The Bridal Countdown: 24hrs to 'I do'
In a series of ‘24 hours before Bride’ I’m sharing tips from my experience as both a bride and Celebrant. Drawing on inspiration, memories and ideas from my personal and professional life, I hope to make the last 24 hours for every bride enjoyable and stress free.
Love your lists!
The night before
It’s less than 24 hours to your big day – how to survive the Bridal Countdown!
Usually for Brides, the last 24 hours is both the best and most stressful of your life. It’s stressful and you’ve put a lot of time, care, effort and money into making it your special day, special, so…no pressure!
Even the most organised Bride (Moi!) can end up stressed and forget something, like a hairbrush; a simple but vital necessity for facing your guests the next day, minus Medusa hair! So, allow me to give you the benefit of my experience as a bride and also a professional wedding celebrant.
If you are using a professional celebrant like myself or my colleagues, you’re already in safe hands, and every word & detail of the ceremony will be agreed and tailored with you & your loved one in mind. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about someone going off script during the homily or being subjected to civil servant speak or a set theology. In addition, the legal side will generally be done already, taking the pressure off you and making the day more about the celebration than the legalities.
In a nutshell it’s all about: Being prepared, getting a good night’s sleep and don’t try anything new on the day!
That all sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, in the flurry of guests arriving, hectic and excitement, these can be difficult to achieve, but so worthwhile for your blood pressure & sanity sake!
Be prepared: how not to turn into a micro-managing Bridezilla!
Love your lists!
Firstly, concentrate on the necessities to actually get married – got to love an old-fashioned check list if you’re a pencil & paper gal. For example; is the legal paperwork done or prepped? Has the Celebrant/Priest/Solemiser confirmed they will be there at the time & date (at a friend’s wedding the bride arrived before the priest as he had the time wrong) and your two witnesses, the same? Well, they’re the absolute essentials to get married, everything else is nice but not as necessary.
With those ticked off the list, release the tension & breathe deeply again!
Don’t forget you, your husband and your family!
Rings, clothes, flowers & any additional personalising aspects to your wedding. Usually it’s the small personal touches that can get missed e.g. your sand for the sand ceremony is currently a claggy mass at the bottom of a jam jar, or your Father needs a proper colour co-ordinated pocket hanky as he’s likely to cry walking you down the aisle, or you’re exchanging love letters & wine for the wine box part of the ceremony. I found it helpful to visualise each person getting ready and then the ceremony prep and details to make sure nothing is forgotten. You may well ask, what about the rest of the wedding party? Well hopefully at this stage, everything else has been delegated to your maid of honour/bridesmaids and the groomsmen. If you haven’t done this, for your own sake do it by text tonight! Even if it is 10 pm at night! I know you may feel you don’t wish to bother family or friends, but the whole day is about you and your other half so why wouldn’t people want to help? Go for it, just ask! Your loved ones will be delighted to play their part! Having said this, on the other hand people like to make their problems yours; at a wedding I attended, the bride was stopped during the reception and asked to sort out her guest’s babysitting arrangements with the Hotel. I thought the bride was very restrained in directing the person to Hotel reception, rather than over the nearest short pier! And in a more mundane example; let’s say your Auntie Joan insists you book hair & make up for your cousin flying in from Geneva in the morning – please, it’s not your problem! She’s an adult, she can look after herself. Or little Johnny’s forgotten his dress shoes/tie/cufflinks/ to print out his reading ; delete as appropriate! Even if it’s easier for you to sort it, still ask yourself first who else can do and delegate, delegate, delegate because you don’t need the stress but you do need your mind clear to focus on really enjoying every minute of your special day! Just keeping repeating ‘it’s my special day’ and prioritise accordingly. And if in doubt, let your crack ninja Bridesmaids sort it out!
Look for part two for more stress busting sanity saving Bridal tips;