Getting married may be one of the most anticipated and monumental experiences of our lives, with fairytales of one’s wedding often starting in childhood.
Given the expectations of engagement bliss, the reality of this intense, emotional rollercoaster commonly catches people off-guard.
Common wedding planning problems
If feeling pressure to wear the mask of wedding planning euphoria, being overwhelmed with the endless list of wedding decisions and stifling anxiety over pleasing everyone along for the ride is often experienced in silence.
But if this is a celebration of a lifetime, why all the angst and wedding jitters?
When put into perspective, when else have you planned every aspect of a “once in a lifetime” party for up to hundreds of your closest loved ones?
Furthermore, some of these loved ones may also want a say in how you walk down the aisle.
Potentially more than ever before, you may experience power struggles with people in your life who are used to calling the shots as you navigate having your own voice.
The engagement phase also marks a powerful transition symbolically breaking away from your identity of being single and adjusting to the idea of marriage, compromise, and living your life as a team instead of a party of one.
In the book The Conscious Bride, Sheryl Paul discusses the magnitude of this symbolic shift entering into adulthood and breaking away from one’s family to create a new identity as a married couple.
This transition can uncover pain related to this separation, naturally fearing change, and loved ones experiencing anguish over saying goodbye to the version of you they once knew.
You may also experience tension with your beloved as you disagree with the mountain of choices that come before you: a band or DJ, small wedding or big wedding, hometown wedding or destination?
While disagreeing on decisions is naturally frustrating, staring at your future spouse can add lighter fluid to your agitation as you digest that you will be compromising throughout your marriage.
Common wedding planning problems can elicit fears about the marriage, such as “are we compatible” or “do I give in more than my partner?”
All of a sudden, picking items for a wedding registry can snowball into questioning the characteristics of your partner.
How to get over wedding jitters
First, tell yourself, wedding nervousness is normal.
Remind yourself that instead of our fairytale fantasy of what a wedding (and marriage) is, this celebration is a true blend of two people, which means fusing together different preferences, ideas, values, and families.
The engagement phase is commonly overwhelming, scary, thrilling, loving, and everything in-between.
To only feel excitement about the wedding would be downplaying the magnitude of marriage and the commitment you are about to make.
So instead of denying your emotions, listen to them. What are you learning about yourself during the engagement process? Have you noticed a desire to please those around you, losing your own voice?
Where is the desire for perfection coming from? When are times you and your partner work great together and times when you miss the mark understanding each other? What topics are you avoiding talking about with your partner when planning your wedding?
This is also a wonderful time to take stock of loved ones in your life and share with them how meaningful they are to you.
A wedding is not only celebrating the love of the couple but all the people in their lives that taught them how to love.
Taking time to express your gratitude for others will not only make the wedding planning process more meaningful and heartfelt, but it will reassure loved ones that you are entering a new phase of life with them and not leaving them behind.
Finally, I’m continually humbled by the power of talking.
Vent to friends and family who give you space to feel the good, bad, and the ugly. Journal. Ask yourself – how am I feeling?- and if this is a difficult question, perhaps find a therapist who can help you dig deeper with what you may be experiencing.
Talk to your partner about your fears about the wedding and this upcoming life change and check in about how this process impacts them.
Leaning on each other when feeling the most afraid, vulnerable, and confused are the building blocks for a strong marriage.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
I have expertise providing couples therapy with presenting concerns including communication challenges, feeling emotionally disconnected, adjusting to life transitions (engagement, marriage, children), infidelity, pre-martial counseling, and uncertainty committing to the relationship. I also provide a workshop in downtown Chicago titled Prepping for the Wedding: A Survival Guide to Planning your Wedding (next workshop February 19, 2020 5:30pm-7:30pm).
Couples commonly get stuck having repetitive disagreements without a resolution. I help couples uncover and communicate the deeper meaning underneath their arguments, allowing for couples to understand their partner's emotional needs and feel heard. When couples feel supported, conflict decreases and emotional connection is enhanced.