We all have them. Sometimes they are passing, sometimes they are extreme, either way, wedding fears creep in and affect us all! Even the most laid-back or boldly fearless of us all will have moments of wondering just what will happen “if….” and what we will do if that fear is realized.
The cool thing about wedding fear is that it can a lot of good. When they are natural, substantiated fears they help you to make smart plans by viewing things through the potential of things going wrong so you can safe-guard your day. They can also keep you aware and present. A small dose of fear also helps you know what’s important to you- and when you know that, you can make sure you’ve already overcome the fear and made plans for the potential obstacle.
The not-too-awesome thing about fears, especially wedding fears, is that they can keep you from enjoying the process and the wedding day altogether. They can take over your mind, and form deep worries, and create a frenetic concern that doesn’t help you, or those around you. They also, when entertained for too long, can overcome you. And when it comes to something as lovely and wonderful as a wedding day, you want to be the overcomer, not the overtaken.
Trust me, there’s no need to spend good time, energy and effort fretting about things that never happen. And I know that can be easier said than done! So let’s take a look at some of the wedding fears I help couples tackle the most, and see if we can bring some calm to those wedding jitters!
Fretting Fears: What if it’s not the best day of my life? What if I feel ill? What if the dress doesn’t fit just right? What if it pours… all day long?
Shall I go on? When it all boils down to it, the question is: what if I’m disappointed? My biggest fear as a bride was that I wouldn’t love my wedding day in reality as much as I loved dreaming of it in my head. I really did have real disappointments from my wedding day– but the good part was– the day and all its dreaminess was far better than I could have ever imagined.
I think it would have helped me to know then, and I now impart it to all those preparing to wed, that…
there will be some imperfect and disappointing things that happen on your wedding day.
I think the best thing to do for this fear, and to prepare for it, is to practice letting go– now. For those of us who are type A’s, overachievers, perfectionists or uptight, (I’m sure that’s none of you!), letting go can be a very hard thing. But on your wedding day, you have a choice: You can either continue to be stressed and overwhelmed by the things that aren’t up to your expectations, or you can refocus that energy to letting go and setting your eyes back on getting married and celebrating that amazing feat with those you love. The more you practice letting go the easier it is, but I know it’s not the easiest remedy.
Take a minute, when something comes up, to recognize your disappointment. Feel it and be heard. Remember, there’s two of you and this is the perfect time to come together to overcome together. Then assess whether there is anything you CAN do, and fix (or have fixed for you) what can be changed. The rest, let it run off your back like water on a duck.
What if the groom doesn’t show up? or I get cold feet?
Honey, if you’re worried about whether your fiancé (aka, the person who has already promised to marry you) might not show up, stop planning your wedding and start going to relationship counseling! Joking aside, if that’s a legitimate and substantiated fear, you need to get to the bottom of it. Whether it’s all in your head, or your partner is giving you signs of concern, you should get it all sorted out well before the aisle.
Now, if your fear is a type of cold feet– or better explained as stage fright– well, that’s a different story! Stage fright is a totally normal fear– did you know that people fear public speaking on a whole more than death?! So, unless you went to school for theater or TV broadcasting, you might have jitters about being the center of attention. This can be particularly stressful for introverts. If there are parts of a traditional day that make you particularly nervous, and you are only doing them because someone said so, see if you can find a way to do them in a way more comfortable to you. For example, I found very interesting ways to have a shy bride proceed down the aisle that was ultimately more reflective of who she is and the entrance she would rather have compared to the traditional format. It’s unlikely you’re going to change your whole character for your wedding day, (nor should you), so work with your fiancé and your team of vendors to find ways to make you comfortable and excited for the moments of your big day.
Remember, focusing on the fear will make your anxiety about it worse. Remember, you are surrounded by people you love. People you, your fiancé, and your families love, and love you. They are excited for you to succeed! I guess you might have a couple haters in the crowd– I mean you both will look more amazing than anyone in the room! Regardless, focus on the moment at hand– not the one that hasn’t happened.
What if something super embarrassing happens? Like tripping as I walk down the aisle?
Well, first, let’s activate the tried and true saying, “practice makes perfect!” Even if your practice doesn’t make perfect, but makes you more confident and comfortable, it is well worth the additional time and effort.
Shoes and walking tend to be a major source of this fear. Easy! Get those shoes on and broken in well before the wedding day. Bring them to the venue the next time you’re there for a meeting or a visit. Walk around in them, walk down the area where the aisle will be. Whether you’re in grass or polished church floors, the same rules apply: put yourself in the position you will be in on your wedding day and practice. And then…. go slow!
Now, what if tripping or falling still happens? Well, first, everyone will gasp and worry immediately if you’ve hurt yourself. While there might be a laugh due to their own interpretation or nervous reaction, NO ONE will be there laughing because they wanted you to bite it! Recovery is your best friend. HOW you recover from that moment makes all the difference. Gracefully get up, take a moment to breathe, reset and get focused on the person you’re walking down the aisle with or on your fiancé. Confidently reclaim the moment!
