The Diary of a Bride-to-be is taking a break from normal service this week to talk about a topic not directly related to wedding planning, but one that we hope might resonate with a few of you: The Fear.
Perhaps it’s because it’s now only a week until three months until the day (still with me? Good.)
Or perhaps it’s because we’ve just ordered the invitations.
Or it could be that I made the mistake of watching a YouTube video of Ricky and Bianca’s wedding from EastEnders, which was filmed in our church. Between the oh-so familiar entrance music, the big white dress, and the sinister presence of Frank Butcher in the back row, it wasn’t the most sensible choice of viewing material for an already-edgy bride-to-be.
Whatever the reason, The Fear has well and truly set in.
I don’t mean that I’m getting cold feet, because it’s definitely not that.
It’s a general sense of unease, a more-than-usual tendency towards irritability, the occasional sleepless night.
I think there are two reasons for this: I want everyone to have a good time, and I don’t like being the centre of attention.
On the first point, while it’s daunting to think that we’ll be responsible for the enjoyment and happiness of around 100 people for ten whole hours, at least we have a degree of control over it. It’s oddly reassuring to know that we can put the requisite thought into planning the ceremony, the meal, the drink and the entertainment with our guests’ fun and comfort front of mind.
On the second, I’m well aware that I’m in danger of being horribly self-indulgent here: poor me, forced to marry the person I love and then eat, drink and dance with all my favourite people. It’s a privilege, I know that. But it’s still an intimidating privilege.
Even friends who are usually less outgoing than me managed to pull off Wedding Game Face when it mattered – delivering a brilliantly moving speech in one case and performing a perfectly choreographed first dance in another. Does it just come down to faking it on the day (with a glass or two of champagne to help), or are there other tactics that can combat The Fear?
After speaking to friends and searching ‘wedding survival guide’ online, I’ve compiled a selection of tips to help those of us who are not naturally inclined towards the limelight make it through this shiniest of days:
- Prepare your spiel: if questions about the status of your plans make you even more anxious, prepare a generic, positive response: ‘Everything’s great! We can’t wait! We’ve just signed off on the canapés/invitations/cake!’ Repeat ad infinitum.
- Draw a line: if the idea of a particular wedding tradition prompts an inward recoil – whether it’s the confetti exit, the bouquet-toss or the first dance – just don’t do it.
- Delegate: involve friends and family members, allocating particular tasks to those you know will most enjoy taking them on. Not only will this ease your burden of to-dos, but it will make you feel emotionally supported too.
- Take breaks: make sure you and your partner have a bit of time to yourselves on the day, either between the ceremony and the reception or after the meal. Use that time to take a deep breath, laugh about whatever glitch or hiccup might have arisen, and just be together.
- Go with the flow: while it’s not particularly progressive of me, I realise that as the bride (and one not overly inclined to giving a speech) I don’t have to do much more than smile and speak to everyone. I can definitely cope with that.
- Forget about you: as much as people might tell you it’s ‘your’ day, it’s not really. At least, it’s not just your day. It’s everyone else’s too. So let them have it.
Have you experienced The Fear? Share your advice for others in the comments below.
Days remaining: 108
Spend: As before