’re sensitive about it, tell the bridal salon you don’t want to know the numbers.
You will likely be asked for your dress size as well, and this is not a place to lie. Lying includes giving the size that you are determined to get to by the wedding date. Ladies, you have to order the dress in the size you actually are at the appointment. I seriously cannot emphasize this enough.
And no, it doesn’t matter if you have 2 months or 2 years until the wedding day and all the time you know you will need to get to your ideal size. A little thing like life and a major thing like wedding planning will get together and destroy those plans.
Still not convinced? Your wedding gown will arrive at the store 2-3 months before your wedding date, when you will be set up for your first fitting. Many gowns cannot be “let out” to fit you if they are too tight once they come in. That means you’ll either have to spend a fortune in alternative alterations, select a new dress (off the rack because it’s too late to order one now) or commit to that diet and gym plan you meant to implement and combine it will starvation due to limited time.
Don’t get to that first fitting crossing your fingers that the zipper actually zips. It is far easier to take a gown in and remove fabric than it is to make it bigger to fit you.
By the way, you’re already beautiful. Yes. You.
Competing with Other Weddings
If you’re anything like the brides I work with, you’re involved in or attending up to a dozen weddings before your own. That might seem like something out of a Hallmark movie as you and your besties will all be planning at the same time. Unfortunately, it pretty much never works out that way.
Earlier in the blog, I talked about the opinions of others and how much you will hear them in regard to your wedding details. That gets even more intense when chatting with anyone who is also planning a wedding. There are two scenarios:
Their wedding is nothing like yours
Their wedding is similar to yours
Both are bad. This isn’t a “lesser of two evils” type of thing either, and it’s all about how you manage it.
Let’s say you have someone in your circle planning a wedding that is the complete opposite of anything you would ever want. Many brides fall into the trap of criticizing that bride and her wedding details. They do exactly what they hate that others are doing to them. Some brides can’t help themselves and after cringing over the details of how the opposite bride is planning, they end up giving advice on how things should be done.
By “should”, I mean, how they are doing it.
Then there are the brides planning weddings with similar details to your own. This scenario gets played out more often than the first one as brides subconsciously spend more time with people like them than not. It’s very easy for a bride to start wondering if her friend stole wedding planning ideas that she had or was even outright copying her.
First and foremost: don’t be friends with people like that and certainly keep them out of your wedding party. If you think they are the type of person to hijack your wedding ideas for their own, they have no place in your life. Just saying. But if you’re stuck because you didn’t realize that or they’re related to you and thus, in the wedding party by obligation…
Keep your wedding ideas and everything you’re planning to yourself. Who are you using for vendors? You haven’t decided. What colors are you using? You’re still discussing it. Bob and weave through wedding planning questions and switch the subject by asking about their wedding plans.
Then watch how fast they switch the subject about the weather.
This one goes out to all of my “too nice for their own good” brides out there. If you don’t like something when wedding planning, then you have to say something. Your vendors, your friends, and your family are not mind readers. Don’t be that person who, when asked “What’s wrong?”, says, “Nothing.”
And don’t think you’ll always be asked the question in the first place.
Look, I understand not wanting to come across as a bridezilla but, it’s your wedding. There are unreasonable requests and there are just regular requests. The best way to tell if you’re being unreasonable? People that wonder if they’re being unreasonable aren’t unreasonable. It’s the same idea about being crazy…the crazy people never think they’re crazy and they certainly don’t wonder if it’s a possibility.
You might know everything you want for your wedding, not have any idea, or fall somewhere in between. One thing you will always know is what you don’t like. Never go to contract with a vendor that you don’t like but can tolerate. Remember that part about buyer’s remorse I mentioned earlier in this blog? Go read it again.
The same idea applies to anything you make decisions on: flowers, wardrobe, etc. There is a serious financial obligation behind every wedding, even the most minimal ones. You do not want to look back on your wedding and wish you had spoken about about something you didn’t like. Who wants to look at pictures of a bouquet that didn’t love but didn’t say anything about?
Wedding Planner Tip: The people working your wedding want to hear from you and will appreciate your feedback. Be direct and polite, and make sure to speak up as soon as there’s an issue. If you wait too long, sometimes there isn’t enough time to fix the problem.
While it is always important to voice your opinion and make sure you are getting what you want for the wedding day, expecting perfection is a recipe for disaster. At the end of the day, the wedding isn’t about the dress or the flowers; it’s about two people that found each other in a sea of 7 billion people. I talk about exactly that in my Huffington Post article here, which I recommend you read anytime you lose sight of what a wedding is all about.
There are thousands of details that go into that one day. It’s one day, no second chances to get it right, and something always goes wrong. Your ability to accept things for what they are will make all the difference. That isn’t to say you are expected to keep calm if a hurricane sweeps through on the wedding day, but you make the choice about how you feel.
Is it worth a total meltdown if your ceremony starts late? What about if guests are complaining to you (oh and they will) about where they are sitting/eating/literally anything else? Why let that affect your day? You found the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with and, bonus, they want to spend the rest of their life with you too.
That’s the beginning, middle and end of it really.