Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

We Each Have a Little "Bridezilla" in Us

How Not To Be "Bridezilla"On Your Wedding Day
10 Tips from a Bridal Counselor

by Allison Moir-Smith, MA, of Emotionally Engaged

Want to avoid awakening the Bridezilla in you on your wedding day?
Then consider these 10 tips:

1. Plan on being overwhelmed. No matter how checked-off your to-do list is, being overwhelmed is unavoidable on your wedding day. Your wedding is nothing short of life-changing. You won't be able to predict your emotional state that day, so prepare for lots of feelings, all at once. You plan to be peaceful and calm, but you may be hyper and giddy, sad and weepy, scared and lonely, angry and fidgety. Or all of the above, all at once. And that will equal being overwhelmed.
2. Diminish the effects of Bride Brain. In your non-wedding life, how do you react under extreme stress? Do you get weepy? Helpless? Neurotic? Angry? Clumsy? Obsessive? Forgetful? On your wedding day, these reactions will only be magnified - big time. If you get clumsy when nervous, stay away from glass and sharp objects. Don't drive. (No kidding!) Are you forgetful? Assume you can't complete even one simple task. Delegate. Do you lash out? If so, truthfully acknowledge this about yourself. What steps can you take to prevent bad bride behavior?
3. Practice being overwhelmed. Yes, practice. At your bridal shower, when you are the center of attention, notice your behavior and inner emotional reactions. Do you like who you are and how you behave? Or not? Now, imagine turning up the heat on those feelings by 100 degrees, and you'll get an approximation of how you may feel on your wedding day. If necessary, figure out how you can behave in a way that makes you happy and proud of yourself.
4. Enlist one solid girlfriend. I tell each bride who takes my workshops that it's essential to have a solid, grounded girlfriend at her side on her wedding day. Not a mother. Not a sister. A girlfriend. Why? Your girlfriend isn't caught up in your family drama. She intuitively knows how best to take care of you. She protects you from stupid questions and stupid people. She knows when you need her to be quiet, and when you need her to talk. A girlfriend puts herself second on your wedding day, so she can be there for you 100%.
5. Connect with your fiance. Each day of your wedding weekend, steal time away to deeply connect with each other. Focus. Gaze into each other's eyes. Feel the fullness of your love. All the wedding hoopla is about your union, so feel united! (I say this because I don't want anyone to be like one newlywed I recently counseled. She felt so disconnected from her brand new husband that during their first dance she "faked being happy." So, so sad.)
6. Allow your wedding to take on a life of its own. Do your planning, but when the Big Day arrives, let your wedding be what it wants to be. A major life event like this will have its own personality, rhythm, and soul. These magical, intangible elements can't be planned to death; they happen. Make room.
7. Let go of perfectionism and be delighted by spontaneity. My fiance and I gave our DJ a very strict list of "Play" and "DO NOT PLAY" songs. As we went to cut the cake, a drippy solo saxophone began warbling. "Did we ask for this?" my new husband asked. "Oh my God, is that Kenny G???" I gasped. Stunned and slightly embarrassed, I started marching across the dance floor to unplug the sound system. But my husband stopped me, and we went on to cut the cake, laughing at the ridiculous "not-us" cheeziness of the music. Today, the photos and, more significantly, the memories of that Kenny G moment are some of our most treasured, charming, and beloved. We could never have planned it that way. Never.
8. Be emotionally connected to yourself. A bride in this weekend's The Emotions of Being Engaged workshop said, "I know I won't really be able to visit with my guests. I'm going to tell them, 'See you Sunday, when it's over.'" I completely disagreed with her. I believe that if you are emotionally connected to yourself, then you will be able to authentically connect with your guests. Your interactions -- even the very brief ones -- will be true and real, and your guests will feel connected to (and visited by) you.
9. Create an image of the bride you want to be. Before your wedding, take some time to reflect and ask yourself, "What kind of bride to I want to be?" List adjectives, attributes, and behaviors. Is being serene of utmost importance? Or is having a rowdy, fun time? For me, being emotionally authentic was paramount. I wanted to fully experience all the emotions -- even the difficult ones -- of that intense day of my life. And I did. I cried and felt deep sadness about leaving my life as a single woman; I felt fear and anxiety about leaving my family and leaping into the unknown that is marriage; and I felt sheer, unadulterated joy. Feelings at full throttle - just what I wanted. Ask yourself, what kind of bride do you want to be? What can you do to make that happen? Begin to imagine it now.

Photo by Happy Gatherings
10. Be the bride you want to be. Will the Bridezilla awaken in you? Or not? It's your choice. Make yourself proud and make yourself happy. Be the bride you want to be.

About the Author Allison Moir-Smith, MA is a psychotherapist, bridal counselor and author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life. She's been featured on Today and Good Morning America and in Cosmopolitan and Elle. She offers individual bridal counseling and supportive group workshops. For more info: www.emotionallyengaged.com