Tag Archives: wedding planning advice

How to Make 2022 Your Best Year EVER (without the added pressure)

Oh, 2021, what a YEAR! But did you know, historically, periods of catastrophe have inspired celebration and exuberance once they’re over? After the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic, for example, came the Roaring Twenties! Ready to leave the shitshow of 2020-2021 behind you and forge onto 2022, making it the best year EVER? Read on…

Well, I don’t know about you but I can quite easily say that the last two years was like being repeatedly hit in the face with a wet fish (and I’m vegetarian, so this image is deeply unpleasant.) It’s safe to say that there’s been unprecedented plans cancelled, events ruined and moments of joy stolen in a whirlwind of chaos that is the pandemic.

Whether you had a date to tie the knot in the past two years and need to rearrange, or whether you had hoped to get married and need to rethink, or whether you had hoped for a big wedding and now you’re considering eloping… there’s certainly been a LOT of replanning happening!

This feeling wasn’t just confined to getting married either, there’s few people I know who have been asking themselves really big questions about their lives. If there’s one thing that Covid has done, its strip back pretty much everything to its bare bones.

Suddenly, there’s space to look around our homes and ask ourselves whether we actually like the colour of the living room? Or do I like my job enough that it’s worth the 3-hour commute each day? How good are my friends really? And ultimately, are the goals that I’ve been setting for myself the ones I really want?

This feeling of ‘WTF am I doing with my life?’ is prime fodder for this time of year. January is miserable for a few reasons 1. It’s dark 2. It’s cold 3. All the ‘New Year, New You’ BS. The shelves of bookshops are straining under the weight of self-help advice and magazines are awash with the latest fad diet which will profess that all your feelings of dissatisfaction will go away if we could drop a dress size (or three). It’s not that goal setting is inherently bad. Setting goals can motivate us to achieve a new hobby, set a savings target or even get us across a marathon line (you legends).

However, goal setting can also be a recipe for focusing too much on one area of our life and setting us up for nothing but self-flagellation, critical thinking and feelings of failure. Yikes! And this was before a pandemic where everything fell out of our control!

So, before you start buying a new bullet journal, putting up that wall planner and cutting up those magazines for a vision board, hear me out.

Perhaps the secret to a happier, healthier, more joyful 2022 is not to set 100 new habits or plan the big day of your dreams… but to throw away the end point all together?

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New Year, Not So New You: Give The Middle Finger To How Brides ‘Should’ Look

It’s January – that joyless month when we pack up the tinsel, hoover up the pine needles, brush the crumbs from our mouths and invariably promise that this is the year we’ll become new people.

There’s genuine pressure to try the latest fad diet or set some unrealistic resolutions for everyone. But add an impending wedding date into the mix and suddenly the stress of ‘new year, new you’ is very REAL.

Sadly, we live in a society where looking a certain way is placed at a higher importance than almost anything else. It’s more important than how kind you are, how many things you’ve accomplished, what a good friend you or even reaching your career ambitions.

Reaching a goal weight or achieving killer abs is seemingly be placed over and above anything else. We live in ableist, diet (read: thin) obsessed world that holds up one standard of (westernised) beauty. Ooph. And as a result, it’s very difficult to escape the message that maybe you aren’t measuring up.

When you’re planning your wedding it’s normal to want to look your best. But when traditional magazines are full of tall, thin, white women with glossy hair, spray tans and Ken Doll looking grooms, it leaves us thinking that we need to erase all our quirks, lumps and bumps. This is on top of the added pressure from family members or friends with their ‘helpful’ comments on what a bride ‘should’ be like. I can’t tell you the amount of people who asked me if I was really going to keep my pink hair on the big day. *Eye roll* Yes, it was never in question.

At the time we’re about to walk down an aisle to say the big ‘I DO’, you’d think we’d all become MORE secure in our worthiness of love – but because of all noise from friends, family, partners, trad bridal magazines and society – it’s easy for quite the opposite to happen. Just notice how much messaging there is around weddings being ‘perfect’ … ‘the perfect day’, ‘the perfect dress’, ‘the perfect bride’. Yikes.

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Silver Linings from a Year of Upheaval

What do you get when you mix weddings with a global pandemic? A massive ball-ache. So massive it makes you cry, yell, stare at the wall, shout ‘NO YOU CALM DOWN!’ at your partner, mother, the postman and your dog. So huge it makes you chuck in the towel, then retrieve said towel dozens of times a week.

It’s been exhausting, scary, weird AF. It’s created clowns out of usually-sane people. Suddenly we’re over the moon about seeing our oddball neighbour for a socially distanced chat. We’ve doomscrolled our quarantine days away, made highly questionable online purchases (glitter jelly sandals for everyone in your extended family?!) and faced one of the darkest times in our lives.

But the human condition is one that rallies, finds the rays of hope and keeps on keeping on. So, with that in mind, here’s a bunch of silver linings from a really hard year that I hope will bring a wee smile to your face.

  1. Love is not cancelled even though your wedding might’ve been

As hard as it’s been for couples who’ve had to postpone their weddings (and the poor vendors too, whose hearts are broken and their businesses on shaky ground) it’s important to remember that you’ve found your person and have that sweet lover to hold onto, even if you can’t be married right away. To go through something of this magnitude together is a pretty special thing.

I’ve also heard of LOTS of couples who’ve taken this big, mean old lemon they’ve been dealt with (mixing metaphors is fine during a global pandemic, OK?) and made the proverbial lemonade. Consuming all that alcohol they’d already purchased for their postponed weddings and feasting on the personalised cookies meant as favours.