The best part about moments that might have been a whoops, embarrassing or unfortunate is that you actually will laugh about them as you look back over the years. I know all eyes are on you, but guess what?! You’re human. Just like everyone in the room. And everyone knows what it’s like to be in your shoes in some way. (Also, never forget there are magical things like Photoshop, so that little grass stain in every couple’s shot… consider it gone!)
What if my guests or wedding party make fools of themselves? What if I don’t make them happy?
This one’s easy, they are the ones making fools of themselves, and they are still responsible for their actions. They are the one being grumpy or entitled, and they are still responsible for their actions. You can only do so much to accommodate your guests and give them an enjoyable ride– it’s a wedding for goodness sake! You can do your best to layout expectations ahead of time, communicate throughout the wedding, put thoughtful plans in place (and tell the bartenders which people to make light drinks for)! But ultimately, you can not control your guests. You can’t control what they are going to wear, or the speeches they will give, or the amount they will drink.
If you worry about someone’s behavior in your bridal party, have a conversation beforehand. Or if it’s an extreme case, even think about not inviting them to be part of the bridal party before you get your lineup in place. It’s important to have those standing up for you be upstanding. You need to trust them, and if you can’t, don’t add that to your plate of wedding day fears. That’s probably one of the only thing you have control over.
What if a vendor doesn’t show up? Or what if I don’t like their work?
This is a pretty big and common fear, and I totally get why. You ordered the cake of your dreams and it doesn’t show up. That’s a big deal! Know that your vendor team will do everything possible to overcome a major issue like that, especially if you have a planner, their job is to oversee and overcome everything they possibly can. (Don’t forget, they aren’t superheroes, but they are very well-versed in overcoming emergencies!) Try and keep perspective: the worst thing that will happen is that you won’t have your cake on your wedding day. No one died. And you’re still married to the love of your life. (However, you’ll have a battle to win on the other side of your wedding day with a certain baker!)
In your planning leading up to the wedding day, you have made personal and affirming contact with every vendor, made sure they have the details of time and place all set and their job they will be fulfilling. Be sure to communicate with them, and if you haven’t made personal and affirming contact with them prior to the wedding day, you may need to resort to different plans– which is better to resolve before the wedding day, right?
Now, what if you don’t like their work? This happens. Remember me talking about disappointments above? With so many elements in a day, disappointment is likely to happen in some capacity, and possibly in the area of your vendors. The best advice I can give you is to communicate fully your expectations, your vision and your preferences throughout the planning process. You’ve still hired a professional that has a creative side, that has a style and way about them, and you’ve hired them for a reason. If the outcome of that reason disappoints you, it can be a hard pill to swallow. But remember, if you’ve done all you could do on your part, you can release yourself from responsibility. And if it’s their wrong doing, and can not be improved for your wedding day, well, it’s best to go back to being that duck, breathe, and let it roll off your back. You’ll need to resolve this disappointment on the other side of the wedding day, but in the meantime, try your best to enjoy the beautiful and successful things that are in front of you.
Best part? When you have an amazing team of vendors that you love and trust, it’s more likely that they will exceed your visions and expectations, that’s why they are worth the effort to get the best ones for you in place for the best outcomes.
What if it rains and my day is ruined?! (See the puddle above?)
The funny thing about weather– in the not so comical way– is that we have absolutely no control over it. None! And what have I been saying about stressing about things you can’t change? Yes, this is another opportunity to be a duck!
The best thing for those of you who worry about rain, storms, excessive heat, or other elements that would cause distress, is to know yourself well enough at the start of the planning process to know whether you are an inside or outside kind of couple. If you will be paralyzed by the fear of rain on your wedding day, save yourself from months of fretting and find a venue you love that will house your wedding day completely.
Spending time dreaming of the most perfect 72 & sunny day, outside of the city lines of San Diego, might be setting yourself up for disappointment! But having a plan B you love, having some photo ops that aren’t just outside in the garden, and having a darling umbrella on hand will prepare you for the raindrops — and will even create an opportunities for magic! Then if there’s some water falling from the sky on your day, you will enjoy the outcome rather than dread the consequence of not being prepared for it. Tell me, who wouldn’t want that ridiculously gorgeous kissing rain shot on their wedding day?! What romance!
But let’s be real, it’s not just weather that’s the concern here, the wedding being ruined is really the issue. It could be a fear that someone spills red wine down your dress, or that the zipper pops before you walk down the aisle. There’s peace of mind I can share with you on every detailed fear, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide in that moment whether an unfortunate happening can “ruin” your wedding day. It is simply a choice. If you go into your day knowing nothing can ruin it- from hurricanes to dead flowers- as long as you marry the one you love, no matter what comes your way, you will be happily married!
Fear is natural. It’s healthy in proportion and overcome-able. That’s all good news!
Let those fears perk you up to the things that you’re concerned about, put a plan in place to overcome anything foreseeable, and trust the people you’ve entrusted your day to- then let go. There will be moments that don’t go right, there will be moments that laughter is unexpected, even tears, but trust the imperfections will make your wedding day unique and memorable. Keep your sense of humor, keep your positive perspective and channel your inner duck!
Love Always, Love Well.