How to stay happy with your wedding and stop worrying

Feeling relaxed as this lion about your wedding?!

How to stay happy with your wedding and stop worrying

Feeling relaxed as this lion about your wedding?!

You’ve organised your wedding down to the last detail, made all the decisions about the ceremony and reception. Now you can stop worrying, relax and be happy, right?

If that’s you – hooray, excellent, carry on! If it’s not you and you’re still feeling really stressed about your wedding, this blog post is for you.

As a celebrant, I see lots of excitement and quite a bit of stress from couples. Both are perfectly natural; your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life and you want it to be just right. But after you’ve planned everything so carefully, WHY is it so hard to relax?

This is the way I see it. There are gnomes that get inside our heads, bothering us with insecurities and anxieties. Some of these relate to our own self-confidence and about managing a big occasion; others come from the world outside, including opinions from other people and the media.

Here are a few examples of wedding gnome thoughts:

  • What if the speeches are really embarrassing?
  • What if someone gets ill or has an accident?
  • Is there enough space at the venue?
  • What if it’s too hot / cold / wet / foggy / snowy?
  • Will we offend someone by not inviting them?
  • Will our grandparents hate it?
  • Have we got enough food and booze?
  • I feel sick with nerves

Sound familiar? Look at the gnome swinging happily back and forth. He’s having a lovely time.

The 'wedding fears' gnome!

This blog is all about blitzing and putting pre-wedding worries into perspective. I think almost everyone has some of these worries. Before I say more, there are two truths we need to acknowledge.

First truth: everyone has an opinion on weddings

As you may have already discovered, every last individual on the planet (or so it seems) has an opinion or a story about weddings: what makes a good one and horror stories about ones that went wrong. If people thought about it first, they probably wouldn’t regale you but hey-ho, we’re British and we love a story.

Here’s a tip. Whenever you hear the words: “I once went to a wedding and ….” put your mental force-field on maximum power. None of this relates to you. However, if there is a crumb of useful advice in there, grab it and ignore the rest.

Second truth: the world of weddings can be bad for you

Weddings online, wow! The sheer volume of ideas, products and advice is mind-boggling! It’s brilliant, it’s useful and it’s really scary – all at once. After a sesh looking at weddings online, even I start to feel a bit insecure. And I’m not even getting married!

All those beautiful websites are powerful and enticing. Unfortunately, their aim is not to make you feel good about your wedding. Quite the reverse. They want to sell a fresh idea to you. If they could, they would persuade you to upgrade your partner to Premium Partner X series, limited edition with extra blingy bits.

The 'perfect' wedding

With this kind of marketing pressure, it’s not surprising that your head is like a free party for wedding gnomes.

Here are some common gnomes and how to banish them:

“Their wedding looks amazing. Ours could never be as beautiful as that.”

The ‘Compared to Other Weddings on Instagram’ gnome is probably the most annoying. It plants the fear in your mind that your wedding (which has been absolutely perfect until you saw That Image) might not now be perfect enough.
Social media is an infinity of stunning, real-life weddings, tailored for your personal enjoyment / torment, depending on how you are feeling.

My advice is to unfollow, unsubscribe un-everything wedding-related and go into your own happy place in the run up to your big day. Your wedding is real, it’s you and therefore it’s perfect. No one else’s can ever be the same. No one else’s can compare to it, or top it because it’s yours.

“We really need that incredible bar, stocked with every kind of craft beer brewed in the British Isles.”

This ‘Just One More Wow-Factor’ gnome will always make you feel like you should have some other extra thing you hadn’t thought of before. The mindset it wants you to adopt is that more = more perfection. Sometimes though, as we know, more = more hassle (and the same amount of perfection).

Ask yourself honestly, what is a) a must-have b) nice to have c) fabulous and overpriced d) cute but ridiculous? Weddings can turn into 10 Christmases rolled into one. Sticking to a budget is important for most couples. Even if money isn’t an issue, there comes a point when you might just be overdoing it and giving yourself more stress.

If you discover cocktail stirrers that sing like Beyonce, there will probably always be an occasion in future for them. Your first wedding anniversary maybe.

I don’t think those cocktail stirrers actually exist but they should.

Cocktails

“We’re bound to upset someone because X hates Y; A split up with B and C,D,E,F,G will all want to sit together.”

One thing guaranteed to wind you up is the ‘Keeping Family and Friends Happy’ gnome. It makes Brexit look like a picnic. After you’ve done your best to please everyone and seat the right people together, you’re ready for a top job at the United Nations.

I guess the question is whether it’s really up to you to sort out other people’s problems on your wedding day. Hopefully, the answer is no. Just do the seating plan and stay out of everything else. Otherwise, you could easily end up booking people’s B&Bs, sending them train times, picking them up at the station etc etc.

It can easily get too much – so don’t be anyone’s family therapist, PA or travel manager.

“I’m worried I’ll fluff my lines”

'fluffy' can be cute

Fluffing your lines can be cute. Almost as cute as fluffy ducklings.

Spontaneous moments break the tension, get a laugh and (if your photographer’s alert), make a great picture. Recently, I said that the groom had ‘massaged’ the bride instead of ‘messaged’ her. Of course, everyone found it funny. I wished I’d thought of it before!

Try to think of your wedding ceremony as a celebration and a gift to you. It isn’t a test, a performance or a competition. With a bespoke ceremony, the words have no legal weight, so it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake. If it is a legal ceremony, you can just say a line again if you get it wrong. Registrars are generally very nice like that.

The main thing to remember is that everyone else, will be on your side.

“I’m sooo nervous!”

The ‘Fear of Being in the Spotlight’ gnome can sneak up on you – usually at night – reminding you that you hate being the centre of attention and speaking in public. This can easily spoil your excitement and hype up your stress levels.

I would encourage you to talk things through, rather than bottling them up or sweeping them under the carpet. We can make sure your ceremony works for you. For example, if you don’t want to walk up the aisle, don’t. Have a rehearsal. Have two rehearsals. I will help you write and deliver a wedding speech that you will look forward to delivering.

Of course, there is another reason why you might be nervous. You’re about to make a beautiful, lifelong commitment to your soulmate. That is a big deal and honestly, it’s well worth feeling a bit nervous about.

“What if everything goes wrong?”

The ‘Doom, Disaster and Acts of God’ gnome can have a field day with a wedding. Sure, something may go wrong but realistically not everything will go wrong. Having planned events as well as ceremonies throughout my career, I’ve learnt to use this kind of gnome to my advantage. When planning a wedding ceremony, it’s really important to think through any glitches and work out contingencies, just in case. My top tip is never to rely on technology. It has a mind of its own. Bluetooth will work fine one day, not the next. CDs will play perfectly on one player and jump like a kangaroo on another. It always pays to have back-ups.

The trick is knowing when to stop with your glitches. I really need to stop worrying about a worldwide Prosecco drought.

And finally…

There may be other worries I haven’t mentioned. I can’t promise that if you choose me as your celebrant, you’ll never have a moment’s stress about your wedding. However, I know you’ll have confidence in the ceremony and the decisions we make together. You’ll be more relaxed because you know me and there will be plenty of laughs along the way.

Alicen Dines, Wedding Celebrant with a happy couple

If you’re looking for a celebrant or would like to know more about how a bespoke wedding is different from a registry office wedding, do get in touch.

Happy wedding planning!