It’s to be one of the happiest days of your life, right? But how are you supposed to enjoy it if you are exhausted and burnt out? Believe me when I say you are not alone, I ran a recent survey on my social media channels and 86% stated wedding planning was stressful, with three quarters of them reporting three or more stress-related symptoms, including mood swings, unable to sleep properly and a serious lack of libido!
There are ways to develop coping strategies to minimise stress and anxiety while preparing for your big day and on World Mental Health Day I wanted to share some stress and anxiety management tips to use whilst in planning mode;
Give Yourself Time & Draw Up a Schedule
Weddings celebrations, even the small intimate ones, require a significant planning period to pull off, 18-24 Months in most cases. Agreeing budgets & theme, finding suitable venues, hiring vendors, looking for alternatives if the one you had your heart on is already booked, dress and suit fittings, cake tastings . . . I could go on!
Space out the tasks over the coming months and delegate when you can. By giving yourself extra time to plan and having a good support around you, you immediately create a buffer if a plan B is needed and more importantly to allow you to relax and take a break in the middle of planning.
Once you know how long you have to plan, create a calendar to schedule out your checklist and activities. Strike a balance, leaving too much for the last minute will only increase your stress and reduce your enjoyment of a day that is supposed to be all about you and your partner, so consistently review what can be done sooner, such as making up activity bags for children, you’ll be surprised how long these smaller tasks take up time wise.
If you already use a calendar app on your phone or laptop, it’s best to integrate the two. For example, knowing when work deadlines need to be the priority or other social engagements will help keep you from overbooking or cramming too much into one week.
Use time-blocking when you can, then when you identify availability in your schedule, you can take advantage of it to knock out several wedding tasks, having a production day like this will boost your mood and lift your confidence too.
Stick to Your Budget
As the wedding planning evolves it’s all too easy to lose sight of the budget, especially if you have a sense of running out of time, we may feel we need to ‘throw’ more money at something to get it to happen!
One of the first things you should do is to decide how much you can afford to spend on your ceremony and reception, include a realistic contingency and then STICK TO IT!
It is well known money issues are a significant source of relationship strain and budget has been the number one stressor amongst the couples I’ve worked with.
Identify the non-negotiables, what do the two of you REALLY want for your big day and check you can afford it, everything else needs to go on a wish list, this is where the compromise and contingency can come from if your spending gets out of control.
Remember to plan the wedding of your dreams and not that of others, its too easy to get swept up in comparing yourselves to others or letting boundaries fall when it comes to the invitee list. Pressuring yourself to do or have something at your wedding because it’s “traditional” only adds unnecessary stress to your life. If you don’t like a tradition, then don’t do it. If something else resonates with you deeply, then add it in.
You have friends and Family who enjoy seeing you before the engagement, make time to stay connected with people you love.
At time, talk about everything BUT planning. Listen to what is going on in their lives.
And when you do need to talk, vent or even have a good old cry, close friends will listen to you and will be there to support you. A sense of humour and perspective could be the best tools for dealing with wedding planning stress.
Sometimes what you are feeling can be more than just stress or nerves. If you already see a therapist, make time to talk specifically about what you are experiencing. They can recommend additional resources for managing the added stresses of wedding planning.
Reconnect With Your Partner
You and your partner are planning to spend a lifetime together, so don’t let the wedding planning take over everyday life.
Make time for each other by regularly setting aside a day, or a weekend, just the two of you, it can be as simple as movie night in or as grand as a pre-wedding weekend getaway.
Sharing planning responsibilities will not only lighten the load but it will make you both feel included in the day that is, ultimately, about both of you.
Take Care of Yourself
Firstly, keep up with your hobbies and don’t neglect the things that make you happy. With all the time wedding planning takes it will fast become your one and only ‘hobby’ and it can be easy to neglect yourself
Being out in nature improves mental focus and mood, if you feel your anxiety levels raising take yourself off for a walk. Eating healthy, drinking plenty and getting adequate sleep will not only make you feel good but will help you look your best too.
If time feels like your biggest pressure find a way to combine the planning activities with others, you can call your vendors whilst a walk or use a meditation app while waiting for an appointment.
Context, Reality, Guilt – its OK to Care ‘too much’
You may have feelings of guilt at times for caring so much about your wedding, with the current problems in the world, the war in Ukraine and the Cost-of-Living crisis and even before these world-changing events many couples have felt some guilt around the emotional energy, money and resources given on this single event given the context of real-life issues.
It’s just a big family party right? Wrong! The reality is a wedding is so much more as it is a celebration of people coming together in love and is a significant social milestone that brings people together and something you both will want to share with those closest to you, the type of milestones we all need in our lives right now to show hope for a brighter future.
There is no shame in feeling down if you think that the moment you have been planning for might not turn out to be how you envisaged. Remember your feelings are valid and matter.