How to survive your wedding: A guide for the cynical

How to survive your wedding: A guide for the cynical

If you read my recent, rather revealing post on the shock of getting married, you’ll know that I don’t have the wedding gene. When we decided to get married I had to channel all my energy and work really hard to figure out how to do it in my own terms. We made lots of mistakes, which hopefully can serve a purpose now. We also made lots of good choices, which led us to have a truly perfect time at our imperfect wedding(s).

Here, I let my heart wide open and share my wedding survival guide for the cynical souls and those who might be emotionally challenged by it all.

Here we go::

(Be warned, this might get a bit cheesy…)


//Make a pact to be 2-person team + act like it

One thing that saved us throughout the wedding period was sticking together like bread and butter (or spelt bread and avocado, to be more specific). When one starts losing it (ok, mostly me) make a commitment to be there to bring each other back to reality. Remind each other why you decided to do this and do what you can to ground and restore normality. Take a deep breath together, channel the love you have and take a break from the planning. Anyone else who’s helping is essential, but if you two are not on the same page, you will need a different survival guide.

// Decide WHY you are getting married

Don’t assume this is obvious. Not everyone gets married these days. Tradition, having a family, religion, money, all play a role in this, but to keep sane, you need to figure out why YOU are making this decision. For us, it was a combination of declaring to each other at first, and then to world, that we want to be together and, wanting to have a party with all our favourite people.

//Decide HOW you are going to do it + stick to your guns

Not easy, not easy at all. I was lucky not to have to argue my way out of a religious ceremony. Neither of us are religious, so even when we got engaged, I believe I uttered the phrase “we’re not doing it in the church, right?”. For us this was a non-negotiable part of our wedding planning and thankfully everyone involved went along with it most of the time. If one of you, or one of the families, is religious and wants to have a religious ceremony, make sure you are both fully in alignment with what is going to happen and what traditions you wish to keep.

//Create a joint vision of YOUR wedding + forget the rest

Ok this might surprise the cynic in you, but I swear it worked. I remember us sitting in a park in London trying to plan our ceremony in Greece. We kept getting stuck on whether we are going to ask friends to be involved, what we were going to say, who would lead, whether we are going to exchange vows. We wanted it to be as authentic as possible, but we struggled to find a way that fit our preconceived idea of what weddings should look like. We took a break and a blank piece of paper and imagined how we wanted to FEEL during our ceremony (and during the whole thing). We figured that if we got that right, the rest would flow naturally. We came up with the following words:

Authentic | Honest | Connected | Flow | Relaxed | Intimate | Engaged | Emotional | Fun (-ny) | Easy | Love

Every time we veered off our vision, we went back to whether what we were choosing would lead us to feel as we wanted to. If it didn’t and it could not be shaped in a way that it would, it was out.

//Question everything + break the rules

My wedding dress was from Zara (see above photo!) and I bought it a month before the wedding. We created our own ceremony and led the whole thing ourselves. We decided that we were going to keep the official part separate and had a civil ceremony one Saturday morning in London at Wandsworth Town Hall, with only a very select few. We did not see the Town Hall before booking it. We went for brunch in Shoreditch at an Indian fusion restaurant, because brunch is one my favourite things to do. Our wedding party was a couple of months later in a Greek island at my mum’s summerhouse in her back yard. It was a total DIY wedding with 50 of our closest friends, which made it possible to make it completely our own.

//Be prepared to enjoy tradition

If you are as cynical as I am, you might pride yourself at making fun of every aspect of traditional weddings. If you have this attitude while planning yours, it will end in disaster. Yes, sure you can decide to rebel against anything and everything traditional. No matter how much you say to yourself you are different, the fact is you have decided to get married. And that comes with a connotation of tradition, whether you like it or not. And if you open your mind and tone down the cynicism, you might actually find a thing or two that you resonate with.

We decided to ask my sister to make us our stefana, two halos connected by a pretty ribbon which are part of religious Greek ceremonies. They are placed on the heads of the bride and groom and crossed over ceremoniously three times to signify marriage. We loved that we could have something hand made by my sister and we liked the symbolism behind it. We also asked a few of our closest people to recite some readings. Although we were unsure how they would react, the end result was extremely personal and damn perfect.

My point is don’t do anything because that is how it’s done. Question the function of each tradition, but also do not black list everything that is related to traditional weddings just for the sake of it.

//Take your cynical hat off (but keep it close in case you miss it)

Weddings, no matter how alternative and hippie you might be, are built on a cheesy foundation. Whether you like it or not, they are a celebration and a declaration of LOVE. If you are planning to have fun at your wedding, you need to loosen those bum cheeks of yours and take that snobbish look off your pretty face. You need to get out of your comfort zone, because if you don’t do so voluntarily, you will be forced by the explosion of emotion around you and the incredible generosity of your friends and family. Your most loyal of fellow cynics are bound to let you down, as you see them shed a tear or two, or they prepare an unbelievable surprise for you on the day. So a friendly word of advice – take the cynical hat off. You can pick it up the next day; it will be waiting for you next to your hangover.

//DIY the hell out of everything

Keeping a sense of control is extremely important when you are a cynic trying to organise your own wedding. I found that DYI-ing most aspects of the wedding, including the music, decoration, ceremony, vows and invitations, allowed us to keep it as personal as we wanted it to be. Our families and friends were a very big part of making this possible and the result was a beautiful combination of everyone’s efforts.

//Keep your sense of humour + a sense of perspective

Throughout the planning process you will find yourself fixating on details of questionable significance. Keep it light. Remember why you started and never veer off your vision. Cry, shout and scream if you must, but then let it all go. Zoom out of the detail to the essence of what you’re trying to do.


Even if you do not have a meditation practice, start one now. We did 21 days of meditation prior to our civil ceremony and I swear it helped us stay sane. I wish everyone involved would have done the same! Commit to meditating for the health of your relationship and for keeping yourselves grounded. It reduces the irrational bursts of anger, frustration and general craziness that tend to accompany weddings.

Well, I really hope this helps cynical souls on how to survive your wedding!

And remember, my all time favourite quote:

 All you need is love. Love. Love.

Love is all you need. 

– John Lennon –

As always, leave me a comment and let me know if you have any other tips how to survive your wedding intensity!

Thank you for stopping by xx

Image credit: Marysia Klosinska