You’ve been dreaming about your wedding day since you were a little girl, and in all the myriad of ways you’ve imagined it over your lifetime, I bet it’s always been just perfect.
Then comes the planning, and yes, it’s sometimes stressful, but a lot of the time it’s really quite good fun too. You’ll have put so much work into your wedding plans by the time your wedding comes around that you’ll hopefully have got things pretty damn foolproof.
Let me just say this before you read any further… I am definitely not here to burst bubbles! I want your day to be perfect too, but the reality is, that the pursuit of perfection creates expectations. And if expectations aren’t met for this day, of all days, for some it can be somewhere on the scale of a little disappointing, all the way up to totally crushing, for others.
I’ve been at hundreds of weddings over the years, and I would say it’s safe to say that 99% of couples I’ve met have an incredible day that they love. But as a wedding videographer I’ve also been privileged to spend the vast majority of the day in the bride and groom’s inner circle, and I can tell you that wedding days are like rollercoasters of emotion. I can also tell you for sure, that I’ve rarely been at a ‘perfect wedding’!
Pre-wedding nerves and stress are real! Little things that would normally be forgotten about can become massive obstacles because everything is laden with such important and gravitas. There’s so much riding on it all. I’ve seen brides who were on the verge of tears all day because of the stress and overwhelm – unable to be fully present in the moment because a bridesmaid held everyone up by being fussy with hair, or a particular person was late or couldn’t come.
Most brides do a sterling job of sucking up any stress, but it definitely can come leaking out at people, especially as time gets tighter.
A wedding day is filled with moments of tension, and moments of release. Actually, this is one of the things that makes it so much fun – the tension is part of the excitement. The release is all the sweeter when it comes because of the nerves and the challenges.
I think that the worst thing you can do though, is to place such high expectations on your wedding that in the event that something deviates from the plan, that you can’t see past it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim at perfection! Just that you should go into your wedding day fully expecting someone to piss you off, forget something, be late, etc etc. And be ready to roll with those punches.
When the day finally arrives, you’ve got to trust in your planning, and the people around you to carry you through the day, so that you don’t have to worry and fret about things. It’s now time for you to set aside the mental gymnastics, and let others take that strain, so that you can focus on being fully present in each moment of a day that will be over in the blink of an eye.
What I think people often find is that it’s all the stuff that goes wrong that makes for the best stories – the things that stress us out no end on the day, are things we laugh about later. It’s all part of the story. So aim for perfection, but don’t expect it at all costs. After all, you can’t control others’ behaviour, only your own.
I’ll finish with a few words of advice I’ve picked up over my time as a wedding videographer…
- Make sure everyone knows their roles on the day. If they’re in a position of honour, that doesn’t mean they get to simply eat and drink and be merry all day. Think about people’s strengths and assign roles based on those. If the best man is hopeless with losing things – maybe don’t give him the rings til the ceremony!
- Delegate everything. You want to watch your stress levels, and keep yourself chill! Give the right people the right jobs and all will be well!
- Make sure you have ways to get some privacy and space. A good way to do this is to have a general getting ready space, and a dressing room just for the bride so you can have a degree of peace with just your closest family or friends before it’s time to get wed!
- As people, we vary a lot in our ability to deal with being in the spotlight all day. Some are introverts, some extroverts, some a little of each. If you know you can’t get through a day of chatting to people without some time in the introvert room, then build that in!
- Take time out also for you and your husband or wife together. The photo sessions are a good time for this, but may not be enough. You may want to get properly alone to just connect and take stock of what you’ve just done! Schedule a little walk around the grounds of your reception venue at some point in the day – or just take off spontaneously if you need it – it’s your day and you can do what you want!