You’re not alone. The same nightmares plague every couple as they approach the big day. The good news is: The most common concerns can be smoothed over with a little planning and a smile.
Black sheep and unlimited alcohol. What could be a worse combination? If you’re worried about family drama ruining your big day, you’re not alone.
The first and most effective solution is honest communication. If the thought of a heart-to-heart freaks you out, just remember: it will make a smaller mess to pop the bubble now than to let it explode on your wedding day.
Most family members will gladly step up to the occasion of “being the bigger adult” if you ask them nicely to put aside differences for a few hours. Let them know you’re counting on them to save your day from all those other troublemakers out there. It’s amazing how flattery can make people remember their best behavior.
If you’re worried about alcoholic family members, there’s still no reason to shut down the bar for everybody. Wedding bartenders are used to special requests. Let the alcohol servers know to pour lightly for specified guests, and include photos if you want to avoid mistakes.
Uninvited guests, such as old flames, estranged family, or plain old wedding crashers, feature in many wedding nightmares. Resist the urge to make a scene. Instead, calmly tell the venue’s security personnel to escort them off the premises.
You can also enlist a large, calm friend ahead of time if no security staff will be present. The bride and groom should not get involved, and usually a firm warning will suffice with no police intervention necessary. Above all, remain calm and don’t alert your guests that anything is out of the ordinary.
If the unwanted guest in question is technically invited, the best course of action is to grit your teeth and steer clear. Remind yourself that there’s enough cake to go around. There’s no reason to let anyone’s presence spoil your special day.
We’ve heard Alanis Morisette sing, “It’s like rain on your wedding day.” It might not be ironic, per se, but it’s still a terrible thing to happen on a once-in-a-lifetime event. Unfortunately, once a wedding date is set, it can’t be moved easily. And, hey, rain happens. While there isn’t any way to change the weather, this disaster can still be averted through good planning.
Before you settle on a wedding date, research your location. Take the time to look up weather reports for the past few years, and talk to locals about which months have the best weather. Choose the time of year with the least amount of rainfall.
Time of day can also make a difference; in many warmer areas, especially during the summer months, there are afternoon storms but the majority of the day is still beautiful.
If your venue is indoors, make sure there is a covered walk leading from the parking lot, or the venue has arrangements for rain. Will attendants be on hand to usher people to the door with umbrellas? Holding a small meeting to plan for contingencies like rain doesn’t take much time, and can make a world of difference in preparedness.
If your venue is outdoors, make sure there is enough space inside a nearby building to comfortably contain your entire wedding. Make sure you ask the relevant questions: Will it cost more to move the party inside? Will the inside be booked by any other party that day? Will the space be clean and decorated if needed? If the venue can’t guarantee problem-free rain arrangements, you might consider booking another venue.
Everyone Will Notice…
No matter which detail you’re concerned about, it’s a virtual guarantee that no one except you will notice it. Brides, grooms, and their parents tend to obsess over whether the table trim matched the ribbon on the bouquet, or whether the bridesmaids lined up in the correct height-order, whereas guests are much more likely to remember how great the cake tasted.
The best solution for this worry is to take a deep breath and accept that small things will go wrong. In fact, you should expect things to go wrong. That way, when they do, you will be able to smile to yourself and think, “Well, that’s one more mistake out of the way!”
Most mistakes – even large mistakes, like the bride tripping halfway down the aisle – are still only a big deal if you allow them to become a big deal. A graceful smile and sense of humor can make you look even more impressive than a flawless wedding can.
Looking Terrible in Pictures
The earlier you start your beauty regimen, the easier it will be to meet your goals. Don’t try to push yourself to achieve unrealistic weight loss or fashion makeovers all at once. Remember, your fiancé chose you exactly as you are, so “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As far as weight loss goes, it’s more important to pick a dress that flatters your body than to try to drastically change yourself for an approaching deadline.
If you do try to lose a few pounds, do it through honest exercise and healthy eating. Fad diets and “miracle solutions” can backfire in a weight yo-yo that leaves you heavier on your wedding day (and very discouraged!) Plus, if you lose weight with a looming deadline in mind, you can also be tempted to relax or “celebrate” after the wedding has passed, resulting in a large weight gain during your first few years of marriage.
It’s better to stick with more modest lifestyle changes that you can realistically maintain for the long term. After all, you want to look good for your anniversary pictures, too.
For clear skin, test new products early. You don’t want to wait until the day before your wedding to discover you have an allergic reaction to your new skin cream.
Drink plenty of water the week before your wedding, and no matter how nervous or excited you are, do your best to get a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep. A well-rested face always looks better than a tired one.
Try new makeup looks well in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises in your photos. You can try free makeovers at most mall makeup kiosks, where you have the freedom to experiment. Remember, most photographers ask brides to wear heavier makeup for the photo session (cameras aren’t as subtle as human eyes), so prepare and practice two separate looks for your big day to ensure a stunning photo album.
Going Into Debt
Not only a common nightmare, this is also a common reality for many couples. But it’s also easily avoided: Don’t overspend. Yes, it’s hard advice to take, especially when you’ve dreamed your whole life about buying out Disneyland for a night of playing Cinderella.
But some couples just aren’t at the right point in their lives to splurge on roaming peacocks and pink champagne fountains. Try to realistically assess your budget while you’re still in the planning stage, and make each other a solemn promise that a one-day celebration isn’t enough reason to begin your life together in serious debt. You can always make your fortunes later in life and enjoy a lavish anniversary party.
Missing the Memories
With all the hectic planning involved, a wedding can start looking less like a celebration and more like a high-stress job. If you’re starting to have panic attacks every time you see a calendar, close your eyes and take a step back. Remind yourself that you’re marrying your loved one and the party is secondary.
Take time off from all checklists, bridal magazines and wedding websites, and take some quiet time to just be with your fiancé. Remember to keep the focus of the day on appreciating your family and friends. If the DJ plays the wrong song, or the cake topper ends up upside-down, it will just become a story to laugh about over the years.
If you’re truly overwhelmed, consider hiring a wedding planner. You can hire a professional to take care of as much or as little as you want, so it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can also appoint a trusted friend or family member as the “go-to” person on the wedding day, so you’re not bombarded with details and decision-making. What you pay attention to now will become your memories in ten years, so just relax and try to focus on the good parts.
Hiring an Idiot
We’ve all heard the horror stories: The photographer who cropped out Grandma’s head. The seamstress who forgot the zippers on the bridesmaid’s dresses. The DJ who played the “Chicken Dance” on repeat. The bartender who drank it all himself. How do you make sure you’re hiring a professional?
Before you commit to anyone, insist on seeing samples of their previous work. If you can’t follow a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone you trust, do some research online. Do they have a professional-looking website with recommendations from satisfied customers?
Or do all their recommendations look like they were written by the same person? If anything strikes you as phony, or if the vendor tries to do a very hard sell, ask around until you can find someone to vouch for them.
Always order products with plenty of time to spare, in case there is a shipping delay (or sudden strike at the tulle factory). Visit venues well ahead of time and picture your grandmother navigating any narrow doorways.
Schedule a time to experience trial runs: cake tastings, a visit to the DJ’s equipment setup, or a lunch at the catering company. Most professional vendors are used to providing potential clients with a way to feel secure about their work.
Last, make sure that the vendor you interview will be the same person showing up on your wedding day. Some companies “cheat” by farming out less experienced employees to cover multiple weddings at once. If you have a good connection with someone you trust, you won’t run into unpleasant surprises on your wedding day.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.