I was so excited to hear the news of so many engagements over the Christmas period, from gorgeous starlets like Natalie Portman to gorgeous friends and work colleagues. With the latter sets, I absolutely love hearing about their proposal stories and big-day ideas, but very often they are bombarded by family and friends giving their opinion and suggesting ideas (read: interfering). It can get very stressful and confusing. The same happened to me, so here is some advice for those first few weeks of madness:
- Don't make any big decisions just yet. Not even your venue or bridesmaids. Just take a few weeks (I took two years before I even set my date!) to let this amazing new phase of your life settle in. It's a huge change for both of you and a moment that slips by all too quickly.
- When you're ready, think of the most basic thing first: what kind of wedding do you want?. You don't have to make specific choices, just aim for a general 'mood', for instance boho-vintage, traditional, quirky, city glam or even just simple countryside.
- Work from the outside in: think about the ideal location for your family and friends, whether it's a big hotel that everyone can stay in, a marquee in your mum and dad's garden with plenty of B&Bs nearby, somewhere abroad with lots of easy accommodation and so on. Once you've chosen the right fit, finding the venue will be so much easier.
- Looking after yourself is essential to relaxed planning. Mark in your diary regular evenings dedicated to you, where you take a long shower, exfoliate top-to-toe, do a face mask, moisturise with your best body cream, curl up in front of something silly on TV, have a glass of wine and give yourself a manicure. It's good for the soul, for the mind, for your skin and for your relationship with your fiancé (no one finds a stress Bridezilla sexy!).
- Start a scrapbook. Yes it sounds a bit school-y, but it's a great way to create a visual idea of your wedding. Don't worry if nothing matches. Eventually a pattern will emerge and you'll gravitate towards a recurring style.
- The same goes for your dress. Tear out pictures and adverts from magazines (even if you like just one element of the dress like the fabric or the neckline) and if the same designers appear more than twice, they're the ones to book an appointment with when the time is right.
- Think about the best weddings and parties you've been to and why they worked so well. This will help you prioritise what's important to you, whether it's loads of dancing time and great food like me, a romantic church ceremony like Brides' Astrid or guaranteed sunshine like my friend who's getting married in Greece. Suddenly, everything will have more direction.
And as for dodging annoying friends and family? Grit your teeth and be as gracious as possible, thanking them for their ideas and for being so exciting about your wedding. Then lock the door and turn on that shower!