Friday, 8 April 2011

How To... Keep Calm On Your Wedding Day

Image - Melanie East

It’s the big day, you’ve been planning it for months and maybe even dreaming about it since you were a little girl.  You wake up in the morning, the dress is hanging on the door, the shoes are in their box and your honeymoon case is packed and waiting.  It should be a brilliant feeling.  But, then the nerves kick in.  You’ve got butterflies in your stomach, your hands are shaking and your mouth’s gone dry.  If that sounds like something you’re worried about, read on for my top tips on being a blissed out bride…

1.  Don’t leave it until the day!  The morning of a wedding can be pretty hectic with hairdressers, make-up artists, photographers, videographers, family and bridesmaids all flying around you.  This really isn’t the time to be trying to pack for your honeymoon or to discover that you can’t find your passport.  Take a little time in the days running up to the wedding to put everything you’re going to need in one place and avoid panic later on.

2. If your name’s not down…  The more people that are with you when you’re trying to get ready, the more likely someone is to start you panicking about something.  By all means, write a ‘guest list’ of essential supporters who you know will calm you down rather than wind you up and keep everyone else out.  Task a friend to answer your phone in the morning too – you don’t need to deal with anything, just enjoy the moment.

3. Time for tea!  Well, breakfast really – don’t forget to eat, even if it’s just a little toast or grapes.  It’s a long day and having something in your stomach can really settle your nerves.  Try and avoid too much alcohol too as sometimes, this can make you feel much worse.  Of course, a little champagne is always allowed!

4. You’re a bride, not a prisoner – There’s absolutely no reason why you have to stay locked in your house or hotel room all morning.  Getting out for a little walk, a run even, and a bit of fresh air is great to help calm you down and stops you clock watching.

5. Tick tick tick – Every smug married will tell you how quickly the day goes and the time before the ceremony is no exception, despite what you might think!  And if one thing if guaranteed to stress you out, it’s the moment when you look at the clock, realise you’ll be saying your vows in less than an hour and you’ve still not got the dress on!  Write a sensible time plan and let everyone know what should be happening when.  Build in a bit of flexibility though so if styling your hair takes a little longer than you thought it might, it’s not a major crisis.

6. Stress Free Suppliers – Everyone’s wedding nightmare is that a supplier doesn’t turn up.  In reality, it’s incredibly rare.  We all love our jobs and the thought of letting someone down just doesn’t enter our minds.  So feel free to call suppliers in the few days before your wedding just to treble check arrangements if it makes you feel better (we understand!) and take their mobile numbers – an office number is really no help if something does go wrong on the day as they won’t be there to answer it!
Image - 1 Wedding Source

7. Quick Fix – There’s absolutely nothing wrong with carrying a little emergency kit of hair grips, face powder, lipstick and a few ‘spares’ of things if you feel happier with them.  Remember though that there’s always somewhere at most venues where you can store a little bag so don’t feel like you have to cram everything in a tiny handbag.  Also, hotels will always have spare smellies, needle and thread packs and paracetamol so if you forget the kit, don’t worry.

7. Smile – A lot of couples that I speak to say they’re worried about the photographs and that they hate posing for the camera.  If this is something that’s stressing you out, how about asking your photographer for a ‘pre wedding shoot’, perhaps when you visit the venue together?  You’ll all get used to each other and your snapper will be able to pass on their tips for staying calm in front of the lens.

8. Keep it Natural – However nervous you feel, please don’t resort to excess alcohol or anything else to help calm you down because you’ll regret it.  Stick to things that are nice and natural so you don’t suffer afterwards.  Bach’s Rescue Remedy is great for settling nerves and if you look on-line before the day, you’ll be able to find plenty of breathing exercises that will help too.  When you panic, you take short breaths which can leave you feeling light headed and faint.  Practice taking deep, slow breaths and do this when it starts getting too much.
Image - Martha Stewart

9. Love your Lists – Lists are a great way to stay in control on your wedding day and they’re also great for passing on information to other people.  If you’ve got a list of exactly which gifts should be behind the top table, someone else can check they’re there.  List who should be in every photo and make sure your photographer and ushers have copies to help round everyone up.  People shouldn’t need to ask you questions all day long, you’ve got plenty of other (much nicer!) things to do…

10. Potential Problems – Sometimes, just the thought of what could happen is enough to bring back the butterflies so deal with any potential problems before this happens.  If you’re worried that an elderly relative might have problems with the stairs, that a pregnant guest could struggle with an afternoon of standing or that your nearest and dearest might get lost on the trip from the church to the reception – plan ahead and let someone else know your worries, don’t wait until the day and just ‘hope’ that nothing will happen because that will only stress you out.

11. Roll with it – Despite your planning, sometimes things might change.  The rain might scupper the outdoor drinks reception you’d hoped for or the band might need a little longer to set up that planned but just try to roll with it.  Guests won’t notice and they’ll all be having a great time mingling and chatting anyway and, I promise you, that the sight of a bride going into a melt down over something relatively minor kills the atmosphere more than a delay to the first dance ever will.

12. Think about the aftermath – Don’t forget that whatever you’ve taken to the venue needs to be taken away afterwards.  Gifts & cards have to get home, suits and hired items have to be returned to the right companies, cake needs to be wrapped up and candle holders, guest books, cameras and everything else has to be removed from the venue.  Think who will do this for you in advance and arrange everything.  You don’t need to be worrying about this ten minutes before you’re supposed to leave on honeymoon.
Image - Melanie East

13. Time Out – There will probably be a few moments on the day when everything just seems to be speeding by in a blur and this can be the moment when a few couples panic.  Don’t be afraid to take a time out from whatever is going on and get away from it all for a moment.  Escape to a quite corner, sit quietly for a moment and calm yourself down before returning to the party.

14. Be prepared! – Knowing what to expect at all stages of the wedding can help ease your nerves.  Does your registrar need to speak to you before the ceremony?  Who will be announcing you in to dinner?  What’s the wet weather plan for the drinks reception?  What time will the florist/photographer/cars arrive?  If you know what’s coming next, you won’t feel so worried about it and the day will be smooth, seamless and much more enjoyable.

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