Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Surviving PNS: Pre-Nuptial Syndrome

Pre-Nuptial Syndrome, or PNS affects millions of brides each year, specifically targeting the busy bride with a unique vision of the perfect wedding. 
You may be suffering from PNS if you have one or more of the following:
  • A blackberry full of vendor emails and no contracted vendors as of yet.
  • More meetings after work than during.
  • A stack of bridal magazines taller than your refrigerator
  • Kleinfeld's on speed dial.
  • Six bridesmaids whose unique vision of the perfect wedding is directly at odds with yours.
  • Champagne taste and a Bud Light budget.
  • A fiance that doesn't understand why you want to lose seven pounds before your first fitting.
  • A mother whose unique vision of the perfect wedding is directly at odds with yours.
  • Three dozen invitations samples that all look the same, or ...
  • An overwhelming desire to skip it and move on to the honeymoon!
Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful things a person can go through in life. I think it's right up there with moving, but it doesn't have to be. It should be one of the most exciting, joyful and memorable times of your life. It should be fun. You should enjoy trying on beautiful gowns, checking out bands and tasting wine (a personal favorite of mine). This is a time to focus on you, your fiance, your relationship and what makes it special. PNS can be held at bay if you just remember why you have begun the wedding planning process in the first place. The man you love has asked you to spend the rest of your life with him and you want to celebrate that with all of your friends, family and loved ones (and whoever else is on your parents' guest list).
If simply remembering that doesn't help, here are some steps you can take to avoid falling victim to Pre-Nuptial Syndrome.
  • Prioritize: Make a list of everything you need to do between now and the big day (leave room at the bottom of the page, this list will likely grow). Number these items in order of importance to you. For some "dress" will be first. for others it will be "flowers" it doesn't matter, as long as you a comfortable with it. Although, the first thing on everyone's list should probably be "venue". Without that, there is no wedding.
  • Delegate: Find a couple of allies and lean on them. Make sure they are up for the challenge first, and that their unique vision of the perfect wedding is not directly at odds with yours. If you have to, pay them (a wedding planner is money well spent, if you have it). Maybe your mom has a knack with flowers, put her on it. Is your fiance musically inclined? Let him research the band or DJ. Does your maid of honor have impeccable fashion sense? Let her get to work picking out potential bridesmaid's dresses (this also keeps the heat off of you in the event of a bridesmaid mutiny at the dress store). In the end, these choices belong to you (and your fiance), but if the myriad choices can be narrowed down by trusted associates, why not? You do it at work, do it in life.
  • Relax: There are a lot of things that seem like a huge deal while you are planning your wedding that turn out to hardly matter in the end. As someone who has seen hundreds of weddings and receptions as well as lived through her own, take it from me, there has never been a more appropriate time for the old cliche - don't sweat the small stuff. Make sure you take plenty of time for you during this process, and don't forget about your husband to be. It helps to remember that you are in it together.
  • Trust: Hire vendors that you are certain will do a great job. These are people who listen more than they talk. People who are professional and have the experience to roll with any last minute changes, unexpected guests, missing flower girls - whatever might come up. They should also be people you feel comfortable communicating with. Remember, these are the people that will make your unique vision of the perfect wedding a reality. Get recommendations if possible, ask for referrals from anyone you are thinking of working with. It may be easier to ask certain questions of someone who has already been there, plus you know you are getting more truth than sales pitch.
PNS isn't 100% avoidable, but it can be treated with calm, organization and preparation. If that doesn't work, there's always a martini and a trip to the spa.