It’s been 3 weeks since I stuffed my boobs in a nu-bra and a gorgeous white wedding gown, had Hollywood standard make up and hair styling (like seriously, Taylor…whooo?), and felt like the Duchess of Subang Jaya as I dreamily got whisked away by Gary, my charming Duke of Damansara. It was indeed a fairy tale, and for the past 20 days, I can still be caught smiling silly as I watch the replay of the videos for the millionth time. I know I said the day I became an Ironman was the best day of my life, but this totally trumps November 14th, 2015. I loved my wedding day. It was as enchanted, as mesmerising and as heart warming as everyone said it would be. But, NOT without a few jaw dropping and heart stopping moments, though. If I told you everything went according to plan, I’d totally be lying.
A couple of days after the wedding, I woke up feeling like I still needed more sleep. Though it left a sweet, dreamy feeling inside of me, it was also extremely exhausting and, like any normal yet slightly neurotic bride post wedding day, I couldn’t help but analyse every single detail of it, figuring out what could have been done better, and wishing (then again, maybe not, I don’t know) that I could do it all over again. So I figured, I am not going to have another wedding, and I don’t think I’d be a very good wedding planner for somebody else, because I absolutely loved being The Bride. The only way I can somehow make good use of this whole experience, and hopefully benefit someone else is to write about it. So I’ve decided to write a simple “How to be a Happy Bride” guide. I can’t promise Happily Ever Afters, since I’m still kinda new to the whole thing. I don’t guarantee that following my guide means you’ll have a 100% fuss free wedding. At the very least, I’m sure that you’ll have fond, blissful memories of your special day, and hopefully be as minimally stressed out on that day as possible.
- Start early
I wanted to be a simple bride. I wanted to have a simple wedding. But even the simplest of ideas need a plan. I cannot stress this any more when I say that there will be A LOT TO DO on your wedding day. And based on experience, you (The Bride) will be doing the bulk of the work. I guarantee it. The Groom, each and every one of them, will be sweet and nice and make promises to do some of the work, but believe me when I say this, you’ll either get impatient waiting for him to get it done, or you probably won’t be too happy about the job he’s done, so either way you’ll end up doing it on your own. So, start early. The moment you’ve set a date, set aside some time every day to do wedding stuff or you’ll be rushing through it in the last month of your wedding. Oh, and did I mention? You’ll be sorting out….most of his family’s side of things too. My sister in law actually told me, the bride plays the PR manager role in the whole wedding. I couldn’t agree more.
2. Have a theme
In the months leading up to the wedding, I toyed with the idea of different themes, but couldn’t quite decide on one, so I said, okay, no need for a theme. Let’s wild card this, and see whatever works. Turned out, people like themes. Your guests, they love themes. And themes help to give your wedding a bit of structure. It helps to pull everything together nicely, instead of everything looking a little lacklustre. My friend told me this, and I totally agreed with her after I finally decided on a theme – Triathlete/Yellow/90s old school. It turned out great! We got little children bicycles for the flower girls to ride in, the girls all wore yellow, we had a huge photo wall with everyone’s names on it ala Ironman race expo, we had outdoors cycling pre-wedding shots, and our music selection (which I carefully compiled over the months) were songs from the 80s and 90s. The guests loved it! Your theme can be loose, like for e.g. we didn’t ask everyone to wear yellow, so there was no dress code theme, but as long as the people that were involved in the events were in theme, it does give a wholesome effect.
3. Save as much as you can
You’re getting married! It’s the best day of your life! Everything should be perfect! Well, with that in mind, it is very very very easy to over spend. I almost did. It’s the little things you spend on that you don’t quite think about, such as stationery (paper, and ribbons, and marker pens), and gifts for your bridesmaids and flower girls, and outfits for your Hen’s night, and photo frames and candy for the photo booth and candy bar and other miscellaneous stuff. But I tried my best to stay on top of my expenses. It helps to keep a spreadsheet to keep track of everything you bought or spent money on. Also, because for most of the bigger expenses (Photography, videography, flowers (Yes flowers are expensive!), hair and make up, your wedding gown rental), you’ll be putting down a deposit first, so you haven’t actually paid upfront till the day itself. These costs need to be jotted down too.
