Wedding planning can be an overwhelming process. Every person has different opinions and thoughts on what is important to them, leading to a lot of anxiety.
This blog post will tell you how to manage wedding planning anxiety so that this time in your life is not stressful and enjoyable!
If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, are getting stressed or nervous from the pressure, or are worried the whole experience may be a little more than you were expecting, your excitement about getting married may be served with a side of apprehension.
The good news is, with some advanced planning and some help from the pros, there are ways to make your wedding day a little more manageable.
The best way to handle the mentally trying aspects of your wedding day is to take measured steps to prepare yourself and address any concerns in advance.
A wedding is an enormous event that commemorates two people’s commitments to each other — it’s incredibly normal to feel stress or anxiety around it.
This is something to take seriously, and there are various ways to manage it — from organisational help to delegation and being emotionally honest with those around you. It’s essential to pay attention to your feelings. Looking for the Top Wedding Planner in Melbourne? Look no further and check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners here.
Here are the top ways to manage anxiety around planning a wedding.
Be open and honest about what’s troubling you, even if it’s super awkward.
Budget. It’s the word that can evoke heart palpitations (and not the good kind) among even the most relaxed of to-be-weds—and understandably so.
Money is far from the most specific topic to discuss. But that’s precisely why it should be a topic of conversation.
Be Honest About Your Finances
The best thing you can do to deal with financial anxiety is to be open and honest with everyone contributing to the wedding.
Ask your parents or your partner exactly how much they are planning to contribute. Figure out exactly how much you’re able to set aside for the wedding.
People stress out when the wedding that they’re planning is not in line with the funds they have to pay for it.
One of the most significant sources of severe anxiety around weddings is financial. Weddings can be expensive, even if you’ve budgeted immaculately or are going very small-scale.
If you keep waking up in the night concerned about the cost of something, keep asking yourself why you’re worried until you get to the bottom of the problem.
Being honest with yourself about the roots of your anxiety — you want something but know you can’t afford it, for instance — is the first step to solving the issue itself.
Stick Within Your Budget
Your big day shouldn’t leave you worrying about money for years after. Set a definite budget and work hard to stick to it.
This might mean compromising on certain things, so discuss this with your partner early on.
Accept It’s OK To Hate Wedding Planning
Usually, you’ll love to plan and have every detail under control, but it’s lovely if you hate the process of planning a wedding.
There’s an overwhelming amount of things to consider. It does not make you a bad bride or groom.
Organisational Apps Are Your Friend
Sometimes it’s not helpful to have fifteen binders and six magazines with all your “ideas” in them.
If you’re doing a logistically complex event, make like actual event organisers and document everything inappropriate places.
Apps based around wedding planning, like The Knot, exist specifically for this purpose.
Or get a more general organisational app like Trello or AwesomeNote, oriented towards your particular style — note-taking, lots of lists, ideas pulled from web pages and cut-outs — to group everything into one place and make it easily shareable.
And remember — the best organisational system is the one you’ll stick with. It’ll make your life far less of a headache.
Delegate — And Accept That You’ve Delegated
Give away responsibility for things. And once you’ve given it away, actually let it go.
The delegation, when you feel as if you’re in charge of coordinating an event with your partner, can be tricky; you may find it hard to divide the elements of the affair between yourselves, let alone other well-meaning members of your families or friends.
But if somebody has been given a job, they probably won’t appreciate constant hovering or checking up on them unless they’re five years old and will try to put your bouquet down the toilet.
If you’re going to delegate, do it like a manager and accept that you’ve trusted.
Say Yes to Offers of Help
Things will come around quickly as the wedding gets closer.
Pick a friend or family member you trust and delegate things like getting quotes from hair or make-up artists, picking up decorations, or doing the final checks with the vendors the week before the wedding.
That said, if it stresses you out even more, to not do these things yourself, don’t feel you have to accept every offer of help.
Get Help When You Need It
The wedding is the beginning of a life chapter, not the end — but it’s also a very stressful event and can create anxiety.
There’s no shame at all in needing some extra psychological support while you’re attempting to navigate your anxieties around your wedding and identify what might be causing them.
Many soon-to-be-married couples seek out couple’s therapy to navigate the change in their relationship, and that’s absolutely one avenue to explore.
But finding a therapist or counsellor for your own needs can be hugely helpful.
