"Things will go wrong! You just have to let it go!"
This was a constant refrain in the months leading up to my own wedding, and it increased in frequency the closer we got to the date. "Things will go wrong! There's nothing you can do about it!"
I think, for type-A, spreadsheet-loving, think-of-everything planners and people, the realists worry about us. They think: something won't go her way, and she will be upset. And we, the loving family and friends, want to prevent that. After all, nothing is worse than seeing a bride unhappy on her wedding day.
I liken this to "sleep when the baby sleeps." Well-meaning advice, rooted in something reasonable. But the thing is, when you hear the same thing over and over, the advice loses its shine and the anxiety sets in.
Things will go wrong. Things will go wrong!?
I adopted a mindset that helped me get through this flurry of advice, and which made the things that didn't turn out exactly as I expected feel more like welcome surprises.
Things will not go wrong. Some things may go...differently.
And "differently" can be magical.
There are two things that you can do to keep things from actually going wrong on your wedding day. One is proper planning, and the second is attitude.
Tip 1: Plan Ahead.
It's hard for things to go differently (and harder still for them to go wrong) if you've planned for a slew of different scenarios.
Thinking through the potential bumps before your wedding week gives you ample time to prepare for them, nipping disasters in the bud. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to thoughtfully craft back-up plans. Your rain plan may not be as enticing as your outdoor ceremony vision, but are there elements you can work into it, so that when the sun is shining on your wedding day, you might (just a little teeny tiny bit) lightly mourn the loss of the alternative?
Of course, it's also critical to hire reliable, reputable vendors.
It's also important to make sure your vendor team is made of people who reflect the style and vibe you're going for.
There will be fewer hiccups if your event design is aligned with what they do best, versus hiring someone to create something out of their comfort zone. Find a florist who is well-versed in your style and aesthetic. Indoor, winter wedding? Make sure you've found a wedding photographer who masters low-light settings and will capture your day in the style you like. You may not be able to control the weather, but you can control who is on your team.
For the day itself, if you have someone on your side who asks the questions you wouldn't think to ask, finds solutions for different outcomes, and is resourceful in the moment, you don't have to worry about the potential disasters or even the minor details. Delegate the stress, worry, and obsessing to someone who tackles problems for a living, and thrives finding creative solutions.
You want to be able to relax on your wedding day. With the right planner, you may not even know things were headed down that wrong path; they should be handled before they even reach your awareness.
Tip 2: Adjusting Your Mindset: The Show Must Go On
A wedding has many elements of a theatrical performance. Elaborate costumes. A lovingly-written script. An audience (whether a handful of close friends, just one witness, or hundreds). Ornate sets, lighting, maybe even pyrotechnics.
As the two people sharing the lead, being upset is the worst thing you can be as hosts. Your guests will be worried about your reaction. Or, they'll feel guilty for enjoying themselves while you're upset. The memory that will last is the one of sorrow and regret.
So, the first thing you can do is acknowledge your disappointment – and, if you must, be disappointed later. In the moment, it has to be "water off a duck." Or, in other words, the show must go on. This keeps your guests experiencing the wedding live. If you don't tell them, they don't know about the alternative. They will only remember your joy and your gorgeous wedding.
This is where the "things will go differently" mantra can help.
Maybe a wind and lightning storm takes out the electricity...and the generator fails. (Arguably, things are going truly wrong.) But maybe you find yourself surrounded by the warm glow of a completely candlelit wedding. If you can embrace it, this cozy, beautiful, ethereal vision is what people will remember. It's different; it's magic.
Or maybe it's the little stuff. Maybe your bouquet isn't exactly as you expected it to be from the inspo pictures your florist sent. Is it still beautiful? Are there elements that you may not have thought of that make it more special than you imagined? Does it still go with the overall vision for your event?
The napkins you painstakingly selected may arrive in a slightly different shade, as dye lots change. But – might they end up looking even better in photos than your original choice would have?
Appreciating the differences for what they are, rather than stressing about what could have been, makes a huge difference.
The thing is, even the things that turn out exactly to plan may not look, in real life, as you thought they would. In part, this is because the magic of your wedding is tangible, and it's impossible to imagine that before you experience it.
Your wedding day is months –even years – in the making. It feels like seeing the movie to your favorite book, the one you know inside and out.
After lovingly and carefully planning your wedding, some elements will be just as you imagined, and many more will be beyond your wildest dreams.
Things will go differently. And it will be wonderful.
Want to make sure things go to plan?
Of course, it can feel overwhelming to think through every possible scenario ahead of time, but don't worry: that's my job, not yours.
I help couples dream up enticing plan Bs, think through questions and find solutions to any potential hiccups way in advance. We'll make a plan so you can focus all your energy on your incredible day.
Be in the moment with your partner, your family, and your friends. Soak in the atmosphere and the experience. I'll be there too: with a well-timed safety pin, a sheet of Lactaid, bustle solutions, and a working knowledge of where all the outlets (and circuit breakers) are located.