I've been a pretty pessimistic person my entire life, or, as I like to say, “a realist.” I'm also unlikely to “squee” about things wedding related (or anything, for that matter), so when I got engaged it was pretty much business as usual.
Somewhere down the line, though, I realized how much energy it took to be negative about the whole thing — to be the dissenting voice in a crowd of YAYOMGZ was flat out exhausting. Yet I couldn't fake the enthusiasm surrounding the circus of wedding planning, so what do I do?
After spending the first year of the engagement alternating between tears and frustration and silent fuming, I realized we still have another year to go. A WHOLE YEAR. So, after venting one day and crying my eyes out, I took an Offbeat Bride member‘s advice to heart: banish negativity. This starts and ends with me — my actions will influence the actions of those around me.
Here's how I started…
1. Let go of grudges
I initially wanted to elope. My three sisters all had traditional weddings, and in the year we got engaged, I was the Maid of Honor for two weddings, and attended a third. I was wedding-ed out. My future husband wanted a hometown wedding where all of our friends and family could attend. I compromised, or so I thought — but I realized that the second anything became frustrating to plan, I fell back on “…Well, I don't want this stupid wedding anyway!”
Not only was that unfair to to my future husband, it was unfair to everyone who was so excited. So I kicked that sentence out of my vocabulary and I've accepted that even though it's not an elopement, it will be a fun party for all to enjoy.
2. Learn the magic phrase
Some people are very well-intentioned when they offer advice or vendor suggestions. Others think they know best because they just got married and went through it all. Others still don't trust my judgment (because I'm “offbeat!”) and basically gave me lists of who to pick and who not to pick.
So I learned the magic phrase: “We're all set!” (Always said with a smile.)
When someone asks about floral arrangements, or DJs, or chicken piccata… “we're all set,” or “we're working on it with our [insert vendor here]” works wonders.
3. Step away when it gets too stressful
We decided on a long engagement for many reasons, but one of the big ones was because I have a tendency to get easily overwhelmed. My first experience shopping for a dress was overwhelming to the point of tears, so I stepped back for almost two months.
I let everything sink in, I took my mind off of it, and when I went back, it was better.
4. Shut down the negativity of others
I told my bridal party and close friends about my decision to stop being negative. It was met with skepticism from some, because I've been pretty much a downer about it all for a year. But as long as I know I'm serious about it, and stick to it, others will follow suit.
If not, shut that stuff down. Remind them, and yourself, that this is a happy time. It should be fun, not stressful.
5. Have fun with planning
My future husband said that he wanted to wear a morning coat and top hat, and I laughed and laughed, imagining my family's reaction. But then it clicked — so what? It would be a unique touch, something memorable and something that would surely have me giggling down the aisle instead of OMGOMG PEOPLEARELOOKINGATME.
We've stumbled on cool decorating ideas and figured out ways to incorporate our personal touches into the wedding, and those are the parts I'm most excited about (I'm SO STOKED to see our personalized hockey jerseys, which will replace the guestbook). If I can focus on those fun details, the details I don't really care about (like flowers) will seem inconsequential.
6. Remind myself of what really matters
At the end of the day, it's not about the dress, or the cake, or the flowers, or booze, or food. It's about a marriage, not a wedding.
And it's pretty damn cool that after almost 12 years of being with me, this guy still wants to marry me. At the end of the day, he's going to be the one that has my back and that I live out my life with. Reminding myself of that will always put me in a better mood.
How are you all banishing negativity? I'd love to add more to the list.
Comments on 6 magical ways to banish negativity from wedding planning
when my kids were little they would ‘ban’ each other when they’d had enough, as in “you’re banned!”
My MoH and I decided that was our code, both for planning and the day – I have little “you’re banned” cards which I can use if/when I need 🙂
This happens to come to me at the most opportune time. 🙂 I’m starting to feel the pressure from family in regards to how wedding planning is going, with the most recent spat being about my choice of maid/matron of honor. Although I was expecting it, it threw me for a loop a little bit. The tips and reminders are great and super helpful. I’m glad that you’re finding a way to deal with the negativity around you. I’ll have to keep them in mind since I think the pressure will continue to mount from here on out. >>
One thing that’s really helped me is to aknowledge the things I don’t care about as such. If I didn’t care about something (e.g. flowers), I would get really worked up when my mum would argue we really need them. Now I say well I don’t care, but clearly she does, it’s not worth me freaking out about it, if it’ll make her happy and make no difference to me, we can get pretty flowers. I guess in a way it’s a matter of picking my battles, but letting it go has done wonders for my stress-levels.