If a therapist is out of your budget, talk to your GP about free support groups and investigate affordable therapy options. Your anxiety is authentic and valid and deserves to be supported.
Have A Long Engagement If You Need It
The average engagement is 12 months – so what?
Resist the pressure to set a date immediately and enjoy the feeling of being a fiancé or fiancée instead.
Speak to your partner about what you both want, and don’t put extra pressure on yourself to follow anyone else’s timeline.
Reinforce Emotional Boundaries
Emotional factors can cause anxiety around weddings.
Events involving family can be highly stressful no matter what, and weddings create specific demands, expectations and conflict around traditions.
Emotional boundaries are essential in this context. If somebody starts treating you in ways that cross them, you reserve the right to refuse to engage with them and walk calmly away.
Weddings can bring out some spectacularly bad behaviour in everybody from relatives to friends, so it’s essential to have these boundaries and have your partner on your side to reinforce them.
Be Part Of A Team With Your Partner
A lot of the burden of wedding planning can fall on the bride because of the cultural expectation that this is “her” day.
But the truth is, if you’re choosing to marry your partner, you are planning together.
If that means one partner takes on a lot of the work, fine —but it should be a mutually agreed-upon decision, and the other partner should pick up the slack in a different area of your shared life.
You’re getting married; you need to know how to communicate and band together when something’s tough.
Ditch The Pinterest DIY
Quirky place cards with beautiful calligraphy are great but not worth the stress.
Spray-painted mason jars, DIY wood signs, a mimosa bar – all nice, but all unnecessary. Don’t do more work for yourself and prioritise the most extensive finishing touches.
Our list of Top Wedding Decorators will help you select the perfect team to help on your special day.
Meditation and mindfulness techniques are also helpful for coping with anxiety and stress and can be done simply.
Try downloading the Headspace meditation app. Using this for just 10 minutes a day has been found to have real benefits.
Take Time Out With Your Partner
You’ll likely experience some strong emotions with your anxiety, which could cause strain on your relationship.
Plan regular dates with your partner where wedding topics are banned, and make sure to reassure them that you do want to be with them.
If you’re worried about your anxiety being cold feet, they may have too!
Imperfection is inevitable, so embrace it.
You’ve heard it before, but just in case you needed the reminder: nobody’s perfect. Your wedding day won’t be either.
We can get so swept up in having the ‘perfect’ event that we lose sight of the fact that it’s a meaningful ceremony.
It helps to realise most of the choices you’re making are probably good choices. You don’t need to torture yourself with every single bit of the decision making.
The wedding will be beautiful, whichever colour scheme, entree, or cake flavour you choose.
Go Easy On Yourself
Try to reduce the pressure on yourself as much as possible, and that includes yourself.
Accommodating everyone else’s needs (or trying to squeeze in that last-minute plus one request) because you felt guilty saying no will only put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
If you have to let something go, do it.
Find an Outlet for Your Anxiety
From exercise to a bath and a good book, embrace a hobby you love or an activity that distresses you and make time for it.
Give Yourself Space.
This one is the ultimate fixer, no matter what’s making your stomach turn or leaving you exhausted.
The best thing you can do for pre-wedding anxiety is to step away from planning once in a while.
Weddings can be so all-encompassing, and if planning is stressing you out, it can feel that you have nothing else going on in your life.
Go away for a night, spend time with friends, go to the movies, and don’t forget that you aren’t just planning 24/7. You’ll welcome the much-needed distraction.
Set Positive and Healthy Goals.
Having a completely stress-free wedding experience is an impossible goal.
Instead, set two specific goals to counteract wedding planning anxiety or any such symptoms.
First, remember that you are not anxious, plan your wedding, and make all relevant decisions.
Anxiety does not get a vote. Rather than planning your wedding based on anxiety’s preferences, plan it based on you and your fiancée’s core values.
In other words, do you prefer the idea of a small, intimate gathering with close friends? Make planning that wedding a goal. This is about your vision.
As a second step, couples can be “psychologically flexible.”
What does that mean? In the face of anxiety telling you one thing, make a conscious choice to do what is most important to you.
Behave based on what you want your wedding to stand for, rather than having your attention on anxiety.
Feel your feelings.
Easier said than done, yes, but this one is the key to ridding yourself of all that worry.
Co-exist with the anxiety, softly and compassionately. Do so without making yourself suffer by trying to force it to go away. That will only serve to increase it.
