Our wedding day is one of high expectation and emotion and for this reason, for some brides and grooms, it can turn into a day of disappointment, unhappy tears, and even conflict.
As a relationship counsellor I have unfortunately heard many such tales and most of us have heard nightmare stories of stroppy bridesmaids, drunk ushers, rude relatives or lost rings.
Top Tips to make sure nothing ruins your day.
Be as prepared as possible to avoid 'emergencies'. Do all guests and service companies have directions to the church and/or venue, and a number to call (not yours) if they get lost?
Does everyone involved in the ceremony or reception know their role, where they have to be, and when?
Have you allowed plenty of time to have your hair done, get ready, and take photographs or drink champagne?
Have you tried on everything in advance? Does someone have the rings, any important documents required, and the money to pay the band etc?
Put together a kit of emergency items in case you might need them e.g. make-up, safety pins, hair pins, hairspray, and a change of shoes so that you can enjoy dancing later on when your new wedding shoes are killing you.
Entrust a friend or family member with being the point of contact for the photographer, florist, catering staff, band, DJ etc, otherwise you will be answering questions all day.
Get as much sleep as possible the night before, everyone is more emotional when they are tired.
Don't forget to eat on the day. Have a good breakfast and ask someone to carry some water and snacks for you, you are likely to need them if you are non-stop socializing.
Be aware that friends or relatives who don't normally spend much time together might be more stressed than usual. However, it is your big day, you are not responsible for 'making them happy', if conflicts do happen don't get involved. Spend time instead with guests who are enjoying themselves, particularly your new husband or wife, this is your special day so stay focused on each other.
Some guests might not keep any grumblings they have to themselves e.g. about where they are sitting at the reception, how many photos they are in, or what the food or drink is like. Ignore them, they are being rude. It is impossible to meet everyone's expectations, you have thought carefully about what feels right for your wedding day and that is all that matters.
If something small goes wrong (which will happen at most weddings) with the flowers, the dress, your hair, the rings, the venue, the meal, the speeches, the band, the disco, or anything else, keep it in perspective, it is not the most important part of the day. We all care about our appearance and about 'getting things right', but we cannot control everything and things will sometimes go wrong.
Talk to a trusted friend before the day and ask them to be a 'shoulder to cry on' if you feel emotional or overwhelmed. If someone upsets you find a quiet place (e.g. the loo!) for a few minutes. Calm yourself by taking slow deep breaths. Say to yourself "I am okay, this day is about feeling loved and happy, I can ignore anything which distracts me from feeling that way". Whatever another person has thoughtlessly said or done will be about their 'self-esteem', i.e. making them feel important or 'okay' at the time, it is very unlikely they would want to hurt or upset you.
Write a note to your fiancé/fiancée, and other people who are important to you, for them to open on the morning of your wedding day. Express what this day means to you, and your love and appreciation for them. It is likely that you will become 'swept up' and will not be able to spend as much time as you would like with the people you care most about, so let them know what they mean to you in advance and you won't be worried if you don't find time to say it out loud.
Above all, remember that your wedding day is about marrying the person you love. Try to find a few moments in the day to share just with each other.
The most exhilarating and private moment is often when you are in your wedding car driving away from the ceremony. Hold each others hands...look into each others eyes... and remember that moment for the rest of your life.
I wish you a wonderful wedding day and a long and happy life together.
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