Before middle school, you vowed never to like boys. Before you found your man, you vowed never to be that gushy girlfriend. Before the ring you vowed never to become the cliché bridezilla but that was then, this is wedding planning.
Now that the ring is on your finger do you occasionally find yourself breathing fire? Me too…
Like your typical bride, I want my day to be perfect. I’m dealing with your typical nuptial nuisances, discovering a band that will keep guests dancing, and finding a florist that will make all of my disjointed dreams come together to create the perfect wedding theme. Oh, and of course, this must all be accomplished at a reasonable cost. Piece of wedding cake, right? But what happens when you can’t lean on your maid of honor to help you hold it together? What happens when they’re going through the same stress you are? My co-maids of honor, my sisters, are both getting married within six months of my wedding. The three of us are each 15 months apart in age, close as can be, but our tastes could not be further apart. Needless to say, there have been lots of clashing opinions flying around. That’s why we thought it best to create and follow a set of guidelines. Here are eight simple rules we use to tame our inner-bridezilla beasts. You may consider doing the same.
Focus on the WE, not ME.
Occasionally I find myself describing my wedding as just that, MINE. Take a deep breath and recite the new mantra, “OURS.” Before you get carried away unilaterally making every decision, ask your fiancé’s opinion. Getting his perspective may actually, gasp, help you! Plus, the goal is to make it special for you both.
Get Back to Basics
Each time my sisters and I start to go to pieces over the art of wedding invitation wording or the science of seating arrangements, we remind each other that we got engaged because we love our fiancés, not so we could master party planning! Don’t sweat the small stuff. I guarantee you won’t remember any of these details down the road.
Get a list together of every job you need to complete by your big day. This will transform an overwhelming job into simple, manageable missions. Once my sisters and I had this master list we chose to divide and conquer, each taking on the task of finding and negotiating with certain vendors. Don’t reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to.
Stop Trying to Impress Your Guests
When I start spinning my wheels over silly details, I take a step back and often find that I’m usually worried about impressing my guests rather than trying to make myself happy. I had a friend once make fun of the salad plates from someone’s wedding. This sent my bridezilla alter-ego into a panicked frenzy to ensure that my salad plates would not offend. Once I rethought my anxiety I realized I couldn’t care less about the salad plates. Keep things in perspective, your wedding is a symbol of the love for your fiancé, not a chance to prove yourself. Remember, the people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter!
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!
Letting go of the reins for a perfectionist is never easy, but you can’t handle everything. Your fiancé and your father are the greatest untapped resources. True, you may not trust them to choose your makeup artist, but they certainly can book buses and folding chairs. My father has turned into my own personal Frank from “Father of the Bride.” Allowing others to handle menial tasks not only frees up a bit of your time but it helps keep resentment at bay.
Accept that Perfection is a Myth
You cannot control everything. Remember Charlotte’s nightmarish wedding on “Sex and the City”? Harry sees her in her wedding dress before the big day, their wedding announcement has an ink stain on her lip, the ceremonial glass doesn’t break AND she spills red wine on her dress. Things will go wrong. People will be late. They’ll show up with uninvited plus ones. Your best friend will be pregnant and unable to attend (true story). Prepare yourself to laugh at these “catastrophes.” Luckily, there is no correlation between wedding mishaps and marital bliss.
Each time my sisters and I accomplish something we have mini-celebrations. Picked a date, bottle of champagne; booked the band, cupcake date! I had to fire my photographer and the stress of it tore me up for days. I was snapping at anyone who came close. After we hired his successor I vowed to treat myself and take a couple days off. Schedule time with your fiancé to enjoy your engagement, but also schedule some wedding-free time to relax alone. This investment in your sanity yields high returns.
For Heaven’s Sake, Eat!
The stress of achieving a size-zero body complete with Madonna-arms can break down any bride. Getting in shape for your wedding is one thing, but starving yourself isn’t the answer! Remember that your fiancé wants to marry YOU, not an emaciated, skeletal version of your prior self. No one is happy when they’re starving. This will shorten your temper and lead to more bridezilla breakdowns. Eat healthy and workout in moderation. The goal is gorgeous, not gaunt.
Katie Berwitt is a lawyer by day and a blogger by night. She is the founder of Ms. Smartypanties. Inc. and runs Smartypanties.com, a website for smart women who want to live luxuriously on a budget. Live Luxe. Less Bucks. She’s getting married in May to her favorite person in the world and can’t get enough of WE tv!