As a wedding planner, I make sure to take as much as possible off of my client’s plates — especially on their wedding day. But, there is one thing that I need all of my clients to do if they are truly going to enjoy their wedding day — I need them to let go.
That might seem like a super simple request, but it’s not. Couples spend many months and hours and energy planning their Hudson Valley weddings, so turning off their “planning” brains and relinquishing control of the event to another person can be a struggle. It can be tempting to continue to hold all of the details you’ve so carefully planned in your head, feel the need to check in and personally verify that all of your details are set up according to plan.
But here’s the problem – if you spend your wedding day ensuring the details are set and that things are moving perfectly on time, you’re likely going to miss the things that matter — the morning spent with your wedding party, the way your partner looks in his tux, the way it feels to squeeze her hand right after the first look, and savoring the moment just before your walk down the aisle. Your wedding day happens once, and it takes peace and clarity of mind to be truly present for all of it.
So how do you do that? How do you “let go” of the planning and allow yourself to soak in the day? As a Hudson Valley Wedding Planner, here are 6 tips and tricks to help you get fully present on your wedding day:
1. Hire Vendors You Can Trust
Trust is key — if you want to be relaxed and confident on your wedding day, hire wedding vendors whose work you trust. If you feel you need to monitor a wedding vendor during set up or “check up” on them, that will seriously impede your ability to enjoy your wedding day. When you’re hiring vendors, listen to your gut — do you feel confident in their abilities? Excited? Anxious? Hire the vendors whose work leaves you feeling excited and secure.
On a similar note (and admittedly, I am biased about this), hiring a wedding planner will contribute greatly to your ability to enjoy your wedding day. From setting and managing a realistic schedule to overseeing load in and stepping in to fix any issues that arise on the day, your wedding planner’s job is to be five steps ahead of you, so you can simply enjoy and soak it all in. Still looking for a wedding planner? Let’s chat!
2. Be Completely Honest
If there is a part of the wedding day that is causing you a significant amount of stress or anxiety, tell your planner! For many of my clients, weather contingency plans and staying on schedule are two of their major concerns. When I know this, I can make sure to plan the day with plenty of buffer time so that running behind is less of a concern, as well as planning for a solid “Plan B” weather contingency. If uncomfortable family dynamics are worrying you, let your planner or other key vendors know. The more they know, the more they can put plans in place that ease your nerves.
The reality is that your planner can’t read your mind, so it’s important for your sake that you let your planner know what is causing you anxiety. Getting your anxieties off your chest to your planner is one of the best ways to ensure your peace of mind on the day.
3. Get Your Team on the Same Page
One potential stresser that many couples don’t account for are wedding party or family members with a lot of questions or concerns. Unsure or anxious energy from the people around you can have a significant impact on your mindset on your wedding day, and the best way to avoid that is by making sure your family and wedding party are all on the same page.
One step I take to ensure this is by handing out an itinerary, contact sheet and other important details for the wedding party at the ceremony rehearsal the night before the wedding. That way everyone has my contact information in case questions come up, but everyone knows where they need to be and when. Communicating the “FAQ” information early and often to the people who will be with you on the wedding day is a sure way to keep them confident and relaxed, which will in turn help your peace of mind on the day.
4. Have a Right-Hand (Wo)Man
On your wedding day, have a trusted friend or family member be your “right hand man.” For a lot of couples, this will be your maid of honor or best man. This person should be up to date on the details of the day, the schedule and your needs, and should be your “ambassador” for the wedding as needed. Do you need to tell the caterer that a guest had to cancel? Have your right hand man make the call. Does someone need to check a detail with you? Your right hand man should have your phone and take your calls as needed. This person is your “gatekeeper,” and the better they are prepared for this role, the better they can help keep you at peace and present.
5. Build “Buffers” Into Your Timeline
Here’s a reality of wedding planning — things sometimes run behind schedule. From experience, I know that few things cause couples more stress on a wedding day than feeling “behind” or feeling rushed. With that in mind, I encourage all of my couples to build “buffers” into their timelines. For example, if hair and makeup has estimated it will take five hours to complete everyone’s hair and makeup, I add an extra half an hour to the hair and makeup timeline to account for any delays that might occur.
Similarly, I always schedule a half an hour of “down” time immediately before the ceremony for touch ups and other tasks, knowing that we may need some of that time to finish some photos or account for getting the wedding party to where they need to be for the ceremony.
Having that built in “buffer” to account for delays will help your peace of mind and confidence, so you can relax and enjoy the day.
6. Practice Letting Go
This may sound strange, but stay with me! I have an incredibly “type A” brain, and a lot of the time, at least one partner in each of my couples is just the same. For people like us, “letting go” is really hard. We’re planners by nature, and being on time, knowing exactly where we’re going, how we’re getting there and what’s going to happen when we arrive is always at the forefront. So, if you are like me, I have a challenge for you to practice letting go. Here is what I want you to do:
Have your partner or a friend plan an outing for you where you have NO input on what’s happening. That person can tell you what to bring and what to wear, but that’s it. The challenge? Go on that outing and be committed to be 100% present and just enjoy being wherever you are, without the pressure of knowing if you’re on time, where you are going and what you are doing. If you can, leave your phone at home or give it to your “host” for the evening. Challenge yourself to enjoy and relax without being in charge of making anything happen — it’ll be good practice for your wedding day.
So, there you have it — my best tips for staying present and letting go on your wedding day. This day only happens once — make sure you fully there for it. Need some help getting and staying present for the Big Day? Let’s chat.