Some tips for how to keep calm and avoid wedding planning stress by expert London wedding planner, Susannah Parker.
Getting engaged and planning your wedding should be one of the happiest times of your life but in recent years, there has also been a significant increase in the amount of stress and anxiety that this exciting journey also brings with it.
A recent Zola study recently reported that 40% of couples categorized wedding planning as “extremely stressful, and 71% thought it was more nerve-wracking than any other major life events, such as finding a new job.
As a wedding planner, my couples tend to look to me to relieve them of two critical worry ‘pinch points’ – firstly, not having enough time to plan and organise all the arrangements and secondly, not knowing who to trust and who to bring on board to bring their dreams to life.
In addition to those, general worries about juggling a budget, trying to keep everybody happy and the sheer volume of decisions that need to be made on everything from the colour of the ushers’ ties and choosing the readings for the ceremony to what size dance floor to have can sadly put couples into a state of critical overwhelm – not being able to switch off from stop thinking about all the things that need to be done, worrying about whether everyone will enjoy your day, not being able to get to sleep and even being irritable and cranky with each other.
Whilst it is entirely natural to find the process a little bit nerve wracking at times, it is also vital to keep things in proportion – and to keep the focus on you as a couple, celebrating your relationship and looking forward to the commitment you’ll soon be embarking on. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can try to minimise your worries so that you can enjoy your wedding planning experience to the full.
If you’re worrying about … forgetting something
Create a checklist – there are lots widely available on wedding websites – and tick things off as you go along. It is very common to be constantly worried that you have forgotten something crucial so having a list can reassure you that every aspect of your wedding has been considered. Set out your checklist in order of date priority and then delegate certain aspects of it to key people in your close trusted circle – you don’t have to do it all, and people love to feel that they are being helpful! Some people also find it very reassuring to have a separate ‘Done List’ so that they can see all the things they have achieved and celebrate that, rather than always focussing on what still needs to be done.
If you’re worrying about … money
Working out how much your wedding is going to cost is one of the most vital tasks, but also one of the hardest as naturally you are unlikely to have any idea about how much things cost until you start exploring with suppliers. Suppliers (such as the wedding dress shop, cake makers, florists, stationers) may ask you what your budget is for certain aspects so they can design a solution accordingly, so you need to know which elements are the most important to you and which you therefore are happy to invest the most in, and which areas you are happy to cut back on. For example, you might decide that having an excellent photographer is crucial but that you are happy to send emailable Save the Dates; or that a statement cake is a must have so you’d be happy with a DJ rather than a 6 piece band.
If you’re worrying about … who the best suppliers are
Quite often your venue will have a list of recommended suppliers for some aspects but this can still leave you with a long list of suppliers to source and you want to know that you have got the best people on board for your budget. If you are working with a wedding planner, we are always naturally happy to introduce you to our trusted network but if you are planning your wedding yourself, ask for recommendations from your venue or another of the suppliers you have on board or if you follow wedding planners and venues on Instagram, look to see who they are featuring in their posts then look them up!
If you’re worrying about … making decisions
My advice is always to take your time and don’t feel pressured into making hasty decisions – always sleep on it and then go with your gut instinct; I would also advise though not to labour a decision too much, try to avoid going round and round in circles and getting worked up – set deadlines for when decisions need to be made by, follow your instinct in making your decision then be content with it, and move on to the next item.
If you’re worrying about … other people
There is no doubt about it that planning a wedding invites a lot of unsolicited comment – whether it’s opinions on the food, your dress, the band you should hire … or preferences and requests for who sits next to who and who gets which hotel room … or constant questions about the timings for the day, what the transport arrangements are or what time check out is. You will have enough on your plate without all this! You need to accept from the outset that it is nigh on impossible to please all the people all the time – but it’s your wedding day so you shouldn’t have to! It’s admirable to want to create a day that all your guests enjoy to the full, and you can certainly incorporate thoughtful and fun elements into your day, but not at the expense of your sanity. Pre-empt all the questions about the day itself by including an information card in your wedding invitations or create a wedding website where you spell out the plan for the day and include a link to it in your invites.
Worrying about …what if something goes wrong
When planning a big event such as your wedding, it is inevitable that there will be bumps in the road along the way and occasionally, on the day. My advice is to keep things in proportion and see small problems for what they are – move on emotionally if you can’t have every detail you’d wanted, no one will ever know; similarly, your guests are unlikely to notice minor changes to the plan on the day and they’ll be none the wiser that a small detail didn’t go exactly as you’d planned it to. It’s natural to worry about the great British weather so always have a wet weather plan discussed and agreed with your suppliers and bridal party and after that, be prepared to embrace the day in all its glory and to enjoy every moment, even the surprises!
If you’re worrying about … worrying!
There are a number of ways you can try to stay calm if you begin to feel that things are getting on top of you a little. Firstly, be kind to yourself and avoid giving yourself any self-imposed pressures – so what if you didn’t manage to go to every wedding fair in your area or if that amazing band is just beyond your budget, instead congratulate yourself on all the things you have planned and organised and remind yourself what a fantastic day its going to be, surrounded by all your nearest and dearest as you say your vows and celebrate your commitment. Secondly, if there are any particular aspects of the day which you know are worrying you, such as being emotional when saying your vows, being nervous about giving a speech or worrying about your first dance, address these head on and find ways to manage your nerves, such as breathing techniques or practicing your speech or dance in the weeks beforehand. Lastly, look after yourself and take time out - wedding planning should not be your second full time job! Remove yourself from constantly reading wedding magazines and blogs and dwelling on all your plans and instead make time for the things you enjoy – reading, fresh air, exercising, leisure activities and enjoying your relationship, laughing and having fun, taking pleasure in small things; these things should be wedding-planning free zones, where all talk of the wedding is banned and you focus on everything else good in your life.
Ultimately, planning your wedding should be fun, thrilling and sublime, not stressful. It’s really important to not let this exciting time be dampened by negative emotions – always focus on the positive and if in doubt, a big deep breath with an added dose of patience and humour can take the heat out of the moment and keep things in proportion. It’s the start of a really exciting journey for both of you, enjoy it!