Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion—OK, maybe a twice-in-a-lifetime? (Or thrice? No judgement!) Whatever the case, you’ve spent a lot of time and probably a lot of money on this thing. With your heart—and your wallet—on the line, the last thing you want is poisonous energy seeping into any of the lead up or actual festivities. Because let’s face it, weddings can bring out the best and worst in people. To help you keep an eye on dangerous toxicity levels, we asked one of New York’s premier wedding planners, Jennifer Brisman, for her take on the most common enemies of peace and calm. Here’s what she told us.
1. Arguing with your fiancé
No, squabbling with your fiancé doesn’t mean you should call it all off. Instead, you should note how the two of you react under a stressful situation and work through any wedding snafus together. As Brisman tell us, “Oftentimes, the planning of a wedding is the first significant undertaking, of familial and financial value, you will deal with together. In a budding young relationship, it’s common to lack the skills to work through difference of opinions. So, it’s challenging that the first step in a life together is often planning and having to negotiate priorities and values.”
2. Bickering with family
It’s bound to happen, especially if your parents are footing the bill (or helping). Brisman explains, “Many couples are dependent on their parents and others for the finances necessary to have a wedding at such a young stage in life. Money often involves control. And a young couple wants to step out, make their own decisions and have the wedding be a reflection of them.” Big blowups over money for a onetime event is almost never worth it. Take a step back. Decide what you’re OK compromising on and what you’re not.
3. Planning at work outside of your assigned break time
While Brisman’s job completely revolves around wedding planning, yours probably doesn’t. “Planning your wedding non-stop at work will affect your productivity and can, directly and indirectly, impact how your colleagues and management see you. If you have become a wedding wind-up doll, it could diminish your reputation and drain your work goals.” Try to hold back wedding talk to times when colleagues actually seek you out and ask about it. And, obviously, don’t compromise losing that 401k match over a heated discussion on bud vases with your soon-to-be mother-in-law at your desk.
4. Planning without a financial roadmap (aka overspending)
Covering the entire ceiling in fairy-tale flowers might have been the dream, but do you really want to borrow money on a one-night fantasy? Brisman tells us from her experience that “it’s important to pen a budget that has some cushion for contingencies—which will definitely happen. Plan out what you think you want to spend and on what. Do your best to double, triple confirm vendor costs and ensure you have not forgotten anything…like tips.”
5. Talking about your wedding non-stop with friends
“When your wedding is a near full-time job, it’s easy to become self-involved,” Brisman admits. A wedding can feel like a big, all-consuming weight that’s all you want to talk about. But Brisman advises that instead of frustrating your friends with a 45-minute diatribe on bridesmaid dresses, “Stick to the ‘Wedding Convo Zone.’ You get five minutes to talk wedding before you should drop the nuptial talk, enjoy their company and focus on them.” You don’t want them to be over your wedding before it even happens, after all.
6. Obsessing over losing weight
It’s one thing to tone your arms for that sweetheart strapless you’ll be wearing down the aisle, but it’s another to hyper-focus on getting as thin as possible. Brisman has seen the “We’re never too thin” culture and told us, “It’s a misguided attitude. When you look back at your photos, you won’t see a scale, you’ll see endless smiles and the one you love.”
7. Acting entitled with vendors or suppliers
You may be working a full-time job and also planning a wedding full-time, but your vendors and suppliers are also working their butts off, juggling a million things. “People’s time and energy is valuable,” Brisman reminds us. “You will 100 percent get more out of those you are working with if you actually try to connect with them like your wedding is a collaborative group project (psst, it is). Treat them politely, with kindness and respect. When giving feedback, always give a positive before a negative and understand you are one of many, many clients and projects they have. Niceness puts you on the top of their list no matter what you are spending.”
8. Criticizing other weddings you attend
When you’re in the thick of wedding planning, you notice everything: Nope, those vows were too long. Uh-huh, that ceremony music was distasteful. Oh God, the hot appetizers were cold by the time I got my hands on one! And Brisman gets it, “Oh boy, how many of us have attended a wedding and played ‘announcer’ in our heads the whole time commenting on everything seen and done? Or we comment about who they invited, didn’t invite, how long it took to get food.” But just like at your upcoming wedding, not everything will be perfect. Focus on the joy of your event instead of comparison, and everything will fall into place.
9. Cosmetic enhancements or treatments less than one month from the wedding
You have been toying with idea of Baby Botox…and wouldn’t it be nice to look a little more refreshed on the biggest day of your life? But heed Brisman’s warnings: “This is just pure logic. Do nothing new to your skin or body four weeks or less from your wedding. This is how disasters happen.” Yeah, we don’t even want to ask.
10. Rigid overthinking about what defines the ‘perfect’ day
Rain on your outdoor wedding ceremony? It happens. Missing centerpieces? It happens. Overserved second cousin Ralph? Yeah, it’s gonna happen. But none of that should take away from this day. “The perfect day is about ending up married to the one you love. It’s about sharing that relationship and moment with those both of you love in turn. It’s about the beginning of the next chapter of life,” Brisman tells us. Working yourself up over details that went awry and are out of your control has the power to ruin a day you’ve worked so hard on. Focus on the positive things: like your dress. Oh right, and your amazing partner.