Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life… Then why is planning it such a big source of stress? We’re here to help you alleviate wedding planning stress so you can find the joy leading up to your wedding day.
It’s no surprise that couples are stressed about planning their wedding. From the very moment you say “yes,” and those first euphoric feelings fill you, the pressure and expectations that accompany planning your wedding begin to build. A recent wedding survey by Zola revealed that 72% of engaged couples surveyed indicated they felt “very” or “extremely” stressed by the prospect of planning a wedding. Many couples even compared the stress of planning a wedding to buying a house or other serious life event.
Honestly, it’s understandable. There’s nothing quite like the announcement of a wedding to embolden friends, family, and strangers alike to share their vivid, vocal opinions and suggestions about how you should plan and execute your big day. The constant input alone would be enough to make most sane people feel some anxiety, not to mention the pressure of making important decisions like choosing a date and venue, selecting vendors to handle all the different components that make up your dream wedding, and deciding who to include on your guest list.
While the various sources of stress for each individual couple may vary by culture and location, there are a few consistent factors which regularly contribute to the stress and pressures felt by engaged couples around the world: societal expectations, family expectations, and relationship expectations. Let’s look at practical steps to alleviate wedding planning stress within each of those categories.
Like it or not, societal expectations for your wedding day can spark stress from the moment you first open Pinterest to begin your search for ideas. Wedding mood boards, style guides, photo inspiration, and color palettes aren’t a bad thing, but don’t let the search for inspiration drive you to frustration. In the age of instant access to limitless information, it’s tempting to consume endless photos and wedding guides, but sometimes it’s best to take a step back and focus on what is best for the two of you.
Weddings have been beautiful and fun since long before Pinterest, and your guests are going to have a wonderful time if the two of you remain true to yourselves and include them in your important day. Before you pin yourself crazy, take a breath and take stock of where you are and what you’re doing. Remind yourselves that you’re getting married because you want to spend the rest of your life with the person you love most. That in itself is the most beautiful and important thing about your wedding day.
Keep societal expectations and pressures in check from the get-go by setting a few personal boundaries and practical steps for yourself and your partner to follow as the wedding planning progresses. Let’s look at steps to take to alleviate wedding planning stress from the social realm.
First, take a few minutes and write down the reason you are getting married. Put this in a place where your eyes will see it often. You could tape it to your laptop, your steering wheel, or your mirror. You could even take a photo of it and save it as the screensaver on your phone. It may sound silly, but seeing the reason written out in your own handwriting and words will help you remain grounded or serve to bring you back to center if you go a little overboard while pin-planning.
Next, take some time to talk with your spouse-to-be and dream up what each of you envisions for your wedding day, without any outside influences. Be intentional and plan a day or evening and time. Set specific parameters for your conversation.
Talk about major wedding components like location, indoor or outdoor ceremony, a big wedding party or just your closest crew, and be careful to listen to each other. Take notes, ask questions to make sure you have a clear understanding of each other, and make sure to discuss any dislikes so you can be sure to steer clear of those items.
Then, be practical. Set a time limit for how long you will allow yourself to scan Pinterest or wedding inspiration websites and sources for each day or week, and stick to it. Create a timer on your phone and set it before you begin. When the time is up, shut it all down and don’t allow yourself any exceptions. A pretty straight forward way to alleviate wedding planning stress.
Your family can be a wonderful support system and incredible help when planning your wedding, but family dynamics can also be a real source of stress. Coupled with the delicate work of merging two families with very different backgrounds, customs, and traditions, it’s understandable that family relationships and expectations are often a major source of stress for engaged couples.
Sometimes family priorities do not align, or the things your family has always done simply don’t align with your own wishes for your wedding. It can be difficult to respect and honor those you love while asserting yourself to ensure your wedding reflects the two of you and your priorities. Often, these well-loved family traditions and customs are not even expressed until a proposal has been accepted, which adds an additional measure of stress for engaged couples.
Regardless of your family dynamics and expectations, it is possible to alleviate wedding planning stress from some of these delicate conversations. Before entering any conversation with family members about planning your wedding, be sure to have a discussion with your partner to decide on boundaries, set expectations, and create a plan.
For example, you might decide in advance not to make any decisions with any family member before discussing privately first. Perhaps there are certain family traditions that you already know you don’t want to carry on in your wedding. If this is the case, brainstorm and talk about how to gently deliver your decision together.
When letting family members know you won’t be carrying on a family tradition, take care to be gentle. Express your love for them and your appreciation for their traditions and explain that it is meaningful to you that they want to include you and carry the tradition on in your wedding. However, together the two of you have decided to do something different.
Be sure you let family know the two of you have decided this together; this will help eliminate any misunderstandings or “blaming” that one of you made the choice. It’s important that your families know the two of you are involved together and clear about this to help ensure family relationships stay strong.
Your wedding is a celebration and expression of your love, but planning a wedding adds a considerable amount of pressure to your relationship. No matter how long you’ve been together, the two of you have never experienced this together before.
Typically, one partner tends to take the lead with planning, and is focused on checking things off the to-do list and organizing the details of the wedding day… while the other partner is more focused on unplugging from details and taking a backseat.
This can be a stressful situation for both partners because neither are quite on the same page, and for many relationships, this is the first time the couple has had this experience. While one partner may feel frustrated that the other partner is so focused on getting things done, the other partner may feel equally frustrated at their seemingly lack of interest and investment of time in planning the wedding.
This is normal! There is no marriage relationship in which both partners are on the same page all the time, every time. While your wedding is a celebration, it can be helpful to approach planning your wedding with your best problem-solving skills. There will be things the two of you don’t agree on. There will be things that cause stress for each of you individually, and together.
That being said, it’s important to remember that feeling stressed about planning your wedding does not mean you have made the wrong choice, or that the two of you don’t belong together. Rather, it means it’s time to be intentional in your relationship! There are ways you can both be intentional about making space for your relationship and stay connected in the months, weeks and days leading up to your wedding.
Plan weekly check-ins or dates where you both agree not to discuss anything to do with your wedding or planning. Instead, spend the time together and focus on your daily lives, long-term goals and short-term goals. Talk about your individual and couple dreams for the future, and plan time to have fun and unwind together.
With the right plan and practical steps in place to help you, you’ll be able to alleviate wedding planning stress together so you can focus on what’s important: each other.
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