I wasn’t a bridezilla. I don’t think my bridesmaids would call me that, even the ones I lost contact with after my wedding had caused irreparable damage to our friendships. I was simply a bride, caught up in wedding culture—a time so selfish that when looking at the friend who flew in from across the country, all I could see was the woman who forgot the flowers. Anyone can become a pawn in “your day”, whether you’re the bride or the groom. A culture where your wedding day is the biggest day of your life can turn even the most level-headed person into a monster.

It is so easy to lose sight of what’s important in the whirlwind of planning and executing your perfect wedding day.  Mindfulness can help you be in the middle of things without becoming the centre of the universe, and help save relationships from the toxic effects of wedding culture.

  1. Be aware of your energy

The way you approach your wedding affects everyone around you, from your soon-to-be-spouse to the bridesmaids and groomsmen to your guests. Taking up a meditation practice during your engagement can really boost your awareness, and make your wedding a happy experience for everyone involved. If you can become more aware of your emotions, you can realize that choosing the perfect flavor of cake at your tasting isn’t the end-all to your guests’ happiness, it’s just a great excuse to eat cake all day.

Callie Burgard, a wedding event stylist and planner for Komma Designs, says the bride sets the vibe for the wedding. “People will remember your attitude and happiness more than anything. Remember you are getting married to someone you love and that’s what is most important.”

So instead of stewing in resentment over the fact that your brother-in-law’s last-minute date just pulled her chair up to sit at the head table, maybe just be glad that he decided to wear pants instead of a kilt and call it good. 

Your mind should be fully with the people you are sharing this day with—everything else will fall into place.

2. Express your gratitude

If you’re getting married, you probably have plenty to be thankful for. Take time throughout your engagement to meditate on all the good in your life, to give you some perspective during the stress of wedding planning. Look at the person you are marrying, the people you have chosen to stand by your side, and everyone else who is supporting you through this process—and express your gratitude to them often.

Small gifts are a fine way to say thank you, but Burgard says intention counts more. “Constantly remind your party how much you appreciate them, love them and enjoy their support. Send them texts, tell them face to face, send them a small thank you card. Just remind them how much you love them.”

3. Be mindful of others

Burgard urges brides and grooms to be mindful of their bridal party. “They are spending so much time and money to support and love you. Don’t expect your friends to drop everything for your wedding planning process. Be mindful of [their] schedules and especially budgets.”

Whenever you are delegating duties to bridesmaids, groomsmen, or family members, make sure you aren’t asking too much. Consider the other obligations they have in their lives—with work, family, and self-care—and try to be understanding of the fact that your wedding is not their responsibility. You may think your destination wedding is worth your friend going into debt or eating ramen noodles for the rest of the year, but she may beg to differ.

Never expect your [bridal party] to spend more than they can afford,” says Burgard.  “The cost of a wedding…is huge, and forcing your friends to pay a ton of money when you already know they are struggling to pay rent is really straining on a friendship.”

4. Let go of expectations

When the big day finally arrives, let go of the reins and surrender to the moment. You shouldn’t spend your day worrying over the weather or messing with the seating arrangements in the eleventh hour.

When it comes to your wedding day, don’t focus on the little things or the details,” says Burgard. “Let it be. Enjoy the moment you get to marry your best friend. Enjoy the people around you. Be genuine and focus on the love of the individuals surrounding you.”

I promise it will all be OK, even if your floral centerpieces aren’t the exact shade of berry that you showed the florist from your Pinterest board. Your wedding day is a time to be present. Your mind should be fully with the people you are sharing this day with—everything else will fall into place.