Ever watch Bridezillas? Like watching a car accident, right? You want to stop watching it, but can’t seem to unglue your eyes from the crazy women on the screen. Hopefully, we (the brides-to-be) do not find this to be a license to act like a hormonal, enraged lunatic who slams her fists into a bridal sample cake so as to get the baker to switch from chocolate to red velvet and instead use this as a model of someone you never want to be. So how do you become the gracious bride that we all idolize? Use these OB learnings.
First: Be the bride-leader you want to be
Since brides are in charge of their bridal party, their group of friends, their family, and others leading up to the big day, whether you like it or not, the bride is the leader. In OB class, I read a Harvard Business Article called “Level Five Leadership.” Basically, the article says that the best and brilliant of all leaders display a delicate balance between humility and professional will. Bridal translation…a humble bride with a clear vision of what she wants her wedding to be and relationships to look like after the wedding day has the most effective bride-havior. So how do we practice this shy fearlessness associated with being the best bride-leader we can be? Embed these values in your mind and hold them close to your heart:
- Believe in both faith and facts. Great leaders confront harsh truths and maintain an unwavering faith that everything will work out in the end – which it does. So when things get really batty with bridal planning, take a page out of Admiral James Stockdale’s book and remind yourself, “things will only get better.” Chant with me now, “I am a cool, calm, collected bride. Cool, calm, collected. Cool, calm, collected.”
- Be emotionally intelligent. Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes. Understand what motivates people that surround you and anticipate how they might react to things you say or do. Also, be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the personalities around you and how they will play together.
- Look out the window instead of in the mirror. The most challenging aspect of being the best bride-leader is being able to give credit to those things outside of your control and take responsibility when things go awry. This is a huge obstacle because our culture reinforces the bridal blunder of teaching us to be vain individuals who unconditionally get their way, as well as blame others for hiccups along the way. Start practicing your bridal graciousness: toot-toot your own horn less than you honk-honk others’ horns. When there’s no one to give credit to, simply say, “I guess I got lucky.” Further, when times get tough, take responsibility for it and find a solution.
Second: Get Your Go-Tos Together
Regardless of the size of your bridal party, you should have a keen understanding of who your go-to people will be. Think of your wedding planning period as “the bus.” Level 5 leaders get the right people on “the bus” and the wrong people off of it. So if you have a life-long friend that will not fully embrace the mantra “lean on me when you’re not strong,” they should either be ushered to the back of the bus or, more appropriately, shown the bus door ASAP. Since you will also show people where they should sit on “the bus,” make sure your best bridal advisors (be it mom, dad, a sister, a lifelong friend) have a front row seat to help you navigate. Again, as the bride-leader, you are the bus driver, so prepare to put-put-chug-a-lug along.
Planning a wedding should be a great experience. Practicing good bride-havior by being the leader you want to be and picking the right people to ride in your bridal planning bus will give you a smoother experience overall. Start practicing this behavior today.