Shortly after getting engaged you probably started playing out the scenes from your future wedding in your imagination. Just by closing your eyes you can see the loving looks you will share at the altar, the exchange of rings and your first kiss — which will be perfectly executed with no awkward teeth or tongues or negotiating of just how wide your mouths should open, of course!
It seems perfectly natural that this is exactly how your wedding will play out, right? But did you ever stop to wonder why donning that engagement ring now means you’re magically clairvoyant and can visualise your wedding day so vividly?
And, if I asked you to really look into that scene in your mind, is it actually you that you see in the picture, or does it feel more like a scene you’re replaying straight from the latest rom-com you saw?
Let me be the one to break it to you: your vision of your perfect wedding is pure fantasy.
Because we’ve all watched hundreds of wedding scenes unfold in TV shows and films, and scrolled through endless, perfectly-posed wedding images on Instagram, when we think about our own wedding, we immediately recall these specific scenarios and assume this is exactly how our day is going to go.
As a wedding planner, I saw first hand how the desire to have a perfectly flawless wedding, just like the movies, made people behave — like the bride who demanded her bridesmaids time their walk down the aisle to a precise 26-seconds so that her own entrance would be perfectly timed with the perfect moment of the song she had chosen. Or the couple who demanded a discount from their caterer after their champagne toast did not meet their expectations of an impeccably-choreographed scene straight out of The Great Gatsby.
The truth is that believing your wedding will be perfect is dangerous. Here’s why:
1. You Miss the Point
When you’re preoccupied with making sure everything is perfect you tend to lose your grip on reality.
You spend too much energy obsessing over styling a Pinterest-perfect wedding and as a result, you miss out on an opportunity to have the big conversations about what’s really important to you and find a deeper connection with your future spouse and loved ones through this process (we cover this in-depth in my book!).
This is the time to lay the foundations that your marriage will be built on, not the time to focus on being featured in a wedding magazine!
2. You Become an Asshole
Your perfectionist tendencies put everyone around you on eggshells, worried that one step out of line will have them kicked out of your bridal party, guest list, or worse, your life.
You cause tension within your relationship, and, in behavior that is atypical for you, you become demanding and disrespectful to your vendors — the people you’ve hired to help you — instead of trusting them to support you.
3. You Ruin Your Wedding
When you have a very clear vision for how you imagine things will unfold, it can be difficult to roll with the inevitable curveballs that arise throughout the event.
I have seen brides and grooms spend more time barking orders and dolling out abuse to bridal party members and their wedding vendors than they did just being present and soaking in the significance of the experience.
Trust me, this is not how you want to spend your wedding day!
4. You Wind-up With a Perfectionist Hangover
This plays out in two ways; you either wake-up feeling incredibly ashamed of your behavior over the past 6-months, regretting both the way you acted and your inability to actually enjoy your wedding due to all of the pressure you put on yourself, or, in some very sad but true cases, you believe that you were robbed of your Happily Ever After and continue to blame everyone around you for ruining your vision of your perfect wedding, instead of being grateful for everything that just unfolded.
I really don’t wish to sugar coat any of this. I have seen people become unrecognisable throughout the wedding planning process and it breaks my heart. I do not wish for this to happen to you!
Forget the way you want your wedding to look and focus on the way you want to feel.
How do you want to feel when you wake up on the day of your wedding?
How do you want to feel as you say your vows?
How do you want to feel as you interact with your guests throughout the event?
How do you want to feel when you wake up the next day?
Focusing on how you want your wedding to look sounds like “OMG I can’t find napkins to perfectly match the grooms’ pocket squares so we’ll just have to have them custom made!”
Focusing on how you want to feel sounds like “I can’t wait to see and catch up with the friends I haven’t seen in years. Perhaps we should remove some of the formalities from the timeline so there’s more time for conversation.”
See the difference?
When you can give up on the idea that your wedding will be flawless, just like it is in the movies, you may just find that a better version you can imagine is one that feels authentic to your reality, connected and present as events unfold, and that is perfectly imperfect.