How I Survived My Wedding: Stress

For the second in survivalist groom Aidan’s lessons on surviving your wedding, he addresses the tricky issue of stress…

Weddings are high pressure events, they require a lot of planning and focus, and really you only get one shot at getting it right (even if you marry more than once). You and your bride-to-be will need some coping mechanisms if you want to survive.

Lesson learned: Accept it and move on

If you were in Brighton early last month, you may have seen something really special. You may have seen a grown man reach melting point and break down. It was a Friday, around midday, a little over 24 hours from my wedding. Family and friends were on their way from far-flung locations such as Dublin, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Somerset, and the finishing touches were being put to plans that had begun 18 months ago.

While out picking up some toiletries in the city centre, a thunderbolt struck from above. Confetti – nobody had bought confetti and they definitely wouldn’t be able to just pick some up between the train station and the Town Hall. After receiving no answer from my fiancé, I rushed to a local stationery shop and it, being Brighton, of course it had sold out of biodegradable confetti.

The clock was ticking and my future in-laws were just minutes away. Knocking old ladies and small children out of my way on the quest to find pink and blue ricepaper, I made it to a Paperchase and grabbed as many of the poxy little packets as I could carry. When I finally got through to my fiancé to regale her with my heroism, all she could say was that I interrupted her massage and that we had more important things to worry about than confetti…

So, the moral of the story is that you should try not to sweat over the little things. A wedding is obviously a stressful time and no matter how much you’ve planned, there will be something that crops up at the last minute – accept it, deal with it and move on.

Lesson learned:Absence makes the heart grow fonder

When offering up advice to any prospective grooms foolish enough to come to me for tips, I had one main piece of guidance. Spend a little time apart before the wedding for the sake of you and your wife’s sanity. We had to learn this the hard way.

It was a Bank Holiday the weekend before the big day so the two of us thought that an extra day off to prepare ourselves for the onslaught and to simply relax would be just what we needed. In reality, 72 hours alone, cooped up at home was the last thing we needed.

Having nothing to do worked against us big-time as we prowled around the flat like two lions fighting over a carcass.

Despite numerous tantrums and tear-filled apologies (the wife was a tad annoyed as well), we made it through the weekend without ringing the reception venue to see if we could get a refund or one of us trying to explain to the other’s family why leaving the toilet seat up counts as mitigating circumstances.

To anyone out there facing the same situation, I would recommend making some plans in the days and weeks leading up to the wedding. You don’t have to backpack across Asia or build houses in Africa but perhaps go on a daytrip or visit someone who can’t make it to the wedding. The break will invigorate you and help you focus on what’s important.

Lesson learned: The importance of a mini-strop

The human brain is a complex instrument, and for your own benefit it’ll force you to focus on something small to take your mind off the bigger picture. However this can cause you tension in other areas as this minor issue may grow out of proportion, even overtaking the main point of the exercise.

The subject of my own particular freak-out was the dreaded first dance. My wife does her best to shun the limelight and was opting to skip this tradition, fearing that everyone watching her every move for the previous six hours would be more than enough attention than she could handle. Was I going to be a sympathetic husband who would stand by his wife and support her decision? Was I hell.

Despite her admirable attempts to avoid all discussion on the topic, I did my utmost to cajole her with talk of traditions and how it was “my day too”.

Luckily her friend knew how to deal with the situation, calmly pointing out that if we didn’t have an official dance, people would automatically assume that whatever song we got up to was our first dance, so it would be better to pick one that we like. Genius. Problem solved. However, it didn’t help us when it came to the awkward shuffling that took place all in the name of tradition.

Potential grooms take note, be passionate about something, it shows you care, but do your best to pick something that won’t cause fractures in your relationship.