TIPS FOR THE PERFECT WEDDING!
There are many things to be considered when you make that big decision to tie the knot. Some women take all of the organising in their stride, others go in to panic over the long list of "to do's". In fact, planning a wedding can be incredibly exhausting and if you don't handle it well, you may end up feeling like a wrung out rag rather than a glowing bride. The last thing you want is to look back at your wedding day and have your mind swimming with regrets. You want to remember your special day with fondness, so hopefully our hints will help you along the way to a magnificent and enjoyable day.
We decided to undertake some of our own investigations on how to make a wedding day run more smoothly, with little (or any!) stress. In our survey of recently married women, we attempted to gather as much useful information as possible on the things to do and not to do, to avoid catastrophe! These are some of the things our now married ladies advised!
1) Relax, relax, RELAX!
Many of the ladies who participated in our survey quoted "what will be, will be", which is true. You cannot make the weather do what you want it to, nor can you make people do what you want them to do (well, not all of the time). So remember, it is your day, relax and while you are planning your day, breath and remind yourself that worrying will not help you overcome hurdles or get things done. It will only turn you into a nervous wreck. If you are feeling as though you are running around, going slightly mad, stop and ask yourself these questions. By feeling this way am I helping the situation? Will this anxiety make things work? 99% of the time, the answer is "NO". So do try and relax.
2) Plan your wedding the way you want to.
If you don't, more often than not you will regret it for years to come. Do what your heart desires and wear what you have always dreamed you would wear because again, if you do not, you will look back wishing you could have your wedding day all over again. (Most of us wish we could get married again anyway - but for good reasons!) So don't wish you could do it all over again for dreadful reasons.
It can be difficult to battle with your parents, parents-in-law and "helpful" friends, but the day is yours and your fiancés, so do, have and organise what YOU BOTH want.
3) Create a checklist
You'll see checklists almost everywhere that you go while planning your wedding. They are in just about all good wedding magazines and if they're not, your Mum or girlfriends will most likely start one for you (if you haven't already got one!) Checklists are ideal and you will probably find you will have many. They will keep reinventing themselves as some things get taken care of and then other things that need to be done arise. Most brides surveyed said they even had one with them on the day of their wedding, which is a good idea as wedding day jitters can cause the memory to falter.
4) Pick the Venue that suits you.
Try not to worry about the location too much as your closest friends, relatives and people who matter the most will make it to your wedding no matter where you hold it (unless of course you are holding it overseas or in another state).
If it is important to you to have flexibility, then find a venue that will allow this. For example, many popular wedding venues have very strict finishing times and structure as to how the event runs. Others do not. At my reception, the venue operators were incredibly flexible as to what time the guests had to leave and how we could arrange the room. We were granted an extra hour and a half of reception time for free, we were able to bring in a special drink machine so we could serve frozen daiquiris to our guests as well as arrange the menu to exactly what suited us. AND there was so much to choose from. There were many other facets to the whole event that made it more memorable for us as well as relaxing which was of enormous help as we were married on a 37-degree day.
5) Have whom you want in your bridal party.
Many things can unfortunately influence these decisions. Where you were once a bridesmaid for a friend does not mean you have to return the gesture. And feeling obliged to ask a particular family member just because they are family, can be emotionally draining in an already hectic time. In the earlier case, remember it was this person's choice to have you in their wedding. You didn't ask them to have you. Yes there may be some bruised ego's, however sometimes if weddings are years apart you may not even be in regular contact with the person you acted as bridesmaid for, so it seems silly to have her when you have other closer friends. You need to try and put everything in to context. If you feel that someone may feel hurt, then talk to him or her if you can. Otherwise, if you are strong enough, go ahead and ask whom ever you like, or don't ask anyone at all. Most of the time people know the truth in their heart and will understand the logic in your decisions.
6) Be Prepared for Hiccups.
