Happy Saturday! I hope that you are having a great Saturday! When I was planning my blog content for January, I considered topics that I find important but also that you guys might want to read about and it dawned on me that lots of my couples generally don’t enjoy being the centre of attention and may experience anxiety around the planning of the wedding and/or on the day. Anxiety is something that affects lots and lots of us and big events like weddings can create all sorts of worries both in the run up to and on the day. Lots of my enquiry forms include things like ‘we hate having our photo taken’, or ‘we don’t want lots of attention, but just to have a lovely time’. I have seen lots of my photographer friends talk about mental health on their social media platforms recently and so I want to draw on my personal experiences, be brave and honest and hopefully helpful in some way.
Have Good People Around You – Your bridal party will be made up of your favourite people…siblings, best friends who are like siblings…the cream of the crop. These are the people who will be there through the planning process and are your wing men and women on the day. During the planning process, use their man power to help you to get jobs done. Feeling overwhelmed can be a trigger for anxiety and so be mindful about how you are feeling and ask for help if you need it. If you’re anything like me, you love a list. I have lists of my lists and a large collection of coloured highlighters because…well…stationary. Make a wedding list and share out the jobs. Let them know how they can help you on the day and have a plan in place so that there is minimal confusion about who is doing what.
Consider The Things That Make You Happy – This day is going to be incredible, all consuming and emotional. You will see each other and your future with such clarity on that day as you make your promises to each other. You want it to be perfect. During the planning process, there will be lots people who will offer advice on how they think the day should go, who you should invite, the type of food you should serve, who shouldn’t sit together. It’s ok not to agree with these opinions…even when it’s your mum (sorry mum). Make choices that honour who you are both individually and as a couple because those are the things that will make you love the feeling that your wedding gave you. Be brave, firm and choose things that make you happy.
Think About The Number Of People You Invite – Some of my favourite weddings have been ones where the couple has chosen to keep their guest list minimal and have just invited close family and a few special friends. These sorts of weddings are often very emotional because every single person in that room is closely connected to the couple but often also to each other. Everyone is so invested in the newly weds and their relationship, that the love in the room is tangible. Last year, I shot a wedding for a couple who have since become lovely friends and their wedding breakfast was just like a family meal. Everyone ate on the same table and it was so informal and relaxed. If you find being surrounded by lots of people quite tricky, or are worried about saying your vows in front of lots of people, then consider keeping it intimate. It will be just as lovely.
Budget – Money is quite a common trigger for anxiety. The thought of not having enough when there are bills and deadlines can cause panic and be tough to manage. Often wedding suppliers collect their final bill a few weeks before the wedding and so it can be a lot of money to part with in one go. If your suppliers will allow it, consider paying for things earlier, or in manageable chunks to help ease the final costs. Paying a bit every month will help you to reassure you that you are a taking steps towards the goal. Alternatively, set up a savings account and pay into it every month ready for when the money is due. Work out what is and isn’t affordable too. It’s so easy get caught up in the thrill of planning that it becomes really easy to spend money. Over stretching yourself financially could make you feel more anxious so try to keep a level head about purchases.
Engagement Session – Engagement sessions are a really great way to get to know your photographer before your wedding day. If you are worried about having your photo taken then it’s a good opportunity to see what it’s like and to have a lovely time with your other half.
Keep Things Informal – It’s important that a wedding has a schedule so that no one is left waiting at the end of the aisle for an hour or that your chicken gets cold but having a full schedule with little breathing room can be stressful, especially if things do run late. Work with your venue to create a time line that allows for space to relax and take in your surroundings, or if needed, to pop and get a few minutes away from the crowd.
Look After Your Body – As daft as it sounds, remember to eat, drink and get plenty of sleep before and on the day. A body that has been fuelled and properly rested will be able to deal with managing anxiety more effectively than a hungry one.
Bridal Prep – Bridal/Groom prep is often the time when there is the most nervous energy because of the anticipation of what is to come. In that situation, think about what will help keep you the most calm. Some people prefer to be surrounded with people and kept busy because it takes their minds away from worrying but others need quiet and a calm environment.
First Look – Walking into a room filled with your loved ones and having the person that you love most in the world see you in your finery for the first time can be pretty daunting. Being quite an emotional person, often worry about how I will respond in situations of intense emotion and anticipation, which often leads to anxiety. If, like me, this is a worry for you, then think about whether you might want to do a first look. A first look is a chance for you to see each other before the ceremony. Often your photographer will come along because it is lovely to have this moment recorded but it gives you the time and space to be emotional, without the worry of feeling embarrassed in front of your guests. It removes the anticipation of what it will be like to see each other for the first time at the end of the aisle and could really help to calm your nerves.
Finally…breathe – Breathing is key to helping you to manage anxiety symptoms. If you feel panicked then your body will naturally breathe more quickly and your heart will beat faster so try to take control over those responses with some deep breaths. You can find some extra helpful breathing exercises here.
I hope that these tips prove to be useful. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!
Have a lovely evening x