Does Your Wedding Have to be Stressful?

Does Your Wedding Have to be Stressful?

Your wedding ought to be the biggest day of your life. It won’t come to pass without stress. That’s natural.

You may be arranging a really big do. There are so many things to organise both for the ceremony and the reception.

It’s important that everything runs smoothly. You’d love your guests to enjoy and look back at the occasion favourably. You’d like to look your best throughout. You want the day to go smoothly and memorably. You should be able to relax and enjoy the whole event.

That’s quite a lot of expectations. Of course, to fulfil that puts stress on you.

A bit of stress is not a bad thing, though. Adrenaline will help you function well.

Major stress is another thing, and will spoil your enjoyment (and possibly that of others too).

So how do you minimise stress?

Attitude and preparation are both key.


Of course, absolutely anything can go wrong. I have seen a number of unexpected mishaps in my time (though not as many as one might expect!). If you so choose, you can focus on these and worry yourself stupid.

However, you can take a positive attitude and focus on the things that might go well! The right mind-set will take the pressure off those helping you create the event. It will also make life that bit more enjoyable for you (and for those around you).

Accept that things do go wrong. These problems may be minor (and often go unnoticed) and will be easily forgiven. And, especially if you work with professionals, your team may be able to resolve them quickly and painlessly.

Moreover, it often works out that the more you obsess over imagined issues, the more they materialise in reality.


If you do everything yourself (or with the help of some relatives/friends), then something may well get overlooked or done inefficiently. More than that, if you are the sole responsible person, then you’re bound to be worrying about slip-ups and the like.

If you surround yourself with professionals, they will know what needs doing (to prevent issues) and can take action, if something does go amiss.

Moreover, the earlier (within reason!) you get your act together, the better. Your suppliers will have time to source what they need and can do a better job.

Although a do-it-yourself event is cheaper and potentially satisfying, there is one vital element you will necessarily be missing: peace of mind. That should not be under-estimated. It can make the difference between enjoyment and complete frustration. Hopefully, you’ll only be doing this once!

Peace of mind will be much more of a given, if you entrust the organisation to professionals.

For a professional take on your ceremony, please have a chat with me.

Avoiding Wedding-Day Amnesia

I’m delighted to welcome another guest to write for this blog. This time it’s Chloe Walker. She describes herself as:

“a twenty-something year old, freelance writer who’s focusing on wedding and event planning. When she isn’t thinking about her very own dream wedding, she can be found curled up by the fire with her dog, Bruce.”

Enjoy her thoughts!

Wedding-day amnesia affects a surprising number of newly married couples.

According to a survey from Sony, “More than 1 in 4 [married couples] admit to not remembering their wedding vows”

Many couples say that their special day has become just ‘a big blur’ and that they’ve forgotten all the finer details, even if everything was utterly perfect and the day itself was an emotional and exciting experience.

It’s hardly surprising that this happens. Weddings can be stressful and the day itself can often feel busy and even chaotic, even if you’ve carefully planned every detail and are head over heels in love with your partner.

But there is good news.

You can prevent wedding amnesia from rearing its ugly head and allow yourself to cherish the memories for ever. Here are six ways you can do just that.

1. Choose the right venue

Your wedding venue can make your wedding memorable for all the right reasons, or all of the wrong ones. That’s why it’s vitally important to get it right.

Make sure it feels like the venue of your dreams and offers everything you hoped it would. Let your heart guide you when making your decision here- that’s what will truly make the day feel memorable.

Opt for something that helps the two of you make the most of your big day and feel special, not something that you feel pressured into choosing by family or friends.

The venue should also give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the venue and surroundings, your guests should feel comfortable and it should provide a sense of intimacy that helps you form those special memories that you can share with your grandkids.

Finally, ensure that you have full privacy on your big day and don’t have to share with anyone else.

Luxury wedding venue, Manor by the Lake say it best; “ The last thing you want is to see random people you don’t know wandering around your venue on your wedding day!”

2. Step away for a moment or two

On your wedding day, make sure that you find time to break away from the stress and busyness of the occasion and really enjoy the moment.

This will help ensure that your nerves don’t get frazzled and you have enough energy to make it through the day, and help your brain form those memories that will last a lifetime.

Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes (if you can) and take some slow deep breaths. Aim to make your exhales longer than your inhales to help you feel a deep sense of calm.

As you do this, soak up your beautiful surroundings, your gorgeous dress and the exciting event as a whole, then go back to enjoy the celebrations feeling refreshed.

