At eve we’ve been planning weddings for years – as well as our own nuptials, of course – and have come across many a bride in our time. One thing most of them have in common? Nerves and anxiety!
Getting married is nerve-wracking but if you’re somebody who has underlying anxieties day-to-day already, your wedding can really enhance these. We’ve shared our tips from our own experiences as brides and the weddings we’ve worked on to bring you some anxiety-reduction strategies before the ‘big day’.
Rationalise where you can
Often within the wedding planning process there is a kind of lull at some point and this is commonly where anxieties can peak: things are booked and in-hand, and you may now be waiting to pay final balances or sorting décor items, but generally things have slowed down a bit.
More time to think often means more anxiety, and we see lots of brides experience this here. It’s really important to try and rationalise your thought processes here to prevent one thought causing five others and getting you into a hole. You need to stop the spiral.
When an anxious thought arises (perhaps, ‘what if ___ happens?’) remind yourself of the evidence you do or do not have to support this claim. What reason do you have to think this? This allows you to work out where your concern may be coming from and prevent it from turning into a long-term worry.
Plan your anxiety away
You’re planning a lot anyway, obviously – and you might not want to add to this list. But some wedding anxieties can be significantly eased with a little extra planning.
Let’s say for example that your concern is forgetting something on the day that you really want or need. If you know this, you can plan well in advance to create lists of what you need, research lists from other brides or ask your bridesmaids to hold onto a few bits for you. Involve other people where you need to: your bridesmaids will probably think of things that you don’t, so get all the ideas!
Remember that opinions and facts are different
This is a biggie for most brides. At eve we are all for couples doing what they want to do on their wedding day – and the reality is that sometimes, families don’t like that. It’s easy for us to tell couples not to take it on but it can be really difficult when there is family fallout. The key thing to remember – ideally from the get-go – is that people will almost certainly have and give you opinions on what you’re doing or not doing on your wedding day, whether you’re close to them or not, and remember that none of it is fact. People like to do things in different ways: that’s it.
Try and stick to your guns where you need to (so if you feel particularly strongly about something) or try the good old ‘thanks, I’ll think about that!’ – you don’t have to ever think about that thing again if you don’t want to.
Not every battle is worth it
Still, sometimes you may need to make compromises – and it’s stressful. When it comes to weddings, surprising numbers of people think about themselves and we’ve definitely seen a lot of couples fielding questions in our time: ‘how will I get there?’, ‘will I be sitting with ___?’, ‘I don’t want to sit with ___’, ‘where will I stay?’
It’s not uncommon to feel a bit grilled with these sorts of questions and it can contribute to anxiety levels when your guests are making demands on top of everything else you’ve got to do.
Our key advice here would be firstly to include as many details as possible on your invitations to reduce annoying questions that, frankly, your guests could Google – and secondly, to choose your battles. If you really feel strongly about not wearing a veil but your Grandmother is adamant that you must, sorry, Gran, but this isn’t one to budge on. If, however, your father-in-law is desperate to sit next to a particular person and it has little impact on you, fine.
We encourage our couples to ask themselves two questions when faced with these kinds of dilemma:
- Is this something I feel really strongly about?
- Is this something they feel really strongly about?
If you’re not that bothered but it’ll make your brother’s day if he wears a certain tie, cool. If you absolutely hate the tie and never want to see it as long as you live, sorry, bro.
Implement and stick to boundaries
With all this in mind, some of your loved ones won’t love you telling them ‘no’ – remember, a surprising number of guests will be thinking about how things affect them – and this is one of the most common wedding stressors that we see.
Sure, there will be times where people are quite helpful with ‘have you thought about this, or that?’ and you’ll think ‘no, but thank heavens someone else did!’ but also, most of these comments or opinions will be unsolicited and you’ll probably get a bit sick of it (and that is totally OK).
There can be a lot of pressure to fulfil people’s requirements, answer their questions or ease other people’s worries and if you spend all of your time on this, your own worries are going to be exasperated.
Implementing boundaries is vital here, and it can be as simple as ‘we haven’t decided on that yet’ (even if you have, no guilt here please) or ‘I will think about that’ or even a more direct ‘that isn’t something we want to do.’ Boundaries are a key component of your anxiety toolkit!
Remember you’re in this together
It may seem obvious that a couple stick together but trust us, it isn’t. Often, our families know how to influence us and it can cause a lot of friction quickly if loved ones are swaying one of you into different decisions.
Come up with your wedding day non-negotiables together, and stick to them. If people try to get involved with these elements of the day, you have each other as back up – especially if it’s your in-laws who are asking for something you don’t want, having your partner in your corner is especially valuable here. Telling anyone ‘no’ is hard, telling your in-laws ‘no’ is especially anxiety-inducing.
Prioritise self-care and stress management – and make it ongoing
You know us: self-care is a way of life, not a bubble bath when you fancy one. Planning a wedding is stressful and it’s easy to lose perspective, so ongoing management of your anxiety levels is so important (post-wedding too, we are all for that).
If your wedding anxieties are causing the excitement to be lost or preventing you from feeling like a bride, try out some of these tried and tested bridal self-care ideas:
- Book in some pre-wedding facials (you can often get a package of two or three)
- Take yourself for a manicure
- Take a break from planning
- Ask loved ones for a break from wedding talk
- Plan and look for your bridal accessories (it’s actually kind of nice to go alone)
- Plan something within the wedding that nobody else needs to know (i.e. it doesn’t affect them) like a car for the two of you, luxury accommodation or doughnuts in the bridal suite: this can be whatever you want!