Your wedding day is one of the most exciting and special days of your life, and it’s important to really soak up every moment. Of course, it can be a very stressful time as well because you have invested a great deal of time, energy, and money, and you want everything to go according to plan. As a seasoned wedding officiant, I have noticed a few common things over the years that couples overlook when it comes to getting the most out of their wedding day experience. So with the benefit of hindsight, here are 3 things you can do to avoid making some of the most common mistakes:
#1 Show Up:
You’re probably thinking this is pretty obvious, but I’m not talking about physically being there at your wedding. Of course, your physical presence is a requirement too, but when I say that you need to “show up” for your wedding, what I mean is that you need to be fully present in both body and mind.
In order to take in the rich experience of your wedding day, you need to be completely in the moment, free of distractions.
It can be very tempting to start drinking before your wedding ceremony. You know, it calms the nerves, and after all, the whole day is a celebration, so why wait until the reception, right? The problem is that drinking can prevent you from being fully present, and it’s very easy to drink a little too much in order to compensate for your nervousness. Not to mention that it can send a message to both your guests and your fiancé that you are not taking this whole thing seriously.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having a few adult beverages as much as the next guy, but trust me, there will be plenty of time after the ceremony to cut loose. I recommend talking with your fiancé beforehand and agreeing that neither of you will drink until after the ceremony. Having that accountability will be helpful when you hear someone in the wedding party cracking a cold one while you’re getting ready. The bottom line is that you don’t want to be that sloshed bride or groom slurring their vows during the ceremony, but even more importantly, you want to be 100% present and focused for this amazing moment in your life!
#2 Remember You’re Happy:
I know this sounds weird, but you have to realize that no matter how you feel on your wedding day, you’re happy! Allow me to explain further. . .
During the months leading up to your wedding, it's perfectly normal to feel a mix of emotions. Any time you face a major life-changing event, you unconsciously mourn the loss of the person you used to be. You do this even if you know your life is changing for the better, because change is difficult regardless of whether it's good or bad. When you go through the process of getting married, you actually mourn the loss of your old identity as a “single” person.
Think about other life-changing events you have had, maybe when you went off to college or left home for the first time, or when you started a new job or career. It was both exciting and scary, but you eventually settled-in to your new self; you worked through the fear, and you grew and matured as a result. Marriage is no different, it takes a little time to completely settle-in, so on your wedding day it is perfectly normal to feel some stress and anxiety. Plus, you have the added pressure of making sure this big event goes smoothly, and you may have a little stage fright to boot.
The take away here is that anxiety and other unsettling emotions are normal and to be expected, but they won’t last forever, and having these feelings certainly doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. Just keep reminding yourself on your wedding day that underneath these superficial anxieties, you are so happy to be able to spend your life with the person you love. And when people ask you if you’re nervous (which gets pretty annoying after the tenth person asks), just say “yes of course, but I’m also extremely happy!”
#3 Hire Professionals:
Recruiting friends and family to help out may seem like a great way to cut the costs involved with your wedding. Maybe your aunt is great with flowers, your cousin is a good photographer, and your mother agrees to help coordinate day-of tasks. While this may indeed save money, what typically happens is that it ends up increasing the level of stress for everyone involved, especially you. Even if your friends and family willingly volunteer to help out, they may not realize just how much work they are signing up for. If you haven’t planned a wedding before, chances are that you don’t realize how much work goes into it either, especially behind the scenes. I have had many brides and their mothers express that very thing to me after attempting to do it themselves.
Another issue with having friends and family help out is that once the wedding is underway, they are going to want to enjoy the celebration like all of the other guests. Plus, their lack of experience can be a real liability when some important detail is overlooked or they drop the ball because they get caught up talking with someone they haven’t seen in a while.
The best way to reduce stress on your wedding day is to hire professionals who are reliable, experienced, and knowledgeable so you can just focus on enjoying the moment and celebrating. Having a beautiful wedding that everyone will remember and cherish for a lifetime does come at a cost, but when it comes down to the brass tax, you only get one shot at pulling off this incredible event. When you look back on your wedding day, what you will remember most is not how much it cost, but how good it felt to celebrate this precious moment with friends and family. It’s well worth hiring the right people for the right job to ensure that it all goes smoothly and everyone gets to have a good time.
I hope my insights help you to really soak up the full experience of getting married! I sincerely wish you the very best on your wedding day and beyond!