Wedding anxiety is a real thing. I get many calls each year from a couple trying to plan their wedding. One bride confessed to me that she wakes up at night thinking of all the things she has to get done. Then there is family drama that adds to the wedding anxiety. How to deal with family that give expectations and demands that feel overwhelming to you as a couple. Sometimes planning this day can feel like planning a funeral, not the best day of your life. Here are 5 tips to deal with your wedding anxiety and actually begin to enjoy this special season in your life!
TIP # 1 TEAM UP and tackle wedding anxiety together
I’ve been in the wedding industry for a while. And perhaps one of the greatest attributes to wedding anxiety comes from this weird view of everything being focused on the bride.
Unfortunately, the American way of marketing and thinking of a wedding is, it’s the bride’s special day. There is also an image painted as if a wedding day is a glorified prom day for the bride and their partner is just along for the ride. I have actually heard groom’s on the day of their wedding say, “whatever she wants, this is her day.”
Here’s the thing. What I discovered is that couples that see their wedding day as “their day” and about “them” verses about the bride, typically have a stress-free exciting day! Not to mention, a great start to their marriage.
Of course there will be certain things that one person will care more about than the other. But if the entire day is focused around one person’s desire, this also means all the wedding anxiety is on one person’s shoulders. And it doesn’t provide a good balance.
So to start, make sure you shake off all the stigmas that this is “her” day. And team up. Talk. Talk about what is important, what you want, what brings you joy as a couple and how you want this to be apart of your wedding day.
TIP# 2 Pop the question and deal with all that wedding anxiety
So now you are engaged! The first question has been asked and answered.
But as you begin to plan your wedding, it’s important you ask the next important questions. What do we want?
This is a huge question for your entire marriage, not just wedding planning.
Most of my couples start out planning a large traditional wedding and go through the motions doing whatever they are told they “should” do. But they never ask themselves, “What do we want?”
This is an important question to consider as you plan your wedding. Your answer will help you determine if you should invest in this or not. If this is something that will honor you and your future spouse’s decision to get married.
For example, I had a couple that were avid gardeners and loved hiking in the mountains. They spent a large amount of their budget on their florsit because having a gorgeous floral archway meant a lot to them. However, they did not want to spend a lot on a venue and choose one of my gorgeous Mountain view locations that cost them less than $200.00.
Meanwhile, another couple that very year spent less than 100 dollars on their fake paper flowers. Their parents told them they “should” have real flowers for their ceremony and for their bridal party. They considered their parents’ thoughts but in the end, teamed up, and realized neither of them cared about the ‘should’ of flowers and spent the money towards a live guitarist for their ceremony instead.
Point be, when you consider investing in something, ask, “Why?” and if the answer isnt’, “because we love and value this” then nix it. If your answer is, “ because we should. Becasue its expected. Because others might think its good” reconsider investing in this.
Tip # 3 to deal with wedding anxiety: Set a Budget together
After you have gone through together what is most important to you and what is not, its time to make your budget. Make a list with the things you both value the most on top and work your way down. Talk about what your ideal budget is and invest most in your top 5 items on the list. Things you both dont value have on another list that you both can return to and find healthy compromises on. Check out this blog on “how much does an elopement cost” for some ideas of wedding costs.
#3 Set a timeline that is stress free
When thinking of a timeline of your day, know that most vendors consider 8 hours as average. Anything over 8 hours usually is more. So consider having your ceremony and reception at the same location to cut time and the stress of transportation.
Another huge time-saver and stress relief is adding a first- look. A lot of couples cringe at the idea of NOT doing the first look. But honestly its a great option and if you read about the tradition of waiting until the ceremony, you might not think its so romantic. Read my whole blog here about pros/cons of first look. I will just say this, a first look, while intimate and wonderful for the couple, also helps the whole day run smoother as you can do all the formal photos before the ceremony, allowing you to go to cocktail hour and get some awesome sunset portraits of just the two of you.
Tip #5 : Address the family drama to avoid wedding stress
So here’s a big one. How do you deal with family-stress? How do you handle a mom or other family member who is pushing for things that you don’t want?
As harsh as this is going to sound, its really simple. This is your wedding and marriage. What if they are paying for part of the wedding? Then clear communication is needed.
As a mom myself, I consider all gifts to my kids as just that. A gift. Gifts are not to be used as a payment to have access to control and plan the wedding. Be clear. Be appreciative. This is also your opportunity to meet your parents as adult to adult.
When we marry, we are leaving our parents home. Not just literally ( some of us left that long before marriage and others of us are still living with them as married folk) but we are leaving them to create our own new family. Our parents are still our family of course but we are creating something new. So even in the wedding planning this is an opportunity for us to meet them as adult to adult with clear boundaries. What are YOU comfortable in receiving from them? What are you willing to sacrifice if you become uncomfortable?
For example, you might find that the gift from your parents is now feeling like something that is taking the joy out of planning your wedding as a couple. Perhaps they remind you that they are paying for this and therefore it should be done as they see fit.
This could be your opportunity to state, your “I WILL, I WONT’ boundaries. “Mom, I will accept any gift you offer, as I need the help. But I don’t want to hire that harpist to play nor that venue. WE want the other location instead. If you are not comfortable giving towards something you do not like, we understand and we will plan a wedding with the funds we have. “
You get to decide what you will and what you wont do based off what you feel comfortable with. These boundaries might come with sacrifices, such as less financial support. However, I do always find that people who hold healthy boundaries, even with loved one, have less stress, healthier marriages and a joyful wedding day.
Last bit on this, this is not to say you should ignore any and all requests from others. Consider them and talk about them with each other. If its not a big deal to either of you, then go ahead with it. If it causes you or your relationship stress, then dont. I am a believer that if anything is a stressor in my marriage, then it needs to be removed.
TIP #6 to avoid Wedding Anxiety: Consider eloping
WAIT! Before you skip this step, consider this: Eloping does not necessarily mean grab Elvis in Las Vegas to say your vows in the drive thru. The concept of eloping has come a LONG way! You can “elope” and bring just your most closest friends and family. Choose a gorgeous, stress-free place. Have an intimate reception dinner, privately catered at an air-b-n-b or restaurant. Then you a throw a larger party when you get home. Look around my website for ideas.