Anyone who has ever planned a wedding knows how easy it can be to lose your head in all those tiny details... not to mention the politics, don't even get me started on family politics...
Chill as I am (or try to be) there is no doubt in my mind that my husband probably questioned who on earth he was about to marry (daily) on the run up to our big day.
Cue the 'Bridechilla'.
I spoke to Aleisha Maddock, founder and host of the Bridechilla podcast, a funny, useful and reassuring resource that covers a plethora of wedding related topics that we are all thinking but not necessarily talking about.
WhAT IS A Bridechilla?
A Bridechilla is anyone (ladies or guys) who want to plan their wedding without losing their marbles.
Bridechillas are focused on planning a wedding but not fixated by it all.
They realise that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ day but instead strive to plan a celebration that reflects who they are as a couple, not what a wedding mag or Pinterest says you should do.
When it comes to traditions Bridechillas question traditions, ditch those that aren’t meaningful to them and embrace the ones that are.
We can all be Bridechillas. It’s just a matter of casting off all of the bullshit and pressure that we are told that we should care about and instead follow what makes us happy.
The Bridechilla mantra is ‘you should never fake smile on your wedding day’ and if there is a person on your guest list who doesn’t make you beam, ditch them. If you want to wear a green dress, go for it.
Where did the idea come from?
When my husband Rich and I moved from Melbourne to London, I found myself less keen to hit the stand-up clubs but I wanted to perform.
I'm a big podcast listener, and one day on a jog (where I have all of my good ideas) I wondered why no one was using the podcast space to help couples with their wedding planning? It's such a great medium. It felt like a waste.
So, I went home, ordered a microphone off Amazon and set up a ‘studio' on an ironing board in our little flat. I hit record and talked about all of the things that I wanted to hear when we were engaged.
The show comes from the perspective of a layperson. I learn with the audience and interview experts, Bridechilla graduates and anyone I think that can help the Bridechillas and Groomchillas.
I've talked about everything from obligation guests (one of my favourite topics) to mental health and anxiety with wedding planning, my disdain for chair covers and how to beat 'wedstress'.
Body image and feminism have been favourite recurring topics too. Hilariously, my first wedding dress related episode was 264 in.
The original show was called ‘The Save the Date Wedding Podcast'. I launched in November 2014. Two hundred episodes in, I changed the name to Bridechilla, a much better fit for what I do.
In what ways does The Bridechilla help future B2Bs with their wedding planning?
My hope is that the podcast and Facebook community provide support and sanity in a sometimes pretty stressful industry.
I focus on covering topics that I think are very relevant to modern women that might not get as much attention in main stream wedding media like mental health and how to plan a wedding while embracing feminist ideals.
One of the most popular Bridechilla sayings is ‘fuck chair covers', which is my version of don’t sweat the small stuff. Once we ditch caring about what other people think about it makes things a lot easier.
You have (rather unwittingly) established a pretty big community of like-minded souls. What makes a true Bridechilla?
I adore our community. They are totally my people.
Without being a Debbie Downer I have found that the bigger wedding forums can be bitchy and judgey…there are a lot of people commenting and giving their opinions but not helping. It feels straight out of mean girls. So, when we launched the Bridechilla Community I set up some 'anti-arsehole' guidelines to really help us avoid being jerks and instead support and encourage each other. It’s a great place. You should join.
Any advice for anyone who wants to be less 'zill' more 'chill'?
I believe the heart of being a chilla and not a zilla is really embracing the blinders of expectations and white noise.
I don't think we realise how much of wedding planning is guided by pressure to please others (and don't start me on the concept of ‘perfection' and ‘the best day of your life' why must we label like that? I love our wedding day but I sure as heck hope there is another day that's just as amazing or better coming for me!).
So much of the time the guest list and other big decisions are guided by well-meaning friends and family members rather than what we want.
'Obligation' is my word de jour.
We feel obliged to spend a bunch of money, obliged to invite people we don't want to invite, obliged to ‘sweat for the wedding,' this is the one day where you should be in charge of those decisions (even if other people are contributing financially).
My mantra is ‘you should never fake smile on your wedding day' and if there is a person on your guest list who doesn't make you beam, ditch them.
Wedding planning is a team effort; you are a duo. I encourage my listeners to do something really obvious.... Communicate. Before they book or buy anything, they should know what each other wants when it comes to weddings.... What are their must-haves?... Non-negotiables?... What are details they just don't care about? This way you're in it together, and it's not just one member of the team, running around and getting stressed because the other one isn't interested.
You're married... be honest, how chill were you about the whole thing? Any moments of madness?
Our wedding day theme ended up being ‘relaxed panic.'
We didn’t hire a wedding coordinator (regret) and therefore spent a good deal of the morning running around doing last minute things, like hanging lanterns and setting up the dessert table.
We had so many wonderful friends help us out with the setup; we couldn’t have done it without them.
I had a dress panic three weeks before our wedding. My chosen dress had never really felt right. I wanted to be able to move and dance and rock out and every time I tried the dress on I felt this niggling doubt. I wasn’t fixated or freaked out, but I thought why not just see what else is out there? So, one Sunday I called my friend Julia and asked her if she would come shopping with me. We hit the high street and spent the morning trying on every cream, off white and colourful dresses out there, and eventually, I settled on a gorgeous cream dress that genuinely made me excited. I bought it immediately. It was $300, and I couldn’t have been happier.
What/Who is hot on The Bridechilla's radar right now in the world of weddings?
Renting. Why buy when you can borrow. I am so impressed with some of the fantastic options available for renting wedding items and attire.
From veils to suits, décor to bridesmaids dresses, everything is on offer now! Not only can it be more cost effective, but you also aren’t left with having to sell items or store things you’ll most likely never use or wear again.
I love Happily Ever Borrowed and Vow to be chic, both have been very popular with Bridechillas.
Are you a bride to be who is currently questioning your own sanity? Check out the Bridechilla back catalogue here and put an end to that 'wedstress'.
You may also find solace in the awesome Facebook community. It's packed full of chilla's from all over the world who are all on the same ride as you. Join the party here!
What are you current 'wedstresses'? The Bridechilla would love to hear about it in the comments below!