If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’re already in the thick of it – wedding planning I mean. Congratulations, your ‘best day ever’ is just around the corner, YAY!
If you’re anything like me, no-matter how ‘chill Bride’ you’ve told yourself you are, there’ll have been many times when you’ve felt bogged down in all of the details of your wedding planning and felt more Bridezilla than Bridechilla – especially if this is your second, or dare I say third, attempt at getting married in a pandemic.
It just seems like there’s so many decisions to make (and ‘decision-fatigue’ is a very real thing by the way – ask any leader!); so much money to fork out; so many ‘stakeholders’ (however well-intentioned) to keep happy, from your spouse, to your bridal party, to your parents, to your children and wedding vendors. You might be forgiven for momentarily losing sight of the incredible significance of what it is that you’re about to do i.e. say “I do, forever” to your soulmate and commit the rest of your life to being their husband / wife …. because newsflash, weddings are stressful.
So what is ‘mindful wedding planning’?
It is accepting that wedding planning is innately stressful (only because it’s such an important event in our lives and we want the day to be ‘perfect’) so instead of setting ourselves the unattainable goal of removing stress from the equation entirely (tried this early on, failed miserably), it is a way of changing how we relate to the stressy thoughts, feelings and emotions we encounter on our wedding planning journey. For me personally, it’s an approach to planning the wedding that helps me control my emotions, instead of letting them control me.
Mindfulness is not sitting cross-legged on the floor going ‘ommmm’ whilst balancing your wedding planner on your head (although you can try a little mindfulness meditation too if you like!). It is not religious, or necessarily spiritual (although its origins are in Buddhism). It is not about ‘emptying your head’ of your thoughts (like when Fr. Dougal McGuire tips his head into the bin next to his bed when he’s struggling to get to sleep), and it’s not about trying to shut out your thoughts and emotions.
Mindfulness is bringing an awareness to the thoughts, feelings and emotions we’re experiencing in a given moment, without necessarily doing anything about them. By noticing what we’re experiencing at any given time (and this includes what we can see, hear, smell, touch etc. at that time) and doing so without judging or criticising, we can really stand to win. It is easier said than done, yes, but like skiing, elbow planking or creating a winged-eye with eyeliner, it gets better with practice.
You might be forgiven for laughing out loud at the suggestion that something as simple as listening to the sounds around you (a ticking clock, birdsong outside the window, a child playing, a fridge humming) or paying attention to your breathing could help you respond to a stressful experience in a healthy way, but that’s certainly my experience, and that of countless others, hence why I’m sharing these insights with you here.
Take the following real-life scenario (based on a true story):
You get a call from the band you’ve booked for your wedding reception. They’ve just discovered they’ve been double-booked and they can’t do both gigs. Yours is the one they won’t be doing. The guy apologises unreservedly. No excuses, he’s just sorry (the way every apology should be, right?). You hang up the phone and look towards your hubby / wifey to be.
Notice every thought, feeling, emotion, physical sensation you’re experiencing in this moment …
‘We’ll never get another band at such short notice’.
‘OMG, we’ll have no music at the wedding!’
‘The band was one of the first things we booked. We always pictured them playing at our wedding’.
‘We don’t want anyone else!’
‘We don’t deserve this!’.
‘I am so disappointed / frustrated / angry right now’
‘Ewwww, sweaty palms’.
‘I feel sick’.
Now, this is the most important bit …
Resist the urge to judge and/or react – and I mean resist the urge to judge any or all part of this. That includes yourself (‘I should have triple-checked’); the band (‘How do you double-book someone? How disorganised can you be?’); the situation (‘This would only happen to us’).
I’m not saying you shouldn’t respond to what’s just happened by the way, but if you can just acknowledge every thought, feeling and emotion and accept the situation as it is, first, then what you will do next is ’act’ (positive) in order to change the situation, instead of ‘react’ (negative) out of anger or frustration.
Now, before I have you throwing your hands up and ‘x’ing out of this blog because ‘that Florist be crazy’, hear me out. When I say, ‘accept the situation’, I am not saying ‘agree with it’ or ‘excuse it’. Mindfulness instead tells us to acknowledge what we are experiencing in the ‘now’ (a good idea because it’s already happening whether we like it or not!) and then doing whatever we need to do to change or remedy our situation, from a place of compassion and understanding instead of from a reactive place of frustration, and that to me, seems like a perfectly fine idea – I don’t know about you?
// Don’t forget to remember! //
1. Wedding planning is innately stressful (and moreso during a pandemic). You’re not ‘doing it wrong’.
2. It is not your job to make your wedding stress-free for everyone.
3. Acting (with compassion and understanding), rather than reacting (out of frustration) will help you keep your stress in check.
‘Mindfulness’ – it’s not as ‘airy-fairy’ an idea as you initially thought, is it? Why not try a little mindfulness the next time you’re thrown a curve-ball in your wedding planning? I’d love to hear if you’ve added ‘mindfulness’ to your wedding planning toolkit and if so, how it’s helped you on your wedding planning journey. Feel free to share your thoughts as a comment on our latest Instagram or Facebook post (21.04.21) or drop me a DM or email [email protected]
This is a topic I just LOVE discussing so don’t be shy, hit me up.