It’s rather annoying (but very normal) that from the moment you get engaged, most questions you ever get asked about your wedding day relate to how everything will look. What’s your dress like? Have you got your shoes yet? How is the venue? What type of venue? Have you got a theme? How are you having your hair? All the aesthetics.
We don’t often ask about the emotional side of getting married and I suppose most people just assume that the happy couple are super excited and because it is so obvious there’s no point asking about how they feel. Well people, it will come of no surprise that I disagree!
We should be asking about how people feel. What frame of mind they’re in, how is their mood? What’s troubling them? How is the planning going? Because at the end of the day, what is important on one’s wedding day, is their emotional and mental well-being, not whether the florist managed to get the pink Japanese Peonies in time or if the lighting technician has remembered the LED lighting that you wanted etc, etc. Just saying. And as a bride or groom-to-be you should also be checking in with yourself from time-to-time and asking yourself and your love bunny how you are feeling or as Joey from Friends would say ‘How you doing?’
In my almost ten years as a wedding celebrant (Bloody hell!), I’ve been at a lot (A LOT) of weddings and I can safely and sadly say that I’ve been at weddings where I could see quite clearly that the couple were really not being how a happy couple should on their wedding day.
So I thought I’d breakdown some of the emotions I’ve seen and maybe discuss a little about how they could have played out differently. I should add that of course it is fine to feel these emotions on your wedding day, BUT one would like to think it wouldn’t be so much that it takes over and affects your whole goddamned day. You would think.
I thought I’d start with this one as it is a biggie and it is something that even the most calm and organised couple in the world, probably will experience a little of at some point in the wedding process, especially where people are concerned. From our own wedding experience, nothing regarding the planning of the wedding with the venue was stressful, it was the guests that caused the little stress we had! But every wedding is different and stress is a very natural feeling to have when planning a major life event.
Obviously, things that can stress you out on your wedding day can differ and vary greatly. Guests running late or a wedding supplier who has to cancel at the last-minute are different levels of ‘WTF’ and will each have their own level of response. But I think the thing to remember is that there will be some situations that you cannot fix on your wedding day and so you will have to go with the next best solution or do without. But continuing to be stressed about the thing or things that you can no longer control, is just not worth it.
As a couple of examples, I’ve been at ceremonies that have been rained on, where the bride’s father got lost and her grandfather had to step in and walk her down the aisle and where strong winds kept knocking over the seating and decorations before the start of the ceremony. Stressful? Yes! Annoying, Yes! Disappointing? Yes! But surely not enough to let it ruin your wedding day?
From my experience yet something I haven’t experienced lots (thankfully), couples who’ve been stress-heads in the run up to their wedding day, tend to be quite stressy on their wedding day. In fact, I’d maybe even go so far as saying that generally how you are during the wedding process is how you’ll be on your wedding day. It’s not a rule of thumb, but it’s a damn good indication.
Another thing to remember too, is that sometimes stress happens not just because something has gone wrong but simply because there is a lot to do or a lot to organise and if you are the ones dealing with most of this, then no wonder you’re going to be stressed out of your faces. Putting up your own wedding decorations on the morning of your wedding, doing your own hair and make-up and tending to your guests’ needs can be kind of stressful, you know! Certainly, more stress than anyone needs on their wedding day!
Tips for stress-busting
No wedding planner I know (or even those I don’t) has paid me to say this, but I can honestly say that generally when a couple have a wedding planner on board they tend to be less stressed on their wedding day than couples who don’t. I have been with wedding planners when little things have gone wrong, like a wedding supplier getting a little lost or the celebrant forgetting her microphone (yes, that was me!) and these issues have been resolved without the couple ever having any idea that they ever existed in the first place. Therefore, not having anything to get stressed about!
If there is a middle man to bridge the gap between you and any potential wedding day stress, then that bridge does literally act as a bit of a barrier between you and stress. Obviously, there may be some things that a wedding planner can’t resolve without getting you involved but at least you have somebody there on your behalf who is dealing with that stress whilst you can carry on tucking into your cava and chilling with your squad.
Another good thing about wedding planners, is that they are good shields against people, and trust me, sometimes on your wedding day you need a people shield. All those questions (why so many??) that your guests have, your wedding planner can deal with, and not you!
If you can’t afford a planner for the whole wedding process, some planners offer an on the day service, where they literally step in to help with your wedding day co-ordination and any problems that might come about.
If you really really feel that you don’t need one (really?) then at least get someone from your wedding party to act as a buffer to the potential stress and to help you deal with things when they go wrong, or just even the simple stuff that just needs to get done.
I think it was quite a good idea to start with stress because I think that a lot of other negative emotions stem from being stressed. It really is such a shame that anyone needs to get angry on a day that is so important to them but sometimes it happens. I hope for anyone who does experience anger on their wedding day that it is really short-lived.
I’ll never forget a lovely groom of mine who was really angry and annoyed that his lovely bride-to-be’s transport had got lost en route to the venue and almost an hour late. He was angry because of the delay and annoyed of course that his bride was caught up in a sticky situation that he himself couldn’t do much about. It was resolved and the two of them went on to have a wonderful ceremony and rest of the day, too. But again, like with stress, one can only hope that it doesn’t have a chance to fester and take over the whole day.
If something happens on your wedding day that really does justify you being angry, maybe you can try to put the anger aside and deal with it another day, if that’s possible. You will remember the emotions of your wedding day for the rest of your life and the last thing you want to remember is feeling angry and stressed out.
And a little aside, getting angry with your friends, family and your wedding supplier for not justifiably reason, isn’t not ideal AT ALL and will likely do you any favours, AT ALL.
Again, as with anger it would seem strange that any couple experiencing the time of their lives would have time for moodiness on their wedding day, but it does happen. And usually, it isn’t because the couple are naturally moody-so and so’s (although maybe some are!) but more likely because things have happened or not happened on the day that have caused a mood to be stirred up.
I’ve seen some couples and have had wedding colleagues tell me about couples who they have worked with, who seemed not to enjoy their big day. That the couple seemed flat, that maybe something was troubling them that others didn’t know about, that they were stressing or worrying about things they didn’t need to. That their mood didn’t seem right. You can never really know what couples feel on their big day, but can only hope that whatever it is, it will pass quickly, leaving very little damage in its wake, if any.
I am still a firm believer in thinking of the bigger picture (I know this is much easier said than done). That if something doesn’t go to plan on your big day and maybe if something royally screws up, you will be able to see beyond it and know that hopefully, it doesn’t change the fact that you are marrying your love (unless it does, that is!) But seriously, if the issues that arise are things that don’t affect you and your love bunny happily joining together in matrimony, then that’s what counts, really.
Be happy, people. In life, love and marriage.
Photos by the awesome Andreas Holm