How To Plan A Wedding: Don’t ‘Should’ – why ditching one word will make you so much happier

katrina otter weddings and events

I’m delighted to be back on Love My Dress today and sharing a (hopefully) motivationally uplifting feature. All you now need to do in return is ditch one word from you wedding planning vocabulary!

Yes – this one word causes stress, blows your budget, creates extra work and, in the worst cases, this one word can be responsible for you ending up with a wedding that doesn’t really feel like yours. We’re going to talk about the word ‘should’ and why it can be downright dangerous.

Let’s be honest, we all have a tendency to over-think and over-plan things (and as a Virgo myself I’m right up there in the over-thinking, over-planning category!). Surely, I’m not the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night going over and over the smallest of details?

It’s something we all do and when it comes to weddings, our minds can go into overdrive and quite frequently we’re beset by worries that we’ve forgotten something crucial, we start doubting our decisions or are worried that we haven’t included something that we see everywhere as the current wedding ‘must-have’.

And that’s when, if you listen to yourself, you’ll hear that word – ‘should’.


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You’ll think you should throw your bouquet or that you should provide a free bar. Your mind will tell you that you should send save the date cards or that you should ask your friend’s daughter to be your flower girl even though you’re not actually that keen on having children at your wedding. You’ll convince yourself that you should provide extra entertainment during your drinks reception or that you should wear a veil, cut a cake or even have a certain style of wedding.

Now sometimes, these little mental reminders can be very useful because they might trigger you to think about something that has passed you by BUT in the vast majority of cases, whenever you ask yourself a question that’s prefaced with the phrase ‘should I’ or ‘should we’, the answer is likely to be no. You don’t do anything wedding related because you think you ‘should’, you do things because you want to, because you love them and because you can’t imagine your wedding day without them.

So why is ‘should’ a problem? Well, everywhere you look there are guides telling you what you should be doing when, what you should include, what a certain style of wedding should feature and what every bride should be doing (and possibly even thinking) in the build-up to the big day.

Of course, these can be helpful because planning a wedding is likely to be completely and utterly beyond anything that you’ve done in your life before, so some guidance is useful. But, whilst guidance is useful, feeling that you’re tied to some kind of wedding rule book is absolutely not.

Because really, you can do whatever you want and if that means that your partner sees the dress before the big day or that you spend the night before your wedding together, so be it. You know if these things will make you feel better and you’ll know if you’re not bothered by certain wedding traditions. You’ll definitely have to put up with some people telling you that you ‘shouldn’t’ do that and that you ‘should’ do something else instead but remember that this is your wedding and the word ‘should’ just doesn’t come into it.

So be confident in your decisions and know that whatever you’ve planned and whatever you’re doing suits you and your day. If you want to send your invitations out a year in advance, do it and ignore the guides that tell you when you should be heading to the Post Office.

If you find yourself comparing your wedding to others, remind yourself again that this is your wedding and that you’re doing what suits you. (Katrina Otter)

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to do or book or include, tick that item off the list and move on. Don’t let those middle-of-the-night panics about your plans derail your day and always keep in mind that decisions that you make when you’re thinking clearly and calmly are ALWAYS going to be better than ones that you make when you’re tired and frazzled.

On the other end of the scale, if you’ve decided that you’re not going to include something, don’t keep on revisiting this decision, especially in the final few weeks and months. Suddenly deciding to add live music to your drinks reception or a photo booth to your evening reception is going to have some serious repercussions on your wedding budget. Convincing yourself that you ‘should’ do things and going ahead without adjusting your budget accordingly is going to cause you big problems further down the line and it all could have been avoided.

Be confident in your decisions to the extent that you don’t need reassurance from everyone else because as we all know, asking too many people for their opinions, particularly about something you’ve already decided upon, is the quickest route to confusion and self-doubt. And, if you tell a handful of friends that you’ve decided on this detail or that detail, at least one of them will tell you that perhaps you ‘should’ be doing something else.

But how do you get this magic confidence? Well, the first thing to do is to make sure that you’re planning a day that totally reflects you both. If this means that you plan a super traditional wedding, then that’s perfect. If you end up eloping and sharing your day with a really select group of friends, then that’s just fine too. Remember that you’re not planning this wedding for anyone other than yourselves so what other people think you ‘should’ have is really of no consequence.

Secondly, if you’re easily swayed by what you see and what you read then 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 because that’s when the word ‘should’ really can creep in.

If you start to feel or are already feeling those doubts, or if you find yourself comparing your wedding to others, remind yourself again that this is your wedding and that you’re doing what suits you. If you can, try not to overthink your decisions and instead have the confidence in your choices and your ability to make those choices. What makes a wedding really fantastic is when the couple at the centre of the celebration are relaxed, happy and obviously enjoying themselves and that only truly happens when every element of the day works for them.

So, don’t let other peoples’ outlooks constrain or influence yours. Yes, your Mum might think that you ‘shouldn’t’ have a wedding gift list that asks for donations to your honeymoon, but this is your day, and this is your choice. If everyone that loves you knows that you adore travel or that you’ve always wanted to visit a certain city, of course they’re going to want to get involved with a honeymoon gift list because it’s obviously ‘yours’.

Finally, remember that you’re planning the wedding day that you want, not the one that you think you ‘should’ have. You want your memories to be joyous and positive and this happens when, quite frankly, you please yourselves. If you want to dance around a campfire at 2am, walk yourself up the aisle, have a bridesman instead of a bridesmaid, do it. If you want to include or exclude traditions, details and even people, do it. If you want to plan a wedding that reflects you both and celebrates your love and marriage, then that’s absolutely what you SHOULD do, and nothing else.

Love Katrina


Main image via the Katrina Otter website


Katrina View all Katrina's articles

I’m a planner, strategist, designer, thinker, doer, perfectionist, artist, creative, partner, friend, and I’m passionate about supporting the incredible community of Love My Dress readers by sharing my knowledge of weddings and wedding planning via regular, HONEST and practical planning features. As part of the Love My Dress team, I love having the opportunity to explore different aspects of wedding planning and since 2015 have covered everything from learning how to embrace imperfection to pressures, worries and wobbles. You can find out more about who I am, what I do, my style, my approach, and the wedding planning support services I offer at Katrina Otter Weddings.

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