There’s so much stress-handling advice out there, you could literally check out of life for a few weeks just to read it all. The problem is, it might not necessarily work for an overwhelmed bride. Take ‘stop and smell the flowers’. You might say, ‘if I see another flower right now, I will scream’. Or, ‘have a non-wedding weekend with your OH’. Sounds good, but what if all you do is look at your OH and think ‘have you finally booked the band, or do I have to ask for the 14th time?’. You know what we mean? A wedding is a whole other bag of mad.
Before you start tearing your hair out (you probably need your hair for that wedding updo), read our proven methods to help any overwhelmed bride – from the simplest to the most dramatic.
Yes, you read that right. In real life, everyone says if things get too much, you should do something about it. Well, we are saying: do the opposite. Do nothing! In other words, take a planning break. Stop looking into your wedding email inbox (you do have a separate one, right?). Tell the fam, the OH and the bridesmaids you’re checking out of planning for a few days, put away that planner book, and just… chill. The world won’t end, your big day will still be there when you return, and you will have a breather. It’s very refreshing to drop the planning for a while. And often, when you stop thinking about a problem, the answer just appears.
Above image from Adrienne & Pauric’s real wedding in Portugal
Ask for help
You may say, but I’m already getting help! I’ve got mam, my bridesmaids, my OH… Well, no doubt they are all genuinely wonderful, but if you are losing your mind then you’re probably not getting enough help, or not the right kind.
Don’t think like an overwhelmed bride, think like a boss. If someone on your team just wasn’t delivering what you want, then you’d give that task to someone else, right? You wouldn’t do the job yourself. Be the boss and do that. Reshuffle everything, swap tasks among everyone, and add one or two extra people to the mix if possible. If you hired a wedding planner, ask for suggestions how to solve particular conundrums. Remember: the answer isn’t to do everything yourself, it’s to ask the right people to do it for you.
Do we hear a ‘yeah, right’? Let us share a simple truth: scaling down a wedding is very easy if you haven’t sent out any save-the-dates or invites yet. And what if you have? You can still do it, but with a little extra explaining. And believe us, that bit of explaining is far less work than battling increasing panic because you’re an overwhelmed bride.
First, speak to your OH and decide on new size of wedding. Second, call all places where you paid deposits and tell them there’s been a change of plans. Ask what they can do for you. For example, most venues have multiple rooms and various packages. And don’t forget, suppliers have literally seen it all. You definitely won’t be the first overwhelmed bride who decided to scale down.
Finally, you need something to tell people who thought they were invited. Here’s the answer: tell the truth. Just say, ‘the wedding and the budget got out of hand, we got overwhelmed, and in the end it wasn’t what we wanted.’ Who can possibly argue with that?
Above image from Marcella & Manuel’s real wedding at Villa Quintili by Wedding Le Rêve – Rome, Italy
It’s a close cousin of ‘scale down’, but not quite the same. It doesn’t necessarily involve reducing the guest list or recalculating the budget. It simply means, you are going to change your plans to what you actually want to do. For example, you always thought you wanted a princess wedding, with the carriage, the castle, and the ball. But, the further you got into planning, the more you realised… it’s just not you. And – equally important – it’s not your OH’s idea of a good wedding either.
You now find yourself overwhelmed, planning a day you no longer want to have, but you are persevering, because… you know… that’s what you’re supposed to do. Stop! Just get some clarity: which parts are driving you crazy? what does your OH want? what does your new big day look like? Proceed accordingly.
We told you we’ll end on a dramatic note. Yes. You can do it. You can say no to it all and run away. By definition, you’d have to do it in secret, but if you feel that’s really too much, tell the people who matter (like parents!). Sure, you may have to sacrifice a few deposits. Or perhaps you can ask the suppliers about a later date, because you’ll be having a party to celebrate? It won’t be a traditional wedding reception, but it will still be a celebration. Pick a destination, check that you can get legally married there, and go. You may feel a huge wave of relief wash over you as soon as you shut the suitcase and call a taxi. You are doing the right thing!
Above image from Jessica & Lee’s real wedding by M&M Photography
Main image from Lakelyn & Paul’s real wedding by Glamour Algarve Weddings
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.