Image by Sanshine Photography.
Well hello there 2020 and hello to you gorgeous, fabulous Coco-thusiasts (that’s a word, right? If not then it TOTALLY should be as I for one am officially obsessed with all things Coco, especially when it comes to curated venue perusing and style focused inspiration).
So… I’m (I’m = Kat, the founder of + Head Wedding Planner at Katrina Otter Weddings) back and ready to hit the insightful feature ground running with another year of collaborative wedding planning features, including the 4th to 6th instalments of our Q&A series, here on the Coco Wedding Venues blog.
First up on the 2020 feature agenda is a piece that I know many of you will find particularly helpful, especially those of you who’ve suddenly gone from saying I’m getting married next year to… I’M GETTING MARRIED THIS YEAR!
You see, today’s feature is all about common wedding fears and, most importantly, advice on how you can overcome them so that you can (hopefully) reach your wedding day in a state of serenity rather than one of panic.
Before we start, a little note from me to you… if you’re feeling panicked, stressed-out, worried or overwhelmed, you’re not alone. It’s an uncomfortable truth of wedding planning that for a lot of couples, an element of worry seems to come hand-in-hand with the excitement and joy. I feel immensely sad when I hear of couples where the day was slightly overshadowed by those feelings of anxiety and panic that seem to bubble up when we least need them. That’s just not what your wedding should be about.
However, you can absolutely take control over these feelings. By all means, take some time out to relax and be as mindful as possible but, to really put those fears to bed, it’s important to do something practical. When you know what’s worrying you, do something about it. Change your plans, adjust your day or do something/make a decision/change your mindset, thereby helping you to move on.
Me to you note over and below… 10 common wedding fears and my honest advice on how to overcome them.
Decision-fatigue is real
When you’re planning your wedding, you have to make A LOT of decisions. Sometimes, it can feel as if you’ve got decision-fatigue and at this point, it can be a very slippery slope to worrying that you’ve made the wrong decision. Have you booked the right suppliers? Did you choose the right dress? Should you have ordered more alcohol? Might your guests have a better time if you’d booked that band instead of the DJ?
To avoid this feeling, once you’ve made a decision, you need to LET IT GO AND MOVE ON!
I know that’s easier said than done but really, it’s not that tough to do. Firstly, take your time, thoroughly research your suppliers and be confident with the style of wedding that you’re planning. Stick to the things that you like, don’t be swayed by others and try to avoid friends and family giving you ‘helpful’ advice because more often than not, that’s enough to bring on the panic. Make as many decisions as you can with your partner so that you can draw strength from each other and whatever you do, stop looking around once a decision has been made. Continuing to look at dresses, floral arrangements etc. once you’ve made a decision will only confuse you or make you feel that you’ve somehow done the wrong thing. Decide and move onwards (and upwards) in everything.
Designing your day
Creating a wedding day that looks great is usually pretty high on every couple’s list of wedding must-haves. You want to create a day that looks great, reflects your style and impresses your guests (yes, it’s ok to admit that!). However, it’s just as natural to worry about how things will look and whether or not they’ll come together/work in quite the way you imagine they would. Designing a wedding doesn’t come naturally to a LOT of people and it can also be incredibly daunting. Again, to cut down on the worry, work with suppliers you trust, suppliers whose style and portfolios are aligned to your own tastes and preferences. Knowing that the pros have it all under control should give you confidence. Of course, the great unknown can be the things that you’ve arranged yourself and here, if you’re worrying about anything, work to the ‘less is more’ mantra. Keep everything as simple as possible, make sure that everything you add works with your overall vision and if you’re in any doubt, don’t!
Paperwork and checklists!
If there’s one thing that keeps couples awake in the run up to their wedding day, it’s the thought that something’s been forgotten. You might be worried that you’ve forgotten to do something, book something, arrange something or confirm something and if this is your worry, you can immediately reassure yourself that you’re actually a planning genius by checking your paperwork or email trail.
A quick check will put those fears to bed and that’s definitely the best thing to do. This is why it’s vitally important that you a. have a plan, b. that you try to stick to/stay on top of your plan and c. that you keep good records as you plan – if you have all the information to hand and you know exactly where you are in the planning process then all the reassurance that you need is to hand. If you find out that something is missing, you either need to do something about it or let it go. Missing a small item in the day is unlikely to be noticed by anyone (apart from you!), so finding out that you’ve not ordered something doesn’t have to be a problem. Either correct things with a quick order or decide to live without that item/element and move on. Small things especially are absolutely not big enough to derail your day or your happiness.
Centre of attention – no thanks!
More people than you might imagine worry about being the centre of attention and, if you’re not naturally comfortable or confident being in the spotlight, it’s completely understandable why the thought of being just that, for a whole day, is enough to make you feel nervous, anxious and apprehensive. If you find yourself in this situation or know that it might become an issue, then first and foremost you need to look at the flow of your day and try, where possible, to minimise the amount of time you spend in the limelight. Build some time into your schedule so that you can take some time out and cut out any non-essential elements that make you feel uncomfortable. Speak to your suppliers, particularly your photographer and videographer, so that they know how you’re feeling and can work around it. For example, they might be able to find somewhere gorgeous for your couple portraits so that you’re not being stared at by all your guests. It’s so important to remember that this is your day and you don’t have to include any element that you don’t like.
