In a recent interview on BBC Essex I was asked how couples deal with the stress that inevitably comes with planning a wedding. My interview came about as the world waited with baited breath for Harry & Meghan’s big day and how Meghan may have been dealing with stress after the sad news broke that her father would not be walking her down the aisle to her prince.
Whether you are Royalty or not the stress levels will certainly begin to rise as the big day draws ever closer and even the slightest thing may trigger emotions. Everyone deals with stress in very different ways so there are no magic answers, but guidance is invaluable.
Most brides have dreamt about their wedding from the time they were a little girl, practising walking down the aisle with a handpicked daisy bouquet, to gazing in wonder through the wedding dress shop window. Little did we know then of the roller-coaster of emotions we would have to deal with!
So, here are my Top Ten Tips on dealing with all the stress that planning a wedding may bring and hopefully it will enable you to not only enjoy your special day but the build-up as well.
- Make a list to get some order and perspective. Writing things down can be a huge help as more often than not we just worry that we will forget things. Therefore, by making a list we can plan more accurately. Treat yourself to a beautiful, handbag sized notebook so you can jot things down as they come to mind. Equally leave a notepad & pen by your bedside table so if you wake in the night with a thought, you can jot it down.
- Identify your concerns then talk together about your anxieties. Any doubts can fester so deal with them head on as soon as possible. Confronting them and taking action will instantly reduce stress levels. It is also good to know the smaller ones and perhaps accept them.
- Everyone will want to offer you advice, guidance and tips on planning your wedding. These are usually very heartfelt and well-meant suggestions but remember it is your day. Just because you don’t choose to use the photographer your friend used, doesn’t give them the right to be upset with you. Remember it is YOUR DAY.
- Look ahead with positivity. Your wedding day, and more importantly your future together are going to be amazing! Start visioning this and the fact that you will be surrounded by those that love you and who are enjoying this special time with you.
- Let go and relax. Have fun in the run up and try and see the funny side of any issues, especially once they are resolved.
- Allow yourself to be supported. Your wedding is not solely your responsibility. You can delegate tasks to chosen trusted family members or friends, you do not have to be the ones holding it all together. Sometimes even the smallest of jobs will be gratefully taken on.
- Mentally walk through what will happen on the day, from beginning to end. Even better though write a time plan and if there are parts you are worried about focus purely on your role in that party – you can’t control what anyone else does or says.
- Take some time out from planning. Give yourself a breather. If budget permits have a weekend away to recharge together this may be just what you need.
- Smile, be happy and enjoy your wedding day. It goes in the blink of an eye so enjoy and savour every single moment.
- My biggest tip, though, is on the big day around 10pm grab a glass of chilled bubbly and each other and take time out. You probably won’t have had much time to speak all day!!
The most important thing to remember, and to not lose sight of, is that you are getting married and making a life long commitment to each other surrounded by all those that love you.
What you offer your guests to drink is just as important as what you offer them to eat. With the increase in popularity of ‘Pimp my Prosecco’, ‘Gin bars’ and sumptuous cocktails there is so much to choose from these days that you can go over board!
It is however important to bear in mind the budget that you want to set aside for this part of the celebration. If you are hosting your party at a venue, you will need to decide if you want to have an open bar tab. Remember your guests may say ‘Yay a free bar’ but what they don’t see is ‘Ouch is that my bar bill?’ at the end of the night! It might be free to them, but it isn’t to you.
Therefore, right at the beginning, set yourself a limit, or if not at least stipulate to the bar staff you are happy to pay for certain types of drinks for example. Beer, wine and soft drinks is a simple but popular choice. The other option is to give a limit and once this is reached then you can either agree to raise this, or close & settle the tab. Do bear in mind though that if you decide to extend the limit that you yourself are not getting caught up in the excitement of the evening. Many venues have their own policies on bar arrangements so do discuss this with them.
It’s always lovely to kick start the celebrations by offering you guests a drink as they arrive, whether it be a glass of champagne, a signature cocktail or something simple like an ice-cold beer but do remember to also offer an alternative soft drink. Some guests won’t want to be drinking alcohol all night and might be the designated driver. Make sure they are as well looked after as those enjoying the flowing alcohol by not offering just a standard coke, orange juice or lemonade. How about a mock-tail, a non-alcoholic version of a cocktail, which can be just as colourful and fun!
If your celebration includes a formal sit-down meal and you are not a huge connoisseur of fine wines, then don’t feel that you need to impress your guests with expensive bottles. Once you have chosen your menu, your caterer or perhaps even your local wine merchant should be able to advise on suitable wines to complement the menu you have selected. However, if your palate is one of a discerning nature then perhaps provide your guests with a wine list menu for the tables describing your choices, it can also make for a great conversation piece for those not in the know.
A nice glass of port served with the cheese course may also be a welcome offering to round off the meal.
As the evening starts to draw to a close some guests may welcome a refreshing tea or perhaps a strong coffee. This can either be served to the tables or you may wish to have this less formal and have a separate table set up for guests to help themselves. You could also be a little extravagant and offer a sumptuous hot chocolate, with lashings of whipped cream and marshmallows! What a perfect way to finish off a night of fun and celebration!