Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It’s probably a day some of you have been dreaming of since you were a small child. It’s a day that will go down in the history books of your family’s legacy for generations to talk about. All eyes are going to be on you, and you have one chance to get it right; it has to be PERFECT! Mementos from your wedding day will be saved and passed down, and your photos will be cherished by generations after you.
Stressed out yet? If you hadn’t noticed, I was purposely setting the tone for this blog post. Did you read that and feel a little short of breath, perhaps your heartbeat rose a little? It was done to show you how this one thing can ruin your wedding day.
Have you figured it out yet? I’ll give you a clue: It’s completely manageable.
Still not sure what it is? It’s EXPECTATIONS
Let’s dissect this a bit, shall we?
We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t want a perfect wedding day. We all want the perfect day. You’ve been playing it out in your head forever, have a vision for what you want, and you expect perfection, because gosh darn it, you’re getting married! But, let’s face it: Nothing is perfect. So, expecting a perfect day is probably not going to happen and is somewhat unrealistic.
Admittedly, we (brides and grooms) are our own worst enemies. We’re putting this pressure on ourselves based on what we think our guests or family expects, or what the Internet, TV or movies tells us to expect in terms of perfection.
Nellie Hill, Event Planner and Owner of Nellie Hill Events in Hurley, explains why wanting the day to be perfect is understandable. “It’s hard because everyone is looking at you that day,” she says. “The spotlight is on you, but you have to try and remember that it’s about two people coming together, and it’s about love and as long as you guys are married at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. People aren’t going to remember those little things that happen…they’re going to remember the love and the family and coming together.”
Is it realistic to expect perfect weather on your wedding day? No.
Is it realistic to expect everything will run like clockwork to the minute? No.
Is it realistic to expect your wedding will be the most memorable wedding your guests will attend…EVER? No.
Is it realistic to expect guests will appreciate all the details as much as you? No.
Is it realistic to expect you are going to absolutely LOVE every single one of the hundreds of photos taken of you that day? No.
Is it realistic to expect everyone to dance to every song? No.
Is it realistic everyone is going to love your food or the cake? NO.
See where I’m going? You can’t please everyone. So, why are you putting so much pressure on yourself?
I know, it’s easy to tell you not to expect perfection. However, the good news is there are four easy ways you can control and manage expectations, and when expectations are controlled and met, that means less anxiety, worry, and stress for you. Sounds good, right?
Manage wedding day expectations with a budget
Have you ever heard of the phrase “Champagne taste on a beer budget?” That phrase rings especially true when it comes to weddings. That’s why it’s important to have a budget. You need to write down everything you’ve ever dreamed of for your wedding day and compare it to how much you have to spend. If what you want costs more than what you have to spend, then you need to take a step back and reconsider a few things.
“First thing I tell a couple is to make a list,” says Joanne Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant of What Dreams Are Made of in Kingston. “Start with the number one thing you want for your wedding and as you go down the list it’s what you want less and less.” Having a budget manages your expectations in terms of allowing you to realistically see what things cost and it also ensures that you get your top items (within reason, of course). You book what you want based off the list and as the money runs out and you don’t get what’s left at the end of the list, it’s OK because you didn’t put a lot of importance on them anyway. “You have XYZ amount of money to work with,” says Provanzano. “Get the important stuff first; then what’s left, those are the frills.”
Manage wedding day expectations through communication
Communication is so important when it comes to managing expectations. Disappointment and arguments start to happen because expectations were not met. And why were expectations not met? Because they were not communicated.
Planning a wedding means you are going to input from everybody and their uncle, with immediate family topping that list of opinions. “It’s hard to field out those opinions, but I think the main thing is to really focus on what is special for you and your spouse,” Hill says. “Everybody is going to have their opinions, and the best way to handle it, personally, is to just listen, take it in and then do what you feel is right.”
Think of when you give someone advice or an opinion. If they shut you down completely, you’d be pretty upset, right? However, if they listened to you and took what you said to heart, even if they didn’t follow through with it, you’d be OK, because they took the time to acknowledge what you said and heard you out.
