I've been on a kick lately to help brides have a more relaxed pre-wedding and wedding day experience. If you follow me on Instagram (@elements_of_light_photo) you will have seen a lot of little tips about this very thing with the goal of taking the scary out of the photography end of things. My motivation is clear - a relaxed peaceful and joyful bride makes for far better photographs than a bride who is stressed out and overwhelmed. A few little tips go a long way to promoting the best possible photographs - and that is my job!
Today I launch a weekly series of blog posts to focus on that very thing. In the next few months every week I will give you some ideas to make things easier for you during the months and weeks prior to your wedding, as well as your wedding day. For this first post, let's focus on the big picture:
What attitude do you take into your preparations?
The attitude you take into putting together your wedding day really makes a difference. This wedding preparation is a big deal, no doubt about it. It is the most important day in your life so far, and maybe for many years to come. You want it to be beautiful and enjoyable. The attitude you bring to your wedding preparations and to the wedding itself is a big factor in allowing you to have beautiful and enjoyable combine!
Many brides are positive and upbeat and generally relaxed about putting their plans together. They have some check lists to work through, with priorities marked, and ideas they want to implement well. But they aren't in a panic about every little tiny detail. They have set aside reasonable amounts of time for the tasks ahead of them, but they are not allowing the wedding planning to so invade their lives that all other aspects of who they are fall by the wayside. They are not laid back to the point of being irresponsible, but they have a peaceful relaxed sense about them as they work on the plans they've made - and they are joyful because of how excited they are to see everything implemented.
For the relaxed bride, the measure of success is simply being married to the man they love, whether the precise shade of "champagne beige" to match the bride's maid's dresses is available in the ring bearer's pillow or not. If the flower girl falls down and gets a grass stain on her dress before she walked down the aisle this bride is not thrown off kilter. This bride has a grace and beauty in her countenance because she is not burdened by fear that some ribbon or napkin will be out of place. She is not careless with her plans, but she keeps it all in perspective. Fortunately, I believe all brides can be this kind of bride with a little effort.
How to cultivate the attitude you need to be a happy bride?
I'm realistic enough to know that not every bride is going to be naturally laid back about all of her details. So, what do you do if you find yourself stressed out and maybe even taking your stress out on your team of family, friends and vendors? First, start by forgiving yourself! If you are hard on yourself, you will probably be hard on others and vise-a-versa. Time for a little grace all the way around!
Then, begin to communicate some of your fears and anxiety to your team - let them know what is stressing you out. Have the conversation from your heart about the fear and anxiety you are having. Talking about your anxiety often diffuses it more than you would expect. It will also go a long way to keeping your team unified in the goal of having a joyful wedding day if they know where you are struggling so they can gather around that issue and support you.
Once you've made peace with your tribe and yourself, time to take steps to relieve some of your stress. If you have the budget, hire a wedding planner - both for pre-wedding and for day of. These people can take the burden from you! They know how to take your vision and get it implemented - it is what they do for a living! If you already have a planner, have a visit with her and talk about how to manage some of the items that are stressing you out. Again, just the talking can do a lot to relieve stress, and every planner I've ever known has ideas for getting the work done without increasing your stress level.
Don't have the budget for a planner? Then make this a team effort - delegate where you can, and be generous about what you are willing to let others do for you. Select a team of friends and family that can really help you, and with whom you enjoy working. Ask your mom, sister, maid of honor, grandmother even, if they can help you by over seeing one of the things that you don't have time for - seating charts, snacks for the wedding party as they prepare, getting the flowers from the florist to the venue (if you don't have delivery), communicating with the groom's men about where and when to pick up their attire. Let people step up and do some of the phone calling, sorting through options, and researching costs. Then they can bring you the results of their efforts to you with a recommendation. You remain the decision maker, but you didn't have to filter through all the information, it is streamlined for you. This frees you up for things that really have to have your special touch.
Remind yourself that this is a celebration of your love for your groom, not a contest to see who has the best decor at their wedding. Don't compare yourself to the top Pinterest wedding pins or the slick magazine photos. In fact, there comes a point where you need to turn off the Pinterest - you've made your decisions, don't fill your brain with images that are not what you are doing. Pinterest was meant to inspire creativity, not to strike fear in your heart about not being good enough! Realize that from a big picture point of view, a wedding that reflects who you are is far better than a wedding that reflects hottest trends in the wedding industry.
Wrapping it all up:
So, to state the obvious, I really encourage you to try to keep a positive outlook. Let's face it, when it comes right down to it, getting married is supposed to be a fun celebration of your love, not a stressed out time of self-doubt and fear. Breath in, breath out, and love on yourself so that you can love your groom and enjoy your tribe as they celebrate with you!
The photos from this post are from a styled shoot meant to inspire! All of the floral elements and the tablescape styling were provided by Katalin Green. The rings were provided by The Gem Gallery of Bozeman.