Managing Pre-Wedding Anxiety
And I’m not just talking about pre-wedding jitters here… pre-wedding anxiety is far bigger than just nerves. Nerves are the slight niggling feeling below the surface that knows we’re about to do something that scares us / will challenge us. Anxiety is a much bigger beast, and no rhyme nor reason can compete with it. It is overwhelming, it’s undiluted fear, and it’s life’s biggest mental health problem. 3 million people in the UK suffer from an anxiety disorder, and that doesn’t take into account all of the people who may suffer somewhere on the anxiety spectrum but haven’t had it fully diagnosed to the extent of an anxiety disorder.
It tends to rear its ugly head when we’re on the verge of a major life change - moving schools, changing jobs, being made redundant, starting a new relationship, and getting married are all major changes that occur regularly in our lives that we have to deal with. Sometimes even the thought of these things happening makes us feel incredibly anxious. And when we’re getting married we have to think about our wedding a lot.
I want to reiterate before we delve into the ways of dealing with this anxiety pre-wedding, that feeling anxious before your wedding is extremely normal. So many people do even if they never would imagine that they could feel any form of anxiety when planning such a beautiful occasion. Like I said above, no rhyme nor reason can compete with it. The most important thing I can tell you to do is to not suffer in silence, or to suffer alone. If you’ve read about treating anxiety online before then you’ll have definitely come across this advice already, but the more time we spend building up this rhetoric then more people will realise that suffering in silence is never, ever the answer. Handling anxiety by yourself can lead to greater feelings of anxiety or depression, both of which are way harder to deal with and recover from. So do the right thing by yourself and find somebody to talk to. Whether it’s your partner, your best friend, a family member of a counsellor. Choose someone that you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with and confide in them. You will only feel better for it, and once you’ve conquered this then it will be far easier to do all of the things that I’m about to suggest below, which will help you tenfold.
Be Super Organised
We all know this from experience; starting early saves you a lot of stress and heartache in the long run. From ironing a shirt to finishing off a presentation for work, nothing feels good when it’s happening at the last minute. Start all of your wedding planning early, and decide from the start exactly what you need to do. Dedicate a specific time and place each week to wedding planning and admin and try to stick to this schedule as best as you can. It might sound like the complete opposite of fun, but trust me, when your whole wedding is a planned and finalised a good 3 months before the actual date, leaving you ample time to relax and pamper yourself, you’ll be thanking me.
If you genuinely don’t have a lifestyle that allows you to schedule your time like this then the wedding will probably sneak up on you and any last minute stress is likely to occur. Consider hiring a wedding planner to help you get some of the main organisation done, if not all of it. Many planners, myself included, offer a range of packages which can fit into your schedule. For example, I offer a month long wedding planning assistance package which can be used at any point during your engagement. So whether you want to kick-start your plans within the first month, you need a little bit of extra help six months in when your work diary is going mental, or you need an extra pair of hands to bring everything together a month or two before, then we’ve got you covered.
Take Time For Yourself
I know that if you suffer with anxiety then you’ll have read this advice in a multitude of places before now, but seriously - do it. There’s no prizes for being a martyr in the wedding world, suffering alone without giving yourself a proper break because “there’s so much stuff that needs doing!” Your health is more important than your wedding day and so you majorly need to look after yourself to avoid burn-out. When you’ve got a full-time job and a wedding to plan (which can often feel like a full-time job too) you need to be savvy with your time otherwise you will massively lose out on any chill, whether it’s Netflix related or otherwise. Whether it’s taking half an hour in the evening to chill out with a magazine and a cup of tea (read: G&T) or booking a spa trip with your best companion on an occasional weekend, these little relaxation sessions you build into your wedding planning journey will see you reap the benefits come the wedding day.
And for anyone who is still umming and ahhing on whether they can allow themselves this downtime - stress can lead to weight-gain and tired skin, and do you really want those creeping up on you in the run-up to your wedding?!
This is an absolutely huge lesson that I have learnt over the last year. I am a self-confessed people pleaser, which sounds like a lovely thing to be but it definitely has its pitfalls in that I put everyone in my life before myself. I then lose out when I’ve set about pleasing everyone and realised that I’m left in situations that I am not entirely happy with. This year I wanted to put myself first a little bit more - which I had to firmly tell myself wasn’t selfish, or at least not in the negative sense of the word.
To do this I set about managing expectations. I knew that by now everyone expected me to just be a “yes” person and go along with everything that they wanted. I knew that if I just started saying no or making it clear that I wanted to do something different that they might feel confused, or even hurt. So from the off I decided I was going to have to make it clear to people, by telling them that I was going to start putting myself first a bit more. I was anxious as to how people would take this change in me, and as a people pleaser I was obviously concerned that people might not like me anymore because of it. In actual fact, people were a lot more understanding because I’d been upfront about what I was going to do, and I’d thus managed their expectations of what they could expect from me from here on out.
Doing the same in terms of your wedding can do a huge amount to curb anxiety. Tell your friends and family the size and style of your wedding from the off so they know what to expect. Lots of us are secretive about our weddings because we don’t want anyone to judge our plans, and we want everything to be a nice surprise for our guests. However, this may leave your family and friends to envisage what your day will be like, and if their imaginations are running away with them then it may leave you feeling anxious that your wedding day won’t live up to their expectations. Once people know what to expect then you won’t feel pressured to make changes or entertain other people’s opinions on what your day should be like.
Anxiety is likely to creep up on even the most chilled-out people in the lead up to a wedding, quite simply because of the magnitude of the symbolism that a wedding day represents. But there’s no reason to let any nerves of anxiety overwhelm you. You just need to stay ahead of the game, by being super organised or by hiring some assistance to help you. Taking time for yourself so that you can unwind and realise that there are other things in life outside of the wedding planning, and managing expectations of those around you so that they can stay realistic about the day. And what an absolutely fantastic day it will be - I can guarantee that.
To get in touch about assistance with your wedding planning, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can fill the message form in on the contact page and I will reply to you within 24 hours (because I’m keen like that, and I live for a good wedding to plan!)