We’ve all heard about how stressful weddings can be. For many people, it’s the first (and possibly only) time they’ll plan an event on this large of a scale. And to top it off, it concerns one of the most important days of their lives. So, the pressure really is on. Unless you choose to elope or get married at the courthouse, it’s almost impossible to avoid the stress that accompanies wedding planning. We’ve all seen this unfold in our own lives – your most laid-back sister, brother, or friend shows you a side you didn’t know existed. So how do we avoid it? Well, you don’t really, but we do have a few ways to take the pressure down a notch:
- Have you ever heard the saying “Luck favors the prepared”? I can’t think of a better example of this maxim than with planning a wedding. Think of everything that could wrong – weather, absent or extra guests, an uncooperative band, slow service, and be prepared for at least one. You will not be as caught off guard if you prepare as much as possible as soon as possible. Try not to leave anything to the last minute – that is the number one cause of stress, truly. You’re probably going to be engaged for at least a few months, so get it done, don’t wait.
- Find a venue that has catering and bartenders included. Sara and Chad’s (link to your bio here), venue, Barndiva in Healdsburg, provided the food and drinks as part of the package. Many venues will not allow outside food or drink (fortunately the food was delicious), and this option takes a lot of stress out of finding a caterer.
- Think about what you can live without. I remember when my sister-in-law got married in San Francisco a few years ago, she opted to forego the gift bags, a wedding party, and the morning brunch. Maybe you opt to not do programs for the ceremony, or table assignments, which are both way more time-consuming than you may realize. But guess what? When people look back on your wedding, they’re going to remember the magical moments, not what was missing.
- On the subject of wedding parties, if you know that you are going to have a difficult bridesmaid in the mix, appoint a friend or family member to keep an eye on her, so you don’t have to worry. Let’s be honest, we all have that friend or family member who drives us crazy, but whom we could never get away with not including – in fact, they would make our lives worse if we didn’t, so stay ahead of this one, and let a few people know that you’d rather not have to be responsible for her on your big day.
- Rain plan!! Not having one is so stressful. I’d add extreme heat plan too. As I’ve shared here before, I was so afraid of rain at my June wedding in Vermont, that I never considered heat. Instead of thinking about indoor ceremony venue and umbrellas, I should have looked at the weather and provided fans and extra water.
I’m sure some of you have had some more experiences that we haven’t mentioned here. Ultimately, you really can’t control your guests’ experience, so give yourself a break. When the day comes, enjoy yourself no matter what. The weddings with bad weather or a silly band or an awkward toast end up being the ones that stand out among the rest. A little yoga and meditation leading up to the wedding isn’t a bad idea either, to remind you to stay present regardless of what happens.
Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La. Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s Fiction, Town and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.