Especially when you may hear things like ‘turning ordinary to magical’ ‘out of the ordinary’ or ‘creating a new reality for your wedding’. I would love you to know there is nothing ordinary or normal about a wedding day – and we really hope you feel that your day is so much more important than these sentiments, and you can experience authentic wedding planning.
Since starting this community I am constantly in awe of the ideas and plans UK wedding creatives make happen for their clients. They appreciate that at times it can feel overwhelming because there are so many wedding possibilities, but I also know they are ready to support your wedding planning and wedding day with absolute focus and clarity (endless overwhelmed scrolling won’t be happening here).
Connection is something our community has always held above many of the other emotions present in wedding planning. Whether it’s connecting more deeply with yourself, making time for self-care, or simply connecting with others to plan your day. Having connection during this time will complete and bring to life the focus for this year (or however long you have). Having connection completes your experience with absolute joy and love.
At the heart of your day connection allows you to create and define personal moments. Having connection ensures you turn your fleeting wedding day fragments of time into complete and heartfelt memories.
“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?” Rumi
Now to fill the void with a marriage experience worthy of your love story… Here is how…
“Don’t let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don’t let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality — not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. You need to decide who you are for yourself.”
A wedding planning community
Building a community around you both, allows easy authentic wedding planning. Human beings are not solitary creatures, and they never have been, we thrive best amongst family and our personal “community”. More often than not, it is in these places we care for one another without reward or selfish motives. It is here our encounters happen, shaping who we become as we mature, develop and ultimately fall in love. So why stop this during our time of wedding planning? Alongside love it is our general relationships that have the strongest effect on our happiness and satisfaction with life. It is then, in turn, these relationships that create bonds forming healthy supportive communities. When we nurture our connections, communities and friendships, we are caring for ourselves in the deepest and most original way. You see it is our need to belong that is fundamental here, our need to be part of something that drives us forwards. Yet, in this decade and the one before, our world, our countries, our communities, and our families are in an isolated, lonely crisis (and not just because of Covid). As a result we have fewer people with whom we can discuss the important things in our lives. So what are the benefits of having a community around us in our wedding planning phase.
“Authentic wedding planning is collaborative, for sure. Your mum wants to include this, your sister wants to wear that… we make allowances, we compromise. However, there’s a level of comradery that also surfaces when you let your loved ones in on the whole “I’m going to do this a little differently”. You might be scared to actually say that… but you’ll be surprised how many of your bridal party jump on board and happily gush to their other friends, “I’m her bridesmaid and her wedding is going to be totally cool and original… I can’t tell you anything though”. Once you’ve laid the foundation that this is your wedding and it’s going to go down on your terms, people are actually very supportive – in my experience. My advice? Don’t take the doilies from your mum in the first place. It’s much harder to tell her why they’re not in the table settings later than just telling her they’re hideous upfront.”
One of, if not the biggest reason you’d want to either join a formal wedding community (like ours), or bring together your family and friends as a personal community is the chance to learn from one another.
These communities would ideally be made up of like-minded people, who are in tune with you, who understand you and who want to support you. They would also respect your boundaries, likes, dislikes and opinions and would never forcefully supply you with information, or negatively impact you with judgement. Your community should at all times be willing to guide you, compliment you and give you the benefit of their experiences. Did you hear that communities? All the time trying to ensure you do not make costly mistakes, or derail your planning.
Formal communities should fit your ideal life and not detract from your values, just because it says Brides/Couples community does not mean it will be right for you. If at any point you don’t like what is happening – leave, you are not obliged to stay.
“Always ensure your community is right for you, and you are right for your community”. Tasha Newland
As far as family and friends “personal” communities are concerned we recommend honesty, openness and respect at all times. No one person there is more important than the couple. You therefore have the right to say no and you do not need to consult them with every decision. You also need to make sure you are not seeking validation, for example with your gown or outfit – if you feel connected and love something, they do not need to provide you with approval to go for it and make the choice. If you feel it – do it.
