How To Have The Best Wedding EVER… According To A Happiness Expert

We asked author and life coach Domonique Bertolucci for her top tips.

by Rebecca Hanley

You’re about to get married – and it’s meant to be the happiest day of your life, right? We asked life coach, bestselling author and happiness expert Domonique Bertolucci for her top life hacks to make your big day as happy as can be.

In your opinion, what are the three most necessary ingredients for a happy life?
The most important thing you need to live a happy life is to know what your own ‘happiness ingredients’ are. Everyone needs different things to be happy.  A happy and fulfilling life is one where you live your life in alignment with your values; the things that matter most to you.  No one value is more ‘valuable’ than another.  What matters is that you know what they are and get as much of yours as you can in your life.

 You talk about happiness being a ‘state of being’ – how can brides achieve this no matter the scenario – say when it’s the week before their wedding and they’ve still got 12,000 things to organise?
 A happy person is someone who chooses to be happy. When you are a truly happy person, the things that are going on around you don’t fundamentally change the way you feel.
The three things that will help you to maintain your happy state are:

      • Live in the moment. Don’t worry about things that haven’t happened or things that you can’t do anything about. Enjoy the hear and now.
      • Express your gratitude. Appreciate all that is going well and how lucky you are right now.
      • Have a positive perspective. Realise that while everything might not be perfect, things will turn out for well for you. Not just on your wedding day, but for the rest of your life.

Even in the midst of chaos or a to-do list a mile long, you can still choose be happy. You might be a happy person who is crazy busy, a happy person who is feeling stressed right now, or a happy person who is worried about the Best Man’s speech, but through it all, you can still be happy.

What are some ‘happiness practices’ that you would recommend brides start practising in the lead-up to their wedding?
Start applying these ‘happiness practices’ in the lead up to your wedding, but don’t let these good habits stop there. Keep them up and you’ll be giving yourself a much better chance of happily ever after.

      • Enjoy five minutes of silence. Find the time to sit quietly, close your eyes and do nothing but breathe for five minutes. The lead up to a wedding is such a hectic time so it’s important to create time that is calm, quiet and gives your mind a chance to recharge.
      • Don’t make it personal. If something isn’t going according to plan, de-personalise your response to it. Saying things like, ‘why is this happening to me’, is just playing the victim. Instead, empower yourself by saying, ‘is there anything I can do about this thing that is happening?’
      • See the bigger picture. When you are a bride-to-be it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the world is revolving around you. It’s not. Be considerate to the other important people in your life. As much as they will be happy for you and your upcoming wedding, their lives will be carrying on as usual.

If a bride senses that she is about to have a meltdown, what is a quick ‘back-to-happy’ strategy you would suggest she use?
First stop and take a few big, deep breaths. Next, ask yourself these fundamental question, ‘Does he still want to marry me? and, ‘Do I still want to marry him?’ Remind yourself that as long as the answer to this is ‘Yes!’ then everything is going to be okay.

Everyone’s heard  the phrase ‘your wedding should be the happiest day of your life’ – what would you say are the main characteristics (or behaviours) that differentiate the brides who actually experience this, and those who don’t feel amazingly happy on their big day?
Brides who are too stressed to enjoy their wedding day are all too often losing themselves in the details. They are so busy worrying about the flowers, the menu, the speeches and the dress, that they forget the real reason why they are there. The most important thing for every bride to remember is that your wedding is a celebration of one really important decision; the decision you and your groom have made to spend the rest of your life together.  The happiest brides never lose sight of this. They know that as beautiful and memorable they want their wedding day to be, this one day doesn’t define their future, it celebrates it.

For those embarking on marriage, is it possible to have a happy life together even if your relationship is not ‘perfect’?
There is no such thing as the perfect person. Your husband will have flaws that will annoy you, frustrate you or downright drive you insane, but for the most part, consciously or subconsciously, you will have to accept these as a part of who he is. At the same time there is no such thing as the perfect relationship, because as much as you might like to be, you aren’t perfect either. As long as the ‘imperfections’ in your relationship are not fundamental flaws, they are just a part of who you are as a couple, and there is no need for them to affect your chance for a happy life together.

What are some strategies or building blocks you’d suggest couples put in place for a happy life together?
Happiness within a relationship is one of the biggest things that people take for granted but, despite what popular fairytales will tell you, happily-ever-after is not something that just happens because you fall in love. Long-term happiness is something that you need to commit to and work at together, for the rest of your life.The three things every couple should focus on if they want the best chance of life long happiness are:

      1. Appreciate each other’s good points. One of the keys to being happy is to keep at the top of your mind and at the front of the heart, all of the reasons why you chose each other.
      1. Define and respect your values. Take time to work out what matters most to you as a couple and the work together to uphold these values in your married life.
      1. Honestly, openly and respectfully. Don’t be afraid to have difficult conversations, they’re much healthier in the long run than sweeping your issues or concerns under the carpet.

Domonique Bertolucci [photo cred Bayleigh Vedelago]

Domonique Bertolucci is a renowned life coach and best-selling author of books including The Happiness Code. Her latest book, The Kindness Pact is out now. See more at domoniquebertolucci.com

Do you have any advice for other brides, Knotties?

by Rebecca Hanley


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