With it being just days away from the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the couple and their wedding planning team are down to the wire and that is sure to induce some bouts of stress.
And let’s face it, weddings rarely go according to plan, and that’s something the new royal couple is finding out first hand as they deal with Markle’s father’s paparazzi blunders and his on-again-off-again decision to walk his daughter down the aisle.
But whether you’re planning a royal wedding or that of a commoner’s, co-ordinating wedding details and managing emotions is a full-time job in itself for any couple who are getting ready to say “I do.”
“Weddings can be a stressful time for couples because they want this day to be perfect and have everything run smoothly,” relationship expert Shannon Tebb of Shanny in the city says. “This is also one of the most special days that they share together as a couple. This memory lasts forever and they have the pictures to prove it.”
But it’s important to remember that it’s your relationship that matters the most, not your wedding day, relationship expert Jessica O’Reilly of the “Sex with Dr. Jess” podcast, says.
“Your wedding day is a celebration of your love,” O’Reilly explains. “The day itself is not a good foundation for a relationship, because it represents only a brief snapshot in time and in many cases, it becomes a performative event.”
But with potentially thousands of dollars on the line, it’s understandable to worry about some things on your wedding day – just make sure to keep that perspective.
“Reframe your understanding of a disaster,” O’Reilly says. “Know that none of these factors or hiccups will impact your relationship, and the relationship is at the core of the wedding day. Regardless of whether the steak is overdone or your uncle gets drunk, you can still have a happy, long-lasting relationship.”
So what’s a couple to do when a crisis situation does arise?
Here’s what Tebb, O’Reilly and wedding planner Danielle Andrews of The Wedding Planners say you should do when it comes to some of the most common weddings dilemmas.
Most parents who are happily married will want this day to be about their child and will not participate in fighting with their spouse, Tebb says. However, parents who are divorced or who are on bad terms may cause some issues.
If this is the case, sit them at opposite tables so that no tension is fuelled, Tebb suggests.
Also, try to talk to them rationally about the fact that they are the parents and that this is a very important day for you, Andrews says.
However, if one of the parents doesn’t show up, try not to make a big fuss and spend time with your loved ones who are present.
“In a situation where the father does not walk the daughter down the aisle, I explain to my bride that she can have whomever she wishes walk her down the aisle,” Andrews says. “The tradition of the father walking the bride down the aisle only signifies the father passing ownership of his chattel to her new owner, so why would she want that anyway?”
And just remember to focus on your spouse, O’Reilly says. If it is upsetting, take your partner aside and have a moment together.
The chaos before the big day
It might be easier said than done, but try to be as prepared as possible ahead of your wedding day, Tebb says, and don’t be afraid to lean on your wedding planner if you have one (that’s what they are there for).
“Try to stay out of micro-managing everything and let the experts handle it,” Tebb says.
And it will also avoid causing any potentially unnecessary stress or tensions between the couple.
Your caterer cancels or your flowers don’t show up – now what do you do?
One thing you can do is to enlist the help of your family and friends, O’Reilly suggests.
You can actually find vendors who will help you with last-minute cancellations. It’s called a Wedding Emergency program and it can be visited at weddingrescue.com, Andrews says.
Did one of your bridesmaids drop out of your wedding at the last minute? Are they making things difficult? Whatever your bridesmaid may be doing to put a wrench in your day, don’t get mad, O’Reilly says.
“Friends will inevitably let you down no matter how great they are,” O’Reilly says. “No one is perfect – not even you. You’ve probably let them down at some point in your relationship too.”
You may be disappointed that they did whatever they did on your big day, O’Reilly points out, but therein lies the rub: it’s your big day and no one else’s, so don’t expect them to be as invested as you are.
“Don’t waste your energy being angry at them,” she says. “Refocus that energy on something else that makes you feel great – like your partner.”
You can also use this as a lesson moving forward in your marriage, O’Reilly adds, as your partner will at one point let you down and you’ll have to learn to deal with it.
“You are, after all, responsible for your own feelings and reactions to those feelings,” she says.
This can be a little dicey, Andrews says.
First, the couple should have taxi chits or a “drive you home” program available so that everyone can arrive home safely.
But during the party, assign wedding party members to help with inebriated guests ahead of time.
Lastly, always make sure food is served with alcohol, and closing the bar during dinner and at midnight with a cooling-off period can be helpful, Andrews adds.
It’s normal for either the bride or groom to get so nervous before their wedding that they get cold feet, but there are things you can do to help put yourself at ease should you be the one getting the cold feet, Tebb says.
First, make a list of all the reasons why you love your partner. Also, talk to your best friend and allow yourself to vent so that you feel better. They will show you support and help give you a clear perspective.