MINDFULNESS FOR A RELAXED WEDDING DAY
MINDFULNESS ON YOUR WEDDING DAY: 5 TIPS TO HELP YOU ENJOY THE DAY EVEN MORE.
Before you think I’m about to get all hippy-dippy, take a breath. We’re not going to journey deeply towards enlightenment, I’m just going to give you a few very simple, real-life tips that are guaranteed to make your wedding day better and more relaxed.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present right now, whatever it is you’re doing, with open awareness and curiosity but without judgement. This advice is aimed at your wedding day but by all means, can be extended to every aspect of your life.
If you do decide to try all or some of these then please leave a comment and let me know how you found it, I’d love to hear about your experience!
1- Be prepared to drop all your wedding planning expectations.
“Animals accept and humans expect. You’ll never hear a rabbit say, ‘I expect the sun to come out this morning so I can go down to the lake and play.’ If the sun doesn’t come out, it won’t ruin the rabbit’s whole day. He’s happy just being a rabbit.” – The Knight in Rusty Armor by Robert Fisher.
After you’ve poured months of effort and energy into planning the perfect day it can be really hard to let it flow, I get that. Will the DJ play the right songs? Will your mum remember her reading? Spoiler alert: mine didn’t. Did you buy enough confetti? Will the taxi be here on time? I could go on.
The best way to tackle this is by always keeping in mind that this day isn’t about matching the napkins to the right table cloths but about you marrying the person you love and celebrating the life you’ve built together. In fact, I recommend you write that down in big letters and put it at the top of your planning spreadsheet. Then I recommend you print it and stick it on the mirror you’re going to be using while getting ready.
It’s good to have a plan but it’s also super important to go with the flow. Don’t you find that when unexpected or spontaneous things happen you often end up having the best time anyway? Like on a night out where you end up going to a different bar for an unexpected set of reasons or when you’re on holiday and you had planned to go to the museum but end up finding something else to do on your way there. Serendipity, luck, fortune, fluke, it was meant to be.
So on the day, let go of it all. I promise it all happens so fast that most things don’t really matter anyway as long as you’re present every moment and surrounded by those you love. If things don’t go according to plan you’ll end up with a good story to tell, don’t make it a bigger deal than it is: don’t give it the power of taking over the day. Just breathe and remember what this is all about.
2- Take a deep breath and get married!
This is one of the most obvious, simple advice I can give you and yet, I see so many couples who forget to breathe. Have you ever noticed that when you’re trying something new or concentrating really hard you hold your breath? During a pottery class, maybe when you were learning to drive or even when you exercise?
Breathing is the easiest way to restore calm to your body and bring yourself back to the present moment. This is science, not some made-up belief.
The modern world leads to heightened anxiety and stress levels in a lot of us. Breathing deeply is one of the easiest ways of activating your parasympathetic system. The what? I hear you ask. The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three divisions of the autonomic nervous system.
The parasympathetic restores the body to a calm and composed state which is also called the “rest and digest” response, our bodies and minds need this. On the other hand, the sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for the “fight or flight” response during any potential danger. Heightened levels of anxiety mean our bodies tend to constantly be in this “fight or flight” state.
This breathing exercise only takes a few seconds and will really help. Of course if you practice it on a daily basis it will have more effect and be a lot easier to do on your wedding day, but you don’t need any previous experience to feel the benefits.
Start by paying attention to your breathing and try to breathe into your tummy rather than your chest. You can place a hand on your stomach if it helps. Take a deep breathe in and notice how that feels. Can you feel the air entering your nostrils? Can you feel your belly rise? Do the same as you let it out. Do this as many times as you like.
Before walking up the aisle is a really good time to do this as I find this can be the most exciting and nerve-wracking moment of the day. Truth is you can do this any time throughout the day.
If you want to learn more or would like to practice on the lead up to your wedding, I highly recommend the Insight Timer app which has hundreds of thousands of free meditations and breathing practices. Two of my favourite teachers are Tara Brach and Manoj Dias.
