One of the most intense things about planning a wedding is that after all the time and effort and money, how do you even make sure you are happy on the actual day? So many things could potentially happen. There is so much riding on this day- can those 8 hours live up to the hype of your own expectations, your childhood fantasies, months of planning, so many conversations.. It certainly is a lot of pressure. What we know about happiness is that it’s certainty not more likely to appear amid intense pressure. Happiness is light, spontaneous, playful. But it’s also not as aloof as we think. Unlike the weather, you don’t have to leave it up to chance.
You can decide ahead of time. Yes. It is possible to decide ahead of time how you want to feel and then do what it requires to generate that feeling state throughout the day. It will probably come completely naturally but because weddings are what they are and involve the people they do, your brain might be on high alert scanning for things to worry about, trying to find what’s not right. Your perfectionist will want to come out and thrash around.
But if you decide ahead of time that your own happiness matters and that it is a function of your own thoughts, happiness will flow with far more ease.
It will depend on the thoughts you choose. So whatever is going to happen on the wedding day is going to happen- the storm blows in, the ring bearer throws a tantrum, the make-up artist is late. These happenings are your circumstances. They aren’t personal. Your job is to make sure you don’t make them personal. Brides tend to get a little glitch in their mental processing that all these sorts of things are somehow specifically happening to them in this malicious way. It’s just how we princess things when we are overwhelmed- everything feels personal.
So to avoid this, we are going to decide ahead of time to take nothing personally.
And then we are going to practice reaching for the best feeling thought we can about anything that happens.
Let’s say, for example, you forgot your special monogrammed cocktail napkins at home and there is no time to get them. Your brain will offer up a bunch of thoughts about this situation. Could be- I am so stupid, what else did I forget? This sucks, things are already starting to fall apart. Now it’s a waste of money because I can’t return them. Someone should have helped me.” And on and on. We all know that wave of criticism that comes in when these things happen.
But this is your opportunity to look for, turn towards, or generate those softer, less critical, less harsh thoughts. In this scenario those might be- “This is not a big deal. No one will miss them. That’s awesome if that is the only thing that goes wrong. I am so impressed that I remembered everything else given how crazy it’s been. It will be fun to have them at home to make entertaining in the future more special.”
The circumstances are still the same. But the thought we decide to grab onto is literally everything in terms of how we feel as we navigate that reality. This is how you hack anxiety, stress, overwhelm, and start to build the happiness muscle. It’s a practice. It’s about loosening those old harsh and critical mantras that are automatic in your response to things because they have been practiced over time. But just as you have been meticulous in picking out the menu, the decor, your dress. Be picky about the thoughts you decide to think on your wedding day. Be very aware of what you are letting yourself hold onto.
And the hard thoughts can still come up but you don’t have to hold them in your mind, do the extra effort of finding the softer ones.
You control the narrative of your wedding day. So having decided ahead of time that you are going to be happy is the first step and then you just choose your thoughts on purpose that better fit that story. You have so much more control than you think. Let it be fun to be happy by reaching for a better feeling thought.