Avoid the Burnout
The saddest place I think you can be as a bride (or a groom) is to arrive at your wedding day feeling not anything you should be feeling (excited, elated, overjoyed) but all the things you shouldn't feel: burnt out, over it, and exhausted. What could be worse that finally making it to your wedding and saying, "I just want this this to be over."
You might be at the beginning of the planning process right now, so you're all bells, whistles, thrills, and to do lists. Maybe you've set the date for a year or two in advance from right now, so you're in the preliminary stages of setting up an extraordinary amount of Pinterest boards. Maybe you've taken a backseat to the planning, and now that the big things like your date, your venue, and the photographer are locked in, you're enjoying the lapse into real life while you wait for the months to click over. Or perhaps, you're bride behind door #3, who's been engaged for longer than many and spent the entire time being absolutely inundated with plans, unsolicited advice, and spreadsheets full of logistics. This bridal archetype might be the most likely to slip into "over it" territory by the end. And who can blame her?
For maximum enjoyment of the process of getting married and minimal burn out, we've compiled a list of suggestions that just might help you avoid the feeling of begrudging love/hate with your wedding day.
This is a biggie. Mostly due to the fact that a lot of brides enjoy planning to alleviate stress (if that doesn't describe you, that's cool too). But letting go of the things you're not particularly interested in doing, or the things you have absolutely no idea how to do, can be the greatest gift you give to yourself for a wedding day. There are a myriad of amazing professionals in this little Australian wedding industry of ours, all of whom have attended about 30x's as many weddings as you have and they know what's up. Ask the pros and take great advice when you're given it!
Also, hire amazing creatives. Truly. This will be a game changer for you when it comes to the wedding day and you're able to sip your mimosa in peace, while knowing there's a team of wedding ninjas running behind the scenes to make this day happen smoothly. We have infinitely more thoughts on hiring wedding pros which will appear in this journal soon... (spoiler: letting your uncle take all the photos on his point-and-shoot is a bad idea).
2. Ask for help
Traditionally, it falls on the bride to plan the bulk of the wedding day. There's a stereotype of the uninterested groom who sits idly in the background and signs the checks. But we'd like to challenge that. Sure, your beau might not be as interested in choosing daisies or peonies for the flowers, but he might be more interested in other things than you think. Dudes are just so infrequently asked or expected to help. When the details of your wedding day start to get ironed out, consider that it's a wedding day for the two of you, and put your heads together about what might be of interest to you both in relation to the plans of the day. Believe me, once implored, I have met almost more grooms than brides who are over the moon to help with the logistics of a wedding day. Just ask! The burden relief of it being planned by the two of us instead of all by-your-onesies can be worth it's weight in gold.
There are few people in your sphere who also might love the chance to get involved with a wedding day. Mothers, sisters, and besties especially have a reputation for being super keen to be a part of it once they hear a wedding is in the works for their close one. Sometimes this can be a bit overwhelming, but when it comes down to the micro-details you don't want to think about, why not delegate? The family wants to help, so let them help. So often people just want to feel like they're a part of something, so giving them an opportunity to dive in can be a wonderfully loving gesture to make (and it can also save you a few annoying personal trips to the stationary store). Feel free to admit when it's all becoming a little bit too much, and take the help.
3. Don't sweat the small stuff
I've heard this so many times from so many couples (and also my own inner dialogue following our wedding day). There's this massive list you often create in the back of your head while you plan a wedding day that over time can become this sort of concrete composition of to-dos and ideas. Things like, "need to buy jacket to wear post ceremony, then need to buy secondary jacket to wear at reception" and "make little personalised gifts for all 110 of our guests" and "buy bowtie for dog". There's nothing wrong with the things on this list that really mean something to you and your partner. Where the list becomes more of a chore than a delight is where it's contents start filling up with suggestions that aren't your own. Since we're so inundated with bridal 'dos' and 'donts' and Aunties who say, "you absolutely need to have ______ or else it's not a wedding!" - this list of stuff can so easily become a laundry list of things that don't even matter to you. Our advice: sit back, have a read, and take real stock of what has grown into your list of things to have at a wedding.
Recently I was at dinner with friends who got married not too long ago. When they talked of the emotionally amazing and overwhelming day that they'd had, they spoke of only one regret: "There were all these things," the groom said, "that beforehand we thought were really super important. Like I was stressing about having this sign to direct people to a place for drinks, and in the end it took a lot of stress, energy, and time the morning of, and ultimately it didn't even get hung up. But you know what? People still found the drinks, they still had a great time. And I just wish that I hadn't worried about so many little things like that in the lead up."
Whatever it is, it might seem like a big deal in the months before, but ultimately the tiny jars of honey as gifts or the little eucalyptus leaves that were supposed to accompany the place settings but never got put there... it's not the point of the day now, is it?
4. Hit the week-to-go apathy as soon as you can
There's often this beautiful release that happens to most every couple about a week out from the big day. For the past however many months or years, their heads have been spinning with ideas, to do lists, spreadsheets, logistics, and everything else - then once it gets to t-minus 6 days or so, and it becomes clear that perhaps all the things that were planned might not happen in the end. This is often the time where either bride or groom (or both) give up on the little things. The mindset switches from, "shit, I can't forget to get an extra pair of nude undies because-" to "ahh well. I guess I'm getting married in 6 days with or without backup undies, right?" The sooner you get to that place where the big things are done and the little things are just falling away, the happier you'll be in the lead up.
5. Remember why you're doing this in the first place
One time I was photographing a wedding in a hotel in a small town in Colorado. On Saturday morning the bride was rocking a bathrobe, half finished with her second champagne, and just finalising the touches to her makeup. One flustered bridesmaid burst in and said, "The bride from yesterday's wedding left an hour ago, and we've just realised that she took the wrong dress bag. She took your dress and left hers!" Naturally, panic ensued. But curiously, it seemed to fluster everyone in the room except the bride. And then, beautiful bride Keri, said in a way I'll never forget: "You know... at 2 o'clock today, I'm marrying Sean with or without that dress. I don't care if I have to marry him in this robe, but I'll be there and it'll be just me and him, getting married like we planned."
Holy Zen Bride, Batman! Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone be as freaking boss as Keri (because I can't promise that I could've done the same in her position), but her complete day-of calmness isn't an all too extraordinary way to feel as a bride. When perspective finally hits, and all the gifts for guests are on the right table - or they're not, at the end of the day the reason you're all there is so you two can get up in front of your nearest and dearest and promise yourselves to one another. If you're able to conjure it, my advice would be to access that beautiful perspective as soon as you can along this wild ride.