Joining any community means that you have a chance to improve your network, ours works for the couples providing recommendations of great creatives to use, blog posts to read and information to digest. We love that it is growing and getting busier. We would also recommend the Love My Dress community for brides. Growing your network means you increase your chances of encountering positive options for your wedding, finding out about creatives who have earned the respect of the team here and also brides and couples. When you integrate and chat you are likely to find the solutions to things stressing you, you could help solve someone else’s nervous worry or provide them with details of a creative you passionately adore from your wedding. The best thing about both of these groups is that there are NO actual creatives in there, so you are not being bombarded with adverts and you don’t have a million creatives jumping on post even if they are not right for you, or what you wanted in the first place (as I have seen in many other Facebook groups). We will talk about this in a post about scarcity mindset later on this month.
One of the biggest threats to a couple’s authentic and happy wedding planning is becoming isolated and losing their imagination. An even faster way is not understanding how they can be inspired by the creatives they come across, and adapting to consider their expertise. This is something very difficult to learn on your own. There are countless stories of couples thriving early on in their planning, but becoming isolated and stressed as they move forward month by month. They eventually find themselves unable to make decisions, and unable to cope with everything that is required of them. Communities, by their very nature, contain a diversity of opinion, a plethora of ideas, and knowledge that you are unlikely to encounter alone. Just being in proximity of such a wonderful whirlwind of ideas means you’re constantly challenging yourself to think creatively and constantly reconsidering what you know. When all of a sudden you find your story, style and creatives you can move to the next phase – actually creating your day. Above everything though, and it’s something we touched upon above. This is your wedding, you deserve your day, your way, with your personal touches. This is not something negotiable, or needing affirmation or validation. Please be you on your wedding day… Find a way to tell your love story in your day, and make it so that when your guests arrive – they know it could only ever be your day.
No matter how talented a planner you are, or how internet savvy you are, it is a supreme feat of wedding planning precision to be able to do everything by yourself without support (it’s also possibly not so much fun). It is also the reason why authentic wedding planning specialists, on the day coordinators and professional communities exist. Doing everything by yourselves will mean you simply have a to do list and potentially limited interaction. Embracing community and relying on wholehearted support will provide you with a more enjoyable experience, and those key resources and referrals we have mentioned above. Remember it is perfectly ok to be doing some things on your own (especially if you are an introvert). Have you read Mrs White to be’s – wedding diaries about shopping for your wedding dress on your own? You can find it here if not! Having had a very odd experience with my wedding dress shopping, I wish I had made this choice, and embraced the expert advice of the wedding boutique I purchased from). Finding people who have the expertise and skills you need is hugely exciting, and it is through planning and professional community channels we believe you will be safest finding them.
Having a personal and professional community to rely upon means you’re surrounded by people who know exactly what it is you’re going through (that’s after all why we created one). Wedding planning can be a stressful, expensive, and wearing process. It also tends to be a long journey from engagement to your wedding day, and then onwards into married life. It can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders when you have no one to share your experiences, excitement and bewilderment with. Remember though, retain control, and always act with compassion directed in the right way – towards you and your partner. Everything should be 100% directed towards you, and in respect of you, your love, your future, your day and ultimately your relationship.
“I’m not going to lie to you, wedding planning can be hard, there I said it. It’s also full to the brim with joy, excitement and love , I look back on mine and remember only the joyous moments, even though we had a bit of a bumpy ride. My advice to you? Do you; and stay true to you. Let’s be realistic no one is ever going to please every single one your 100+ guests, let alone agree with family members and close friends about every element of your day. So in the quiet times, take a breath, remind yourself of why you wanted to get married in the first place, stick to your decisions and keep on smiling. Believe me it is so worth it in the end.”
wedding planning conversations
Have meaningful, and inspiring conversations during the time you are wedding planning, is part of the amazing experience. This means stepping out of your comfort zone and ensuring those people exist in your community (the personal one, or the wider professional one).
It also means making sure that you take good care of these relationships. Every person MUST have your best interests at heart. They must instinctively want to support you getting married, they must want to contribute time, effort, kindness and energy, and they must want to be included. You should not need to teach them how, but they will need you to set clear boundaries.
