Navigating The Wedding Maze: A Reluctant Bride’s Journey Begins

Join The Reluctant Bride as she offers a realistic POV on how to navigate the pitfalls and stresses of wedding planning…

Welcome aboard a rollercoaster ride through the world of wedding planning, sprinkled with laughter, tears, and the occasional bridezilla moment. I’m your guide, the Reluctant Bride herself, a 40+ first-time bride and exhausted mother of two, bringing you a unique perspective, seasoned by life’s experiences.

When George popped the question on Christmas Day 2023, it sparked a whirlwind of emotions and a flurry of thoughts about what our wedding would be like. Not all of these were positive. Like many couples, we started by jotting down a list of names, envisioning a guest list that quickly ballooned to over 100 names. But as the prospect of a day consumed by the expectations of others loomed large, we found ourselves grappling with the awareness that perhaps the traditional route was not for us. And so, just four weeks after saying “yes,” we decided to trade the confines of tradition for a destination wedding in Thailand.

The idea was simple: why focus all our efforts on one special day when we could embark on a month-long adventure that culminated in a beach wedding surrounded by family and friends? It was a realisation that filled us with excitement and anticipation, envisioning a celebration focused not only on saying “I do” but also on enjoying time together as a family, exploring new places and creating memories.

As a bride-to-be who has attended her fair share of weddings, the big traditional white wedding no longer resonates with me. While I respect that it’s an ideology deeply entrenched for many, my journey through adulthood has taught me to look beyond the obvious path. While I’ve cherished my role in these celebrations over the years, crossing the threshold into my forties has instilled a sense of acceptance—a recognition that perhaps that ship has sailed, urging me to explore what Bride I want to be. That’s not to say that, somewhere, deep down, there’s not a small part that doesn’t still hold onto my 8-year-old fantasy, envisioning the Disney-style fairytale special day, but I guess that is the timeless trade-off between childhood fantasy and adult reality.

And perhaps the biggest facet of adult reality is budgets and finance. As we began our wedding journey, I couldn’t help but question the practicality of investing so much money in just one day of celebration. I had a voice in my head saying that spending the cost of an average wedding (£20k + in 2024) was perhaps a frivolous expense, or dare I say it, not a priority! 

Another wedding trigger for me stems from past experiences of witnessing friends become overwhelmed with wedding planning, leading to strains and fractured friendships. Recognising my own detail-oriented nature, some might even call it obsessive (!), I harbour concerns that delving into wedding preparations could unleash this less savoury aspect of my personality. The prospect of being consumed by the minutiae of flower arrangements, seating charts, and colour schemes leaves me apprehensive, wary of the potential strain it could place on both my relationships and my sanity.

Throughout this series, I’ll cover a range of topics essential to crafting the perfect wedding experience. We have decided to have a registry office ceremony in the UK prior to our destination wedding, so I will share our insights for both events. From managing guest lists and designing invitations that set the tone for our celebration to selecting ideal venues that accommodate our vision and needs in both locations. Additionally, we’ll explore digital wedding planning by setting up a wedding website, an invaluable tool for keeping guests informed and organised, regardless of the wedding location. For brides-to-be, we’ll embark on the quest for the perfect dress, shoes, and accessories, with a special focus on options tailored for plus-size brides like me! 

I hope that this series of insights will resonate with some of you, my fellow reluctant brides, as we navigate the twists and turns of wedding planning together. Let us embrace the journey, with all its trials and tribulations, and make our way to “I do.”And who knows? Perhaps along the way, you too will discover that sometimes, the road less travelled leads to the most beautiful destination of all.

I’ll leave you with a Reluctant Bride confession… Does anyone else planning their wedding wonder if they’ll actually make it to the finish line? We’re already three months into our almost two-year engagement. In this journey, I’m balancing realism with sentimentality. We face highs and lows, and there are more than just a few moments where my partner tests my patience to the limit, leaving me to question if I can endure until the wedding day, let alone happily ever after… Am I alone in this? On those days, I certainly lack the inspiration to focus on wedding planning…

Yours in love and reluctant bridehood,


IG: reluctant_bride