Good ol’ British weather
Unfortunately, here in the UK, we just can’t be sure what the weather will do, and this uncertainty can play havoc with your wedding plans, and your panic levels (I’m talking from personal experience here as well… it’s safe to say that when I got married I checked every single weather app religiously for a whole month prior to my wedding, no fewer than 20 times a day – I kid you not!).
The first thing to do is to acknowledge, as soon as you start planning, that no matter what you do, your wedding will in some shape or form be influenced and affected by the weather. If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, there’s no escaping the fact that the weather might have other ideas. It might be too hot, it might rain, or those beautiful lawns could be muddy or sun-scorched. This is where having a Plan B or even a Plan C is a must – if you take the time to imagine these back-up plans as a reality, are happy with them and embrace them, you’ll feel immensely better. Please also try not to “do a me” and terrorise yourself in the run up to your wedding by continually looking at weather forecasts. These can change and as we all know, the weather is absolutely out of our control. Know that you have your back-up plan in place and concentrate on the elements of your day that you can influence.
And just in case you were wondering, it was unbelievably cold with a 90% chance of rain on the day I got married, we reverted to our Plan B and do you know what… I actually think the day was better as a result!
If you’re worrying about whether your wedding will be perfect, then repeat after me – weddings are imperfectly perfect. No wedding day is absolute perfection, things happen and however perfect your plans may be, the moment you throw guests, human nature, mother nature etc. into the mix, things will go awry. Again, deal with these worries early on in the process so that you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself well in advance. Work only with suppliers who give you confidence, choose a wedding party that’s full of people who’ve absolutely got your back and leave some wiggle room in your schedule so that if it takes a little longer than you expected to get everyone into dinner, you don’t feel under pressure to make up time elsewhere. It’s also vital that if anything does happen on the day, that you just don’t let it get to you. No one else will realise if the table plan isn’t in exactly the right place or if the evening food is served 15 minutes late but they will if you’re stressed or upset about it. Remember that your reaction to things on the day will totally guide everyone else and as cliched as it might sound, if you’re happy, your guests will be too.
The worry that guests might drop out or worse still, might not turn up is a particularly common one. Now I can tell you for a fact that for the vast majority of guests, your day will have been circled in their diary ever since you sent them their invitation. People LOVE a wedding and will do everything possible to be there with you. However, sometimes circumstances can get in the way – children get sick, cars break down and trains are late. For your own sanity, it’s important to go into this knowing that in almost every situation, people really are doing their best so if something happens and they can’t make your day, it won’t be because they’ve not tried to work around things to be with you. However, you can cut down on these worries well before the day by being really careful with your guest list. If anyone has a history of letting you down, think carefully whether you want them with you on the day. If someone has a history of being a touch flaky with plans or turning up late, ask a bridesmaid or a groomsman to give them a little nudge on the night before the wedding. Finally, remember that try as you might, you can’t control everyone. If someone is a no-show, I can promise you that you won’t notice because you’ll be surrounded by so much love and goodwill.
Happy couple = happy guests
Worrying that your guests won’t enjoy the day is another common fear, and of all the fears on this list, this one really breaks me… especially when I hear of couples getting upset about their wedding because they’re worried that guests will be bored or unhappy.
Firstly, who are these guests that you’re inviting? This is the day where you should surround yourself with people who love you and want you to have the best day ever. Negativity has no place at your wedding so don’t be afraid to cut those judgemental guests from your guest list. Secondly, remember that if guests are fed and watered, they’ll be happy. Favours and surprises are nice to have but they’re not what guests will really remember. Also, give guests time to relax and actually enjoy themselves. Too many weddings are packed with various forms of entertainment and logistical movements, when in actual fact most people would just love the chance to catch up with friends and family they’ve not seen for a while. Don’t work so hard to keep everyone happy (because you won’t, whatever you do), so make sure that you’re happy and you’re enjoying your day, and everyone will be carried along with the atmosphere. And, if they’re not, ignore it. It’s your day, not theirs.
Guests behaving badly
We’re continuing the guest theme by looking at those worries caused by the prospect of guests behaving badly. It might be that you know a certain guest that has a tendency to drink too much, argue too much or just try to hog the limelight in some shape or form. You might also have complicated family dynamics that just make the prospect of big group gatherings slightly stressful. It happens to us all and, as always, you’re not alone. To combat the fear here, talk to someone. Set someone up to be your wing man (or wing woman) and make sure that they’re totally on your side. If you’re not looking forward to being stuck in conversation with your mother-in-law, set up a rescue plan where your wonderful wing woman comes to whisk you away after a minute or two. If you’re worried about someone drinking too much, speak to your venue to find out how they might manage the situation. This really is a fear that gets better when you talk about it so gather your A-team around you and make sure that everyone’s on your side.
The dress fear
Finally, let’s talk about the dress fear. It happens and it’s only natural. When you’ve not been able to try your gown on for months, of course you’ll be worried that it might not suit or might not fit. It’s also a big investment and that brings another layer of worry. Please please let me assure you that seamstresses at boutiques are nothing short of miraculous and they’ll make sure you look utterly amazing in your gown. Dresses can be taken in, let out and adjusted in all areas before the day so please don’t worry. Have a trial run once (and once only!) when you bring your dress home if you need a little reassurance and on the day itself, allow yourself way more time than you might even think you need to get ready. Enjoy becoming a bride, enjoy anticipation and don’t worry about a thing – you’ve totally got this.