PART ONE - Your guide to staying sane and having fun while planning a wedding and being a fiancé.
“Why does getting married have to happen to a nice person like me?”, asked one of our customers. After I finished laughing, I commenced serious contemplation of how wedding planning can be quite brutal and not fun for everyone. I - like a lot of wedding industry peeps - am bang up for all things to do with weddings, but for some people, it literally ruins their previously happy lives with stress and other people’s expectations and budget blow outs and decision fatigue and whether you have to invite your mother’s second cousin by marriage and adoption.
To illustrate my point, please review this screenshot sent to me by my BFF within a week of her getting engaged to an excellent fellow.
Having married twice (you may call me Elizabeth Taylor; though I am quite into husbo #2, so there is a chance I won’t make it to eight) and worked in the wedding industry for a few years now, I’ve answered some questions put forth by my dear BFF and a couple of other newly engaged womenfolk. May the answers assist brides everywhere to have a bangin’ fun time during the fiancé phase and skip some of the life sapping and definitely avoidable nonsense.
How does one remain sane while being engaged?
Include a hefty line item in your budget for psychiatrists, psychologists, massages and heroin. If that is not a possibility then I suggest you and the fiancé set yourselves some priorities. What is important to you both for this pretty monumental time in your lives? What sort of engagement do you want to have and what sort of wedding suits you?
That way, when you start to get into the wedding worm hole, wondering if you should release doves or butterflies, you can donk yourself on the noggin and remember that your priority is a relaxed indoor urban wedding, and thus the pigeons, oops I mean doves, will get all disoriented and poop on your guests. And getting pooped on duth not make for relaxed guests.
Is it even possible to avoid being stressed while planning a wedding?
Some stress is part of life. It’s OK and normal and won’t kill ya. The key is to keep it to the good level of stress - you know, the smallish amount of stress the pushes you along and energises you, rather than the type that has you shouting NO YOU CALM DOWN at your fiancé and Kirsty at the Optus call centre.
Ask for help. Don’t do it alone. It’s a pretty big project so make sure you split tasks with your beloved and perhaps ask your bridesmaids and friends to help with things, and mums. Mums love helping. And Dads, don't forget dads.
Keep things simple - there are literally thousand of things you can include in a wedding and within each of those things, there are a gazillion choices. The internet has a lot to answer for in this regard. So even though you can scroll for days and see hundreds of options, you don’t need to see every single veil that exists in the southern hemisphere to choose the right one for you.
What are the best wedding rings for chubby sausage fingers?
Know-it-all Google says wider bands are better for larger fingers.
But I would wager that you are being a bit mean to yourself here and that your hands are excellent, lovely and frankly, indispensable. So be nice to your hands and your person. A wedding is a time that women are bombarded with even more than the usual stupid amount of negativity designed to make us feel bad and buy stuff, but I say STUFF THAT RIGHT UP YOUR JUMPER. You are a gorgeous creature and your lovely fiancé wants to marry the ‘today you’, not some sliver of your former self (though I am sure they will love you if you do become a stick creature, due to undying eternal unconditional love and all that jazz).
Why are all the wedding dresses online so gross? Where are they hiding the good ones?
The internet is full of garbage. There are great dresses out there, but they are under a mound of internet garbage as big as the Pacific Ocean rubbish vortex, which for those who don’t follow rubbish related news, is the size of Texas.
Instead, go and check out some of the excellent wedding blogs such as Nouba, Green Wedding Shoes, Rock n Roll Bride, Hello May, Polka Dot Bride, Style Me Pretty, WedShed, Magnolia Rouge and Together Journal. Within those blogs, there are real brides wearing real dresses in real weddings, so it’s a great way to see dresses on real humans instead of model humans (who, like model aeroplanes, are only meant for show). Check out the designers and retailers of the dresses you dig and you will avoid the sifting through the internet rubbish pile for 1000 years.
Note: NEVER Google Image search for wedding dresses. Unless you have drunk lots of wine and want to do the laughing. It is the worst type of garbage and it will not help you on your quest.
Trying to choose the dress of a lifetime that will make me feel like a goddess and look like a queen is ruining my life. How the hell do I choose?
Start by trying to look like yourself. You are lovely and you don't need to emulate anyone, let alone some stuffy royal or a flipping mythical creature.
The way people talk about wedding dresses is bloody ridiculous. On one hand:
- It’s the dress of a lifetime
- It’s the most amazing you will ever look
- It has to be perfect both now and forever, because you don’t want it to date (insert sniggering about the 80s)
- You need to look hot and pretty, but not too sexy. No one likes a booby bride (my uncle actually called me a booby bride after my first wedding, true story).
On the other hand:
- Wedding dresses are a rip off
- Who would pay that for a dress for ONE DAY
- I had mine made for 35 cents
- I would never pay that for a dress
- You should get something you can wear again
To say it is a pressurised, fraught situation is a goddamn understatement. To recap, you just need to look the best you ever have and ever will in the most perfect dress that is both so ‘now’ but will stand the test of time, can be worn to your wedding and to Woolworths, and cost you the right amount of money to impress both the #fashun and frugal types. Sure, no problem.
My advice? It is just a dress. Don’t let it take over your life. You are more than how you look at your wedding. As previously mentioned, I am a twice marry-er and I wouldn’t choose either of my wedding dresses again, should I have to move onto husbo number three (which by the way Dave, may be the case if you refuse any requests to go to the milk bar to buy me a Maxibon because I have already taken my bra off and can't leave the house). That’s not to say that I didn’t look and feel bangin’ on the day, but your tastes change so it’s best to accept that and get on with your life.
Left: 2004 booby bride in a pink Maggie Sottero gown, doing a questionable, but very 2004 pose. Right: 2013 wearing Hannii. Hey Dave, go get me a Maxibon. Forever.
And the idea that this is the only amazing dress you will wear is also total nonsense. If you want to wear fab dresses, you will do so at your birthday parties or at Christmas or the school pick-ups if you damn well please. Don’t take it all too seriously. It’s an amazingly good quality first world problem, so whacking some perspective on the situation will help you get on with more important wedding planning, such as if it is OK to serve Maxibon's as dessert. Which it totally is.
Lastly, don’t buy a dress two years out. You will probably be not that into it by the time the wedding rolls around and you will clandestinely buy another dress and squirrel away the first one as your guilty secret. Hey, it's more common than you think.
Want more sensible advice?
Check in next week for part two - we talk guests numbers, avoiding all the 'good advice' from 'annoying people', budgets, what order to book things in and how to have a wedding that doesn't look like everyone else's.
Need even more help to calm the engagement nerves? Then download the Bridechilla podcast - it is super funny and sensible and acts faster on anxiety than a valium and a glass of vodka.