Here, five recent brides share some lessons their own weddings taught them.
Nobody Notices The Minute Details
'I spent so much time and energy, even on the day of my wedding, running around and making sure the table decorations and the flowers were exactly as I wanted them to be, that I allowed myself to get stressed and not enjoy this special day as much as I should have. Later, I realised people didn't even notice the decorations. What people remember is the general atmosphere, whether the food was good and how much fun they had.'
- Shereen*, 30
People Will Let You Down
'I had this idea that everyone would rally around and put their lives and feelings aside to make my big day perfect. In reality, people are people, whether you're getting married or not. Your mother will still say something stupid; your bridesmaids will be petty, and some people you thought wouldn't miss it for the world will choose not to prioritise it. In the weeks leading up to my wedding I allowed myself to be hurt and disappointed. In retrospect, I should have had lower expectations, and just taken everything as it came.'
- Joanne*, 27
If You Have Performance Anxiety, Don't Perform
'I really wanted Martin and I to write our own speeches and say them to each other, but I get terrible stage fright and hate public speaking of any sort. Having to speak in front of all the guests made me so nervous I couldn't sleep the night before, and the whole day I was in a total state. I pulled it off okay, but it wasn't worth the anxiety I suffered. I wish I'd just opted for "I do" at the end. I would have felt much more relaxed and enjoyed the day a lot more.'
- Karin*, 35
The Speeches Will Suck
'I guess I'd watched too many wedding movies, but I was expecting some really great speeches. Instead, the best man mumbled and nobody could hear what he was saying, my dad's speech was totally corny and embarrassing, and my best friend said nothing at all. Erm... fail! I've learnt that most people are not natural orators. The best antidote to this is to keep them to a minimum.'
- Thandi*, 26
It's Not Going To Go Perfectly According To Plan
'I had this very specific idea in my head about how I wanted the day to unfold. What actually happened was that my flower-girl got stage fright and refused to walk down the aisle; at the last minute it was discovered that the salmon for the appetisers was off and they had to rustle up something else, and the DJ played the wrong "first dance" song. Luckily, I was able to laugh it all off and still have a fantastic day. If you can expect the unexpected and understand you can't control all the variables, you'll end up having a much happier wedding.'
- Carla*, 32
*Names have been changed