You need to do the same. It’s incredibly frustrating at times to get opinions thrown at you from every direction, and you’ve probably said to yourself, “Who’s getting married — me or you?” but just take a deep breath and listen. It’s all coming from a good place, and if the other person feels heard, even if you don’t follow through, they’ll be OK with it.
You also need to communicate with your fiancé. Traditionally, it’s usually the bride that calls the shots, but your groom has a voice too and, even though he may not be as into the planning as you, he has ideas that need to be heard, and more importantly, represented. Remember, this is your wedding…plural. If he wants ice cream, or a certain type of beer, or lawn games, or a certain type of cake or food, don’t shut him down. Make sure you incorporate his likes and wishes too.
Lastly, you need to communicate with your vendors. You need to make sure you are communicating your vision to them throughout the entire planning process. What kind of music do you like? What style photography do you like? What specific food do you want? What traditions to you want to incorporate? If your vendor just showed up and you gave them full control over the day, chances are, you would never end up with the wedding you envisioned. Your vendors have your back and are waiting for you to tell them what direction to go. And as a red flag, if your vendors don’t ask you personal questions and don’t want your input…don’t hire them!
Manage wedding day expectations with a ‘Plan B’ AND a ‘Plan C’
Three plans? Yes, three plans. Here’s why: Jeanne Stark, of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says, “You have Plan A which is absolutely perfect, nothing is going wrong. Plan C is ‘We’re going to have a hurricane on your wedding.’ ” Basically, everything that can go wrong will go wrong and you need to plan for that. “Plan B”, Stark says, “is somewhere in the middle. We may have a pop-up thunderstorm. We may find out there’s some kind of huge festival in town and all these little things. What do we do with that?”
Having a plan for something that might happen last minute, and knowing what to do, lowers anxiety. “I always feel as though, if you have three concrete plans, that when those dilemmas do occur, they’re (the couple) not overwhelmed,” says Stark. Then, it’s almost like things aren’t going wrong, they’re just going correctly according to Plan A, B, or C.
Manage wedding day expectations by realizing your wedding is not a competition
When you think of competition, you think of being better at something than someone else to “win” or set you apart from everyone else to get a “prize.” Well, there are no prizes in the wedding world. No one gets a trophy for anything you do on your wedding day. So, why do you want your wedding to be the best anyone has ever gone to? Is it because you are trying to impress someone or worried about what they will think of you? Is it because you are trying to prove a point?
By thinking your wedding has to be bigger or better than someone else’s means you are not only putting added pressure on yourselves but are also setting expectations so high, that you, no doubt, will have regrets. A wedding isn’t a game. No one wins or loses. Each wedding is different and unique for its own reasons.
If you’ve been to a few weddings, you probably have a “favorite” and one that wasn’t. Stark says couples these days are attending more weddings than ever before, and that’s good and bad. “They do walk away with what they don’t want at their wedding and they walk away with what they want, but now they can’t have that (what they want) because somebody did it,” she says. “And I always remind them: You know what? If somebody else did it and you still want it, do it! Not every single person at that wedding is going to be at your wedding.” She says if you went to your friend and asked if you could copy an awesome idea they had at their wedding, they will more than likely say yes and tell you why it was so great…or why it wasn’t and steer you in a different direction.
“It’s not a competition. There’s only so many ideas that can go around,” says Stark. “Taking the good ones (ideas) and reproducing them is not a bad thing.” Even if you copied everything you saw at a wedding you loved, from the same vendors to the venue to the food and same playlist, it’s never going to be the same because the guests are different, and you are different. Stark says, “You’re not going to be exactly like your fiend’s weddings, it’s going to be different and more important you need to make it (your wedding) about yourselves. If you’re really simple people, make it a simple wedding; it doesn’t matter. People coming together and being able to enjoy themselves is not the most important thing, it SHOULD BE the thing. Everything else is just icing on the cake.”
Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole PhotographyRead More