Perhaps you’ve dreamed about your wedding since you were a little girl or maybe you hadn’t given it much thought until you met your man. It could be that your first instinct was to elope but your family is expecting a big wedding. Whatever the reasons, you now find yourself planning a huge event and you’re not sure where to begin. There are so many options, but not enough time in your day to surf the hundreds of web sites that are all beginning to look the same. You’re overwhelmed and starting to panick….
Stop! Take a deep breath….
Planning your wedding can and should be a wonderful journey, not some painful process you endure in order to achieve an end result. In fact, anxiety about planning your wedding can be managed through good communication with family and friends. Here’s how…
(a) Identify your pattern of behaviour.
Obviously, each situation is unique but after planning weddings for years, I’ve noticed that for the most part, brides fall under one of these 4 categories;
1. The Eager Bride is excited about the process. She enjoys reading wedding blogs and magazines, and makes time to research venues and vendors. She also usually has very definite ideas about what she wants.
2. The Busy Bride doesn’t have time to research and plan. She has very definite ideas but is open to opinions and help from others.
3. The Reluctant Bride is not comfortable being in the spotlight and just wants to elope but for one reason or another, finds herself compromising and planning a wedding.
4. The Indecisive Bride has trouble making decisions and often second guesses herself once decisions have been made. She’s trying to please the world and gets overwhelmed by too many options, ultimately making little or no progress.
Any of those sound familiar?
(b) Communicate your needs
Now that you know what kind of bride you are, tell everyone who is involved in your wedding, your fiancé, your mum and his mum, your best friend and your bridesmaids. Let all of them know how you feel about planning your wedding.
Eager Brides: If you have very definite ideas about your wedding, you may feel you don’t want any input by well-intentioned friends and family. This can be a challenge, especially if your parents (or his) are paying for the wedding. Decide on what’s most important to you (music? decor?) and ask what’s most important to them (food? location?) To keep the peace, pick your battles and compromise where possible. Be prepared to listen and respect their feelings. Communication is a two-way street. Even when you disagree, if you are both honest and open about your dreams, priorities and desires for your wedding, then this experience can bring you closer together.
Busy Brides: You’re going to need help. Sometimes, it’s hard to delegate; especially with something as personal as a wedding. Pick your support team carefully and suggest a way of communicating that makes you comfortable. It can be as formal as a weekly status report or as informal as the occasional email or text. You might even consider a monthly status meeting over drinks or dinner. Remember that you are still in control because you are making the final decisions. They’re just doing the research and saving you time.
Reluctant Brides: If you really don’t want a wedding and you’re only doing it for someone else like your fiancé or parent, you might consider asking them to plan the wedding for you. If you are truly comfortable handing over the reins, at the very least you must make time to personalise your ceremony with your fiance.
Indecisive Brides: With all the choices available these days, it’s no wonder you’re having trouble making a decision. You may be uncomfortable taking responsibility for big ticket items for fear of making the wrong choice. You are not alone. Include others you trust in the process. Also, keep this simple rule in mind; when you find something you love that fits within your budget, trust your own judgement and don’t look any further.
Now that you’ve communicated your needs to friends and family, it’s time to get organised. Some brides have a tendency to get caught up in the details at the very beginning; favors, invitations and flowers. Take care of these three basics first.
1. Create a guest list. You can’t look for a location unless you know how many guests are attending.
2. Set the date. Have two or three dates, actually. Your favorite wedding location may not be available on your first choice of date.
3. Establish a budget. Consider the overall number that you are comfortable spending and list everything that’s included. Assign a value to each line item before you sign any contracts. Seeing the big picture up front keeps you from going over budget at the end.
I truly believe that planning should be as much fun as the celebration itself. It is a creative process, a learning experience and a journey of self discovery. As planners, we serve as guides on your journey, presenting options based on your style, budget and personality. The final decisions are yours. The end result is unique, because each client is unique.