What it is that happens to us when we are planning a wedding? Why are brides susceptible to anxiety? Why can the months of engagement easily turn into months of stress, and sometimes even dread? In today’s post it is time to dive deep into the subject and unravel the causes – and cures- of wedding panic.
Reading popular wedding blogs, soon enough there is talks about “BRIDEZILLA” when a bride displays a temperament. If you ask me, this term is extremely unfair and judgemental!
I want to tell all brides out there, that we have every right to “go mental” as brides-to-be. Being engaged and planning a wedding is charged of various and contrasting emotions.
There is already a lot of pressure on women to look good just in everyday life, on ones wedding that pressure is amplified beyond what many women are comfortable with. A common description of the typical wedding day as PERFECT – no wonder at all that brides-to-be are yearning for a perfect wedding day too, which includes perfect appearance, perfect details and perfect everything. This is why brides-to-be often come across as “perfectionists” – and it opens every single possibility of immense insecurity.
The joys of wedding planning
- You are getting married!
- Extreme happiness.
- Looking forward to a memorable and special day.
- Waiting for a life together with the love of our life.
- Getting to choose between fantastic dresses, décor, music, all things related to wedding conceptualizing and design.
- Looking forward to spending time with family and friends.
- Fun preparations together with your wedding party.
The stressors of wedding planning
- Anticipation – which easily turns into nervousness.
- Complex emotions about what lies ahead – not just the day itself, but marriage is a pretty big commitment right?
- Indecisiveness – there seems to be an infinite of big and small decisions to be made- after about 50 it gets pretty muddled as of what is relevant and irrelevant. (Napkin colours – do you know what I mean?)
- The prospect of being centre of attention for a day can frighten some
- The prospect of coordinating and getting all the details to fit together into one smooth and seamless event
- -Everything- needs be perfect and amazing
- Family and friends from all walks of life in one place can be joyful but also overwhelming.
- Juggling bridesmaids personalities and making their dress decisions
- Deciding on your wedding dress, shoes, hair, makeup and accessories – hello!
- For a day when one is going to be the most photographed in your life probably, one can easily develop anxieties about ones appearance, not to mention ones figure. Especially when there are millions of dresses and shoes etc to choose from.
Many women getting married have no problems with the above and take wedding preparations in their stride, or just hire a wedding planner. But for any one who has even the slightest inclination towards worry and self-doubt, this is definitely one of the more challenging times a woman will ever be going through. (Ok, raising toddlers and teenagers might be worse)
So will everyone please stop talking about bridezillas now, and simply have some understanding and compassion of what it is like? Brides are often accused for being self-absorbed, emotional, irritating, perfectionists, irrational, unrealistic, expectant and the worst: a diva.
All these behaviours are merely symptoms of the pressures, imagined expecations and the overwhelming planning anxiety brides are going through. Have some mercy on yourself and pat yourself on the shoulder for even small achievement, because this isn’t easy!
If you ever think you must to control your behaviour, be kinder, be more grateful, humble and serene, how about you instead show yourself a bit compassion and understanding? If you find yourself worrying about about if your centrepieces matches the sweetheart table – understand that you are not intentionally being pedantic, but only experiencing some overwhelment caused by a all the reason we mentioned above. No one can blame you for that.
It is not a conscious decision by brides to act this way. So-called bridezilla tendencies are not a choice – it is a result of too much pressure from every direction. Because you have looked forward to this special day for a long time, and now it is fast approaching – surely that is reason enough to get excited about everything about it – even the table runners?
You likely never planned this size of event of thing before – so it is obvious why one is going to feel intimidated and bewildered.
A comparison: Have you ever found yourself spending more than 20 minutes in the aisle of a supermarket trying to decide what product to chose? There are simply too many brands to choose from, alluring packaging, concepts of what is good for you or not. In the end of it you don’t even know what you like anymore. You might pick up something that you really didn’t like and immediatley regretted it, or walked out of the aisle empty handed. Planning a wedding is like chosing whats best on a very large scale!
Even a non-bride can find this detailed decision making too much. Stress and too much choice can make any normal human irrational. It is not that easy to manage.
Lets take a quick look at what can be done to support a you as a bride and how you can stop yourself from feeling this way. Because maybe you are getting a bit sick of spending so much of your time thinking about your wedding, debating endlessly with yourself if you want a block heel or a stiletto for your wedding shoe, how much to spend on the dessert buffet, or associating everything in your surrounding to your wedding and not being able to stop the wedding train of thought.
Maybe you are sick of finding yourself absent minded and distracted because your mind is full of possible wedding day scenarios, leaving you unable to concentrate on normal tasks.
How to stay chilled as a bride
- To calm you down and find some healthy distance to the issue – try watching a lighthearted movie (not about weddings), go for a walk in nature, or visit a friend who is not in your wedding party ( and not talking about weddings)
- To understand that you are not going crazy, you are going through a stressful time, and everybody does sometime so it’s okay
- To realize you are not a bridezilla and this is really normal
- You are not acting this way by choice, but you are temporarily swept up in a wedding whirlwind
- To understand that the wedding is only yours and your fiancés. Peer pressure and comparing with other weddings can leave one feeling “not good enough” The most important thing is that you create your day your way, not anybody else’s.
Before it leads to distress..
- It is important to get some down time and do something not related to wedding planning. Try to have a few wedding free days per week, doing things you used to do before the engagement.
- You might have 100s of ideas coming to you at random times. Instead of trying to have all your wedding thoughts in your head, put in voice notes and a journal and can look at it later.
- Limit wedding related social media time as it becomes inspiration overload
- Have a friend – who is not in your wedding party- you can talk to about your wedding who isn’t personally involved. It can be especially helpful to talk to an older, already married woman. They will help you get some healthy perspective and realistic view points.
- Try to solve other things in your life as a distraction – perhaps time to reupholster that sofa? If you don’t keep up with your “normal” life at the same time as wedding planning, you are almost guaranteed to feel empty and sad after the big day – a.k.a the bridal blues
- Adopt a cheerful motto such as “Everything is going to be fine in the end – and if it is not fine, it is not the end” or similar for a bit of self-reassuring as needed
- Try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume – it makes sleeping much harder, it causes anxiety and is a depressant which could kill motivation.
- Don’t crash diet – which is bad for your mood and energy levels. Eat balanced, nutritious and stable diet.
- Have a sensible exercise routine, but don’t push yourself too hard or you might loose the willpower later on
- Pick out 3 – max 5- segments of the wedding to focus on, such as the ceremony, dress and the food, and let the other segments be less important (napkins, flower girl baskets etc). That way your attention and budget will not spread too thin.
As soon as you are engaged, people will love to tell you everything you should and shouldn’t do. Just smile, say thank you very much, mop up one or two ideas (or none) and then move on.
It is your wedding so create it from your heart and your individual circumstances. Know what you love and what you don’t – it will make decisions much easier.
No two weddings are ever going to be the same. You are not arranging somebody else’s wedding – your and your grooms only.
There is no right or wrong way. Realizing that will take a huge bundle of stress of your shoulders.
It’s hard not to get caught up in all the attention and excitement, and most of the time in is lots of fun. There’s nothing wrong with being eager about your wedding and gorging in all the details – no matter how serious or silly they are.
So try to just relax and have a good time, keep your happiness and motivation level as high as possible, be sensible and enjoy the process!
You are most likely only going through this time once in your life, this time will fly by quickly so be as “bridal” and excited as you feel like!