Nearly everything about the wedding planning process is stressful.
From family dynamics and finances, to working with vendors, gown fittings and menu tastings, the obstacles on the way to the altar are can seem endless.
The pressure of the “big day”
The notion that the “big day” is the most important day in a couple’s life creates immense pressure. Everyone wants to have a “perfect” wedding, but this expectation is nearly impossible to achieve, and can leave the bride-to-be feeling frazzled.
“The Bridezilla idea distorts what is really going on,” says Arlene Cronk of Invitations & Company, as well as the founder and past president of both the Boston Wedding Group and The New York Wedding Group.
“She has never planned a wedding before, and she can’t take time off from her other responsibilities — so, yes, some brides can start to lose it after a while,” she says. “But there are two sides to every story. And the other side of this story is that brides need support precisely at the time when everyone around them thinks they should be living the fantasy.”
Don’t let the stress of planning your wedding get you down
“Brides today face an impossible situation — society teaches women to fantasize about their weddings from the time they are little girls. Both they and society expect them to have this idealized experience,” says Ms Cronk.
“But for most brides, wedding planning is actually a time of incredible stress. She has to deal with her family, with his family, with the budget, with planning the event, with planning their future life together, with the jealousies of coworkers who think she is spending too much time on the wedding, and with the rejection of friends who can’t deal with the fact she has a relationship and they don’t.”
As you juggle wedding planning, work, school, and other activities, take steps to recognize and manage stress. The CDC says that early warning signs of stress include headache, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, short temper, upset stomach, job dissatisfaction, and low morale. Help mitigate this by getting enough sleep, practicing relaxation techniques, and talk to your doctor or nurse if you feel stressed or if you think you are losing control.
Dr Deborah Pardee, licensed psychologist and core faculty at University of the Rockies, a graduate school that specializes in social and behavioral sciences, offers the following three tips to tame your inner bridezilla, ease stress, and make it a day to remember — for the right reasons.
1) Great expectations
You’ve thought about this day for years and you may have an idea in mind of what your wedding looks like — but, unfortunately, you’re not the only one. Dr Pardee says that your parents, in-laws, and friends also have their own ideas of what the day should entail. They will most likely offer unsolicited advice regarding details and decisions surrounding your special day.
Manage expectations. Be clear about the wedding you want and stay true to your vision. Trying to make everyone else happy will only take away from the joy of being a bride.
2) Know that nothing is flawless
Brides often have difficulty releasing control in the planning process for fear of something not being perfect, which can increase anxiety as the wedding date gets closer, says Dr Pardee. Brides especially experience a lot of pressure because they are more invested in the process, typically have more responsibilities, and are considered the focal point of the wedding.
Decor, dress fittings, menu options, the guest list, and seating arrangements — the tasks are endless. Make a to-do list and ask for help when needed. Weddings don’t have to be stressful and dramatic and, more often than not, something will go wrong along the way. You can’t control everything. The most important thing is that you are marrying the person you love.
3) All in the family
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about with your own family getting along, now you are introducing a new group of people into the mix, says Dr Pardee. The bride’s and groom’s families may not like one another, may not approve of the marriage, or may have conflict about the cost of the wedding. At a time of celebration, these tensions can be overwhelming.
Be sure to talk to your family members individually about the importance of the day. Transitioning into one big family can be a challenging process, so don’t force it. Regardless of culture clashes and family dynamics, remember that the marriage is between you and your spouse, and not your family.