I have heard so many stories about relationships becoming toxic through a wedding planning journey, as politics, power, control, arrogance, and competing egos clash, and many times the worst situations are amongst close family. Communities tarnished with these behaviours quickly develop into unwelcoming places with invisible street signs that say, “Don’t go there,” “Don’t listen to her” “Please don’t say that again, it really hurts my feelings,” “I am dreading our wedding day, you all make us feel so unloved” “Shame, stop saying I look massive in the dress I fell in love with last week, I love it – but you are not listening or supporting me” and “Protect, I wish I had someone else to talk to about these things, my family are making me so sad through this wedding planning journey, I need to feel safer and more supported”
In the face of negativity, frantic power struggles, and comments causing limiting and negative thoughts and beliefs, our courage, excitement and inspiration will shrivel up, and we lose our spirit, hope and romantic abandon. So what can we do about it?
The answer is have quality conversations instead;
Here is a little science lesson;
Every conversation has an impact.
You may not see it at first.
It takes place inside of us at the speed of milliseconds.
It takes place at the cellular level.
If a conversation feels bad, our fear networks are activated instantly.
Blood rushes to our brain, which is designed for protection, cortisol (your stress hormone) is spray-painted everywhere. Can you feel it?
Finally our ability to protect ourselves from harm is turned on instantly and we react.
Have you ever noticed that one comment from a powerful voice can instantly stop the joy in the room? Over the last 15 years I have heard some epically horrible comments – the easiest way to highlight this would be from times when I have been in a bridal boutique with a bride and her personal community (I hasten to add, these are clearly not working communities)…
Mother to daughter
“You can’t wear that dress – your boobs look ridiculous”
Sister to sister
“God if he sees you in that he will want to divorce you straight away”
Bridesmaids to bride
Bride is already wearing the dress she had chosen and was in love with, as they completely ignore her. “What about this one”, “Oh and this one”, “Oh but you said not over this amount because you can’t afford it – Oh come on try it on anyway, it will be fun!”
Mother to daughter
“God you are going to do something with your hair, and get a decent bra aren’t you? Oh and for god sake take your glasses off” – as she stood having the first wedding dress she tried on pinned to her body…
Do these demonstrate why quality of conversations matter? Quality conversations establish healthy mindset environments where you can feel supported, loved, special and respected. Needless to say, the comments above do not fall into those brackets! Did you experience these types of interactions, how did they make you feel?
“Honouring your truest self is such a key part of the process of finding your wedding dress! Your dress will forevermore be one of your most treasured and significant items you will ever purchase and wear, and your journey to finding ‘The One’ should hold treasured moments you remember and cherish for all of the right & joyful reasons.
We are here to empower our brides as the individual, strong and extraordinary women they are. Each of us has our own identity and it is our sole purpose to ensure we help our brides bring their own sense of style and highest vision of themselves through to their bridal style for their wedding day.
We often see brides pushed and pulled in different directions by family and friends. Personal community members who appear with all the best intentions to have lost sight or overlooked what it is the bride is holding in her mind and heart for herself on her day! It is an honour to be asked to be at the brides side when going on such a significant and heartfelt shopping experience, please remember that. We therefore feel it important for our brides to ensure that they truly consider who it is they bring with them when looking to find their gown!
We promote honesty, and advocate courteous direction when it comes to ensuring our brides are dressed and styled impeccably. Our aim is to always accentuate a women’s body shape, and personal style! You could take our lead, it’s a glorious experience when you know how.
We are proud to share the magical captured moments of Our HEB Lovelies looking and feeling their most beautiful and we always ensure we remain eternally true to our word!
We absolutely love it when we hear our brides with the supportive friend/sister/mother sometimes even father ask “How do you feel in this dress Kelsey?” It is so much better than the insensitive, quick fired comments which are delivered without any consideration. Think for a second, because in that knee jerk response you don’t now if your precious bride may be feeling she has just placed the gown of her dreams on her body. She may in that moment feel emotional, ecstatic and powerfully complete, in that moment she may feel like the most beautiful version of herself!
Then she hears – “It just doesn’t do it for me I’m afraid…” Her heart sinking, she feels bereft and you have no idea. These upsetting moments for the bride are heartbreaking for us to witness, and happen way more frequently than I truly like.
Brides, remember your wedding day is about you, you and your partner and the memories you both take forward into your future together as a couple! So please remember that you hold the hand of destiny and we only wish for our brides to have the most immensely joyous experience when finding their dress!
Please carefully consider who it is you involve in such a special part of your planning process, and if your closest entourage are not the people for the job. We’ve got you and you can always come on your own.
Love yourself and be true to you, we are here to support all of this for you!
