So you’re getting married and while this is the best time of your life, once the tears of happiness have dried, the hype died down, and the wedding date set; the realisation that you’re tying the knot and have to organise your big day, can suddenly become a bit daunting.
Planning for your wedding is no easy task and if you’re doing it without the assistance of a co-ordinator, it can at times be overwhelming. Yes, you’ve got the help of your bridesmaids, but compiling wedding lists, choosing décor, colours and flowers, deciding on menus, themes and music can be rather stressful and in turn have a negative effect on your body and mind.
As a bride, feeling confident about the way you look and especially, the way you feel is essential. We’ve asked two brides to shed some light on how they prepared both body and mind in the run up to their weddings, and how they got themselves ready to say their forever ‘I do’s.
Kelly, 28, married Greg on the 28th March and planned her dream wedding of 220 people without the help of a planner, while Jen, 25, did the same for her 100 guest wedding.
What was the most enjoyable part of planning your wedding?
Kelly: I would have to say, the dress! I made many changes to the one I originally purchased as I couldn’t find one that had absolutely everything I wanted. Watching it turn from an ‘off the rack’ dress to my own custom princess dress was so such fun and very gratifying.
Jenna: My sister and I got married three months apart and so planning our dream weddings together was very special and a great way to bond. I especially enjoyed looking at pictures of décor and because I found it difficult to explain exactly what I had in mind, Pinterest became my best friend. Of course choosing my wedding dress was great fun too.
What was the most stressful part of planning your wedding?
Kelly: Deciding on the décor and flowers, especially since I’m a perfectionist and wanted every detail I’d ever imagined to come to life. Unfortunately, the first company I decide upon, chose not to work with me due to a difference of opinion and eventually I started to feel like no one was able to make my dream wedding a reality. Thankfully, soon after, I managed to find someone who was able to truly listen, but up until that point, the planning was very stressful.
Jenna: For me, it was making sure everyone was going to have fun. At some point though, I just had trust that I had done everything to make it the best day possible and start to enjoy it regardless of what other people did or said. I had confidence in the vendors I hired and knew they were doing the best job possible to make my day as special as it could be.
Did you see an effect of stress on your skin, body or mind?
Kelly: Definitely! I went through quite a difficult period four to five months prior to the wedding. I was emotional and generally down in the dumps. I also wasn’t eating enough which resulted in a sudden loss of weight. I guess dropping a few pounds wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but I would have preferred a healthier approach to my weight loss.
Jenna: Because our wedding was a destination wedding there was added stress that our guests would get there safely, as well as all the other décor and equipment we needed on the day. A few days before I got married, I did start to feel a little overwhelmed and got snappy with my now husband, Geoff. My skin also broke out because I had decided to try a new skincare range but after going back to my normal routine it cleared.
If so, how did you handle this stress. (i.e. an exercise regime? Meditation? Therapy?)
Kelly: I unfortunately wasn’t able to exercise during the run up to my wedding as I had just had major dental surgery; which also didn’t bode well for my stress levels at the time. I found that talking everything through with my mum was a great help. Her support made all the difference and I was able to escape from the stress I was feeling at any given time. Sometimes, something as simple as a hot bath at the end of each day also did wonders for washing away my worries. Especially one with bubbles.
Jenna: For my skin, I went straight back to my usual routine and the products I always use. I chose not to worry about it as I knew this would only make the situation worse. If I felt overwhelmed at any point I would always remind myself that it wasn’t about the dress I was wearing or the décor. It was about the people who were sharing in our special day and the fact that out of everyone, my husband was choosing me. That always puts a smile on my face. At the end of the day you need to remind yourself of what it is that you’re doing and the fact that I was marrying the man of my dreams, always bought me back to earth.
Did your weight, or the way you perceived your body change once you knew you were getting married?
Kelly: Yes, I think once you get engaged it’s only natural to think twice about your figure. I can’t think of any bride that hasn’t wanted to look and feel her best on her big day, and it was the same for me. I never want to look back on my photos and feel disappointed that I didn’t look like the best version of myself. I was happy with the weight I lost, even though it was due to my surgery.
Jenna: It didn’t change the way I perceived my body as such, it just motivated me to become a better version of myself in all aspects of body and mind.
As you work full time, how did you manage to juggle your professional career, wedding plans and exercising?
Kelly: At times, planning my wedding felt like a full time job. To make sure everything got done, I chose weekends to plan my wedding and meet with friends while the week was spent focusing on my daily career. I realised everything had to be done in moderation.
Jenna: During my lunch breaks at work, I planned my wedding and got back to suppliers. I chose to exercise in the morning so I wouldn’t have to think about it for the rest of each day and in the evenings, I spent time in front of the telly with my DIY wedding projects. As we were getting married a few hours away, we visited the venue over long weekends and during that time I was able to get a lot done. I’m a very decisive person, so if my husband and I liked it, we would pick it and move on.
Did you feel you had a large support system? Do you feel like this is essential?
Kelly: Yes, and yes. If like me, you’re prone to stress, a strong support system is essential. I don’t know what I would have done without my fiancé, bridesmaids and mum.
Jenna: I definitely did. My mom and my sister where amazing and I had the world’s best bridesmaids. Having support makes the planning process more enjoyable for everyone and helps take the pressure off. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s highly unlikely your friends and family will say no.
If any, how did you manage areas of conflicts that may arise when getting married?
Kelly: My husband, Greg, was very involved in all aspects of the wedding and since we were making most decisions together, the chances of us arguing were high. I can’t remember any one argument but we made sure to share the way we were feeling and compromise to avoid such conflicts.
Jenna: One word – compromise.
What advice do you have for future brides?
Kelly: Most brides are advised to relish in every minute of their big day, but no one tells them to enjoy the pre-wedding planning. In hindsight, I wish I had enjoyed organising my wedding more and perhaps not taken it all so seriously, especially since the most important part is marrying the man of your dreams. Another piece of advice I would offer is to hire suppliers you trust that have the same vision as you do, especially as they are the ones who will be turning your dream into a reality.
Jenna: Try not to over think things, decide on your colours and theme and don’t deviate. There are so many beautiful things you can do for your wedding but you can’t do it all. At the end of the day remember why and what you are getting married for. Keep lists and focus on one thing at a time – get it done and move on. At some point, learn to let go. Know you have done all you can do and just enjoy it. On your wedding day take a moment to stop, take it all in and be thankful for each and every person that’s there with you and your husband. Enjoy every minute, even the planning, because all the months of organising are suddenly over, and all you’re left with is the memories, and you want them to be great.