  1. Romances have started, babies have been born, friends have started a new degree or job

Yes, it’s been a monumentally shit time. We’ve lost loved ones, jobs, homes, security. There’s been so much to process that we’re all so fucking tired, sad, scared and repeat, repeat, repeat. There’s grief not only for the people we’ve lost, but for the things in life we’ve lost too (like celebrating weddings and special events, the general lack of agency over our lives, the ability to do ‘normal’ things like hang out with friends, the sudden insecurity we’ve felt or being able to buy bras in person in an IRL shop).

But also, life has continued on. Love has blossomed for many, tonnes of cute corona babies have been born, friends have started master’s or doctorates, people have gotten better jobs, friends have left bad relationships and are thriving and many new business ventures have begun during this turd-nado of a time.

Seeing hope and being hopeful creates even more hope. Somehow, life always prevails, which I’d like to apologise for saying because of its sappy meme overtones, but you’ll forgive me won’t you?

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Toxic Anti-Fat Bias & Diet Culture in the Wedding Industry

Jennifer Rollin is an eating disorder therapist and founder of The Eating Disorder Center, which provides eating disorder therapy in MD, VA, DC, NY, PA, FL, and CA. Recently married, she shares her experience of navigating diet culture and anti-fat bias during her planning process.

One of the best days of my life was when (my now husband) Mark, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him at the same park where I first saw him.

I began wedding planning fairly quickly after and saw first-hand the toxic diet culture and anti-fat bias which is abundant in the wedding industry.

It’s important to note that I have privilege in a variety of areas-including thin privilege (for example, I was able to find a wedding dress in my size in stores) and that navigating the wedding industry is far more challenging for those who are more marginalised.

From seamstresses who ask if you are planning to lose weight before the wedding, to wedding dress stores not carrying sizes for folks in larger bodies, to TikTok videos talking about ‘shredding for the wedding,’ to some brides buying wedding dresses in sizes that are too small for their current body, diet culture and anti-fat bias is everywhere in the wedding industry.

As an eating disorder therapist and someone who personally recovered from my own eating disorder, I knew going into the wedding planning process that I had no plans to diet or try to lose weight leading up to my wedding. This honestly felt relieving as I didn’t put any pressure on myself to try to change my body leading up to the wedding (nor do I put this kind of pressure on myself in my life in general). I also ended up having my wedding dress taken out and was totally cool with that.

It was so nice to be able to fully enjoy the time leading up to the wedding-including an incredible tasting of our wedding food and desserts.

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Making Peace with Wedding Photos

If there’s one piece of advice I would give any couple getting married it’s this… get a bangin’ photographer. That’s not to say you can’t also have Uncle Raj or Cousin Joe also take some to ‘build up their portfolio’, but I urge you, if budget allows, hire a professional.

I say this because a professional photographer will make you look like rock stars. I love having my photo taken by a pro because even though they’re a relative stranger, it makes me feel safer. As a recovered insecure person, I still get nervous about the end results so I like minimising the risk of a ‘bad shot’. Photos hold power over our self-esteem unlike anything else I can think of (trumped only by video maybe).

Ooph! How quickly a badly taken snap can steal your joy.

Recently I was at my Mum’s house and had the urge to look through some old photo albums (remember them?!) Some random photographs of me aged 18 years old fell out of one of the books. In these photos I’m the fattest I’ve ever been.

I’m sorry to say that even as a body acceptance coach and Anti Diet Riot Club Co-director my immediate reaction was horror. I hid the photos away quickly because I felt genuine disgust at how I looked. I continued to go about my day but I couldn’t stop thinking about these photos.

I realised that having spent years talking to other people about how to make peace with photographs, it was time for me to practice once again what I preach! I went back to the albums and took the photos home with me.

I want to share my tips with you because I believe that ALL photos taken on your wedding day should be enjoyed whether they’re ‘perfect’ or not.

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Is It Too Late Now To Say Sorry? Dealing with Conflict Within Your Relationship

It’s important to remember that conflict within your relationship is normal, but there are certainly ways to deal with it that are better than others! Natalie Lee explores how to successfully deal with conflict within your relationship.

Newsflash: You are separate individuals. You have been brought up by different people, maybe in different areas, and maybe from completely different cultures with your own unique way of doing things. The aim here is not to eradicate disagreements but rather learn how to navigate them more effectively without them escalating or building those big bolder blocks of resentment, which will only serve to slowly strangle the life out of your relationship. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.

What are you really fighting about?

It’s also worth remembering that often, the thing you’re arguing about is rarely about the real thing you’re arguing about. On the surface you might be arguing about the cost of wedding flowers, but try to strip it back and look at what’s lies underneath. Yes, flowers may seem trivial but if they’re not understanding your point of view, or why you want to get certain ones, is it inadvertently giving you another message – that they don’t care about your feelings or opinion, that they’re the one that earns most of the money so it’s up to them how it’s spent, that they don’t respect you? It is unlikely that they are saying anything to deliberately to hurt you so try to identify the feeling/s rather than focus on the action and (probably when you’ve calmed down) communicate this to your partner.

When you are planning a wedding, emotions are high. There’s a lot at stake, a lot to think about, agree on and pay for. Is it any wonder that pre-wedding squabbles will happen? In fact, I think you’d be pretty weird if you had no arguments during this period at all!

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