Lessons from a Bride-chilla

Molly Mueller | @m_c_mueller

Although I’d known I wanted to marry my now husband mere months after meeting him (ok, maybe it was by our second date), I was in no rush to get engaged, largely because I didn’t want to think about or plan a wedding. And when we did get engaged five years into our relationship, I was in no rush to the altar. First, I had to navigate the stress and emotions of leaving my home--my friends, job, and family in California--as we packed up our lovely San Francisco apartment and drove away in a U-haul bound for Boulder, Colorado. A year after that, we got married.

Once settled in Colorado, I knew I couldn’t put off wedding planning anymore. I embarked down the path to nuptials with a plan to stay as chill as possible throughout the entire process--to be a bridechilla, if you will. I’m proud to say, I largely succeeded. I will confess to having a few moments of not-so-chill, but overall I kept to my plan. Here’s how.  

Tips on How to Be a Chill Bride

  1. Plan to elope first. Initially, I was totally overwhelmed with the idea of planning a big traditional wedding so my fantasies about my wedding day involved city hall, my partner, and probably a photographer. But figuring out how to elope or pseudo-elope proved difficult as we contemplated including some family and friends at the exclusion of others and the fact that we still wanted to have a big party to celebrate our union. Although, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of having a traditional wedding, I realized going the traditional route was actually easier in many ways because you just follow the rules (you don’t have to follow all of them) instead of trying to be creative, innovative, or original. Initial plans to elope also helped calm me down when a few close friends (understandably) couldn’t make it to our wedding. I’d remind myself I was originally planning to get married without any friends there at all, so I was able to see the people joining us as bonuses rather than focusing on the negatives of those who couldn’t be there, although they were still dearly missed.

  2. Do a little growing up. It’s a well established fact that as you age, you give less f*cks about the small things and gain the wisdom to know what’s really important in life. I was nearly 40 when I got married and with that came the wisdom to know my wedding day didn’t have to be The Best Day of My Life and it didn’t have to be “perfect.” What mattered was the life I’d built and was building with my partner day in and day out. Being happy in those days was way more important than having one best/happiest day of my life. This perspective helped me to not overthink things or sweat the small stuff.

  3. Hire or befriend a wedding coordinator. I am lucky enough to have a friend who plans weddings for a living and I’m not sure I could’ve pulled off the whole chill bride thing without her. I didn’t lose sleep thinking I was dropping the ball or forgetting something major because she’d done it a million times and knew the drill. She helped me slash my to do list by handling many things herself, communicating with vendors being chief among them. She also created a meticulous timeline for the day so all I had to do was show up, follow orders, get hitched, and enjoy it!

The author, chill as can be, and her main squeeze. Photos by Alexandra Kahn.

The author, chill as can be, and her main squeeze. Photos by Alexandra Kahn.


The day was drama-free and everyone had a blast, myself included. That’s not to say I wasn’t a ball of nerves before walking down the aisle, but as I took my first step and a deep breath, I remembered my plan to stay chill and was able to relax (at least a bit) and enjoy the moment.

Molly Mueller is the the creative director for the Broadview Denver and the senior designer at The Climate Reality Project.

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