The 4 simple reasons brides are always stressed out + how to prevent it
When your wedding photographer tells you, "I've seen it all..." they mean it. We have truly seen it all. Each wedding is unique and all off my brides and grooms have very different styles, personalities and dreams. However, almost every wedding that I shoot has a common denominator - a stressed out bride.
I've had brides who are just a little bit nervous and need to take a few quiet deep breaths.
I've had brides who have meltdowns and need time alone.
I've had brides who are three seconds from strangling a bridesmaid.
I've had brides who cannot possibly take enough xanax to make their anxiety go away.
General nerves are very normal but so much of the anxiety and irritability that I see on a wedding day is 100% preventable. There is no reason that, aside from having the jitters about proclaiming your love and becoming a Mrs., you can't have a fun and happy wedding day!
I've learned that there are 4 common and simple reasons that brides get stressed out, irritated and upset on the morning of their wedding - and they're all fixable with some attention to detail and careful planning!
4. Missing Items
Your photographer arrives and immediately asks for details so they can hit the ground running and capture as much of your day as possible. Styling and photographing your precious details is one of my favorite parts of a wedding day and it does take time. I typically like to have 45+ minutes just to shoot bridal details. But... it's pretty common that when I ask for details, the bridesmaids have to go on a scavenger hunt around the hotel room or getting ready space. The bride is in the makeup chair unable to help and getting overwhelmed as bridesmaids ask, "where are your earrings?", "where's the groom's ring?", "which shoes are yours?".
Get a large box or a basket - heck, even a plastic storage tub. At home, pack this box with all of your details (shoes, jewelry, something blue, garter, veil, clean copies of your invitation suite, precious heirlooms, rings, etc.). Every detail that your photographer is capturing should be in that ONE BOX that stays with your dress and goes right to the bridal suite. This includes the groom's ring! Once it's captured, then it will be delivered to the best man... but before that it needs to be with the bridal details.
Planning ahead and packing one box of details will make the morning so much smoother and nix the scavenger hunt.
3. Lack of Alone Time
If you think about it, more of a traditional wedding day is spent apart than it is together. Maybe I'm too much of a non-conformist but this bothers me a lot. I see such beautiful relationships blooming into life-long commitments at weddings and it's really a shame that brides and grooms don't spent more time together on that once-in-a-lifetime day! Not only does it rub me the wrong way, it's a huge contributor to wedding day stress!
Those normal jittery nerves can only be calmed by one person. The person you're vowing to spend your life with.
Think about it... in a very traditional scenario, the bride didn't even see her groom after the rehearsal dinner. She went back to her parent's house or to a different hotel room. The ceremony isn't until 4 PM and so she's spent almost all day apart from him. Those nerves are going full blast and the only person to fix it is him.
I really deeply encourage couples to consider a first look and spend more of their precious day together. At the very least though, build alone time into your timeline. Take a break in the bridal suite, share a quiet walk together during dinner, step away from the madness and connect with your new husband.
2. Too Many People
This is going to sound like I'm just hating on bridesmaids here for a minute so hang in there... stick with me. I used to think I wanted a lot of bridesmaids. How fun! Spending the day surrounded by your closest friends and drinking mimosas with them all morning while getting pretty! Yeah. Now I work in the wedding industry and I have personally decided to skip the wedding party all together. I'm not going to make this into a bridesmaids vs. no bridesmaids rant but there is such a thing as too many people.
Think: 6 bridesmaids, your mom, your fiancé's mom, maybe grandmas, maybe flower girls, you, hair stylists, makeup artists, wedding coordinator and wedding photographers... you can easily end up with trying to keep track of 20+ people. Even coordinating 6 bridesmaids + mom while trying to relax and have your hair and makeup done is exhausting.
I don't care if your bridesmaids are the most amazing humans ever. When you have that many people talking, asking questions, laughing and just moving around - IT. IS. EXHAUSTING. I've been in bridal suites where the bride can't even hear me talking because there is loud music that no one is listening to, 10 people in different conversations, someone on the phone and a few noisy kids running around. Even I get stressed out and I'm not about to get married.
This stress extends back to prior to the wedding day during the planning process too. Having a large wedding party can cause a lot of pre-wedding stress as well.
I truly wish brides would take their time selecting their wedding party and really weigh the pros and cons. Don't choose someone because you think you have to and don't even think you have to have bridesmaids at all. Yes, you'll all look pretty in your coordinating outfits but is it really worth losing sleep and gaining a migraine over? Definitely want those bridesmaids, then scroll down to #1.
1. Not Enough Space
Even the weddings with the most incredibly kind, helpful and sweet bridal parties that I've worked with have a common flaw - not enough space during the getting-ready process. When you have all those people and all their crap, space gets tight. When space gets tight, problems arise.
The space where you're putting on your wedding dress needs to be spacious and clean in order for me to create the images that you see in wedding magazines. I can't tell you how many times I walk into one dark and messy hotel room housing 12-20 people involved in the getting ready process. I sometimes have to kick bridesmaids out of the room while the bride puts on her dress simply because there just isn't enough room for me to shoot.
Let's use a recent wedding as an example of the consequences of tight spaces and how much it can cause stress. This bride had 4 bridesmaids. Seems like a small wedding party right?
4 bridesmaids + mom + MIL-to-be + grandma x2 + flower girl + makeup artist x2 + hair stylist x2 + photographer x2 + bride = 16 people.
16 people in one normal-sized hotel suite (bedroom, bathroom, small living room area with 2 windows that everyone was crowding around for natural light).
The bride had a panic attack.
Are you surprised?
Everyone was calm and polite and helpful and sweet. This was actually one of the best bridal parties that I've ever worked with. But it was just that there were so many people... so much noise... so much stuff...
If you're getting ready at a hotel, I recommend one hotel room per four people. Adjoining rooms are always a good idea if available but the rooms should definitely be adjacent to each other if nothing else.
If you're getting ready in the bridal suite at your venue and it's just not that large, I recommend staging bridesmaids and giving them different arrival times + somewhere else to go when they're finished hair and makeup but not yet ready for getting dressed.
I'm always happy to help coordinate getting ready locations and schedules for my brides.
So, those are the 4 most common reasons I find that brides are stressed-out-beyond-reason on their wedding day! These are easily preventable with some extra care during your planning process! You deserve the most enjoyable, fun, calm and happy wedding day! Cheers!