Attention, brides-to-be: Set aside your "to do" list for a minute and take a look at this "what not to do" list we've created. It'll help you be a relaxed, radiant, has-it-all-together woman all the way up to your wedding day.
Sin #1: Talking Endlessly About the Wedding
Photo Credit: Sweet Little Photographs
A pal asks you the simple question "So, how are the wedding plans going?" and before she knows it, she's listening to a 20-minute monologue on why one caterer's crab puffs vastly outshine another caterer's crab cakes. Why do so many brides get wedding-obsessed? Believe it or not, this is often a way for a woman to process the confusing emotions that surround the transition from single to married, says Allison Moir-Smith, M.A., founder of the Brookline, Massachusetts-based Emotionally Engaged , which offers counseling and workshops for brides and couples. While exciting, the engagement period can be a scary time. But trust that things will work out fine. And the next time someone asks about your wedding plans, keep your answer to a sentence or two.
Sin #2: Being Too Concerned with Throwing the "Perfect" Wedding
Photo Credit: John Lebbe/Created by Preston Bailey
One of my friends recently admitted to me that while her wedding was great, her spending almost got out of control. "When I read about, or saw, something great in a magazine, I thought we should have it," she says. "Everything had to be more, bigger, better." What made her stop? "Suddenly, I realized I was planning this whole thing so that I'd be with my husband for the rest of my life, not so I could say my sugar cubes matched my flowers." When you find yourself ignoring your budget, remember the same thing.
Sin #3: Neglecting Your Fiancé
Photo Credit: Justin & Mary
"I can't meet you for lunch, sweetie, I have an appointment with my aesthetician (or florist, or seamstress…)." Sound like you lately? "Neglectful behavior during one's engagement sets a bad precedent for marriage," warns Moir-Smith. The two of you will become disconnected if outside pressures—especially trivial ones—take precedence over caring for each other. So, take time off from big-day tasks to spend regular old girlfriend-boyfriend time together.
Sin #4: Becoming a Total Diva
Photo Credit: Rebekah J. Murray Photography
Are you in danger of going overboard on the attention-grabbing front, demanding more, more, more from friends and bridesmaids—more bridal events and outings, more gifts, more reasons to spend money? Ask yourself, "Why do you think you need all this attention?" advises Moir-Smith. Sometimes, she reports, a bride-to-be is worried that her single girlfriends are pulling away, getting ready to relegate her to "married" status in their minds. The demanding bride might be trying, in a backhanded way, to pull her friends closer. But this behavior will only backfire, causing resentment and rifts. So, in addition to one or two just-for-you events, plan get-togethers that are all about fun and friendship and have nothing to do with your wedding.
Sin #5: Blowing Your Wedding Budget
Photo Credit: Susan Stripling/Created by Sasha Souza Events
We talked with a recent bride who admits she got bitten by the wedding-planning bug when she got engaged. "I started out with a budget that took into account what my fiancé and I could pay, as well as gifts we were getting from our parents to help," she says. "It was plenty of money for a very nice wedding." So what happened? Whenever an item ended up costing a bit more than her budget allowed—like $200 extra for her gown or a few hundred more for better champagne—she went for it. But all those little expenses added up quickly—to an extra few thousand dollars that she ended up having to put on a credit card. "We were able to pay it off a month or two after the wedding, but it put a damper on the honeymoon," says Lisa. "Out of guilt, I didn't feel entitled to splurge at all, which was a shame." So make a budget, and stick to it—you don't want to start your marriage under a cloud of debt.
Sin #6: Not Acknowledge What Your Parents May Be Going Through
Photo Credit: Hailey Erickson Photography
"I fought with my mother for months over whether the entrée at our rehearsal dinner should be hot or cold," says Moir-Smith. "I finally realized that we were not fighting over food, but over the thought of ‘losing' each other when I got married. I was not a baby—but I was her baby, and the last of her children to get married. It was tough for both of us." The fact is, your wedding marks a big transition for your parents as well as for you, no matter how old you are. A child's marriage signals a change in parental identity—from parents to potential grandparents. These are heavy thoughts, so it's no wonder many parents bury their emotions under silly fights, or even by seeming uninterested in the wedding. If this happens, don't turn away. Even if you can't get the 'rents to open up about how they're really feeling, at least do your best to understand it.
Sin #7: Crash Dieting
Photo Credit: Meg Baisden Photography
When my sister was planning her wedding, she drastically curbed her eating and spent a lot of time at the gym. While she did successfully slim down for her big day, and looked fabulous in her gown, she also appeared—and felt—tired and drawn. That's no surprise to New York City-based nutritionist Joy Bauer "Extreme dieting may help you drop pounds, but it's not healthy," she says. "It will leave your skin sallow, your hair dull and your energy low." If you diet, make sure you eat no less than 1,200 calories a day and lose no more than two pounds per week, advises Bauer. Not sure how to do it right? Consider hiring a nutritionist for a few sessions—your health insurance company can recommend pros.