Royal wedding fever has gripped the nation. Over it?
If you are in fact planning your own nuptials, here are some winning tips from our favourite newlywed Amy Abrahams
1. Before you set the date, ask yourself, are you a planner or a crammer?
Think about how long you need to plan your wedding – and how long you think you can *face* all that planning. My husband and I are both detail people (read: control freaks) – but also have unpredictable freelance lives. Therefore, for us, a short engagement was necessary to limit the amount of our lives the planning took over.
We got engaged in June 2017 and were married the following February. But things didn’t properly kick into action until three months before – and then it REALLY took over. So no matter how much time you have to plan, accept it will get stressful at some point. Surrender to the spreadsheets and remember it will all be worth it in the end!
2. Everyone will be looking at you, but not in the way that you think
In the run-up to my wedding, I began having anxiety dreams where everyone was staring at me and things kept going wrong (I was naked, the dress broke, my teeth fell out, you name it!). But then I remembered that while people *would* be looking at me – I was the bride, after all! – they’d be doing it with love in their eyes and weren’t out to me or focus on my less-than-perfect bits.
So during wedding planning, imagine your guests as that smiling emoji with hearts in its eyes. On the day, you’ll look out and see a room of happy people beaming at you – it’s a wonderful feeling, so don’t fret about it.
3. Don’t crash diet
The wedding industry is rife with body shaming and the expectation that a bride should embark on some intense health and fitness regime. But don’t! Crash dieting is far from healthy as it depletes your energy and nutrients, and will most likely make you grumpy (not ideal during an already stressful time).
Of course it’s understandable you want to feel good on the day, but think about nourishing yourself rather than restricting: fill your plate with fresh veggies and fruit to pump up your complexion and body with antioxidants, and use exercise to boost feel-good endorphins and relieve stress rather than as a way to punish yourself for not being two dress sizes smaller.
4. Trust your gut on the dress
Don’t worry about trends or what the latest celebrity wore – pick something that makes you instantly smile when you put it on. Also, before you bring ten girlfriends along for the fitting, remember that everyone will have an opinion – but the only one that really matters is yours.
I remember showing my mum an early version of my dress (I had it made), and she said, ‘Well, it’s very you’ which was euphemistic for, ‘I’d never wear it!’ But I knew what I wanted and I loved every second of wearing my dress on the day.
And that’s another thing – clothes are made to be worn, so pick something you can move in (hey, there’s going to be a lot of dancing after all) and try not to worry too much about creases and dirt as the night goes on.
5. Don’t forget about the ceremony
With so much focus on the invitations, catering, dress, table plan, band etc, not to mention all the worry about the things you can’t actually control (hello, British weather), you can sometimes forget about the ‘marriage’ bit.
But for me, the ceremony was one of the magical and emotional parts of the whole day. While it is not always easy to customise a service (depending on religion or law), it’s definitely worth adding a personal touch if you can – whether that’s the music you enter to or how you decorate the room, there will always be a way to make it feel more unique to you.
6. Use the wedding as a team-building exercise
Here’s a spoiler – even the most solid, loved-up couple are going to argue during wedding planning, especially if you’re doing a lot of it yourself. But don’t panic that an argument over canapés means you’re actually not right for each other.
Instead, try to figure out why you’re getting angry, and find ways to support each other and ease your partner’s anxieties. That way, by the time you get to the big day, you’ll feel like you navigated the most intense Crystal-Maze-style challenge ever – with love, rings and one hell of a party as your prize.
7. Speak up! (If you want to)
When it comes to speeches, don’t let tradition stop you having your say. While it’s still not typical for a bride to make a speech (although rumour has it Meghan Markle’s going to do one), there was no way I was staying silent on my wedding day.
After all, I had everyone I loved in one room and it was the perfect opportunity to tell them how much they all meant to me – not to mention have a soppy moment with my new husband, too. This is your day, so even if it’s two words or ten minutes’ worth, take a deep breath and then take the mic. You can do it!
8. Schedule five minutes on the day just for yourselves
The day goes quickly – every married couple says this because it’s undeniably true. It’s such a rush and whirl of fun and emotion that before you know it, the lights have come up and it’s time to go home. So make sure that you take a moment to step back *together* and drink in what you both created.
On my wedding day, we had five minutes scheduled – yes, we put it on the itinerary – after the ceremony where we went to a quiet room to appreciate the fact we’d just got married! It’s a moment I’ll be forever grateful for.
9. Don’t forget the point of it all – love!
As much as the fine details count, it’s not the chair covers or the favours that people will remember long after the day – it’s the way they *felt* that will leave the longest impression. So think about the feelings you want people to leave with and the vibe you want to create – my husband and I wanted to create a fun atmosphere that didn’t feel too formal and left guests with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Therefore we injected this brief into every decision, from the speeches to the decor to the ceremony. No one will remember the fact that the bread got served too late, but our guests have since told us how much they enjoyed the speeches and all the love they felt in the room.
10. Think about the day after… and then after the honeymoon too
Not every day can be a ball-gown-wearing-disco-tastic party, so it’s important to think about life after the wedding. Marriage is really about what comes next, the everyday moments, the contented support, the hanging out with your best friend (now husband/wife). Because in the end, it’s life after the wedding where the fun really begins, so look forward to it all.