There’s no doubt that wedding planning can be stressful. You can go on about not getting caught up in the little things and how the most important goal is to walk down the aisle, but the fact of the matter is that you’re hosting a party, too, and—as you would with any party—you feel the strain of wanting your guests to enjoy themselves.
So the question is, how do you host a fabulous celebration without turning into a first-class, control-freak, scary-as-all-get-out “Bridezilla”?
I asked national etiquette expert Diane Gottsman that very question, and she shared five tips for keeping things as un-scary as possible.
01. Avoid having over-the-top monetary expectations of your bridesmaids.
There isn’t a bride around who doesn’t want everything to look gorgeous on the big day, and that includes the people surrounding her at the altar. Sure, you may be willing to splurge to get your dream dress, but it’s asking a lot of your bridesmaids to do the same. Your best friends want to be there for you, and it’s expected that being a bridesmaid will be a little expensive, but only a Bridezilla would ask her friends to max out their credit cards to make her day “special.” Your friends love you and wish you the best, but they also want to pay their rent, take their kids on vacation, and have money left over to buy food.
Acknowledge that your friends may have other financial obligations than spending half a year’s salary on your wedding activities. There are many ways to ease up on your bridesmaids’ wallets. One easy idea is to pick a color and a length, and then let your bridesmaids choose whichever dress (for whatever price) they would like. Or let them off the hook for the destination bachelorette party. Figure out what’s most important to you, and compromise on the rest.
02. Don’t let your wedding become a competition.
There is a lot of pressure for your wedding to be just as opulent and elaborate as those of your friends. But only a Bridezilla lets her wedding day become a competition. Plan a wedding for you, regardless of what your friends or the wedding catalogs are doing. This means taking account of your, your fiancé’s, and your parents’ budgets. It makes absolutely no sense to start your lives together by spending the next four years (or more) paying off your wedding bills or expecting your parents to do the same. Let go of over-the-top plans, and stay within your budget. This is one where perspective is important: The objective of the day is to get married and celebrate with your friends and family! Figure out what wedding day arrangement works best for you, and then focus on your future life as Mr. and Mrs. That's what counts in the long run.
03. Treat your vendors with respect.
If your caterer cancels your order, and your wedding planner stops returning your calls, odds are that you are driving people away with your excessive demands. Find highly rated, well-recommended people, and trust them to know what they’re doing. They want you to be pleased, but everyone has a breaking point. Don’t abuse them by screaming, insulting, and throwing tantrums to get their attention, but then expect to get their best service.
04. Don’t make it all about you.
Sure, you’re the one processing down the aisle in a beautiful white gown, but your wedding day is about celebrating the union of two people, not just you. Allow your soon-to-be husband to contribute to the wedding arrangements, and ask him what things are important to him. Believe it or not, your fiancé has probably done a little daydreaming about how he would like the wedding day to go and might be hurt if his desires are disregarded. Shed the Bridezilla trend, and refocus your wedding day on both bride and groom: The day will be that much sweeter and will set your life together off on the right foot.
05. Engage in stress-reducing activities.
We get it. You have dreamt of this day your entire life. But why ruin what is supposed to be a happy occasion with stress, strife, and possibly hives? Exercise, nap, meditate, do whatever it takes to keep yourself calm, centered, and with a healthy, intact sense of perspective (not to mention sense of humor). If you are losing sleep because you can’t have the wedding of your dreams for under the price of a new sports car, spend an afternoon volunteering at a soup kitchen, and see what real problems look like.