Okay, let’s all just acknowledge that a “stress free” wedding doesn’t really exist. BUT, a “least stressful” or “relaxed” wedding or elopement day is absolutely possible. And all of us in Club Anxiety need to stick together. Keep in mind that all of these tips are based on the assumption that you have a date picked already, and know your budget. If you have those things and you’re eloping, I have a nifty checklist to help you figure out what you need!
You will probably be nervous. This is 100% okay. Nerves are not bad in the slightest– they are there because you care :) So before you read any further, let your body know that at some point, the reality of this life change is going to give you some anxiety. And that’s normal and that’s okay. Change is scary, change is hard, and even if you’re 200% sure about this change, that doesn’t mean your psyche won’t go “woah.”
Check in with your future person. Talking about it and being honest is SO HEALTHY and worth it. It’s like when you attend a group class by yourself and then notice a friend is there too. Then it’s like magnets from the Lord of Lords pull you together, because you’re so relieved you know someone at this thing. It’s a relief.
Right now, somewhere on paper, on your phone, on your hand (but transfer to paper before you wash your hands-sanity over hygiene), in a text to yourself, write out your answers to these questions:
This day is about _____ and me
This day will happen one time, so it should be as big or as little, as busy or as simple, as expensive or as low cost….as I want.
My friends and family are important, but not as important as _____ and I am on this day. Their opinion may or may not be welcomed, and their response to my decisions is not on me.
I’ve said this to a few brides during the planning process, so I’ll say it here: If they’re not getting into bed with you at the end of the wedding day, they don’t get an opinion. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a moment with a bride and groom, and all of the hullabaloo wasn’t actually what they wanted. They’re doing it for family, feel guilt because of monetary gifts…look…if there are strings attached to a gift, I generally don’t want it. And if there’s love in a family, they’ll eventually get over whatever it is that they didn’t like about what you decided. Rule of thumb in the guide to a stress free wedding: if there are strings attached, cut them.
Your parents already got married, so they had their day. And if they didn’t do what they wanted, they definitely don’t need to be forcing their dying dreams on you. No one wants their parents in the bed at the end of the day. Just saying.
Heck, if it’s two weeks until your wedding and you’re reading this, start protecting your sanity. The LAST people who should be strung out on stress and anxiety on a wedding day, is the couple. Nope nope nope.
You want to enjoy your wedding! It’s a freaking celebration! And if you’re dreading it because you didn’t want a wedding at all…friend, it’s not too late. But I digress.
Being mostly an intimate wedding and elopement photographer, I only deal with a long list of vendors about 60% of the time. Obviously, there are still so many needs even if you’re having an intimate or micro wedding. If you were, are, or know an anxious bride, then this is my guide to a stress free wedding experience. I myself didn’t do most of the traditional things, and I try to encourage everyone I work with to do what they want for themselves. It’s amazing how stressful it is to make your day about other people :)
Always book the vendor who can’t take on more than one wedding per day first. These may include wedding planner, caterer, photographer, and band/DJ. Check with your vendor if they offer associates or have a team to be able to service multiple weddings in one day or not.Melanie Sotelo | What Wedding Vendors Should I Book First?
This is my own personal guide to a stress free wedding, so what is most important to you may not be what I think is most important. When you start at the birds eye view of the entire day, the obvious first question is “where?” So answer that first. Depending on when your date is, your options will either be fairly limited, or you’ll have lots of breathing room and venues to contact. Keep in mind that if you’re wanting to plan something in 6 months or less, loosening the grip on any “dream venue” will help keep your planning more stress free. If you’re taking longer, maybe a year or more, you’re more likely to get what you want. The wedding situation right now (2022) is incredibly weird. So many venues are booked through 2023.
At the end of the day, if there’s nowhere to do it and no one to capture it, did it happen? Only you will know :)
Here’s the thing: Having at least a Day Of coordinator will take a HUGE weight off. But when you book them, make sure they know what you want, what you’re looking for, what you need, how involved you want them, etc. You- as the bride or partner- you should not be having to make decisions, direct people, or make sure things are happening like they need to on your wedding day. This is not a stress free situation. ESPECIALLY if you’re having an actual wedding, intimate or huge bash.
If you’re eloping, see if the photographer can help with a timeline or local details, or has connections with a good day of gal pal. There are TONS of packages if you’re having a destination wedding as well. Florists and caterers, I would at least start the conversation. If you don’t have much time, lots of florists are happy to make one or two bouquets last minute! You just have to ask :)
With catering- something to think about is how much time dinner or cocktail hours take before you’re able to do much else with the guests at your wedding. I’ve seen some really fun hors d’oeuvres and appetizers done for evening weddings before people start to party- no dinner, people just eat before they come!
Get all the vendors you want booked as soon as you can- just don’t leave yourself with a killer florist and dress, but no photographer. The anxious bride’s guide definitely recommends a photog, planner, and venue for stress free memories :)
This wouldn’t be a proper Anxious Bride’s Guide to A Stress Free Wedding without some serious self care. Boundaries! Delegation! As your day approaches, your hormones and emotions send out some kind of mass email about a collaborative project. It comes in various forms and various names…wedding stress, meltdown, overwhelmed with details, wedding frenzy…. So let’s chat about a few things that are not necessary (sorry mom and dad…)
Just a few things to help with a stress free wedding day for an anxious bride. Even though it’s wild by nature, we can tame it.
And to close: breathe. Make sure you’re breathing, drinking water, listening to music or a podcast. Make sure that the environment around you is what you need to feel relaxed and at ease. If you need to be alone, say something. If you need something, speak up. This is YOUR day and you want to be as present as possible. The Knot has 9 Commandments for a stress free day, and they’re pretty spot on.
It’s okay to be an anxious bride :) What’s not okay is not having people around who support you, not making decisions that are best for you and your partner, and not having the wedding day that you want. I hope hope hope that this Anxious Bride’s Guide to A Stress Free Wedding actually DOES make your process less stressful! You deserve it.