Monday, December 7, 2009

relax :: don't be afraid to get help

You're planning your own wedding, with the occasional or more than occasional opinion from your fiancée, and though you think you have it under control, you feel anxiety. It's ok to experience these round of emotions. Your married girlfriends are sharing stressful memories from their wedding planning and are reassuring you that feeling the stress is normal -- believe them. It's these moments that your own personal control will prove your resilience. But if you're still finding yourself highly anxious or overwhelmed, I would like to recommend doing something else -- ask for help, OR in other words, if you don't want to "ask for help," generously provide opportunities for your friends and family to get involved.

Photo source: ModestDress; Photography by Becky Hill

To be truthful and poignant, wedding planning can be egocentric. Yes, it's wonderful to know one planned everything herself, showing her attention to detail, talent, and organization; but the one thing I find special about a bride is her ability to let her close friends and family (*mind you, I highly recommend keeping it to a minimum) join the planning, not necessarily as co-planners, but rather, as assistants, or support, more so. It's more than a beautiful time to create wonderful memories with your bridal party. The trick to avoiding sticky situations, especially with assistants who show a little more than offering suggestions (like becoming a controlling element), is to be extremely tactful and strategic in presenting these opportunities to them.

A few pieces of advice when getting help from others:

  • Keep your planning group to a minimum. If you are going to get people involved, I would suggest extending the opportunity to maybe 2 or 3 people, preferably within the wedding party. It could be your mother, Matron of Honor, and Maid of Honor. I would also recommend creative and pretty decisive people. The more opinions, especially from indecisive people, the tougher the decision making is -- it's challenging to get a majority on a particular topic. *If parents are forking up some costs, they should definitely be involved or at least informed with what's going on with the planning.
  • Be as detailed as possible when sharing your "challenge" with another. For example, instead of asking an open-ended question like, "What do you think we should give away for favors?," ask "Which of the three favors do you think fits well with what John and I are doing for our reception and why?" This way, you've offered three of YOUR preferences, and are getting feedback or support to help you make the best decision possible. *Make sure you are prepared to present options.
  • Choose tasks that don't require over-the-top financial burdens. Asking someone to jump on an airplane for the day to visit a particular bridal salon may be a bit much for most to afford. Asking someone to plan your bachelorette party is usually covered by the MaOH or MOH, but be very sensitive to costs. If they offer to host the parties, then politely accept, but expecting them to cover the costs can create problems. It's acceptable for you to help with the bill. You can also share tasks that simply require a labor of love, like accompanying you to a vendor appt or assembling invitations, or using email to communicate a specific topic. And of course, you should always show your gratitude. Treat your girls/guys to some coffee, dessert, or even a small lunch as a token of your appreciation. *Assembling favors over tea and cookies is a great idea.
  • Be cognizant of time. The earlier you present these opportunities to your "assistants," the better, even if you aren't exactly working on that area just yet. Let them know you would love their help ahead of time so they can prepare and are not inundated with tasks to do at the last minute. Some have families and plans other than your big day. So give plenty of notice.
  • Patience is key. Essentially, you'll become the team leader and with all group settings, the leader should exhibit patience. Let your assistants speak, share suggestions, and feel his/her presence without interruptions. *There's nothing worse than helpers feeling like they were no help at all.

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