By new bride Lynda
‘Keep calm and carry on!’ Great advice, if we could all keep to it.
But every bride has at least one Bridezilla moment, and anyone who tells you otherwise is telling porkies.
It happened a couple of times to me. When my appointment at the beauticians got mixed up several weeks before the big day? Grrrr, don’t get me started....
And then, the day before the wedding, when our stationary company cheerfully phoned me up to say that our wedding guestbook was finally ready to pick up: ‘Sorry what’s that, you’ve put the WRONG name on the front cover???’
The word ‘rage’ doesn’t do it justice. It was a messy emotional combination of temper, tears, terror and a tantrum that my two-year-old niece would have been proud of.
Mercifully, those dumb-struck printers got the message pretty sharpish, and were able to provide us with a wedding book that did indeed have me marrying the right man on the front cover.
But I do think every bride can be afforded a couple of outbursts.
Thankfully, other than those two incidents, I really did manage to stay calm before and then during the big day – the best day of my life.
I’ve read in a couple of places over the past few days posts from brides who have let stress get the better of them – and I think that is really sad.
You don’t want to be a complete nightmare for friends and family, but more importantly, when it comes to the wedding day you absolutely DO NOT want to be so wound up that you don’t enjoy the occasion to its potential.
So having been there, done it and bought the tee-shirt (well, wedding dress) here are my tips for keeping calm and rising above the wedding mayhem:
1) Don’t worry about things you can’t control
The biggest thing I worried about ahead of my wedding day was the weather. I’m a sun worshipper, so having a sunny day was important (or so I thought!) but getting married abroad was just not an option.
From about three months before the wedding, I made sure I took a step back from everything two or three times each week and give myself a bit of a pep talk. I didn’t want to get so stressed that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the wedding preparations or the day itself.
I can honestly say that after waking up on the day, I didn’t even think about the weather until we were getting the taxi home at the end of the night when it was pouring down! It was only then when I realised how insignificant those worries had been in the grand scheme of things.
You can’t control the weather, and there are lots of things about the wedding that are ultimately out of your hands. You have to remember what the wedding is really all about – marrying the person you love. As long as you say those vows and sign that register, whatever else happens is secondary, and certainly not worth stressing about.
2) Lean on your bridesmaids
It was great to have bridesmaids with a range of skills to help out! From putting my jewellery on to helping with my train and telling other people to give me space when it was needed, they were brilliant. Above all, they kept the mood light and relaxed with their sense of humour.
They will do everything they can to keep you calm and keep any problems from you. For example, all of the straps broke on the dresses and one of the zips also broke, but I had no idea this had happened until I returned from our Minimoon!
Also, our wedding photographer was terrific. We met up with him three times before the wedding, so we really got to know him. He was very organised, and even beat us to planning our wedding day from the moment we woke to leaving the reception in the evening!
Some wedding photographers can be really bossy and annoying and add stress to the day, but having someone there who was authoritative, experienced and a safe pair of hands helped massively with any nerves, and he liaised brilliantly with the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
3) Don’t ‘diet’ – change your lifestyle
Like lots of brides, I lost weight for my wedding dress, but I did it gradually over a decent length of time. Diets can force you into an eating plan that isn’t compatible with your social life and if you aren’t careful, it can become an unhealthy obsession. You can lose too much, too quickly, and feel very poorly on the big day when the emotions are thrown into the mix.
I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t stop eating the foods I liked or stop drinking alcohol; I didn’t stop having fun! However, I did make a conscious effort to exercise regularly and made relatively small lifestyle changes that made a big impact, like making a gin and slimline tonic (56 kCal) rather than wine (160 kCal) my tipple of choice.
So it was about changing my lifestyle in a gradual and sensible way, and when it came to the wedding, I did not have the stress of a diet on my mind. I was even able to enjoy a couple of croissants in the morning!
4) Expect meddling mothers in law
Have a chat with other couples who have got married and most will tell you that at least one of their parents was a pain in the neck at times. It’s totally normal and you have to take the drama with a pinch of salt.
Remember,the parents are also going through an incredibly momentous occasion, and a range of emotions that I don’t think we can understand or appreciate until we are in their shoes!
If they are getting on your nerves, it’s a good idea to give them something to focus their energy on. Maybe they can organise something, like the flowers, or arrange a family get-together before the day. It will give them a sense of ownership to satisfy their urge to control, and will keep them out of your hair at the same time!
5) Only invite people who you like
Getting married is expensive, so why on Earth would you have someone at the wedding who you don’t like? I don’t get it when people say that you have to invite someone to the wedding. It’s rubbish. There’s no way we could afford to invite everyone we know and like to the wedding – there would have been hundreds there – so we certainly weren’t going to invite people we DON’T like in their place, simply because they were someone we should invite.
I would happily spend a weekend with everyone we had at our wedding, and people who we didn’t like or trust, including some of my family, simply were not invited. We didn’t want to worry about what they might say or do on the day, so we took them out of the equation.
6) Enjoy your own space
My bridesmaids were a massive help, but one thing that really helped me keep calm was actually having some time to myself on the morning of the wedding day.
I saw a make-up expert for a tutorial prior to the wedding, who advised me to apply my make-up in private, which would give me time to get me head straight and allow me to focus entirely on applying the make-up – and that was brilliant advice. I ignored everyone, from my mother to the photographer! Focusing on applying my make-up diverted my attention and settled my nerves.
7) Do what you want to do – not what you’re supposed to do
Don’t get me wrong – I love Champagne! I’ve always had the romantic dream of a glass of champagne before getting married.
It was flowing all morning when I was getting ready on my wedding day, but I just didn’t feel that I wanted or needed any Dutch courage until after the ceremony. I didn’t plan to avoid a drink on the morning, but when it came to it I just felt that I wanted a completely clear head for the vows.
It’s your day, so you don’t need to follow suit or do what everyone else is doing. Just do what you want to do.
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