What Really Matters | How to Avoid A Stressful Wedding

my cinema lightbox, marquee signHow To Avoid a Stressful Wedding – Focus On What Matters

Why are weddings so stressful?

Having just been married in January 2017, we too have brushed up against the stress-filled amorphous blob that is a wedding. There are a million things to do, expectations to meet and so many things you think you need. Saying it’s overwhelming is cliché and doesn’t quite cover it.

With so much to think about, many people wonder how to avoid a stressful wedding. I think that we didn’t succumb to wedding stress for two reasons. First of all, we’re in the industry. For the last seven years, other people’s weddings are what we think about 75% of our waking hours. It’s safe to say we know a few things about weddings. Secondly, and more importantly, we know wholeheartedly that  weddings are about people, not stuff. 

Weddings are About People, Not Stuff

Ok, so let’s back things up a little. Your wedding day is kind of a big deal. It’s a big deal even for those of us who didn’t spend much time dreaming about every detail (myself included). It’s a day where all your favourite people come together to celebrate. A day that takes more preparation and planning than seems reasonable. Never before has there been such build-up and anticipation to just one day of your life.

But y tho?

I think where we lose track of the real meaning of a wedding is also where the stress comes in. We spent too much time and money worrying about little details that don’t really matter. At the end of the day, your wedding is your first day of marriage. On this day, unlike any other day, everyone you love comes together to support you and celebrate with you. When you think about weddings in this light, it’s easier to see that weddings aren’t about all the little stressful details. They’re about the people who love you; they’re about relationships.

I’ll say it again: weddings are about people and not stuff.

Calgary wedding photographers who capture real momentsA bride and shares a moment with her grandfather at the reception. He gave a touching toast and this moment warmed the hearts of everyone in the room.

Calgary wedding photographers who capture real moments

A bride shares hand written letters to her parents on the morning of her wedding. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as this happened. The bride told us this is one of her favourite wedding day memories.


It’s How You Felt That Matters

Experiencing our wedding day confirmed what we already knew. What really matters is how everything feels. That meant being in the moment, making time to connect with our family and taking time out just for us. It didn’t really matter what we were wearing or what colour the table linens were. What made our wedding day so special was the experience we had. As Calgary wedding photographers, we already knew this, but experiencing it ourselves was so important.

When I close my eyes and look back on our wedding day, I remember how I felt. I can feel the emotion as Andrew said his personal vows to me. I can feel the warmth in the hugs from our family and can feel the joy of knowing I married the love of my life. These emotions are echoed back as I look through the pages of our wedding album. The moment I saw Andrew dressed up for our ceremony. The way the world slipped away from us during our first dance. The quiet moments together with our family before the day started. We had the best wedding day experience and it’s because we focused on what mattered to us – the people we love.

Having taken a step back from the whole thing, it’s the feelings and emotions we remember, not the stuff.

reading private vows before the ceremony at a wedding

Reading private vows to each other before our wedding ceremony began was so incredibly intimate and special. This moment will forever be for only us.

make time to spend time with your family at your wedding

We took time during our dinner to thank each one of our family members, who played a huge role in raising us. This moment with my mom is one of my favourite moments from our whole wedding day.


Plan for Moments, Not Stuff

So, we’re here to remind you to put all the ‘stuff’ on the back burner and focus on what is important to you. We chose to forego a wedding party and spend the morning with our families. Andrew visited with his family and I visited with mine. There were no distractions, just good conversation and some happy tears. We also chose to exchange private vows, just the two of us, before the ceremony. In those moments we said out loud what our hearts already knew. It was just the two of us and it was incredibly special. Lastly, we chose to host a very intimate dinner with just our immediate families. With simple candle light and a homemade cake (my sister’s personal recipe), we celebrated, told stories, cried and laughed together. In that moment, two families became one.

make time for moments with your family at your wedding

We chose to spend some time visiting with our parents separately the morning of our wedding. Here, Andrew reads a heartfelt card his mother gave him. Together they remembered his childhood and the happy moments they experienced as a family.

make time for the important moments at your wedding

We chose to get ready together, just the two of us. Without a room full of people to distract us, we were able to let this moment sink in. Seeing Andrew dressed up for our ceremony was so special. As Calgary wedding photographers, we witness this moment almost every weekend. Living through it ourselves though, was truly so magical


What Really Matters Won’t Stress You Out

Looking back on our wedding, I couldn’t tell you what material the dinner napkins were made from. There was no wedding party in matching dresses and there were no flowers. As of today, I could care less that I spilled wine on my wedding dress and ripped the hem. None of those little details matter. What I will hold close to my heart are the memories and emotions I felt the day I married my best friend. I will remember being surrounded by the people who love us most in this whole world. I will remember that we broke bread together, gave our hearts to one another and I’ll remember how much fun we had. Everyone has different expectations for their wedding day, different things that are meaningful to them. Focus on what’s meaningful and let the rest slide. No day of your life is ever going to be perfect, so just spend your time and energy on the people and moments that bring you joy. Life’s too short to worry about the small stuff.

So, how do you avoid a stressful wedding? When you know what truly matters, the stressful stuff just kind of just fades away. What you’re left with is the real reason everyone has gathered. They are there to celebrate a marriage, and that my friends is pretty special.

Like our posts? Want to read more of our two cents? Check out this article on why your wedding day is not the best day of your life written by Calgary wedding photographers – that’s us!

A big shout out goes to Abby + Dave, who so incredibly captured our wedding memories.

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