ANTI BRIDE - HOW TO BE CHILL BUT STILL GET SHIT DONE.
Rise of the BRIDECHILLA - when it goes too far.
People often ask me what it's like dealing with 'brides', and my answer generally goes, "I love it - I'm so lucky my brides tend to be very chilled out and relaxed." Which for the most part is totally true - 'Bridezilla' is not a word I care for or have to use in regards to my (wonderful) clients.
However, it's this time of year that I start to notice the panicked emails, the rush orders, the mothers who phone me in tears stressing that their daughter is getting married in a month and still can't decide on a dress - please can I help?! Of course some people choose to plan it all in a short time frame but that's different.
What I'm talking about are the super chilled brides, who wear their chilled-outness like a badge of honour - anxious not be labelled anywhere close to a Bridezilla. They have plenty of time to plan their wedding but either don't realise that that means there are decisions to be made, or are perhaps too afraid to make them. Cue a couple of months before the wedding and the shit hits the fan when it's too late to book your favourite hairstylist and your budget goes out the window when your dream dress requires an extra £300 to get it here on time.
DON'T MISTAKE CHILLED OUT FOR PUTTING YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND.
You can be the most relaxed bride ever, BUT there are still decisions to be made and things to put in place IF you want a day that feels like yours. Otherwise you'll be left picking up the dregs after every other bride has booked YOUR ideal suppliers.
It feels like there's an idea that to be a COOL BRIDE, you have to not care about your day, or not make a big fuss about it. But the thing is, even if your wedding is a small party of 20, it's unlikely you and your partner have ever co-organised an event with catering / entertainment / legal documents to think about. Never mind the emotional aspect of actually marrying your love - which can bring up all the feelings of overwhelm and pressure. You CAN be a chilled out cool bride and get it all done WITHOUT a major fuss. But there is planning involved, and pretending there isn't is not going to cut it.
1. RESEARCH AND EDIT
One of the easiest ways to remove the stress and remain calm is to do the RESEARCH FIRST and edit the suppliers you contact. Going with the first person you come across might seem like a good idea but could lead to major regrets / stress down the line. Find your tribe and stick with it. Contact a couple of suppliers in each category only and go with the one who 'gets it'. Often suppliers will work with the same groups of people over and over again so if you find the perfect photographer - don't be afraid to ask them for recommendations on florists / hair and make up etc. It's probably a sure bet they will be on your wavelength too.
In regards to dress shopping I think sometime brides just think that they will come across the perfect dress on the high street or just don't realise the order times involved with designer gowns (again - head in the sand behaviour). They leave it too late, go into panic mode and end up with a dress that just isn't them, or that they have been pressured into buying by family etc. If you really want to feel glorious on your day (even if that means wafting about in a cotton smock) you WILL need to put some time and energy into looking for a dress. But research your stores, limit it to 2 or 3 who sell the kind of collections you would actually want to wear, and you should be sweet.
If you are on a tight budget - do NOT leave it too late to start looking!
Yes the perfect sample in your exact size might be on sale a month before hand, but can you really leave it to chance? The closer it is to the wedding the higher the rush fees you might have to pay, and there's very little we as a boutique can do about it as it comes direct from the dress company. It blows my mind the amount of emails I get saying - "I'm getting married in 3 months, I really want a bohemian dress but my budget is £1k".
Of course I do everything in my power to help these clients but it does make me want to bang my head on the table in frustration!!! And again coming back to research - our collections start at £1290 and price ranges are all stated on our website - so make sure you have the correct budget for the stores you contact, it will make the whole process a lot easier for you in the end.
2. BOOK THE BIG STUFF QUICKLY
I'm talking Ceremony, Venue, Photographer, and whatever else you deem important. I'm guessing if you read this blog you probably aren't going to want a standard hotel venue, so whether you want to get married in the woods, or have an intimate city wedding - you still need to book this in advance!! Most venues get booked up months / years ahead... even the alternative ones, so take away the stress of leaving it too late by getting it out of the way early - then you can sit back and relax with your feet up for the next few months knowing it's done and dusted.
3. MAKE YOUR MIND UP.
It goes without saying that making quick informed decisions is a much more chilled approach to wedding planning than telling everyone its No Big Deal for a year and then going into meltdown 6 weeks before the wedding when crunch time hits.
YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY.
It's SO much easier to make decisions if you have a clear idea of what you want. Think about what would make you and your partner happy and the kind of day you want it to be, and use that as your focus. If you find a a supplier you love, just book them and move on to the next task.
Your bridesmaids / family will all be more than happy to help - but they will need direction! Saying you don't mind about every decision (hen party, bridesmaids dresses, table decor etc) doesn't really help anyone, and in the end leads to more stress for your loved ones as they won't feel comfortable making decisions for you.
I see this a lot with the bridesmaids dresses. It might seem like a good idea to let your bridesmaids choose their own dresses, but I gotta be honest, coming in with an idea of colour / style you would PREFER is a much better way to go. Yes you want them to be comfortable and love their dress, but having a starting point is much better than everyone standing around not knowing where to begin.
(N.B. The size of the bridal party is directly proportional to how much you should take charge. A big team needs a strong leader or it will result in chaos. So give them a decent starting point at least and go from there.)
I'm throwing this one in there as personally I never feel more grounded / relaxed / ready to take on the world than after a yoga class. Maybe it doesn't have to be yoga, but find the thing that keeps you calm if the pressure gets too much and do it regularly. Meditate, go swimming, read a book - just build it into your daily routine and you will feel much more able to make those big decisions - I swear.
The moral of the story is - no matter what kind of wedding day you envision, it WILL require some thought and pre planning, so do everyone a favour and get on board with the decision making early. Do this and you will have all your friends talking for years about what a chilled out bride you really were.
(Disclaimer - I'm sorry to all my friends who had to deal with my meltdowns in the last few weeks before my own wedding... If only I had read this blog 7 years ago.)
Please share this with any horizontal brides you know - I'm also available for coaching should they need a kick up the bum. (Jokes)