By Tess Reid – Counsellor and Psychotherapist – Bridal Therapy and Counselling Services
As a newly engaged couple the sharing of the big news of your engagement with family, friends and colleagues is the first thought after saying “YES” to the person you love.
The excitement, shock and adrenaline running through your body is electric. There is so much to look forward to as a new journey begins.
As you both start to tell your nearest and dearest about the engagement you are met with hugs and tears of joy.
This can transition and lead to questions you are unprepared for:
- Where will the wedding be held?
- What dress or suit will you be wearing?
- How many people will be invited?
- Can a cousin you have never even heard of attend the wedding?
- What theme or style is your wedding to be?
- Where will the ceremony and the reception be held?
With so many questions being thrown about while sharing life-expanding news the initial excitement can sometimes be replaced with feelings of nervousness or stress.
The soon to be bride or groom may become overwhelmed thinking, “I just wanted to celebrate our engagement. I guess I should start looking at wedding venues or hiring a wedding planner” and wondering, “where do I begin?”.
Suddenly there are mixed emotions of joy and pressure. This can be the start of wedding stress. Wedding stress is common. That’s why I started Bridal Therapy.
Wedding stress is often a common occurrence for any bride or groom to be.
With finances, family amalgamations, wedding planning, high emotions and social pressure most people will feel overwhelmed at various stages of the wedding planning process.
The best way to assist with stress and anxiety when planning a wedding is to engage with an experienced wedding planner and counsellor. A counsellor can assist with helping to manage stresses through:
- Managing expectations
- Healthy communication skills
- Goal setting
- Understanding emotions
It is important to remember that every couple will experience their own stressors when planning their wedding.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the wedding planning journey.
There are some common stresses a bride or groom to be may experience both as an individual and as a couple. Why am I feeling overwhelmed? Shouldn’t I be feeling overjoyed? These mixed emotions are common.
Women in particular have been socialised to believe that their wedding day will be a fairy tale. Through social media, films, books and general socialisation women often have unrealistic ideas and expectations of what a wedding and the planning process are like in real life.
This is often subconscious but can have a large and long-term impact on your stress and mood when planning a wedding.
Social media plays a very large role in the creation of unrealistic expectations.
Pinterest and Instagram are fantastic sources of visual style inspiration however they are often highly unrealistic compared with what the average couple can afford for their big day.
Wedding imagery that circulates on social media platforms are often organised by celebrities, people of significant wealth or styled for advertising and a placement promotional shoot (i.e. not a real wedding).
Couples often realise too late that these weddings may be unachievable due to financial constraints. This disappointment can stimulate feelings of sadness and frustration.
Understanding and breaking down unrealistic expectations and setting achievable goals early on in the process of wedding planning is vital in reducing stress.
All weddings are beautiful no matter what the budget and understanding that you can still have an amazing day by focusing on achievable goals rather than unobtainable dreams is key to maintaining healthy stress levels.
“Partnering or an engagement with an experienced wedding planner can alleviate considerable wedding stress across:
- your budget
- real world wedding planning and on the wedding day logistics
- access to reputable suppliers, vendors and venues
- the quotation and contract processes plus payment schedules
- style, look and theme across all elements within budget commitment
- the on the day coordination from bumpin and bumpouts at prepsites, ceremony, photography sites and the reception too”
– Kerrie Wood, LUXE – Unforgettable Events
You may well also ask – what about my support network e.g. my friends and my family? Won’t they be able to help with a lot of above?
Family and friends can impact wedding stress as well. The bride, groom, family members and the wedding attendants can experience stress too during the wedding planning process and on the wedding day.
“That is why working with a wedding planner for wedding planning activations is an invaluable resource.”
– Kerrie Wood, LUXE – Unforgettable Events
Working with a counsellor prior to the wedding who understands family dynamics can help to reduce this stress by teaching skills to manage:
- Family expectations and dramas using healthy communications skills; and
- Conflict management resolution and developing healthy boundaries.
Having useful skills sets up your marriage for a happy and healthy relationship. This can also support healthy relationships with friends.
Friends can be wonderful confidants however its important to be mindful that often they are unable to give the right advice in the planning process and what is said unintentionally in a moment of stress and conflict might impact your relationship down the track. Talking to a counsellor provides support, empathy and is unbiased.
So how can you reduce stress during the planning phase, on the day and beyond?
Talk to professionals – they are there for you and your partner through the complexities of the wedding planning process and on the day.
Reducing and managing the wedding planning stress when planning a wedding and on the day is achievable through mindfulness.
Mindfulness helps people to be present in the moment. Using slow paced breathing techniques is key to reducing stress when planning a wedding. Mindfulness goes hand in hand with self-care making sure the bride, groom and family members are exercising, eating well and sleeping prior to the wedding. These tools will help the mind to be clearer and improve decision-making skills along the way.
Working with a counsellor can assist with mindfulness, developing coping ahead strategies and goal setting during the journey and beyond the wedding day.
Counselling can help with anything from; communication and conflict management – all the way through to working to improving wellbeing, enhancing self understanding and resolving identified concerns.
Talking to a counsellor, whether it’s only a session or two or weekly leading up to your wedding day and beyond, can help alleviate the stress of the wedding process.
Here are some tips for the bride and groom to be to ensure you both have the very best wedding experience possible:
- Download a mindfulness app on your phone and practice twice a week during the wedding planning process. (Buddify is great).
- On the wedding day don’t forget to eat breakfast and count your drinks. You want to remember the experience so taste the food and stay clear headed.
- Take a moment with you partner alone on the day to enjoy each others company even if its only for a few moments.
- Look around the room together and appreciate that everyone is here to celebrate your love for each other.
- Finally, make sure you plan a honeymoon after the wedding whether it is 2 days or 4 weeks – you will need something to look forward to that is relaxing. A honeymoon helps the mind and body to wind down, allowing you both to appreciate the wedding planning journey you have travelled on together.
All the best to the newly engaged – it is a journey for sure and I am only a phone call away.
*Disclaimer from LUXE – Unforgettable Events:
LUXE – Unforgettable Events invites and uploads guest blogs from wedding and allied industry experts from time to time for the sole purpose of providing information for all of our blog readers who are on their wedding planning journey.
We at LUXE – Unforgettable Events support collaborative industry engagement wherever possible however we do validate the source of blog content to the best of our ability and it’s intended positioning purpose as our blog site is designed to be informational in its content not sales or promotion oriented.
LUXE – Unforgettable Events’ operational policy is that we do not receive commissions or participate in any form of financial compensation from any service, supplier, vendor or venue for blog content of “their” respective service and or product.
LUXE – Unforgettable Events merely endeavours to develop engagements across the wedding , event and allied support services, vendor and venue landscapes according to our commitment to best business practice ensuring valuable content for our blog readers, clients and future clients so they may have the most informed, reliable, satisfying, cost effective and unforgettable wedding planning and on the day coordination service experience that is in keeping with our commitment to excellence in our performance for our blog readers.
While all information and content of a guest blog is checked and sometimes edited for context or reformatted at the time of publication LUXE – Unforgettable Events is not responsible for any error of content or omissions by the guest author that may impact the blog reader – the blog reader is encouraged to seek his or her own external due diligence if proceeding with any advice or future engagement with a service or a product of the guest blogger.
Kerrie Wood @ LUXE – Unforgettable Events