How to have a hap­pily ever be­fore

What’s the real trick to en­joy­ing wed­ding plan­ning? Amy Spencer, au­thor of The Happy Life Check­list, says that it’s all to do with your per­spec­tive. “When­ever you get anx­ious or lost along the plan­ning jour­ney, turn to that vibe to find your way back.”

Glamour (South Africa) - - Glam Weddings Bling - MAKES 8

If you were a guest at my wed­ding in Mex­ico eight years ago, you might have thought that it all went per­fectly. My hubby and glee­fully shared our vows bare­foot in the sand, and then pa­raded down the street to our re­cep­tion with a full mari­achi band and 75 lov­ing fam­ily mem­bers and friends. But what no one saw was six months of wed­ding­plan­ning bumps and break­downs. We had so many small dis­as­ters that by the time our wed­ding day ar­rived, I’d be­come an ex­pert in learn­ing to look at things from a brighter per­spec­tive. I’d fig­ured out that it’s not what hap­pened dur­ing your wed­ding plan­ning that mat­ters, it’s how you re­act to it.

In the hopes that these lessons might help you, I’m shar­ing ways to view frus­tra­tions through rosier glasses. I wrote the book – The Happy Life Check­list (Pen­guin; R463) – on how see­ing your si­t­u­a­tion from a more pos­i­tive per­spec­tive can make you hap­pier. Do that and what­ever hap­pens, you’re go­ing to have fun.

Turn a set­back into a leap for­ward

I started out like the war­rior princess of wed­ding plan­ning: I sent out our save-the-dates six months ahead and or­dered in­vi­ta­tions. Yet, three months be­fore the wed­ding – then two – those in­vites still hadn’t shown up. When I woke up in a pan­icked sweat at 4am five weeks be­fore our event, I found an on­line com­pany that shipped post­cards overnight, and cre­ated one that read, “Our in­vites never ar­rived… but we hope you still can!” We mailed them off with bougainvil­lea petals in the en­velopes to fancy them up, and our guests loved how the ‘emer­gency’ in­vites re­flected our in­for­mal per­son­al­i­ties in a re­fresh­ing way.

So when you face a plan­ning cri­sis, find a way to look at your cham­pagne flute as not just half full, but over­flow­ing. If those cases of wine you or­dered taste less awe­some than you re­mem­bered, turn them into cus­tom wed­ding san­gria. And if the rib­bon you bought for your DIY decor isn’t the qual­ity you ex­pected, well, you have the per­fect start to a kids’ craft cor­ner.

Add a wed­ding vibe

We all choose a colour scheme for our wed­ding, but here’s an idea that can serve you just as well: pick a vibe. Ask your­self, “How do I want us all to feel through­out the day?” Then, when­ever you get anx­ious or lost along the plan­ning jour­ney, turn to that vibe to find your way back.

Our fun fam­ily fi­esta vibe saved the day when we were about to con­firm our re­cep­tion at the only avail­able open-air restau­rant on the sand. I was check­ing how late our mari­achi band was al­lowed to play, when our plan­ners

said, “Oh. This spot doesn’t al­low live mu­sic.” Dis­ap­point­ment shot through me when I re­alised that if we wanted a mari­achi band, we’d have to hole up in a smaller spot in town. Af­ter a few req­ui­site stress tears, I needed to make a de­ci­sion, so I turned to our vibe – and what kind of fun fam­ily fi­esta would it be with­out a mari­achi band? We changed venues; down­town it was.

Your cosy sweet-chic vibe may help you choose comfy stuffed chairs over hard wooden ones, and a gor­geous, goofy event might mean adding hu­mour to vows, song mix and ta­ble names so that the day feels like you.

Re­mem­ber that your guests won’t know what they’re missing It’s easy to get so at­tached to a pic­ture in your mind that if it changes, you fall into a spi­ral of de­pres­sion. It wasn’t the plan, but no­body else knows that!

I told my­self this when we hit a glitch ship­ping boxes of wed­ding items to our villa in Mex­ico. We’d wanted to send straw beach bags for the guest goodie bags, along with turquoise tow­els. Weeks be­fore the wed­ding, the box of straw bags was re­jected by cus­toms, and we were told no other ship­ments would get through. I took a deep breath and re­minded my­self that our guests weren’t ex­pect­ing goodie bags. So I bought turquoise pa­per bags that fit flat in my suit­case, then brain­stormed how to get those beach tow­els there.

