Look, I get it. When planning your wedding, it’s hard to stay optimistic, even if you told yourself from the beginning that you would. Sometimes, just “staying positive” is too hard - and really, what does that phrase even mean?
When you have to deal with balancing your families’ wants for the wedding at the same time that you are working with your partner on achieving the day of your dreams, the phrase “don’t worry it’ll be okay” just doesn’t cut it.
When my husband and I were planning our wedding, trying to combine two cultures as I was trying to add my own personality to my wedding, we knew it was going to be hard. The planning process started by us saying, let’s make sure unlike others, we have a zero-stress wedding. We learned really quickly that it was a hopeful dream. Instead of trying to wish away the stress, we told ourselves that no matter what happens, we are going to make sure that we grow so much, that we’ll be happy we went through the struggle.
This change in how we thought about any wedding drama that comes up was so different, and so helpful - we decided to carve out a new name for our attitude so we can keep using it through our marriage, a story mindset. A story mindset is understanding that you are currently in a journey, or story. And like any character, you’re going to use the challenges to grow and reach your happily ever after.
When you are wedding planning, you have lots going on & that is why we love this mindset:
PC: Ron Soliman
How do you do this in the easiest way possible while you are planning?
1. Ask yourself what the story realistically is going to be. Ask yourself, how are you, as the character, going to handle the challenges that come up.
When we just started wedding planning, we forecasted as many challenges as could think of and asked ourselves how we were going to handle them. Not only did it help us think ahead, but we began realizing what qualities we wanted to focus on and improve in the long-term. We wanted to work on relationship building, patience and creativity to overcome challenges, not only during the wedding but in our marriage.
In our case:
Early on in our planning process, we had a near breakdown when many of the vendors we wanted were not available. I remember crying in the car thinking that our wedding wouldn’t happen because we would not be able to find anyone for the chosen date.
Knowing this was not sustainable, I started by asking myself who I wanted to be throughout the process / what my character was. I wanted to be creative. Then we asked ourselves, how do we want to feel at the end of all of this. For me, I wanted to feel that guests left thinking that they have never seen a wedding like ours. Knowing this helped when we discussed what our strategy would be to problem-solve this challenge & future challenges. For our problem of vendors, I knew that if I want to be creative, I had to broaden my criteria for vendors. I started by looking at the main 2 vendors in this category, and they were all Indian. Having discussed that I wanted a wedding that was unique in my own way, I had to take this approach with vendors. We broadened our search, and asked for things different than most Indian weddings, which helped with availability.
Having this story mindset primed our brain to use these qualities when unexpected challenges came up. It subconsciously created goals and rewards around our growth. We ran into challenges with a “bring it on mindset” instead of the typical “survival, just be positive” mindset.
2. Show progression on the same quality
The biggest focus on any story is character development. It’s one of the biggest themes that keeps our intentions and makes us feel fulfilled, even as the reader. When you start seeing your wedding planning as a journey, as a story where you're the character kicking ass, your focus is naturally going to be placed on your own character development. And as a result, your pride in your progression will take focus over your challenges.
In our case:
My mom wanted things to be more traditional than I would have chosen for myself. There were many discussions & arguments on what we needed to include. One aspect that my mom would not budge on was that I needed to be carried to the mandap in a basket. Using my story mindset & reminding myself that I still want to be creative, I did lots of research and found my solution. A basket that did not look like others. My cousin had used a basket shaped like a lotus, and we had flown in. I had to always ask myself, how is this challenge going to help me grow creatively. Knowing that this challenge helped me flex my creative skills & worked with my overall story of the wedding, I felt comfortable using the basket in the wedding.
3. Remember that like any story, the challenges make the ending that much sweeter. Even more so, a story would not exist without challenges. Just like a story needs challenges, so does your growth.
In our case: We wanted the journey. We wanted the growth. And when you do, the challenges are not things to avoid, but to embrace.
Planning an Indian wedding is hard enough, but as we planned through 2020, we faced many challenges. Through it all, we had to remind ourselves that the main goal was to get married. I faced many struggles communicating with my mom about the things I wanted in the wedding vs. her ideas of tradition. Using a story mindset & asking myself how I can grow creatively through the process made the end result that much sweeter. We were both extremely happy & did not feel that we compromised on anything.
We planned our wedding early on, then changed it at least 2 times over due to Covid, and this mindset has helped us not only get through the wedding, but take lessons learned through our marriage now. Our brains are more primed in how to communicate with each other, our families, how to deal with in-law conflict if it comes up, etc.
Flow in Love is working to create dream relationships using a skill-based approach. If you would like to join a community of open-minded, growth focused South Asians, we have a FREE facebook group where we have conversations around the skills needed to grow in relationships: facebook.com/groups/loveinflow.
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Cover PC: Ron Soliman
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