Some people hear the word wedding and they immediately think “drama drama drama.” But it doesn't have to be that way. We all say we want less drama in our lives, but how many of us are actually able to identify when we are participating in it and make a different choice? We can choose how we react to any situation, and we have the power to remain calm no matter how stressful a moment may be. I had the opportunity to ask Ava Miles, author of The Goddess Guides, to share her thoughts about reducing drama and making your wedding planning experience a peaceful and happy one.
Ava's no stranger to wedding drama! True story: one of her sisters' first weddings was completely drama-soaked. The wedding planner quit three days before the ceremony; the irrigation system backed up causing mud pits everywhere; another sister fell down stairs and broke an ankle during the bouquet toss, and so much more. Ava was able to find her zen and with her advice, she'll help you to do the same: whether you're the bride, bridesmaid, or just a guest! Her simplest advice: be nice if other people make a different choice. ?
Q: Wedding planning is an exciting but stressful time for couples. What is your best advice for navigating stressful wedding planning conversations with your partner?
Ava: First, decide your wedding planning isn’t going to be stressful. Both of you need to make this agreement and say it’s not worth it. You want to be happy during the process and on your big day. You deserve it. After all, you’re celebrating your love and commitment, aren’t you? Maybe say a phrase along those lines every day until your wedding day. You’ve heard it a million times, but we all do attract what we believe.
Second, if you feel stress cropping up or you’re not in sync with each other (totally human), do what I call, Hug It Out. Hugging is the fastest way I know for people to get back into sync with each other. All of the love you feel flows back in and pushes the stress back out. After a good hug session, share why you’re getting tugged into stress, then do the work to find solutions together.
Third, identify the areas that you “think” might stress you out and do your best to mitigate them. This is what I call a stress reduction plan. Knowing yourself as a woman is key here. Do details stress you out? Is there a way to delegate some of them or better organize yourself? Feel more in your goddess power and see yourself handling things and being supported by your partner. It will work miracles!
Q: One of the biggest stressors with wedding planning surrounds money. How can we make our budget conversations with our partners (or our parents) go more smoothly?
Ava: First of all, how about taking a new perspective? What if we see your wedding as your first exciting financial project together? It's a great opportunity to start understanding each other’s history, beliefs, and triggers when it comes to money. Because trust me, this isn’t going to go away. Money is cited as one of the biggest issues with couples. Nip this issue in the bud by doing the early groundwork to get in sync with each other’s triggers and values right now.
There will be other financial moments to face together in your lives, from buying a house to potential children’s expenses. How about sitting down and talking about money this way during the wedding process? Maybe your man is already feeling stressed that he’s spent so much on the ring because he wanted you to have the best out there. Maybe he needs permission to share this feeling. You probably have yours as well. Talk it out and reap the dividends of financial partnership.
When it comes to parents, we’re going to have the same relationship with money that we have always had with them. If there’s baggage from growing up, it’s going to be there during this process. The question here is: do you want to show up differently? Perhaps you can sit down and talk about some ground rules and get clear on each other’s expectations. Does your mother think her money means she can still tell you what to do? If so, you might try and form some boundaries here and share how important it is to you to make these decisions for yourself as an adult.
This is a time where we can also make some changes and be more honest and adult about money with our parents. We can even decide we’re going to do money differently than they did! Try and see it as an opportunity for growth, and if you find yourself gritting your teeth a few times, that’s okay too. Love yourself and be kind to yourself. Try not to let their junk affect your happiness and walk away if there are moments where they do.
Q: Many brides struggle to get their groom involved in the wedding planning process. What is the best way to approach their guy to get him excited to help plan their wedding?
Ava: If a bride perceives a “struggle,” what are the root causes? Does she think he doesn’t love her if he’s not as interested in picking out flowers? If you both choose to take charge of the areas you’re interested in, you can tackle the junk you don’t like together as a team! This is a partnership, not a push-pull that many couples experience during this process. Try talking about what’s important to each of you. Maybe he doesn’t really know or care about flowers; he just wants you to be happy. Why can’t that be okay?
We need to make space for our partner’s wishes too. Don't put so much pressure on each other that visiting caterers and picking out flowers is a test of love. We should focus on what’s important to us: having a happy day. If there are struggles for other reasons, you might talk about them in any pre-wedding counseling you experience because the wedding planning is only triggering what’s there under the surface, and it’s a chance to address that as well.
Q: Any tips for helping brides to access their inner goddess while wedding planning, to avoid the stress and drama of the “bridezilla” stereotype?
Ava: Knowing what triggers you is key. Who puts extra pressure on you? You know the peeps, be they family or your fiancé's friends. What is an area that upsets you? People changing the rules on you; something not going perfectly? When you feel it coming over you, take a time-out. Step away. Maybe limit your interaction with the person who triggers drama. Don’t engage. Tell your partner you can feel it coming on and you don’t want to roll like this. Breathe. Ask for a hug. Ask for assurance. But decide you won’t go there, and if you have a moment, stop and forgive yourself. You’re human too. Finally, remember that your wedding is going to be a happy day! Holding that intention with the wedding planning process will also help tremendously.
Q: How can brides vent to their partners about the stress of wedding planning without coming across as a Debbie Downer?
Ava: In my household, we call this expressing. “I’m just going to express this and let it go.” The trick is to choose words about how you feel and not ones that blame anyone. Taking responsibility for how you feel is important. Let whatever stuff is coming up move through with love and compassion, both for yourself and for others. Telling your partner, “I’m just having a moment,” also totally works. Give yourself permission to share all of how you are feeling. He will too likely, and it will deepen your bond for life.
I hope this interview has given you some things to think about. May you all have connected, happy, and peaceful wedding planning process with your partner! Be sure to check out Ava's Goddess Guides for more advice on harnessing your peaceful inner goddess.
International bestselling author Ava Miles calls herself a divine rockstar—something she believes everyone is deep down. Her all-new book series, “The Goddess Guides to Being A Woman,” invites us all to reimagine what it means to be a modern woman—on our own terms. Join Ava in letting the brilliance of your true goddess nature—and that of all the girls and women in your life—shine through. For more information, visit www.AvaMiles.com.