The Non-Traditional Bridal Shower

How to be a happy bride

When it comes time for the wedding photos, you don’t want to have to throw on a fake smile. But often, stressed-out brides feel like they’re faking a happy face through what should be one of the happiest days of their lives. Don’t let the stress of wedding planning get to you. Put aside all thoughts of dress hems and table runners. Remember the most important piece of advice: your wedding will be as happy as you make it!

Lower Your Standards

It sounds awful, but it’s true. Impossibly high standards are one of the most common causes of unhappy wedding days. Even though your wedding celebration is one of the most important days of your life, it’s still just one day in your life. There’s nothing inherently magical about the day you say your wedding vows. It’s your actions and emotions on that day that give the day its magic–and if you’re too worried about making sure everything is perfect, you’ll miss your chance to enjoy it.

Embrace Imperfections

Do you know the Japanese concept of wasi-sabi? It accepts and celebrates things that are imperfect, because it is their imperfections that make them more interesting. Like a cracked Japanese vase that becomes an object of meditation, your wedding day will be more interesting if a few things don’t go completely according to plan. After all, if nothing goes wrong, you and your groom won’t get the opportunity to show your guests how cool you both are under pressure. If you can turn a mistake into a funny story later, you may be surprised that it ends up being one of the most treasured memories of your wedding.

More importantly, your wedding day is like a mini version of the ups and downs of married life you’ll face in the coming years. Not everything will go according to plan. Sometimes, things will go wrong. But if you face imperfections together with grace and a sense of humor, the obstacles in your path will only strengthen your relationship.

Stay in Your Comfort Zone

Couples often start out wedding planning with the best of intentions. They’ll hire a great band, rent the perfect venue, and serve filet mignon to their happy friends and family members as everyone swoons over the bride’s perfect gown. However, weddings have a way of spiraling out of control. If it happens gradually, you’ll be tempted to give a few inches here; a few inches there. But step back and make sure you’re still solidly in your comfort zone.

How do you remember where your comfort zone is? It’s easy to get confused when expanding budgets, family arguments, and designer fashions start rearing their heads. Before you start wedding planning at all, sit down and write a list of solid boundaries for your wedding. This should include a hard number for the budget (so you don’t get sweet-talked into going into debt for the platinum hairdressing package at the last moment) and a hard limit for the number of wedding guests. Include any aspects you definitely do (or do not) want in your wedding, such as religious rituals or specific vows. Don’t forget your fashion comfort zone, too. That way, if the bridal shop attendant pressures you to try on a strapless wedding gown, you can refer to your checklist and remember that bare arms were never part of your plan.

Work as a Team

You’re not just throwing a wedding; you’re getting married to someone, too, right? Take advantage of the support your partner offers, both emotionally and physically. There’s no reason your hubby-to-be can’t stuff half the invitation envelopes and research the best florists in town. (If you’d rather be in total control of all the wedding decisions yourself, of course, then taking all planning duties on your own shoulders is a way of reducing stress.)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a mountain of pre-wedding tasks and your soon-to-be spouse isn’t helping enough, it’s time for an honest conversation. Maybe he’s not that interested in choosing bridesmaid dress colors, but he’s a pro when it comes to choosing cake flavors. Maybe he hates doing any kind of wedding planning, but he’s ready to hand you a glass of wine and rub your feet when you come home from a vendor interview. Divvy up responsibilities however they make sense in your relationship; just make sure that both of you feel supported and loved. After all, that’s the best part of hosting this wedding in the first place–now you have someone who will go through life by your side.