I got married in September 2017 and as most people say about their wedding day – it was a magical day. Julz proposed in Italy 4 years earlier and the reason we had such a long engagement was because truthfully, the whole thing made me feel anxious as hell.
My inner critic and perfectionist was freaking outttt big time so I told everyone that we were waiting because we needed to save the money. Really, I just wanted to build my self-confidence so I could actually walk down the aisle!
I was worried about the guest list, the food, the decorations, the styling, my dress, my hair, my makeup, our photos, the speeches, my vows, my hen’s night, walking down the aisle, having to talk to everyone, being the centre of attention, our first dance, the opinions of our guests, my skin… EVERYTHING!
Maybe this isn’t unusual and everyone worries about these things? But it was enough anxiety for me to delay the whole process for years!
My goal for the wedding was to feel as relaxed and calm as possible so I could really enjoy every moment. In fact this was very important for both of us. So we got married close to the country town we both grew up in, my brother was the MC and Julz’ grandfather played the role of celebrant. It was a chilled night and exactly what we wanted. I wanted to share some of things I did in the lead up to and the day of the wedding to calm my nerves and manage my anxiety in the hope it helps you too.
Before I share my list, I want to say this: you don’t have to have a huge wedding with all the things if it doesn’t resonate with you. There’s always an option to elope. You don’t need to have a fancy ceremony with doves flying overhead (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Your wedding can be as formal or informal as you like! Stay true to yourselves. Don’t feel pressured to invite certain people because there’s an expectation they need to attend. I was so worried about how I would be perceived and what others would think that I didn’t listen to my intuition. I definitely made mistakes in the planning of the wedding and all of the mistakes occurred because I listened to fear instead of love. I don’t have any regrets though, because these were very important lessons I needed to learn and now I can pass them onto you! ;) At the end of the day, your wedding is a sacred ceremony to celebrate your relationship with your partner, so it’s important you do what you both want to do. Easier said than done, but for your own peace of mind and from someone who didn’t do this - please worry less about what others want, and more about what YOU want.
In no particular order, here are my best tips for a relaxed and stress-free wedding:
1. Three months leading up to the event, I really upped the ante on my meditation practice. As in, I actually stuck to it! :P Even if it was just 5 minutes in the morning, I made sure I made time to connect to my breath every single day. Meditation is such a useful tool when it comes to anxiety, but for me it’s much more useful when I practice it long-term, versus only using it sporadically during stressful times. If you struggle with meditation, try guided medi’s on YouTube. I always recommend The Honest Guys as a good starting point. There are heaps of apps on the market too.
2. In the lead up to the wedding I joined a local yoga studio and yin yoga became my bestie. Why? It’s relaxing, calming and oh so nourishing for your soul (K so getting on the mat this arvo!). I also tried to go for at least 4 x 30 min walks every week. Did you know there is research which proves just 30 mins of exercise a day (a brisk walk included!) is more effective than anti-depressant medication? How amazing is that!
3. The day of the wedding I did my best to ensure the space we were getting ready in was relaxing and calming. I brought my salt lamp, turned on my diffuser and let lavender oil do its thing. I also scattered some crystals throughout the room and drank plenty of water. I was also mindful of my breath and if I felt myself get a little anxious I’d take some deep breaths to active my parasympathetic system. Google it to find out more. This is why yoga and meditation helps so much!
4. If you’re happy with your makeup abilities – go DIY. I did. I know my skin better than anyone and I know exactly what’s flattering. Not only did I save money, but I avoided so much stress. My bestie actually went to Mecca a few weeks before the wedding, booked in for a free beauty makeover and left with some new tips and tricks under her belt along with some new makeup! Best idea ever! Also, if you do decide to go down this DIY path – you might like to splurge on some lash extensions. I got mine done at Brazilian Beauty and I had amazing lashes for the wedding and our 3 week honeymoon! Such a great investment as they made me feel a little more glamorous than usual.
5. Stop procrastinating! I know this is hard – especially if you’re feeling nervous and anxious about the whole day. But trust me – this only makes things much worse. Better to address what you’re avoiding, find a solution or ask for help. Don’t leave things to the last minute.
6. Speaking of which – it’s OK to accept help from others. I’m a perfectionist and like to do things on my own – but it felt bloody good to accept help from others. Like the owner of the wedding venue offering to style our tables and cake with flowers and green foliage. She did an incredible job too!
7. Practice your vows and thank you speech. I know this is an obvious one- but I also know there’s lots of people who avoid this altogether because they don’t want to think about it. But as they say – practice makes perfect.
8. Create a run sheet for the wedding and share it with family, your MC, the photographer and of course the venue manager. My photographer was amazing and actually helped me with this as I struggled to find a format that was casual and relaxed.
9. Don’t be afraid to mix things up. If there’s a “tradition” you’re feeling super awkward about – you don’t have to do it. A lot of my friends are engaged and married so I didn’t see the need to do a bouquet toss. Same deal with the garter toss.
10. As mentioned, something I was super nervous about was speaking in front of everyone. That’s one of the reasons I joined Toastmasters. It’s not for everyone, but I absolutely credit Toastmasters with helping me feel more comfortable and confident in my speaking abilities.
11. Go with the flow. Things don’t always go to plan. Just trust it’ll all work out in the end. Plus those stressful moments are often the funny ones you look back on and laugh!
12. Probably an obvious one, but a wedding rehearsal never hurt anyone. LOL yeah – this is something we didn’t do. While there wasn’t any major stuff ups, we could have avoided some confusion (especially for my poor Dad!) if we did have one.
13. During the planning stages, there may be moments where you’ll feel totally overwhelmed and stressed. Work might get crazy and it’ll feel like too much is happening around you. It’s OK, you’ve got this. You can do this. Talk to your partner, your family or your friends and get their advice. You’ll find a solution. There’s always a solution. It’s also OK to say no and set boundaries.
14. In addition to the tip above, during those moments where you feel bloody confused about your guest list or other details about the wedding planning – take a moment to ground yourself and connect to your heart. Literally place your hand on your heart and ask yourself – What do I want to do here? Then ask - am I doing this out of fear or love? If it’s out of love then awesome - do that! Go with your gut and trust it.
MONEY SAVING TIPS:
15. Reduce your flower order (and bill!) by using green foliage and leaves instead! The day before the wedding, we clipped some leaves from some trees in my parent’s backyard and used these as table decorations.
16. Keep your decorations minimal. You don’t need to go crazy. Let the venue be the talking point.
17. A carefully curated Spotify playlist can be a good alternative to a DJ or band.
18. We saved so much money by getting married in a small country town. Literally thousands of dollars were saved and we still had amazing food, an incredible venue and lovely service! If you live in a major city, it might pay to do some research and see if there’s any good options 3 – 4 hours away.
19. I also saved money by making my own bouquet and flower crown. We bought some flowers from the flower market, I got some floral tape and ribbon from Spotlight and totally winged it! My theme was country rustic, so they didn’t need to be perfect. Youtube also helps!
20. Make your invites, menus and table numbers on Canva (a free graphic design program) or source them on Etsy. There are lots of cheap options!
There you go! Those are my tips for a relaxed and stress-free wedding :) If you have any tips, share the love and pop them below. I’d love to read them.
Happy planning xx