Getting engaged and planning a wedding can be incredibly exciting. It’s (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate your love with cherished friends and family. But this time can also be stressful and take a toll on your mental health, relationship, and overall well-being.
I’m in the process of planning my own wedding. Even though I’m still in that post-engagement bliss, I anticipate that stress and obstacles will come. I’m doing my best to find strategies to maintain my well-being throughout this process. Here are five tips that I’m trying to follow to manage stress during the planning:
The mountain of tasks you need to do can feel overwhelming. When we have too many things going on, we can experience task paralysis: having so much to do that it causes us to freeze. This further exacerbates our stress. To counter this, try creating a to-do list that is realistic, specific, and timely.
Having a smaller, realistic to-do list can help minimize stress, focus your energy, and prevent burnout. List everything you need to do for the wedding, and prioritize your tasks based on realistic timelines.
For example, a wedding dress can take 10-12 months to be made and altered. As such, brides-to-be typically start dress shopping soon after the engagement, especially if the wedding is about a year out. This task would likely be at the top of the to-do list. Making a seating plan, though, normally happens closer to the wedding date once RSVPs have been received. This can go lower on the list. Work with your partner to create these lists, and delegate tasks so that you can divide and conquer!
This next tip is incredibly important. When you get engaged and start planning your wedding, you’ll likely notice friends and family members’ excitement. This is wonderful to witness, but it can become challenging when others insert themselves or their opinions into the process.
Your family and friends likely mean well, but if their help is affecting your happiness, it’s more than okay to assert yourself and your needs. For example, if your mother keeps insisting on a colour scheme or main course, you can respectfully yet firmly set a boundary. You could say something like, “I appreciate your suggestions, but it would mean a lot if you let me make my own decisions.”
If your boundaries continue to be breached, consider setting some consequences. This could be reducing the frequency of communication or the person’s involvement in the planning. If this is the case, be prepared for guilt tripping and protests, but try your best to remain firm. Again, remember: this wedding is about you and your partner. You need to be happy with your choices at the end of the day.
When things get busy and overwhelming in relationships, it’s easy for a breakdown in communication to happen. This can eventually lead to resentment, dissatisfaction, and disconnection.
Consider setting a specific time each week for you and your partner to discuss wedding plans. Make it a safe space where you work as a team to make decisions and compromises. Here, you can raise concerns or grievances, using “I” statements to reduce defensiveness. Remember, open communication can reduce stress and increase relationship satisfaction!
This might be the most important tip. Self-care is integral to your well-being and overall fulfillment in life. It can stave off burnout and depression, and help you cope effectively with stress. Even if you’re running out of space on your calendar, it’s necessary to carve out time for yourself each day to recharge. You deserve it (and likely need it—I know I do)!
Self-care might mean taking a relaxing bath, going for a run, journaling, disconnecting from technology, or planning a fun night out with friends. However you define self-care and relaxation, try to integrate them into your daily or weekly schedule. Your mental health will thank you!
When planning a wedding, we can sometimes lose track of what it’s all for to celebrate the love you have for your partner. So, make sure you’re reminding each other of why you love one another. Continue going out on dates and spending quality time together. Express gratitude for each other as you navigate this chapter in your lives. This will help you remain present and connected.
It’s normal to need a little reassurance that your partner is still grateful for the relationship and your efforts to plan this celebration. Don’t underestimate the value of a “thank you, and I love you!”
I hope these tips help you reflect on your own wedding planning so that you can better manage the inevitable stresses. I encourage you to keep reflecting on how you can make this an enjoyable process for you and your partner. Happy planning!
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