Run the small de­tails

past your fu­ture self

can in­duce crazi­ness. So if you find your­self crack­ing un­der the pres­sure, imag­ine the fu­ture you sit­ting be­side your spouse a decade from now, and ask them: What do they re­mem­ber about the flavour of the cake and the colour of the servi­ettes? What did they cher­ish the most? Chances are, it was laugh­ing with fam­ily and danc­ing with their part­ner that put the cherry on top of their day. The linen colour? Meh.

The dis­as­ters be­come your favourite sto­ries I’d fi­nally hit on how to get those guest gift tow­els to Mex­ico: my sis­ter and maid of hon­our Liz and her girl­friend would pack two ex­tra suit­cases full of them, and check them with their lug­gage. It seemed like a good idea… un­til Liz was stopped by cus­toms and ac­cused of run­ning an im­port­ed­towel sales ring! She did get the tow­els through, and we still laugh about it.

The point is, while peo­ple will en­joy hear­ing what went right at your wed­ding, they will far pre­fer hear­ing about what went wrong. Gob­ble up the dis­as­trous de­tails – you’re go­ing to get ma­jor story mileage later.

Rel­ish the sur­prises

At some point on your wed­ding day, you’ll face a cross­roads that, de­spite all of your care­ful plan­ning, you sim­ply couldn’t have fore­seen.

For us, it was that our wed­ding plan­ner failed to men­tion un­til we ar­rived at the re­cep­tion that other restau­rant pa­trons would be din­ing at ta­bles right next to ours! I fumed when I found out – but see­ing our happy guests shak­ing mara­cas to the mu­sic, I re­alised that as long as we were all to­gether, a few strangers round­ing out our group only made it more of a fi­esta. So much so that an hour later, caught up in the en­ergy, my hus­band and I hopped onto the restau­rant’s de­liv­ery tri­cy­cle and rode it up and down the cob­ble­stone street. I still smile when I think about the warm wind on our faces, the hoot­ing of our guests as we ped­alled past, and the feel­ing that this un­planned mo­ment was a sign of the fun we would have in our life to­gether.

That’s the best les­son of all: the most mag­i­cal mo­ments of your wed­ding day will be the ones that you prob­a­bly didn’t plan, ei­ther – the ner­vous hand squeeze from your part­ner at the top of the aisle, the cute blun­der in your per­fect vows, the awk­ward laugh when you can’t find the knife to cut the cake. As much as you plan, also al­low your wed­ding day to sur­prise you with spon­ta­neous mo­ments that will give you happy mem­o­ries for­ever.

What you’ll need The how-to To make the rasp­berry chia jam, mash the rasp­ber­ries with a fork in a medium-sized bowl. Add 1 tsp ic­ing sugar, a small squeeze of lemon juice and the chia seeds to the bowl, mix thor­oughly and let it stand for 30 min­utes at room tem­per­a­ture. Add some wa­ter if the mix­ture is too thick.

Melt half of the choco­late chips in a glass bowl over a wa­ter bath, mak­ing sure that you don’t over­heat them. The bowl must sit tightly on top of the pot so that the steam doesn’t co­ag­u­late the choco­late. When the choco­late is melted, place a ta­ble­spoon­ful into a muf­fin case and push it up the sides with a small tea­spoon or a pas­try brush. You can also swirl the choco­late around so that it goes up the sides. Try to get the sides even. Fill eight cases and place in the freezer for 10 min­utes.

To make the peanut but­ter fill­ing, whisk to­gether the peanut but­ter, co­conut milk, ad­di­tional ic­ing sugar and a pinch of salt. The mix­ture should be slightly runny – add more co­conut milk if nec­es­sary. Taste and add more sugar or salt if nec­es­sary.

Take the choco­late shells out of the freezer, and fill each of them with 1 tbsp peanut but­ter and 1 tbsp rasp­berry chia jam on top, spread­ing it out evenly. Melt the rest of the choco­late and spoon it over the cups so the fill­ing is cov­ered. Place them in the freezer for 15 min­utes, un­til set. Keep in the fridge be­fore serv­ing.

Who is Anett Vels­berg?

A self-pro­claimed ‘all-nat­u­ral’ food blog­ger, pho­tog­ra­pher and stylist, Anett fol­lows the maxim that healthy eat­ing leads to a hap­pier life. Visit her blog, anettvels­, or fol­low @anettvels­berg on In­sta­gram for mouth­wa­ter­ing food in­spi­ra­tion that will leave you des­per­ate for more!

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