Things will not always go according to plan. On the day of my wedding we had a major catastrophe occur which caused us to have to rethink everything at the last minute. I had just put on my dress and was preparing to, with the help of my cousin (also chief bridesmaid), help Mum put on her outfit. The skirt went on with no hassles however when putting her into the Bodice, nightmare of all nightmares, the zipper broke! My beautiful Mum's outfit, which she had spent a fortune on, was looking worse for wear and so was Mum when I told her the bad news. I had the words of my fiancé in my head "panicking does not help a situation!" So my brain and later my body, went into overload. I was fortunate to have a very supportive Step-Mum there too, so together her and I somehow kept Mum calm and I literally sewed Mum into her outfit. Mum's face was so distressed and tears threatened to spill over from her eyes at any moment. I felt every bit of her anguish, which caused me to keep an even stiffer upper lip, and in an almost military way, I told her how I was fixing the outfit and the day would go on just perfectly. I think I was also trying to convince myself!
Of course, this threw our time line in to complete disarray, but it didn't matter in the end. The day continued to send us challenges, yet somehow we still had a beautiful and VERY memorable day.
So be prepared for things to go wrong! These are some of the things that went wrong for our survey participants:
a) "My Veil tore straight down the middle while getting into the car."
b) "Our Chauffeur drove to the wrong church causing me to be 30 minutes late."
c) "The Power went out at the Reception."
d) "We had the wrong bridal flowers delivered to our house."
e) "One of my bridesmaids was incredibly ill on the day of the wedding."
f) "Thunderstorms and gale-force winds for an outdoor wedding."
g) "My Grandfather had a mild heart attack on the morning of our wedding."
h) "The heel of one bridal shoe broke."
i) "My hairdresser decided to put extra extra-hold mousse in my hair, so curls that were meant to "drop" stayed in tight ringlets! I looked like Shirley Temple!"
So impending brides - beware!
7) Enlist the support of anyone who offers.
When you announce your intended marriage to your family, friends and work mates you will most likely receive a steady flow of offers like "Let me know if you need any help" and "If I can do anything please just ask me!" Most people are more than willing to help if they can. So don't be frightened to ask them and take them up on their offers of support. As the big day draws closer, you really will be grateful for all the extra pairs of hands.
8) Take the week off work before the wedding.
Don't fool yourself by thinking you can work right up until your wedding. Even if you are efficient and particularly organised. It is advisable to take at least a few days off before the big day so you can get extra sleep if you need it as well as to have plenty of time to do any last minute running around. By taking this time off, it will also help to build the element of excitement that this is your "special day". If you work right up until the day before the wedding, your wedding day will most likely feel like "just another day". Take the time for yourself, you'll need it!
9) Prepare your speeches well in advance.
By preparing and planning your speeches early on, this will allow you to calmly cover all bases. You are allowing yourself time to add or remove comments from it. In the earlier days of planning you can write down all the basic things that need to be remembered such as thanking your bridal party, parents and partner. As time ticks on, things will change which you can then keep amending your speech to suit. For example: you may have interstate or overseas guests coming who you originally thought wouldn't make it, or you may have a friend who has gone out of their way to help you.
The week before the wedding you can sit down and look over all of your notes and peacefully re-type it all, feeling confident that you haven't missed thanking or mentioning anyone! A much better plan than quickly scribbling something down with your partner the day or night before!
10) Be good to yourself.
In the lead up to what will be one of the biggest events of their lives and in their attempt to please everybody else, surprisingly many Brides neglect themselves. Don't be one of these gluttons for punishment! If you want to hire a wedding coordinator to help you with your day and it is within your budget, do it! Don't feel guilty that you are not planning it all yourself! Many brides feel they have to do it all - you don't! Make sure you take time out to have that massage, get your nails done and get yourself pampered. And if you are one of those people who are "naughty", hopefully you will have a friend or Mother who will make you stop and relax. In my case it was my two very best friends who took me off to a day spa where I had the most delicious massage, swim and relax!
So be good to yourself and listen to what you need, so when your wedding day arrives you look refreshed, glowing and you will be better equipped to take any little hiccups in your stride.
Some women will always find it easier than other's to cope with the planning and preparation of a wedding, others will fall into a ball of stress. No one can ever be prepared for absolutely everything, so the best thing you can do is relax, stay calm and focus on you and your hubby-to-be. Weddings are about happiness, romance and sharing your lifelong commitment to another human being with your loved ones. So make the most of it. No regrets!
- Michelle Palmer Weidemann