Tipis, clear skies, great sex and four coffee makers aside, the one thing every couple dreams of for their wedding is an easy, breezy, effortlessly fun day. No dramas, no ‘oh shit’ moments, no cute little mistakes like forgetting to sort the wedding catering. Just, fun. Fun is mandatory. And the best way to enjoy the day and make it through without a hitch, is to plan in advance, be realistic about your expectations, and hire someone to stand-by with champagne at all times. Only partially kidding about that last one. Maybe throw some snacks in while you’re at it.
Sure – on the day, the little stuff becomes a whole lot less important than you’ll think it is the week before. Trust us, no one will be inspecting all twelve tables to make sure every candle is facing the same direction and the cutlery is spaced exactly 1cm apart and your chakras are perfectly aligned. But, whether a dreamy Wānaka wedding or a Queenstown vineyard celebration, there are some simple things you can do to make sure you’re not sweating the small stuff when your big day comes around.
Read on, lovers.
The best bride is a relaxed bride
So just, like, relax? While we all love those well-meaning folk with the great advice who tell you to ‘just relax’ when your adrenaline is out the gate, you’re in full bridezilla mode, and someone who isn’t owning up to it accidentally deleted your entire playlist of wedding day music, this isn’t what’s going to pull you back to a state of calm.
However. It’s true: the best bride is a relaxed bride. And the best way to be a relaxed bride (not including a good few jugs of champagne) is to have all your ducks in a row well before the wedding. The planning stage will always be slightly stressful, there’s no real way around it. So, the quicker you can get all the nitty gritty out of the way, the more time you’ll have before the wedding to find your zen. At the very least, aim to get all your wedding planning and final details signed off at least one week before the wedding, so you’ve got the week before the big day to chill the truck out.
Spas, manicures, hot oil massages, cucumber eyes, dark chocolate, red wine, beach days: you do what you gotta do to find your happy place. This is your time to shine, lady. Treat yourself. Pamper yourself. Rinse the ‘do not touch under any circumstances’ savings account with a little retail therapy, if that’s what you need. Give yourself a decent dose of me-time, so you’re coming into your big day refreshed, relaxed, and ready to celebrate.
Seek expert advice early on, and if you can, bring in the experts.
Circling back to the first part of that equation, though. Prep. While some people in this world are OCD kings who thrive off lists, wedding planning online tools, and getting things done, there are others who couldn’t plan a grocery list and are guaranteed to forget their shopping bags, anyway. Or, if you’re like me, you’re somehow both those people. It’s those bags. But, I digress.
Point is, while a wedding planning checklist is great (and this Together Journal Wedding Planner is even better), nine times out of ten a helping hand when planning your wedding will go a damn mile further. And sometimes, an expert hand will be the single best decision you make in your life, period. Tied for equal with saying yes to the one you’re about to marry, of course.
Top tip: If you’re quietly leaning towards the ‘couldn’t plan a sandwich’ side of the barby, bring in an expert. And bring them in early. Whether you’re just getting advice or whether you’re after the full fairy godmother monty to plan the whole day right down to the details, this is one wedding planning must-have you won’t regret.
In fact, we’ve got more than a handful of fairy godmother types up these sleeves. A few of our favourite wedding planners in Queenstown and Wānaka include One Fine Day, Tregold, Alexander Kate Creative, or Fantail Weddings. If you’ve got wedding planning questions, they’ve got answers. And while we’re here and chatting about our favourite vendors, read this for a few more of our favourite locals.
Lean on your bridal party to bring the magic.
Your bridal party is there to celebrate with you, and to support you. Through the highs and lows, the planning and the zenning, the pre-wedding meltdowns and the mid-wedding pee breaks, these are your go-to’s. Your people. The other loves of your life standing at the far end of the aisle. (Celebrant not included. Unless they’re cool.) Point is, let them be there for you.
Whether that means delegating tasks or ranting to them about your controlling soon-to-be-in-laws, your bridal party is there to help in whatever way they can. Give them tasks, let them know when you need help, or when you just need a brain break. They’ll be the ones next to you the whole day, running to grab the mother of the bride for the pre-wedding pep talk, throwing down on the tipi dance floor when it gets a little quiet, or manning the bridal party barbecue the day after the wedding. These are your nearest and dearest, your tribe, your people. And they’re there to support you every step of the way and all the days after.
A basketful of snacks goes a long way.
I don’t even mean this figuratively. This is genuinely the best way to keep things flowing, stress free, and fun. How, you ask? What could a little snack basket possibly do to keep things stress free?
Well, it’s like Snickers always said – you’re not you when you’re hungry. And between the ceremony, the post-ceremony congratulations with all 200 people on your suddenly-too-long guest list, the countless photos and the mandatory lawn games with Uncle Allan, there’s quite literally, barely time to eat. And obviously, being hangry is no way to enjoy your day.
Enter, the snack basket. Get your darling bridesmaids or groomsmen to pack a snack basket, complete with all your favourite treats and a little something extra. We’re talking savoury sustenance, mini pies (bonus points for lamb), those little triangle sandwiches without the crusts, something good and chocolatey for dessert, and a little bitty champagne to wash it all down. It’s like Christmas in a bowl.
The snack basket will be your lifesaver. Hangry wife, hangry life. Happy wife, happy life. It’s pretty much maths.
Take time to enjoy the magic moments.
So. Now that the planning is done, you’re peak zen, the universe has aligned and your bridal party is ready with the snack basket – take a minute for yourself. Step back, and breathe. Hell, do a few stretches. Take a minute for yourself to just appreciate all that the day means to you. It’s an incredible celebration of your love for your partner. Your favourite friends and family members are around, and you’re with the people you love. And even if they can’t all be there, you’re about to marry the one person that really matters.
Plan a half hour slot to disappear from the crowd, just you and your partner. No cameras, no well-meaning family members, no caterers with last minute questions about the chicken. Just you and your new husband or wife. You’re the g-darn bride and groom, so enjoy the little moments. These are the moments you’ll cherish the most in the years to come.
So there you have it, folks. You might still stress about the candles and the chakras, you might still forget to organise the food. And that’s okay. Because when it really comes down to it: it’s the people you’re with that matter the most. Don’t forget to focus on the big picture rather than the nitty gritty – do that, and your wedding day will be the most seamless, fun, unforgettable day of your life. Tipis and all. Though, maybe don’t forget the food.