With all those wedding planning shows of women flipping off their handles over place settings and dress fittings, I was determined to have not just have a beautiful wedding day, but an enjoyable wedding planning process.
After Franck proposed in February we, with the help of my grandparents, planned a wedding in just two months for a May wedding in the beautiful and picturesque Washington State. Some people would think this time constraint in conjunction with planning a fabulous wedding would create a situation perfect for the breeding of a bridezilla. Fortunately, it didn’t. I kept my cool and focused on what really mattered… well, you’ll soon discover for yourself.
After having enjoyed two different weddings of our own to my wonderful French husband in the U.S. and France, I discovered that there indeed exists a secret to creating happy weddings during each process and occasion.
Focus on the feeling
Focus on how you, your spouse and how you both want your guests to feel like on your special day.
Do you want to be stress free? Do you want to be in control? The focus of your desires will set the tone for the wedding planning process and the day itself.
Naturally, every bride wants to have a memorable, relaxed, and enjoyable day. No bride wants a stressful and tear-filled (the stress induced kind) day. So, with every decision, obstacle, and goal first think of the feeling you want to have and then base your decisions with that feeling in mind.
For each wedding, all I wanted was to be relaxed, family-oriented, understated, and convivial. I made sure to keep these words as my wedding planning mantra. At every twist and turn, I thought of these words and if things got tough or when I didn’t get what I wanted, I just stepped back and repeated my mantra silently to myself.
Create a clear vision
The actual physical vision of your special day is predicated on the overall feeling you want to experience. Maintaining an overall vision can help a bride to focus less on the minute, often stress inducing details.
The overall feeling and vision keeps a relaxation at a maximum because we know how to take a step back and look at the overall perspective. If that perspective is looking good, then details are not worth stressing over.
Sometimes, brides can lose focus on their overall vision and the feelings they want to maintain. It’s easy to get carried away: spending too much or getting too emotionally involved with small details and mistakes. The stress and anxiety can elevate to dangerous levels creating tension amongst the couple themselves, family and involved parties whether the bridal party or service professionals.
Stick to your budget
Since Mr Juvin and I are religious savers, sticking to a budget wasn’t difficult for us. We got lucky when family members offered to pay for or volunteer different aspects of each event. My mother-in-law loaned me her Yves Saint Laurent wedding dress, which alleviated the burden of having to search and pay for a dress. Their participation was crucial, but not every couple has access to additional funds or the help of friends or family.
We didn’t have a set number in mind. Instead of stating a number and then planning the details around the number, we focused on listing everything we wanted and conducted researched the best prices; often negotiating with vendors and seeing where family could step in.
Some people only have a set number, maybe $2,000 or maybe even $20,000. At this point, the couple must ask themselves, “What do we really want from our wedding and what do we want to remember?” When fussing over flowers, table settings, and even appetizers, ask yourself these questions and refer back to the feeling and overall vision you’re trying to maintain. Getting that perspective and reducing emotional attachment to the details can cut down on spending on unnecessary options… and just about everything is optional.
Accept help and relinquish control
There are some brides who want to control everything: from setting up the venue, to making flowers, to making every single decision, and ordering everyone around. While this can save money, time, or can make things “absolutely perfect”, it can lead to an exhausted, frustrated, or even angry bridezilla.
While I worked on other projects, I had no problem allowing my grandmother take over our first wedding details. I allowed her to select the flowers (after giving her some photos of my ideal bouquets), gave her a list of my favorite colors, and what kind of food based on their menu I liked. We let our event coordinator to take over guest responsibilities, managing food orders, the waitstaff and ceremony timing. Based on their efforts, I created a time line of events and gave the bridal party an itinerary and set my them and my family free to manage each segment of the event. From the morning I woke up, everyone took charge. We simply enjoyed the day.
For the second wedding in France, my in-laws offered to the plan the event. We chimed in with some desires, but my goal was to let my mother in law create a family affair with French style. They hired everything out and Mr Juvin and I never lifted a finger.
If we can’t get or afford extra help to make the day we want, we must to ask ourselves, “Is what we want possible within our time, financial and energy constraints?” It’s a tough question to answer honestly, but an honest answer will lead to real, and often simple solutions to get what we really need to be happy on a special day.
Set aside perfection
Every bride wants to look and feel beautiful on her special day. Leave your responsibilities to just that when the day actually arrives.
It’s natural to want things to be at their highest ideal: from the weather, to the photos, to the food, the bridal party and the guests’ comfort. However, obsessing on perfection blocks the opportunity to respond to mishaps creatively. The blockage is exemplified by anxiety, anger, stress which then leads to negative reactions, conflict, and regrettable situations that could have otherwise been avoided.
Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances and mistakes happen. For our first wedding, it rained that morning and made our outdoor ceremony quite chilly, the napkins in the colors we selected never arrived, the wedding officiant never came to the rehearsal dinner, and I was wearing braces, meaning I couldn’t smile for all our wedding photos. If I had let these details impeded our wedding celebration, the focus would be on negativity and the mishaps rather than the successful union of two loving people.
Make perfection a non-issue. Even if the means reining in the emotions and taking a step back, once more referring to the ideal feeling and overall vision. To be honest, I don’t remember much of the details; I just remember how happy we felt to have tied the knot and the compliments from our guests fo
r such an enjoyable experience.
Don’t be greedy
Some people plan weddings thinking of all the money and gifts they’ll be able to receive in the name of their special event. With the hope of receiving tons of swag in the form of checks and bridal registries, couples are tempted to invite hundreds of people (some of whom they barely know) to what should be a personal affair.
This greed and overwhelming guest list limits the amount of time the bride and groom can spend between themselves, their bridal party, family and guests. Not
allotting a fair amount of time to thank and acknowledge each guest, either through a receiving line or wandering through tables, is a sign of a greedy couple just after the gifts and not the company.
If your couple can imagine not even receiving gifts and offering a party just to celebrate your union with friends and family and can still imagine paying to receive so many guests, then you’re having a wedding for the right reasons.
Make it your own
A wedding is a celebration of a couple so special and unique, just as their love, that the event should be as equally unique. Have it any which way you want as long as you feel happy, stress-free, and loved throughout the planning process and the special day itself.
While planning the event, try not to compare with the stories of others’ wedding experiences. Focus on your own event and allow its authenticity represent who you both are as a couple.
From a simple or glamorous affair with a low or high budget, filled with hundreds or maybe a couple dozen guests, hitch free or full of blunders, enjoy your special day in peace and joy.