Wedding and wedding planning are a lot of things — from exciting to romantic, most brides would describe their weddings as one of the best days of their lives. That being said, a wedding doesn’t just automatically come together. In fact, most couples who have been through it will tell you that wedding planning can also be an extremely stressful time. So much so that an article on Brides states that, “40 percent of couples categorized wedding planning as ‘extremely stressful’ while 71 percent thought it was more nerve-wracking than other major life events like finding a new job.”
Once the initial excitement of “being engaged” has died down, the time to really drill down on wedding details begins; and it can be overwhelming, to say the least. For those who already have a history of mental illness, the stress can exacerbate symptoms and make wedding planning and the wedding itself an almost unbearable experience — which is the exact opposite of what it should be. Thankfully, there are things you can do to ease the stress before your wedding day.
Manage Your Expectations
More often than not, many couples fail to recognise the amount of stress that comes with planning a wedding. Even in instances of recognising the stress in their future, some couples may even choose to have the “it won’t happen to us” attitude — which leads to increased frustration when the other shoe does finally drop.
Rather than being in denial about wedding stress, it’s better to accept that the process of planning a wedding won’t always be rosy. Accepting that there will be hiccups from the get-go will help you and your partner have realistic expectations. This way, when you are faced with an obstacle, you won’t be caught off-guard and spiral into thoughts of self-doubt or trash everything for an elopement, instead.
In an article on Talkspace, therapist Ivanna Colangelo writes about how many of her clients start questioning their future marriage if they aren’t happy 24/7. She writes, “If you dread getting up in the morning and have no interest in anything, it can be easy to jump to the conclusion that this is because you are having doubts about marriage or spending your life with this person.” Rather than letting yourself be consumed by these thoughts every time there is a bump in the road, understand and accept that stress happens and that it is normal. Mentally managing your own expectations about the wedding planning process from the start can thus help you deal with stressful times when they occur.
Plan In Advance
Planning in advance can go a long way when it comes to alleviating wedding stress. Even if your wedding date is way in the future, don’t wait till the last minute to get things done. Consider setting out some weekly “planning time” with your partner (and any other relevant individuals) to talk openly about preferences and dislikes as well as assign duties.
Rather than going at it alone, delegate wedding-related tasks to those close to you, and trust in them to see these tasks to completion — even if you aren’t attuning to traditional wedding-party groups and responsibilities. Also, consider setting up boundaries between you and your partner so that the process doesn’t take an unnecessary toll on your relationship. During this time, it becomes even more important to have a healthy relationship in which you can be candid about wedding-related things as well as any other tensions the stress might bring up in the interim.
Meanwhile, no planning is complete without lists. Create checklists for various aspects of the wedding as well as for the planning process. For instance, a bridal checklist details all the items a bride could need on her wedding day, including the dress, makeup, accessories, extra jewellery, and so on. Make similar checklists for the rehearsal dinner and other wedding-related events.
Additionally, the article on Brides.com mentioned above recommends creating a “priority list” that details all your “must-haves”. Narrowing your dream wedding essentials down by prioritizing is a great way to keep you, and your budget, on track. Lists like these can prevent last-minute panic and help your big day go off with minimal hitches.
Keep Everyday Stress in Check
Wedding planning doesn’t mean that you and your partner need to put your lives on pause. With full-time jobs, family commitments, regular bills, and more, it’s important to keep your everyday stress in control through the process of planning.
Prioritizing your regular mental health routine is key, lest you want to be buried under a mountain of anxiety. Measures to reduce everyday stress include regular exercise, deep breathing techniques, aromatherapy, and massages. Even things like being out in nature or simply taking a nap when you’re exhausted can help you feel better on a down day and maintain a relaxed state of mind.
It is equally important to ensure that you have a safe and soothing space to come home to at the end of your day. If possible, designate an area of your house as a soothing space, be it your bedroom or an extra room you may have. Make sure this space is decluttered and free from unnecessary clothes and objects.
What’s more, consider investing in an essential oil diffuser and blackout curtains to ensure that you are able to sleep peacefully in this space — sleep is crucial to relieve stress, and the importance of a good night’s rest should not be overlooked. Don’t work on wedding projects in this “safe space”, so that it can always act as a place of relief when you need some time away from wedding planning and associated stresses.
While wedding planning isn’t easy, it can be an extremely enjoyable period when stress is properly managed. Use these tips to prioritize your mental health, and make the process of planning your wedding a happy and memorable one. Good luck!