3- Your wedding day will go by in a blur so make sure you make time for yourselves.
Your families and friends will all want a piece of you, couple portraits are a great way to actually spend quality time together on your wedding day. This is a super exciting event and not only will your guests want to congratulate you and give you a hug, it’s likely you’ll want to catch up and spend time with them too.
Even if you keep your timeline really simple and unless you’re having a really intimate wedding with no more than 20 people, wedding days are really busy in the most wonderful way. It’s so important that you two take a minute to drink in the fact that you just got hitched!!!
Usually I work with my couples to try and fit in two sets of couple portraits which really helps bring some mindfulness to your day. After the ceremony, allow for a 10 minute buffer for the confetti and a few congratulatory hugs and then take around 15 minutes for couple portraits. This is basically you two having a moment to chat and laugh while I take photos. You can practice your breathing exercise here too!
Then in the evening, take another 15 minutes for photos. Try to time it so that it’s golden hour to get the best light but the reason it works so well is because by this point you’ve mingled with your guests, a lot has happened and you’re usually ready to take another little breather to reconnect.
If your timeline allows for it, you could also set these times aside without having any photos done and just sneak away together.
4- Take notice of the wedding around you.
You can do this pretty much any time during your wedding day but I find that a great time for this is during the speeches or just before.
Again, start by paying attention to your breathing and try to breathe into your tummy rather than your chest. Don’t try to change your breathing, just notice it and see how your body is feeling. Then look around you.
During a minute or so listen to the voices and the laughter. Look at the faces and the colour. Pay attention to the smells too. Your guests are here because they love you and it’s unlikely this exact set of people will be present on the same day again, so drink it in. Make the most of it and pay attention so that it’s engraved in your memory.
5- Stick together: be mindful of one another and spend the day together.
Think of your wedding as a crazy fun, joyful music parade where musicians and crowd alike are flowing one way or the other and you’re gently being pulled one way and then another and another all day.
If you’re getting ready separately, the first moment you’ll spend together is during the ceremony which will happen oh-so-fast. Next thing you know you’re saying hi to your great aunt and your distant cousin. The boom, you’re having dinner, first dance, party, bed. All of that and more in the blink of an eye.
You have no idea how easy it is to get split up during your wedding day. So many people to chat to, hug and share a drink with means more often than not you both end up in opposite corners of the room/garden/marquee.
I’m not saying you should spend every second of the day together as if you were joined by the hip, you’ve got the rest of your life to do that. Just make a conscious effort to stay together.
Take a deep breath and hold hands.
A few simple things you can keep in mind to help you with this: Walk together from the ceremony to the reception venue. Hold hands as you go around speaking to your guests, it will make it more difficult to get split up. If you notice that you haven’t seen each other for a while making a point of looking for one another and meet up again. If you’re having a first dance, it doesn’t have to be over as soon as the song ends. Stay on the dancefloor and have more than one dance, pretend this is your first night out together. You wouldn’t just disappear and leave the other one there, would you?
6. Plan a relaxed wedding day.
Obviously the best way of being mindful on your wedding day is by planning a relaxed wedding in the first place. Makes sense, right?
Getting married and planning a wedding is a one time thing for most of us which means there’s no reason you should know how to do it perfectly. With so many things to think about, organise and do, the best way of saving time and avoiding common mistakes is reading blogs and trusting your suppliers.
To help you avoid common mistakes and save you some stress, I’ve got a great pdf guide you can download:
“Your wedding your way: 10 tips for a relaxed wedding”.
I’ve tried to be as generous with my knowledge as possible without being overwhelming!
The idea is to help you plan a relaxed wedding that reflects who you are and allows you to be fully present and enjoy it.
I’d love to hear which one of the tips on this blogpost resonated with you the most!
If you have any questions on how to include mindfulness practice on your wedding day. The best place to find me is usually on Instagram so just drop me a message on there.
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