In a beautiful, theoretical, magical world, I am the most relaxed, unstressed, easy-going newlywed(ish) who didn’t give a hoot about centerpieces, timelines, and rain on my wedding day.
In actuality, and much to my occasional chagrin, I am fiercely Type A. On the contrary, I firmly believe that the world is not all black and white and notice a few Type B traits in myself (luckily), and I’ve consciously tried to become less high-strung as I’ve gotten older. Yet I still fight those perfectionist tendencies, which can be a real struggle as a (former) bride-to-be.
Now I’m certainly not trying to paint being Type A under a negative light. I think there’s perks to being just competitive enough against myself. I'm adamantly afraid of failure, and that drive geared me towards being a successful (and slightly neurotic) college student and fueled me with enough ambition to launch my own business. But I would be lying if I told you that I was able to “not sweat the small stuff” like some of my dear Type B friends.
Wedding planning, though, can be a force of personality-type nature. Breaking down all kinds of barriers, it's a force that reveals the anxieties of even those perpetually chill Type Bs.
So imagine how us Type As feel trying to pick out wedding invitations.
I’m here to tell you that in spite of personality types and quizzes and what-have-you, wedding planning does not have to be anxiety-inducing. Yes, I know, everyone tells you that, right? As someone who has lived through it (I did make it to the other side!) and now works in the industry, I’ve come to terms with how most of us (myself included) way over-complicate the process. This does not have to be!
I’ve compiled five friendly suggestions to help you have a restful, joyful wedding day so that you can focus on what really matters: marrying the person you love. Some I implemented into my own day, and some I wish I had considered a little more in retrospect and as a wedding photographer. Either way, I hope you find them helpful as your day is approaching;
- Arrange for the proper food/snacks for the day of. I'm starting with food because, let’s face it, everything revolves around food. The day of your wedding is not the time to let your blood sugar drop, which is sure to increase any anxieties. Whether your wedding is in the afternoon or evening, schedule ahead of time for a friend or family member to pick up a light breakfast or lunch and have it set up in a room at the venue (preferably where you’re getting ready, if you have the space available). Or you could ask your caterer if they offer options for a bridal breakfast or lunch, which is a great time to relax with your girlfriends before (or after) hair and makeup. Whatever the case, having healthy food readily available will keep your body in check and alleviate any unnecessary stress. Also, consider providing a nice lunch for the boys too, or put a bug in your groom's ear to take the boys out for a good meal - they have to eat too!
- Firm up vendors ahead of time, but then hand the responsibility over to someone else. I am a person who struggles-to-the-max with handing over responsibility, but entrusting a coordinator with the task of working with vendors will make your life enormously easier. If you don’t have a coordinator and feel guilty asking someone to handle the task, just remember that your friends and family want to help you the day of your wedding, and I have no doubt there is someone who would be more than happy to take some of the burden off your shoulders. Having a delegated person to meet the caterer at the venue, pick up flowers, or help a lost baker locate the reception site will make your day infinitely more relaxing. Handle what you need to before the day begins, but then shut your phone off, put it on your purse, and enjoy the time to focus on those around you before kicking into hostess-mode at the reception.
- Plan for a relaxing environment. Whether you’re getting ready at your mom’s house or the venue, spend a little time coordinating a serene and joyful atmosphere for you and your girlfriends. Plan for food and snacks (see tip #1), bring some speakers so you can listen to music from your iPhone, and if you had decorations and flowers at your rehearsal dinner, put those to good use and repurpose them for your getting ready and/or pre-ceremony space. Maybe even consider bringing essential oils and diffusing some lavender to cultivate a "spa-like" atmosphere and center yourself before the ceremony.
- Enjoy the pampering, but get your hair cut first. This tip doesn't just apply to your hair though. The day of the wedding is no time to be concerned about your eyebrows or split ends, so make sure you’ve gotten your brows waxed (if getting your brows done is your speed!) and tackled any other beauty tasks before the wedding. As for the day of, deciding to hire a makeup artist or hairdresser is a personal decision, but in my case they made the day so much more enjoyable. I lucked out with my hair and makeup artists because one of my bridesmaids is also my hairstylist, and she gifted me with a pretty ‘do for my wedding, and then I hired one of my makeup artist friends to doll up my face. I usually don’t spoil myself (I have a hard enough time getting timely haircuts), but having my hair and makeup done by professionals made the day feel more luxurious and therapeutic; just make sure that you have trials done beforehand. If you decide to fix your own hair or makeup, invest in high-quality products so that the process feels a little more elevated than usual.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve heard it time and time again, but this pithy phrase can’t be emphasized enough. A few things didn’t work out the day of my wedding, and although I would immediately have a Type A Panic Moment, I always took a moment to ground myself and remember the true purpose of the day. Even more important than makeup, cake, and decorations, you are forging a union with your best friend in the presence of the people who love you the most. And, hey, no matter what: it’s STILL the best party you’ll ever plan!