Little Spoon and I had very different experiences on our wedding day leading up to the ceremony itself. I was happy, relaxed, and just went with the flow. She...well, she had to deal with a lot of stresses, many of which surrounded vendors arriving late.
So what is it that let me enjoy myself, whereas she was stressin' big time, aside from the fact that I didn't need anyone to help me get ready? I think a big part of it was that she did all of her prep work that morning alone. In contrast, I had my parents around to help me get the cameras from my lab, to show off my research projects, to help me stay on task as we got ready to leave...and to put up with my darting back into the house no less than three times for items I'd forgotten.
In short, I had a social support network around me, and she didn't.
She didn't have anyone with her to gush about how she was feeling, or to help her keep on track, or to deal with any frustrations that arose. No, she was by herself. She even pumped her own gas before arriving at the venue. And in hindsight, that wasn't cool.
Jim Coan has done some interesting research that shows how social support can help people deal with negative emotions. Even the act of holding someone's hand can make them feel less stressed under situations of threat. Might not the same have been true for Little Spoon if I'd been with her...or her mom, or sister(s), or someone with whom she felt close? Might it have helped her feel less distressed?
Ultimately, we'll never know for sure. However, for those brides looking to go it alone on your wedding day; to meet your family, friends, and future spouse only at the venue; I have this to say: DON'T. Take someone with you. Someone you love. Someone who can get you through the eustress - the stress that comes from joyous but life-altering events - and on whom you can count for support.
Because in the end, things will go wrong. There is no perfect wedding day. However, having someone else help you regulate your emotions is a lot easier than doing it all by yourself, even if those emotions are initially joyful.