3. Connect and reflect before you walk down the aisle

Just before the ceremony itself starts, take time to sit and reflect. Be quiet and sit for five minutes or so. Bring to mind memories from your relationship so far and soak up the moment.

If you can, sit with your partner, hold hands and enjoy this sense of deep connection and union before you get married. Doing this will help you escape from the organisational chaos that has led up to the event and you can reconnect with your loved one.

4. Enjoy a short walk after the ceremony

Instead of finishing the ceremony and rushing off for photographs or to the reception, get outside into nature and take a short walk. Even 15 minutes will be enough for you to reconnect with your partner and absorb the exciting fact that you’re now a married couple!

This also provides a great opportunity for your wedding photographer to snap some beautiful, scenic shots that you can enjoy for the rest of your lives.

5. Eat together

When you’re trying to talk to everyone and have so much to do, you might find yourself forgetting to eat at your own reception. Don’t make this mistake! You’ll only find your stomach grumbling and your stress hormones going through the roof!

Just take five minutes with your partner, grab a plate and fill it with as much food as you like. Then sit and enjoy it together, uninterrupted. You’ll build beautiful memories, feel better and have enough energy to make it through the day too.

6. Write it all down

Prevent your wedding day memories fading away by writing down everything that happened on your special day as soon as you can.

This will create a vivid record of your wedding day that you can refer back to whenever you want. When you have it down on paper, you’ll stand a far better chance of remembering those tiny details like conversations, expressions and events that you loved so much on the day and really bring those memories back to life.

If you’re not a fan of writing, you can always record your memories digitally using the voice recorder app on your smartphone. Just be sure to back it up afterwards for safekeeping.

Final thoughts

Even though you’ve likely poured months or even years into planning your wedding, it can all go by in a flash.

That’s why you should do your best to preserve those memories and cherish them forever.

Choose your dream venue, take moments through the day to soak it all up and enjoy the occasion. Then you stand a better chance of avoiding wedding day amnesia and of remembering it all.

If you want to contact Chloe, her e-mail address is

Photo: Matt Penberthy

Tips for Bride and Groom on the Big Day

Tips for Bride and Groom on the Big Day

Most of the bride and groom’s big day will go past in a whirl. They will be the centre of attention. It’s wonderful – but they may feel bewildered at times. They – and others, notably family members – may well feel under considerable stress.

Obviously, the main protagonists (at least) should be enjoying themselves. However, all concerned may need to make a special effort to show common sense and good manners.

Patience is a particular virtue at such a time (as is a sense of humour). Not least when it comes to the in-laws (or, indeed, your own family).

As a civil celebrant myself, I have to point out that the celebrant should be able to play a role in smoothing the way much of the time, but not everything will be within their control!


  • Getting drunk is not a good idea! Apart from the unfavourable impression this may make on the new in-laws, you may not be able to fulfil the roles you are undertaking. It’s also worth pointing out that lots of people will be taking photos. You don’t want compromising snaps to haunt you in later life!
  • Try and make sure you speak to all your wedding guests (they have come to support you, after all). It may mean you miss out on some of the food and drink, but you should acknowledge that people have put themselves out to be part of your celebrations.


  • Much of the stress in the run-up to the wedding day is borne by the bride. Do what you can, especially on the day, to share the load.
  • Be punctual – arrive between 30 and 60 minutes before the ceremony.
  • Don’t hide away with your mates; meet and make conversation with your new wife’s friends and even relatives.
  • Don’t get rolling drunk! You have a speech to deliver effectively and the comments I aimed at the bride apply to you just as much.

Sometimes, just a little thought and consideration will be all that is needed to avert a melt-down. Then your wedding can be the fabulous event you have been dreaming of.

To gain the reassurance of professional support, talk to Michael about being your celebrant!

Wedding Day Stress

Wedding Day Stress

Wedding day stress is to be expected. Of course, it is. However much you may have prepared, you don’t know what might actually happen … Even if you’re using a wedding planner, you can’t quite be sure.

All you can do, when all is said and done, is to ensure you have prepared carefully. Have you covered most eventualities? If you have, the chances are that everything will go smoothly, and there’s no point you getting uptight.

If something does go wrong, there are people who will bust a gut to sort it out for you.

There’s certainly no point upsetting yourself (and others!) by worrying.  It is supposed to be your big day, and you do want to enjoy it. Don’t let what might not even happen spoil it.

