Well hello 2018 and an even bigger hello fellow Love My Dress readers! I hope you had the most amazing festive break and that you took some time off from your wedding preparations in order to celebrate with your nearest and dearest.
If, on the other hand, you’re new to Love My Dress, it’s wonderful to finally meet you! You’ll find me here every couple of months dishing out some wedding planning truths and tackling some rather meaty and at times slightly delicate topics, including today’s feature – the pressure of having the perfect wedding. Jumping straight in, I’m going to start with a little myth-busting…
There is no such thing as the perfect wedding!
There, I’ve said it – when it comes to weddings, a definition of perfection doesn’t exist. After all, how can there be one definition of ‘perfect’ when we all have such different styles, budgets and even expectations for our wedding day. What one couple would love, another wouldn’t choose so who’s to say that one type of wedding is better than another? Absolutely no one.
So, following on from that, how can we decide what’s perfect and actually, why would we want to? The joy of modern day weddings is that you can absolutely create the day that you want to suit you as a couple. We’ve finally ditched the notion that a wedding needs to follow a prescribed style so why are we now trying to force ourselves back into a little box to meet that vision of perfection?
However, whilst I don’t believe in the concept of ‘the perfect day’, I can completely understand why there’s pressure to create just that. And it’s this pressure that’s the real issue.
So, let’s start by looking at where all this pressure is coming from.
Firstly, there’s the increase in visibility of celebrity weddings and the medias obsession and over-analysis of everything from the cost of the dress, to the brilliance of the venue, the indulgent (and expensive) menu to the finest of details. It’s tough to constantly see these weddings, especially when you’re re-working your budget for the umpteenth time, and it’s even tougher to not be affected by them.
Then of course there’s magazines, blogs and especially social media. Wherever you look (and you’ll definitely be looking because you’re planning a wedding!), you’ll see endless images of other couples’ big days and you’ll indulge in their stories.
It’s therefore completely understandable why you may fall into the trap of thinking that just because another couple had something that you need it as well and that without it your day won’t be perfect. That’s not the case and deep down, you know it too but when you’re seeing all these things everywhere you turn, it can be extremely tough to keep your perspective.
Finally, and most significantly, there’s the pressure that we put upon ourselves and this is by far the hardest thing to manage. It’s totally natural to want your wedding day to be fabulous. It’s a hugely significant moment in your lives and you’ve probably been thinking about it and imagining how wonderful the day will be long before you got engaged. Build in the thought that you ‘only get this day once’ and add on top of that the pressure of having your wedding after some of your friends’ weddings and things ramp up a pressure gear.
And don’t even get me started on the weight of expectations from your family because well, you probably know all about this already.
With all that in mind, it’s no wonder that the pressure to have ‘the perfect day’ can be almost overwhelming.
But STOP. Just as I’ve told you that the perfect wedding doesn’t exist, I’m also going to tell you that this pressure doesn’t need to weigh you down or suck the enjoyment out of wedding planning either. You are in control of your wedding in more ways than one.
If the everything’s are getting too much for you, then I’m here to help you change that with some simple strategies for saying goodbye to the pressures, stress and tension that trying to achieve the impossible can bring.
- Get OFF social media NOW, like RIGHT NOW! Log out of your accounts, put yourself on a social detox and stop comparing your wedding to everyone else’s. We all know that as wonderful as social media can be, it can also be pretty toxic so give yourself a break, allow yourself to concentrate on your own wedding and take delight in what you’re planning and have already planned. The day is about your relationship and your hopes for the future, not about copying or besting another couple.
- Keep it real. If it’s just not possible to totally abstain from social media, then you absolutely have to keep it real. Remind yourself that many of the images that you might well be swooning over on Pinterest are from styled shoots where whole teams have spent literally hours creating the one set-up that you see. Real weddings also have different budgets, numbers, backdrops, climates, styles and personalities so stop comparing your plans to images that simply can’t or are extremely difficult to re-create.
- STOP second-guessing your decisions. When you’re planning a wedding, the words ‘what if’ should be struck from your vocabulary! Once you’ve made a decision, put it to one side and move on. Continuing to wonder ‘what if’ creates huge amounts of pressure and when you don’t move forwards, the rest of the jobs on your to-do list will just start to pile up. If you’ve done your research, if you’re on budget and if you’ve made the best decision with the information that you have available, ‘what if’ doesn’t need to come into play.
- Embrace ‘imperfectly perfect’. All weddings are imperfectly perfect. Read any real wedding here on Love My Dress and you’ll see newlyweds mentioning little things (or even sometimes big things!) that didn’t quite go to plan. Did these things stop them enjoying their day? Was their day any less special or any less memorable? No. Imperfectly perfect doesn’t mean you’ve somehow fallen short; it means you’re real.
- You control the pressure. As much as I don’t want to tell you this, the truth is that you could actually be your own worst enemy. Is anyone else in your family really making you stay up throughout the night to work on your wedding? Is anyone forcing you to take on overtime to pay for the extra details and décor? Nope, that pressure is coming from you. Everyone else simply wants you to be happy and whilst they might like the handcrafted favours, it’s nothing compared to seeing you happy throughout your engagement.
- Face the music. Well, not the music exactly but, if there is any pressure coming from your friends or family, then you need to face the issue head on. Don’t let other people add to your pressure, don’t allow yourself to get upset or angry and instead, deal with the problem in the way that’s kindest to you, but deal with it you must.
- Get some help. Taking on everything on your own is never going to make you happy. As much as you might love some elements of wedding planning, managing the whole event without any help is a surefire way to feel the pressure as you’re taking the full weight of responsibility on your shoulders alone. Instead, get some help. Whether you choose to work with a wedding planner or delegate some of the responsibility to trusted friends and family, it doesn’t matter but help is helpful and it’s a fantastic pressure release valve.
- Focus on your wedding. You’ll have heard the phrase ‘your day your way’ hundreds of times by the time you make your vows and whilst I don’t advocate getting ‘your day’ at the cost of everything else, I heartily recommend focusing on the fact that this is YOUR wedding. Don’t compare it to anyone else’s, don’t wish for anything other than what you have and don’t try to copy weddings you’ve seen elsewhere. Your day is the only one you should want.
- Remember what’s really important. Why are you getting married? Is it so that you can have a party or is it because you’re in love with your partner and you want to commit the rest of your life to them? This day, this celebration, is about your marriage, it’s not about your ability to organise an amazing party. Don’t simply focus on the wedding, focus on your marriage and you’ll be infinitely happier.
So, there we have it. The pressure of having the perfect day can most certainly be reduced or even ditched altogether if you don’t fall into the trap of trying to create perfection. By being a bit more laid back, a bit more realistic and a whole lot more loved up, you’ll be just fine, and you’ll love your wedding day even more.
Love Kat x
Katrina is a national award-winning luxury wedding planner who specialises in beautiful, stylish and timeless weddings throughout the UK. Katrina is a regular contributor to Love My Dress, the resident wedding planner for Coco Wedding Venues and co-founder of Coco & Kat, a creative consultancy for wedding venues and beyond.