By Hazel Walshaw
There is no getting around it. The world is a strange place right now. With the pandemic, social distancing measures, limited gathering of friends and families and 24 hour news telling us how bad things are, it’s no wonder we are feeling anxious. Now, more than ever, it’s important to show awareness of our thoughts and actions and not just react impulsively to the things happening around us, or judge the actions of others when we don’t know why someone is acting a particular way.
If you have had your wedding cancelled or postponed, or your plans have had to change by limiting guest numbers, you may be feeling stressed and confused and left wondering what has become of your dream day. Now might be a great time to bring in the practice of mindfulness and get some calmness into your plans.
What is mindfulness?
You don’t need to be an expert in meditation, or a particular religion, to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness quite simply is focusing your attention on one task at a time. A simple concept, but in our world of multi-tasking, and attention-grabbing social media, it can be difficult to remember to do. It’s also about being aware of our feelings without judging them. It’s not about being happy all the time. It’s non-judgemental, conscious awareness of your present moment experience.
There are many benefits to practicing mindfulness, including reduced anxiety, lower stress, better sleep, better concentration, increased resilience, to name but a few.
Mindfully Planning Weddings
Weddings can often be a source of stress, anxiety, drama, conflict, and expense. Emotions are high and it can be so easy to get swept into dramas over wedding issues and reacting to things which are said without thought. Try to approach your wedding day in a calm and mindful way. Cut out the drama, conflict and fear and instead feel happy and mindful as you take each moment and each emotion as it comes without judgement or creating a story about it. It is the stories we create in our own minds that often lead to unnecessary anxiety.
Here are five ways to practice mindfulness during your wedding planning:
1) Listen. If your other half, in-laws, bridesmaids, have something to say, take time to properly listen. Don’t feel you should instantly dismiss an idea or their concerns. If you can listen without getting defensive or trying to get your own point across you might discover something you need to know or what you might initially think they were saying isn’t actually what they are saying.
2) Try to limit your time spent scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest looking at weddings or getting caught up in drama going on in Facebook groups. If there is something specific you need to research focus on that one thing and try not to get sucked into an Instagram rabbit hole and lose track of time.
3) Don’t create stories with your thoughts. If a friend suddenly can’t make your wedding, don’t make up a story about why you think they aren’t coming. Or make a big song and dance about changing the seating plan. Just accept this and carry on. It will give you a more peaceful run up to your wedding day.
4) Breath. Before making a decision on any expensive purchase take a moment to pause and breathe. Sit with the thoughts and feelings of the choice you are about to make. How does it make you feel? Do you still think it is the right choice? If so, then proceed.
5) On your wedding day – slow down. Don’t rush down the aisle. Take in everything around you and notice your family and friends, the music, the look on your partners face as you get near. Be fully present in the moment.
And remember: If you can keep your head while all those around you are losing theirs, you’ll be a wedding planner my friend.
For more mindful wedding planning join the Mindful Wedding Community on Facebook!
Hazel is a mindful wedding coach, author, and online course creator. She was a wedding planner for over a decade and is now training to be a mindfulness practitioner. Hazel is ‘marrying’ the mindfulness with wedding planning to offer brides-to-be a calm, stress-free alternative to planning their wedding day which fits their ethos and values. Her intuitive approach and courses are designed to empower brides to be confident and thoughtful wedding planners, able to handle any situation in a way that is beneficial to everyone involved. She loves writing and, when not writing about mindfulness and wedding planning, she writes kids books. With three boys or her own, she has her own tribe of book critics. She lives in Leeds with her husband, kids and husky, Skye.