Oh, happy days…
Being a bride is the equivalent of being a full-time party planner, except with no experience, no time to plan and what feels like 379 clients all wanting different things.
So many decisions. So many frail egos to stroke.
Add to that divorced parents who haven’t spent time with each other in 25 years and you’ve got the recipe for middle-of-the-night hyperventilation.
Which is to be expected, right?
But what I didn’t expect was my year of wedding planning to be one of the most stressful of my life. (And, yes, I know this is a massive first-world problem, but humour me, please.)
This is what I took from it:
Weddings are a time of high emotions. For everybody.
You would think the bride and groom have the monopoly on wedding meltdowns. Nope. Weddings bring out the crazy in everyone involved, particularly where family tensions already exist.
Warning: Divorced parents are a whole other breed. After having no good reason to spend time together (or with each other’s new partners, old family friends or relatives of their ex) for decades, they are likely to suddenly freak out and feel insecure about, well, everything.
On top of the million other things to be worried about, how said parents will behave at the wedding and any lead-up functions goes straight to the top of the list. So does making sure each parent feels special, giving due credit to the parent who raised you, not making the other parent feel too bad about it (maybe just a little bit regretful), working out who will walk you down the aisle, do speeches and what you will say about each in your speech…
They too will be thinking about these things and will likely repeatedly ask you about them in the lead-up, unsubtly hinting at what they think would be appropriate (usually that they get all the accolades and the other parent not really be included, after all, they did desert you as a child).
They may also become highly emotional, spend lots of time thinking about the events of the past they spent 20 years repressing, and feel an urgent desire to offload on to you. Expect tearful and drunken confessions in public places while your work colleague randomly walks past (yep, that happened).
Wrapping yourself in a selfish little bubble and screaming, ‘Sort your shit out, I don’t have time to deal with this,’ is extremely tempting. Probably don’t do it though.
Some personalities are just not suited to wedding planning. And that annoys people.
On one hand, I thrive on doing things at the last-minute, am extremely indecisive and all the bridal bullshit makes me want roll my eyes until I can see the intricate details of the folds of my brain.
There are so many decisions to make about things I really don’t care that much about. When the florist asks what type of flowers do I want, my response is, “Um… colourful ones?” When the fancy bridal dress shop assistant asks which poufy dress (starting at $6000) I would like to try on, I point to the short $200 white dress that is actually a slip. It turns out, those that work in the lucrative bridal industry don’t find this kind of behaviour cute or endearing.
But on the other hand, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, like to research all options to exhaustion in order to properly compare them, and hate disappointing people.
Being a walking contradiction, I agonised over trying to work out exactly how much my in-laws cared that we were being married by a celebrant rather than having the church wedding they would prefer, whether the shirt/tie/suit combo we picked out for the groomsmen actually does look good with the rest of the bridal party’s outfits, and every other detail in between.
One of the biggest challenges of wedding planning is trying to find the right balance between blindly complying with parental requests (especially when they are contributing financially) and having your day your way.
So much money and so little time.
We all know everything wedding-related costs SO MUCH MONEY. Coming up with the cash is stressful (and wondering whether it is worth it is even more so). Plus, usually with only 12 or 18 months to raise the funds and plan the event, and a full-time job and all the other commitments of a modern hectic life, you’re bound to have a sleepless night or 25.
Two words: sleeping pills. With an expiration date on your sleeplessness, it’s a means to an end.
My story is not unique.
I’ve been to weddings where all everyone is talking about is what a nightmare the bride has been and how the groom is hoping she ‘goes back to normal’ post-wedding.
I used to laugh along with the crowd. But now, I completely understand how the happiest day of your life can also be one of the hardest.
So, brides-to-be… brace yourself. And good luck.
(Disclaimer: I know wedding planning is not all doom and gloom. Many brides revel in the whole process. I just wasn’t one of them.)
Were you super stressed about your wedding?
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