Let your emotions do their thing, and skip the negative self-talk or judgment.
If you think of anxiety as the uninvited wedding crasher, you will have an extra concern about feeling anxious.
That struggle against anxiety will also lead to feelings of suffering. Instead, think about anxiety as an invited wedding guest.
Mentally welcome it to the party, but refocus back on what is most important to you: your connection with your significant other, family and friends.
Think big picture.
Couples should “take the long view” during the stressful planning process. This phase will be over before you know it.
Even though it’s stressful, remember that you and your partner are a team. Your partner is your advocate, and you’re not just planning a wedding together—you’re preparing to spend your life with your best friend.
The best is yet to come.
Get vulnerable, but don’t lash out.
Couples are encouraged to take stock of their emotions and face tough conversations about anxiety or worry.
When you’re ready to unpack your emotional world for your partner, invite your partner—lovingly—into the discussion.
Start gently in such a way that puts your partner in a receptive state.
Science shows us that 96 per cent of conversations that begin poorly due to tone, volume, or words used, end badly.
Handling Your Wedding Day When You Have an Anxiety: FAQs
How Should Brides and Grooms Approach Wedding-Related Anxiety?
One of the first things any bride or groom should do, whether they have diagnosed or undiagnosed anxiety, is to take a moment to normalise the experience.
Getting married has been inflated in all of our minds, especially for women, because of both the history of marriage and the fairy tale we’ve all grown up with.
Historically speaking, getting married was the pinnacle of a woman’s life, and her mate defined her identity.
It’s certainly not the case today, but it persists in stories of Prince Charming and kissing frogs—and that subconscious message can put extra weight and pressure on what’s already an essential moment in your life.
Every couple will deal with the anxieties of planning a marriage in one way or another, so remember that you are not alone.
And all of that is before you even start planning.
Planning a wedding can become a battle for dominance between two tribes.
When you combine that fairy-tale notion with the genuine pressures of finances and families—and then put people from all of the different chapters of your life in a single room—it’s a recipe for anxiety.
It’s important to remember that what really matters is marriage.
Instead of focusing on the details needed for a perfect wedding day, put that energy toward setting yourselves up for a fantastic marriage.
And know that you aren’t the only one who is experiencing this.
Every couple will deal with the anxieties of planning a marriage in one way or another, so remember that you are not alone.
How Can a Bride or Groom With an Anxiety Diagnosis Prepare for Her Wedding in Advance?
The best way to address any wedding-related anxiety, as well as prepare for your wedding day, is to meet with a trusted professional, whether it’s a therapist, a member of the clergy, or another source.
It’s instrumental in having a safe place to address your emotions separate from your everyday life.
A close friend can be wonderful, but if you’re expressing any feelings of doubt or concern, those will follow you because your friendship will continue.
It’s a great resource to have, no matter the situation, and a therapist can help you develop strategies that will help you on your wedding day.
We also encourage my clients to attend premarital counselling together.
So many life issues come up around a wedding, and learning how to handle them with your partner is a good idea for your wedding day and marriage.
What Should a Bride or Groom Do If They Are Dealing With Anxiety on the Day of the Wedding?
There is no one size fits all answer, but a few best practices can be a good starting point.
Before your wedding day arrives, take some time to think about your needs and identify coping strategies that work for you.
That could be taking 10 minutes to yourself in a quiet space, arranging for a calming cup of tea, or cranking the music for a stress-relieving dance party.
One thing we recommend for everyone, whether you have an anxiety diagnosis or not, is the cardiovascular exercise: it could be running, cycling, swimming, anything that gets your heart rate going. This will have a hugely positive impact on your outlook.
Are you worried about your timeline? Mindfully engage with what you have scheduled, and take a cue from social psychology.
Acknowledge when you will have to be ‘on’ during the day and when you can be ‘off.
Ask yourself if you can handle being ‘on’ for three hours or if you’ll need a break after two. Schedule in times when you can regroup and rest.
On top of these tips, be mindful of when you might need to talk to someone. Are you feeling anxious to the point of extreme, debilitating panic? Saying “I do” at Boutique Events Group is an elegant and luxurious affair.
If you’re unable to focus or function as you’ve been able to in the past, it might be best to seek help from a professional who will help you navigate this tricky period. All you need to do is take the next step forward.