This was really helpful, but most of all I related to the use of “…Well, I don’t want this stupid wedding anyway!”. I have done that to my fiance’, friends, family several times through this process and I really need to make an effort to stop. Just today I said to some friends, “The wedding isn’t for me, it’s for everyone else”. Even though having a wedding is not something I wanted, it’s a compromise I made with my fiance’ and MOL so, I need to role with it. I need to be more positive about the occasion and keep in mind that it’s about marrying my best friend. Thanks for this.
I don’t know how much of the planning you are doing, but if you are doing most of it, it would probably help to let your spouse-to-be do more of it (particularly since in your case it seems that he is the one who wants a bigger to-do). Sharing the workload is super duper helpful and relieves a LOT of stress. I know that for those of us who are control freaks (Hi!), letting someone else do things and letting go can be tough, but once you figure out how not just to delegate, but to let the other person “drive” from the creative management, idea generation side, stress pretty much just evaporates. For me, reducing stress is critical because I have anxiety issues, and stressing out also makes super negative about pretty much everything. So for me reducing stress = less negativity!
I started trying to be positive a few years ago and it’s helped my mental health greatly! Two main things I did was avoid mean gossip/trash talking. I didn’t really before but I would make a point to leave conversations that were like that. Another thing I started last new years was write down one good thing a day, every day, no matter how crappy a day. Even if it was just ‘had a good supper’ or ‘took a nap’. It helps me appreciate the little things.
Man, in my book, “took a nap” is no little thing. 😉
I somehow can relate to this, as before my wedding these thoughts comes up in my mind too. But you know theses are all just in your mind and you can change it by changing the quality of thoughts to positive and you are just working on that very nicely. Just be positive. Good Luck!
For those who clicked this article looking for solidarity in/tips on not being a “squeeful” bride (not that there’s anything wrong with that, we’re just a rare subset that aren’t squeeful), my best advice for redirecting expectations:
Act a little confused.
Every time someone asks why you aren’t acting more “excited” or taking about the wedding more, respond with something bland, in the most polite-yet-puzzled tone you can manage. Most people typically instinctively respond to social cues, so if you respond as if /they/ are the ones being a little odd for asking/saying X , people will pick up on that and, with repetition, start to act accordingly (fewer instances of bringing up your wedding, lack of “bridal enthusiasm,” etc).
This has really helped me avoid inappropriate(to me)-social-interaction anxiety and cope with coworkers etc who have different expectations and personal boundaries than I do, without (hopefully) actually being rude.
Hey Chris, have you read this post? http://offbeatwed.com/2007/03/when-brides-dont-squeal-enough
I took it upon myself to step in and banish some negativity for a good friend of mine while she was on her first day of dress shopping. One of the other bridesmaids was being very negative and otherwise uninvolved in picking dresses. So I asked her to tone down the negativity, as I could see that it was brining people down. Unfortunately she didn’t react well and started pouting like a child, but we didn’t hear any more negative comments from her that day!
Thank you for this. I really needed it.
You don´t know how much I relate to your words. I´ve been engaged for over 3 years now. I thought my fiance had already forgot about this step in our life. My bad! It seems very import to him to take that step… so I reluctantly accepted this time.
He wants the BIG wedding, so we agreed to a medium size wedding, whatever that means. I told him the only thing I will not compromise is my aesthetic vision…
Fingers crossed, we will all have a good time.
Thanks for sharing
Wow! Really needed this, we also decided on a long engagement. Mainly because we just bought a home, but also because every time i think about planning I get intense anxieties. The negativity (self induced) on how it won’t be perfect or how my fiancé father most likely won’t show up. Drives me to be unable to plan anything. I am going to try some of your tips.
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