Love Hannah Elizabeth xx”
“I may be alone in this but I absolutely loved the wedding planning process and this is coming from someone who’s never used a spreadsheet in her life! My husband and I completely embraced the whole thing and decided from the beginning it was going to be our day our way. You can absolutely do this without becoming all diva about it. We listened to everyone’s ‘nuggets’ of advice/suggestions some we took on board because we agreed they were good ideas, others we kindly declined. It’s important to set expectations/boundaries with your family and bridal parties from the very start so everyone knows where they stand. It’s also worth remembering that your handpicked bride tribe are in your life because they love you and you love them, they want to help you and make you happy but don’t confuse that with turning them into your personal skivvies. The upshot of the above is if Great Aunt Mabel wants an opinion she can have one but you don’t have to take it on board! Enjoy, relax and don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all going to be perfect in the end!”
So is the pathway to successfully navigating wedding planning, quality conversations? I would say it damn well helps and here is how you can embrace this notion.
Encourage candor and trust…
Gentle talk, candor and openness should be the minimum you expect from your in community wedding planning conversations. Your personal community needs to trust that their ideas and feelings will be heard. They must also appreciate that if their ideas are not what you want, they are allowed to be declined without annoyance. By shaping the quality of your conversational wedding planning space, you enable people to understand how you want to be spoken to, how they can share their insights and respectfully support you at the same time. Please remember just because you are getting married you do not automatically become someone to be bossed around, and your feelings are very important.
There are many many unwritten codes signaling to people that: “you can’t say this,” or “you can’t do that.” These signals highlight to people you feel unsafe, upset or worried, it advises them they need to immediately stop what they are saying or doing. We know brides and couples are often reluctant, or afraid to speak up, this is therefore an easier way to control your space. Finding someone perfectly in tune with you, who will be watchful of those codes or signals is a great place to start. Be honest, be open and make sure they know one of their biggest jobs is to not lose sight of you, and watch for signals.
Promote appreciation & recognition…
Too often couples have great ideas, and find no one in their personal community is listening, or worse they receive ridicule. So there is now a default fear that shows up loudly when we need to share ideas and thoughts, one telling the couple their ideas will be rejected, laughed at, and their importance mocked. The result being, they feel resentment and a lack of trust. The experience in this moment of planning their wedding is a distinctly negative one. Sadly the community (personal or professional, maybe completely unaware of how they have made the couple feel).
Shaping the quality of the conversational environment around you will enable you to be celebrated during your wedding planning, and that’s the most important thing right?
Wrapping up for now (part two coming soon)
Selecting suppliers for your wedding day can be fraught with tension and fear of getting it wrong, it’s not like you do this kind of wedding planning everyday.
Adding to the pressure is the amount of money weddings can cost these days. When choosing make sure your wedding creatives are absolutely 100% professional, experienced and right for you both. The key thing is to reduce your risks as much as possible.
I would always advise working with a professional wedding planner, not just because I am friends with some of the best, but because I know from decades of experience the value they add and how supported you will feel in your planning.
Remember the absolute minimum you deserve during your wedding planning is community, comfort and compassionate love. The next phase is emotional and mental health support and finally it’s connection and empathy. Making your personal and professional communities more aware of couples needs and expectations is a path I wish more couples would take. You are not being unreasonable expecting these things, you are being mindful, modern and protective of both your day, and the way you start your marriage journey together.
I really do hope that you can see the value of community, awareness, consideration and most of all boundaries. Always say what you think and how you are feeling, and if you need an extra layer of support between you and the personal community your marriage comes with, make sure you consult that very special buffer person.
If you’ve read this blog post or our social media, and are just starting out on your wedding planning journey and you are feeling daunted or exposed – leave a comment below, join our beloved couples community or even reach out on Instagram DM. We – this community – will all do our very best to give you some advice and support.
If you’re further along in your planning process and alarm bells are deafening, please do not panic. There is nothing that can not be sorted out (let’s be candid here, who really knew anything about this before starting on the path of wedding planning?) Nothing is unrepairable and every issue can be smoothed out once you have all the information to hand, and you have paused for a second.
Remember, you deserve LOVE, unedited on your wedding day and easy, heartfelt, authentic wedding planning. Be you, love each other and above all expect respect.
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