Getting married: there’s the pressure to get married, the relationships that don’t make it, the vicissitudes of dating, the heartbreaks and learning experiences. You finally meet the man who could be “the one”. It could be speedy or snail’s pace. Or either one of you might move on. Ok, it isn’t easy. And one day you find yourself engaged!
And now you’re planning a wedding. You may feel relaxed and joyous, ready to face the stress with energy and enough support. On the other side of the wedding cake, you may be pretty stressed out and feeling the opposite of how you thought you would.
Here are some common facets of wedding stress:
1. Beginning to feel doubts about getting married in general or in specific to your particular chosen one.
2. Finding yourself having disagreements and arguments with your fiance about decisions that need to be made.
3. Starting to imagine how living together (if you aren’t already) could be tough.
4. Dreading the idea of having your family and his family in the same room for a party.
5. Worrying about finances.
6. Feeling overwhelmed with the details even if you have paid a wedding planner to help.
7. Worrying about what dress to buy and how you will feel about your body.
8. Putting pressure on yourself to lose weight.
9. Having too many people to invite or not enough.
10. Comparing your wedding to your friends’ weddings.
11. Have a falling out with your best friend/sister who was going to be your maid of honor, not knowing if it can be repaired, feeling hurt and bad.
12. Your parents trying to control and take charge over the details and planning of your special day, or don’t seem that interested in it.
There can seem to be myriads of ways for things to go downhill! Getting married as happy a time as it is, can also be very stressful. Did you know that stress can come from positive changes as well as changes you don’t like or want.
Lower your wedding stress. Ideas to get you through.
Take time to reflect on what you want.
As busy as it is, this is a time to try to think through what you want and what is important to you. This can develop through time by yourself or talking with friends and family. If you need more support, this is a good time to reach out for it.
Enhance your communication skills.
It is really easy to make assumptions and misread what others are saying when you are under stress. Collaboration and compromise are important parts of your relationship that can be fostered at this time. Anger management, leaning towards positive thinking, and problem-solving skills can help tremendously. Do you know when to be assertive and when to back off? These are skills you can develop or deepen. You may have have heard the statement “pick your battles” many times and there is wisdom in this concept.
Develop ways to put things in perspective.
Think about how you will feel looking back on this moment 7 years from now. Will whatever feels ultra important now matter that much to you? Cultivate a sense of humor. Find ways to laugh together and on your own about the challenges. Laugh at yourself as long as you aren’t making fun of yourself in a critical way.
Find quality time for you and your partner.
You may both be working full time and planning the wedding is taking up every spare minute outside of work. Perhaps you can devise a simple ritual like talking about your day over dinner, or before bed.
Don’t neglect self care!
Tune into the ways you may not be coping with stress so well, such as over drinking, overeating, oversleeping, etc. Have an exercise routine, is a terrific stress buster and a good way to take care of yourself. Other self-soothing activities can include a few yoga poses in the evening, a massage, or breathing and grounding techniques that only take a minute to do.
Seek help for overwhelm.
I have seen many women in my therapy office who need help with wedding stress. Sometimes even just a few meetings can help to talk through painful and difficult situations that can arise. Individual therapy can sometimes lead to couples therapy, a really good way to begin married life, with care and attention to feelings, needs, and communication skills. Sometimes couples are afraid that starting therapy so early on is a sign of weakness. But actually, it’s the opposite. Marriage is a huge learning experience and guidance can help set you on a positive and productive course early on.
Best wishes and congratulations!