Be ready on the day

Assuming you have booked and confirmed your suppliers, there are only a limited number of jobs that need to be done on the day. Let’s assume the bride’s hair, nails, make-up and dressing are under control!


Final assumption: you will have done a rehearsal (or talked it through) and you (and your retinue) know what you have to do when you process in at the beginning of the ceremony.

Give your Maid of Honour a small emergency kit (needle and thread, paracetomol, cough sweet etc.) to look after.

If you are not staying at the venue, ensure you leave plenty of time to get there (even if you plan to arrive late!). (More on this subject presently.)


Apart from looking elegant, your sole duty, probably, is to bring the rings and hand them to your Best Man.

You need to arrive early – mainly to ensure (probably, in collaboration with your civil celebrant) that everything is ready for the ceremony, and (with the groom) for the reception.

I had booked a taxi a week before my wedding and reconfirmed the night before. It still never showed up, and I had to book another one with immediate effect. Because I had booked the original minicab for a rather ridiculous hour, it wasn’t an issue. However, that was stress I could have done without!

Best Man/Maid of Honour

Both need to arrive punctually for their respective functions.

The Maid of Honour normally has to reassure and organise the bride.

The Best Man may have the rings already, or may have to remember to get them! Once at the venue, he needs to check in with the venue’s wedding planner (if there is one). The groom may well be early too, and may need a smile and an arm round his shoulder. Of course, the groom may ask you for certain errands. Do them with good grace.

The civil celebrant (if used) should be arriving very early too, so he/she will check that everything is in place for the ceremony. You may be kept in the loop, or not. Likewise, with the reception arrangements.


So the key to a successful ceremony is preparation, first of all. Then it’s usually a case of responding calmly and positively to a mishap.

Odds on, the mishap is not a disaster (although, I admit, one ceremony I conducted was rather interfered with by a [small] fire!). People rally round, and most of your guests accept that things do happen beyond our control.

So what seems awful to you, may be a passing inconvenience to your guests.

The good news is that the majority of mishaps are not even noticed. And actually, a mishap is the exception, certainly not the rule.

So, what are you worrying about?!

For more advice or suggestions, contact Michael.

Managing Marriage Stress

My job is to marry people. My ceremonies usually include advice and suggestions for making the marriage a success. How much the couples remember of my words, especially with all the other big day distractions, I don’t know, but at least they will have the wedding script that I send them, and there may be a video. Thus they are able to revisit my words.

So what do I, a civil celebrant, know about marriage, successful or otherwise?

I have gleaned quite a lot of experience from my own marriage (we are approaching 20 years together) as well as those of my circle. I do see a number of my friends in unhappy or broken marriages. I read a lot. And I know that there are plenty of statistics that bear out the truism that you have to work at marriage.

I’d like to look at one area that can certainly damage a marriage.



A marriage can be damaged by jealousy, finances, differing life styles, health issues, sex, in-laws, infidelity … the list goes on.

How should you react to stresses like these?

One surprising answer is to take care of yourself.

If you are going to address your relationship issues with clarity, you need your mental and intuitive faculties to be in balance.

You also need to be aware that you are part of a two-way relationship.


The habit of meditation can produce a calmer mind-set. Another useful thing is taking time-out. “I don’t want to react stupidly, so I’m leaving the room for a moment to think about my reply.” Ten seconds out before riposting, can be very valuable.

In more serious cases, you need to be able to manage your reactions. Keeping calm and being reasonable (rather than flying off the handle unthinkingly) can be so beneficial. Discussion, give and take, listening to the other are all techniques that can help resolve crises successfully.

Sometimes there may be a problem that is (inadvertently, or not) of your causing, and if it can be acknowledged, it will be easier to resolve. Often there is a major misunderstanding, which, once expressed, becomes trivial.

If you’re upset with your partner, your tendency may be to avoid him/her, but it can be useful (particularly if you share a pastime) to spend some more time together. I don’t mean sitting in the same room, posting on FaceBook or playing electronic games, but doing things where you interact. You may have to schedule actual dates, but showing your partner that they are a priority can only be to the good.

Remember that it is so much easier to talk to and understand your partner when you are calm and centered.

You have the tools and skills to handle whatever may transpire in your relationship, and this should give you the confidence that you can enjoy a happy, long-term marriage. Combine it with love, and you will have every reason to anticipate a wonderful marriage!