Your wedding day might be one of the most memorable experiences in your life, but research also suggests it’s one of the most stressful. On a scale developed by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe to measure the stress of different life events, getting married came in at a whopping No.7.
The natural stressors of a wedding—Can I afford this? Will everything be perfect?—don’t mean your other day-to-day stresses disappear. And if you’re already dealing with anxiety before marriage enters the equation, the experience can be even more emotionally taxing.
How can you cope?
Take your feelings seriously.
People might assume you’re on cloud nine preparing to say “I do,” creating an expectation that doesn’t match what you’re experiencing. Don’t write off your feelings—listen to them. If you need to take a break from planning, do it. Feeling anxious doesn’t mean you’re not committed to your partner or getting married.
Don’t ditch your hobbies.
With so much to do, it’s easy for your free time to be dominated by wedding-related tasks—which can compound your sense of anxiety. Instead, make sure to carve out time for things you enjoy. Exercising and cuddling up with your pets are proven to reduce stress, and setting up wedding talk-free hang out sessions with friends allows you to catch up on what’s going on in their lives.
Talk to your partner.
You are inherently not alone when it comes to wedding planning. You have a partner—your soon to be husband or wife—who should help you shoulder the weight. Tell them how you’re feeling and talk about what’s causing you the greatest anxiety so you can try to work on solutions together.
Bring in reinforcements.
Talk to those closest to you and see if they’re willing to step in to handle specific tasks or simply check up on you and give you an opportunity to vent once a week. And don’t forget you can always bring in pros: If the logistics of the big day are giving you grief, consider hiring a day-of wedding coordinator or a wedding planner who can take the reins throughout the process. Beyond wedding planning, meeting with a therapist can help put things in perspective and give you specific strategies for dealing with anxiety in the moments it’s most intense.
Minimize your stressors.
If you know there are certain things that trigger your anxiety, like having all eyes on you or interacting with big groups of people, design your wedding day accordingly. Instead of walking down the aisle with dad, brides can enter with their grooms or have a smaller private ceremony and a bigger reception. Rather than getting pulled into twenty conversations with relatives you kind-of, sort-of recognize, appoint a gatekeeper who can help you politely sidestep and end awkward encounters. We’re big advocates of doing what will make you and your partner happy while respectfully communicating what you want with family and friends—even if that means eloping.
How do you cope with wedding anxiety? Let us know in the comments!