Who’s having a hard time with wedding planning stress or overwhelm right now? ???? If that’s you, my latest Instagram live is an absolute must-watch.
I spoke with the wonderful Michelle Jacobs of Elegante by Michelle J, all about how to handle wedding stress, overwhelm, and anxiety – not to mention all those (often unwanted) opinions!
Michelle is the ultimate Jewish wedding planning expert, and I love sharing her knowledge and expertise with you. A London-based planner focusing on destination Jewish weddings – both abroad and in the UK – she’s passionate about creating magical experiences for couples and their families and guests.
Chloe and Danny‘s Tuscan Jewish wedding, planned by Michelle! Photo by David Bastianoni
All About Overwhelm
In this Live, Michelle and I talk through some easily actionable tips to make your wedding planning as fun and stress-free as possible. We opened the discussion with a focus on wedding overwhelm – something that very often comes up when Michelle first speaks with her couples. It’s especially common at the beginning of a couple’s wedding planning journey, but even all the way through overwhelm can be a big issue.
Michelle shared some great tips on how to deal:
Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint – it’s true there’s a lot involved in planning a wedding, but no one’s expecting you to do it all at once.
Michelle also recommends that before you get started you sit down and have a conversation with your partner about what sort of wedding you really want and what your priorities are. The clearer a picture you have of what you’re aiming for, the easier it will be to figure out next steps and make choices.
Jasmin and Brett‘s Osea Island UK Jewish wedding, planned by Michelle! Photo by Claudine Hartzel
Getting Clear on Your Priorities
In terms of figuring out what it is that the two of you want – Michelle strongly believes that every wedding should reflect the couple behind it, so she’s a big supporter of looking inward before you look outward. First have a think about what you two like to do, what your home is like, what your ideal day out would be, and after you’ve done that start looking at Instagram, Pinterest, Smashing The Glass’s real wedding archives etc.
Some things to think about: Do you want a country or city wedding? Small or large? Local or destination? Casual or formal? Ballroom or barn? Those are the big-picture issues. You’ll also need to have a sense of how much you want to spend so you won’t waste your time looking at vendors and venues that are out of your price range – or a venue that’s the wrong size for your crowd. It’s smart to share this vision with your family upfront and get everyone on the same page before you dive into planning.
Paige and Richard‘s Jewish wedding at the Great Synagogue of Florence, planned by Michelle! Photo by David Bastianoni
Planning a Wedding That’s Truly You
Especially when it comes to Jewish weddings, sometimes couples (or their parents) can be scared of going off the beaten path and doing something different. It’s only natural to use other people’s weddings as inspiration, but you’ve got to keep in mind that what’s right for another couple may not necessarily be right for you. If you see something you love that you want to incorporate into your own day, by all means go for it – but make sure you’re doing it because whatever it is really speaks to you, not just because it’s the norm.
Michelle also spoke about how to gain confidence to pick vendors who aren’t experienced with Jewish weddings, unusual entertainment, or something else a little off the beaten Jewish wedding path. She encourages couples to work hard at building relationships with wedding vendors so they really get to know you as a couple and understand exactly what you’re looking for.
Michelle helped Emma and Pete plan a Mary Poppins-themed wedding – talk about a Jewish wedding that’s totally them! Photo by Claudine Hartzel
Dealing with Conflict
Then we spoke about dealing with conflict with parents – who may be paying for some or all of the wedding – over which vendors to choose. This is a really common issue in Jewish wedding planning, and Michelle’s top tip in dealing with it is to try to avoid conflict. How to do that? Tactic #1 is picking your battles – if you can give way on some things that matter less to you, parents will likely take it easier when you take a hard line on those choices that are most important to you.
Stephanie and Dan‘s Jewish wedding in Tuscany, planned by Michelle! Photo by David Bastianoni
Putting a Stop to People Pleasing
This brings us to another big source of wedding planning stress: people pleasing! You’ve got to remember that it’s impossible to please everyone – there are always going to be people who won’t be happy with all of your choices, or who won’t be able to make it on your date. If all the opinions getting thrown at you are causing a lot of stress, it’s time to step back, regroup, and focus on making the decisions that are right for you and your partner without all that unwanted background noise.
Then Michelle and I chatted about how exactly to go about determining what matters most on your day and where you might be able to cut back. Michelle suggests thinking about what impact not having something (cake, a live band, fancy chairs) will impact your day – and see how that makes you feel.
Claudia and James‘s Jewish wedding in Mykonos, planned by Michelle! Photo by Anna Roussos
Planned to Perfection
Michelle told us a bit about the different types of wedding planning services you might encounter, and especially about her new service, Elegante Piccolo! Michelle felt there was a need for something in between full wedding planning and on-the-day wedding consultancy (which, in reality, starts a month or so prior to the big day). This is great for the couple who wants to be fully involved in their own planning but could use a little direction. Michelle has an intro session with the couple where she provides them with inspo and a checklist to set them on the right path, is available to them via email throughout their planning if they’ve got questions or need referrals, and then at the end her team steps back in to take on on-the-day coordination duties! This is such a fantastic service filling a real gap in the market – I for one wish something like this had been around back in 2013 when I was planning my own wedding!
I’m so grateful to Michelle for sharing her wisdom – she’s truly the best of the best, and if you’re looking to work with a wedding planner, whether for full planning, her Piccolo service, or a one-off inspiration session – I couldn’t recommend her any more highly.
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