This was where I made the biggest blunder of all. I failed to delegate the tasks. I had so many ideas and so many programs in my head, I wanted everybody to have a wonderful time that I refused to stress anybody out. As it turned out, the most stressed up person on my wedding day was Me. And everybody around me tried to help. They did! It’s just I was micro-managing every little detail of the wedding that I when I tried to hand the job over to someone else, there was even more work to list down the instructions and to-do list that I actually found it easier to do it on my own. Except that it wasn’t! Not only wasn’t it easier to do it on my own, it was impossible. On my wedding day, I was getting hair and make up done from 3.30 pm, my phone was buzzing off because I had put my own name and number as the PIC for the alcohol, for the beer, for the photo back drop, for the rehearsal of the flower girls, for the AV and lighting, for EVERYTHING. And even though I delegated the tasks to some of my bridesmaids (God bless them), I had forgotten to plan out the logistics of it all. For example, I told 2 of my bridesmaids to help decorate the candy bar for me. But guess where all the candies and boxes and photos and decorations were? In our car, parked in the hotel basement. I got my brother and cousin to help man the registration table. But guess where the guest lists were? Hidden in the box, that was in our car, parked in the hotel basement. I told my Maid of Honour and her fiance to come early to the venue to help with AV and the rundown of events. But guess where the laptop with all the music and slideshows and presentations were? With me, in the hotel room. I paid a dear price for my stubbornness. As a result of me rushing around once I got my make up done, my gold bracelet slipped off my wrist, never to be found again. So, Brides, delegate your work as early as a week before your wedding. You know you’ve delegated well when you can relax on your wedding night, and walk around and smile and take photos with your guests.
5. Talk it over with Mr. Groom
Referring back to point number 1, plan a sit down with your man and talk it through with him at least a week before the wedding. Make sure he is kept up to date with everything. If you ended up doing everything by yourself like I did, chances are your groom is left in the dark (and quite happily so) about a lot of things, only to start asking “Hey babe, where’s so-so and what’s happening when?” the day before the wedding. It also helps to have another less clouded and more calm mind to pick out anything you may have overlooked. Example, I had planned the catering for both my parents’ place and his place for the “gate crash” event. What I had forgotten to provide was paper plates and cutlery for his side. His brother ended up having to drive out in the last minute to buy some. Your groom may surprise you and end up being extremely resourceful in the end. He could in fact, be a total life saver! So have a little faith!
6. Feed the crew
So many people were concerned for my hunger and thirst that night. But the truth is, there were a group of people that day who worked literally the whole night and they didn’t get to eat or drink either. These were my make up artistes and photo and video crew. Because a good friend of ours is a wedding photographer, she mentioned that it’s a nice gesture to prepare a meal for them during the wedding. So we did. And the crew were more than appreciative. I’d like to think that with their bellies full and happy, our shots would be much clearer and sharper too :)
7. Soak in the moment
Finally, be present on your wedding day. Someone told me, “Enjoy it, it’s gonna pass by you so fast, the next thing you know, it’s over!”. I know it seems hard to believe in the days leading up to the wedding, but it’s true. At the end of the day, it is your wedding day. You should take time to soak in the moment. Think about what you really want to experience on this day and try your best to feel it. Being present in the moment also means letting go of things that didn’t go according to plan. And things will NOT go according to plan 100%. You just need to let it go, and enjoy whatever happens. Don’t waste time fretting over the little details that were unplanned for. I can honestly say, it’s most probably okay and not devastating in any way.
Remember, it’s your wedding day. It should be the happiest day of your life at that very moment. So, keep calm and marry on!