Romance aside, there are a few steps you can take to get through planning your wedding. Newly-wed Colette Sexton has this advice...
Congratulations, you are engaged! You are probably telling yourself that you are going to be a cool, calm and collected bride. No stressing for you - you are a bridechilla. But as someone who has just successfully exited the wedding process, believe me when I say that, unfortunately, no matter how chill you think you are, things will still go wrong when you are planning your wedding.
Here is some advice to keep you sane as you plan your nuptials.
1 Do not allow yourself to be scared of the term bridezilla
One of my wise sisters thinks the term “bridezilla” was invented by bad suppliers who use it to dismiss the concerns of their paying customers. In weddings, you are paying a premium for everything, yet often suppliers can act like anything you ask for is ridiculous or a hassle.
We had some excellent suppliers that made our lives so easy but from my experience and that of my friends, not all suppliers are created equal. Some suppliers will agree to something, for example, a particular colour, and then when you get whatever you ordered, be it invites, dresses, or anything else, it arrives in a different colour. When you complain, they shrug their shoulders, and you are stuck with the wrong thing.
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It is incredibly frustrating, but, as my wise sister pointed out, weddings by their very nature are not a repeat business so often once you pay your deposit, they know they have you. Read reviews and ask around before you book someone, and get everything you agreed in writing.
Breaking news: weddings are expensive. While it might be romantic for you, it is a business transaction for all of your suppliers. Leave the romance aside, think about your hard-earned cash and haggle for everything. Some suppliers will give you a price and no matter what you say, they will not cut it back.
That is absolutely fine, but it is still worth asking, because many suppliers actually anticipate haggling and therefore build in a little cushion into the price. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
3 Take influencers’ advice with a pinch of salt
I followed so many social media accounts who shared wedding advice and some of it is great, and really useful. But I balked at the “advice” some influencers shared. One influencer told her followers that they could leave ordering their wedding dresses until three months before the wedding as that is what a particular bridal shop told her. This is simply not true.
If you are ordering a new dress, it can take anything from six to nine months to be made and delivered. This isn’t for fancy or extra expensive wedding dresses, this is the norm for regular wedding dresses. Some of her followers might have waited to order their dresses based on her advice, and could have been told it was too late to get the particular dress they wanted. I do not think that she meant any harm, she was just sharing what the bridal shop told her. But suppliers will bend over backwards for influencers because they know they will get some free advertising in exchange. They are unlikely to do the same for everyone.
That is just the reality of business. And just because influencers rave about a particular supplier, does not mean they are actually any good. I went to a bridal shop because so many people on social media plugged it and the experience was awful.
The dresses were filthy and torn, there were sharp pins all over the floor and the woman working there was rude. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Luckily I had already had lovely experiences in two other bridal shops, but if that had been my first time trying on dresses I would have been devastated and so stressed out afterwards.
4 Surround yourself with positive people
The best decision we made was to book suppliers based on their personalities first, and their work second. The people you hire, including the makeup artist, hairdresser, videographer, photographer and even chauffeur, will be in your house the morning of your wedding. Emotions will be high, and you want suppliers that will be calm and friendly around you, instead of people that will snap at you when you are already feeling nervous.
5 Be decisive
Just make decisions. You can agonise over suppliers and colours and venues for days and weeks and months, and you will completely stress yourself out. Use eenie meenie miney mo if you can’t choose. Before I went dress shopping, one of my sisters told me that there are about six styles of traditional wedding dresses and the thousands and thousands of wedding dresses in the world are just variations of those six styles.
Pick the style that suits you and try not to get bogged down in the detail. This tip really saved me from being overwhelmed by all of the choices. And if you liked something at someone else’s wedding, just copy it. A lot of the suppliers that we booked, like the band and the DJ, we saw at other weddings and thought they were great, so we booked them straight away, we didn’t even contact anyone else.
Rather than being offended, people were flattered that we liked something from their wedding so much that we booked it for our own. Be reasonable though, don’t copy your friend’s wedding dress!
6 Use the rule of three
There is so much to book when it comes to weddings, and it is easy to get sucked down the rabbithole of contacting dozens of suppliers for every part of the day. Instead, for each job, contact three suppliers: three photographers, three venues, three bridal shops, etc. This will give you a lot of choice, give you a good idea of the price you can expect to pay, and it will be much easier to make a decision.
7 It is just one day
Your wedding is important and exciting. You get to marry your best friend in front of your loved ones. That is wonderful but it is just one day. Remember that while they are very excited for you, your family and friends have other things going on in their lives besides your wedding.
Also, try to keep your spending in line with your budget. Do you really want to be paying back loans years after what is essentially a party?
Try to take yourself out of the wedding bubble when making decisions - should you really spend €2,000 on flowers, or would you prefer to use that money to save for a house or have an amazing honeymoon?
8 Do it your way
Your family, your friends, and people you don’t even care about will criticise your choices for your wedding. Try not to take them to heart.
It is your wedding, do it your way.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, pop open bubbles at every opportunity and enjoy it, it goes by in a flash!
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