One of our forum newlyweds eloquently described her planning as follows: “In hindsight, I suspect lot of brides feel stressed, but can’t express it because everyone they speak to, or every wedding site they look on, tells them that they should be floating on a sparkly cloud blowing rainbow bubbles with their soon-to-be husband.” She was talking about the week leading up to her own wedding – the most tense and taxing time she’d ever had. So if you find yourself feeling unexpectedly overwhelmed and exhausted, believe us when we say it’s perfectly and totally normal. Just remember, whatever may be happening now, the wedding day itself will be absolutely marvellous. It’s ok to be stressed.
Rather than give you bog standard clichés about how to cope, we’re going to share some words of wisdom to help you look at things a little differently. Read on, and if you like, let us know in the comments what worked for you, or tell us how you coped.
Why it’s ok to be stressed, and what you can do about it:
1. Apply good old common sense to social media. Most people present a somewhat polished and idealised view of their own lives and upcoming weddings on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Co. Think about it logically – would a bride-to-be publicly post a photo of herself with mad hair and puffy red eyes, crying over wedding invitations? To put it plainly, no. Such things are usually kept private. So if all you see are girls with stars in their eyes, remember not every single day of their planning looks that way. Or, if all else fails, remember this – even Beyonce, most of the Kardashians and Lindsay Lohan allegedly Photoshopped pics of themselves before posting them on Instagram. Social media is awesome, alas… not always truthful.
2. Don’t forget to lean on your other half. Some people deal with stress by shouting, some by completely withdrawing. Others go to the gym and punch that really heavy boxing bag, or get their nails done. Whatever your coping mechanism, everything will be better when you lean on your fiancé(e). Even if they’re not going through the same emotional rollercoaster as you are, they’re the ones standing by you on your wedding day – so share how you feel. Don’t put on a brave face, don’t say everything’s fine, and don’t be afraid to cry. Instead, ask for extra hugs, a day away from it all, a special dinner out, or anything else that will make you feel better. Having that one person to lean on is, after all, the whole point of marriage. Tell your beloved how you feel, we promise it’ll make all the difference.
3. Understand that people have very little perception of how you feel. They think all brides-to-be should be happy and they cannot fathom you may be wishing you could elope instead. Many people don’t remember the time leading up to their own wedding, or if they wed a long time ago, chances are their mums did all the planning, there was only one supplier for miles around, and no internet. So if you want to say ‘nobody understands me’, you’d probably be right – but it’s not a reason to feel down. A wedding is a unique event and for most of us only happens once. Pick one or two people you can trust and talk to them about how you feel – that ‘nobody understands me’ feeling will soon disappear.
Image by Jose Villa
4. Ask yourself this question: when did this stop being fun? You may now be at a point where it’s really hard to imagine how you ever thought wedding planning was going to be fun. Remember back to when you first got engaged – most likely, there was a great sense of excitement, and you were looking forward to literally everything. What happened? Planning happened. Take a moment to honestly answer that question we asked above. You’ll probably surprise yourself with how clear your answers will be. You may say things like: I feel like I’m doing this all alone, or my family interferes too much, or my boss is unreasonably turning down my requests for time off. These are all valid points! Now all you have to do is tackle them. Ask for help, tell your family you’re overwhelmed and you need to chill out for a bit, and ask your boss what compromise can be reached for your time away from the office. When you know the reason why the fun has stopped, it’ll be that much easier to fix it.
5. Do you feel like you don’t even know what still needs doing? It’s time to revisit that wedding planning checklist. A surprise may await you here… you may find you no longer want a few things you used to consider essential. It’s ok, cross them off. Make a separate list of things that are only half done, then decide which ones you want to finish, and which can be chucked because they really won’t make that much of a difference on the day. Ask for help with what’s left. When you take such a no-nonsense pen-and-paper approach to the tasks, you’ll find them far less overwhelming. Those people who make lists, you know, they’re really onto something good.
6. Understand there’s no such thing as a relaxed bride. Even those lucky ladies who think the word ‘budget’ is a charming and quaint notion (and who hired someone else to put the whole day together) still get totally stressed over all kinds of things. Consider this logically – you’ll most likely never again be responsible for entertaining such a large number of people while making all the decisions yourself and paying for it all yourself too (unless, of course, you’re marrying a duke or a diplomat). You’re in a unique situation which you probably didn’t imagine would be like this, except for things you read online and thought ‘nah, that won’t be me’. It’s ok to be stressed – you’re in a completely unusual situation here.
7. Your guests really won’t notice the finest details – so don’t fret over them. Don’t try to match everything, don’t overspend on fiddly decorations, don’t plan too much DIY and don’t make decisions based on what other people want. A wedding is made of key components, of which the ceremony is most important. The rest is really simple – food, entertainment, photographer/videography, honeymoon. The guests won’t even know you planned on tying bows around the candleholders, but didn’t manage to do it in the end – but they’ll remember the fantastic meal, and the DJ who played some seriously good tunes instead of shouting into the microphone most of the night. Believe us when we say – the details only matter if they have some significance to you. If they don’t, you can skip them.
8. As someone very wise said: ‘stressed’ is ‘desserts’ spelled backwards. Yes, that means it’s time for a treat. Have whatever you like – you deserve it.
Above image courtesy of themanorhousebride.com
Main image by snixykitchen.com
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.