If you find yourself stressed AF at times throughout your planning process, it’s totally okay (and so normal). But if you feel like you’re starting to drown in uncharted waters that have become your wedding plans, you might want to slow down and take a breather.
SO HOW DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NORMAL WEDDING STRESS AND STRESSED AF STRESS?
AND WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NEARING OR AT THE STRESSED AF SPOT?
We all know planning any event, let alone your wedding, isn’t going to be stress-free, and I’m not trying to get you to a space where you feel light as a feather and don’t have a care in the world; you should have some cares (I mean, it’s your wedding). It’s completely normal to feel varying levels of stress during the months of planning for you and your partner's big day. But when you start feeling bogged down or notice you’re not enjoying the process anymore, you need to take a moment to reevaluate what’s going on.
Below I will break down the top 10 signs to look out for that your stressed AF and various coping skills that you can implement to push you back into the “normal” wedding stress waters.
1. YOU ARE NO LONGER ENJOYING THE PROCESS OF WEDDING PLANNING.
Remember how excited you were before you got engaged? How fun it was to plan and think about your wedding together? Remember the day when you got engaged and how amazing that moment was? Take some time and look at how planning is trucking along for you now. Are you still in that same excited state, or do you feel like you are so consumed with pleasing everyone else? If you answered yes to the latter, maybe it’s time to take a step back and clear your head so you can remember those fond memories more clearly. Also, take note that this is a time to start creating new memories and to not have this phase remembered as stressful or even painfully emotional.
2. YOU ARE PROCRASTINATING A TON ON ALL THINGS WEDDING.
Procrastination for wedding planning looks a bit different than what procrastination in high school looked like. Unlike the way procrastination plays out in school where you might be able to piece together a last-minute paper that receives a passing grade, most people don’t want memories of their wedding to be barely stitched together. In order to address the putting off all things wedding, you need to delegate wedding planning tasks and keep the planning moving forward.
3. YOU ARE CONSTANTLY SICK.
Stress is a sneaky son of a gun and can show up in our lives in several different ways. Some of the most common are: headaches, stomach aches, muscle pain or tension, low energy, reduced sex drive, grinding teeth, insomnia, chest pain, and nervousness. If you notice these symptoms being a constant in your life, this is a way your body is telling you that it is time to destress.
4. ELOPING DOESN’T SOUND LIKE THAT BAD OF AN IDEA.
If you have decided to elope in the first place, good for you! How fantastic. But if you are in the middle of planning your wedding ceremony and reception and are considering throwing the entire thing off to go to city hall because you fear going insane if you don’t, it is time to chill out. You are in the danger zone and need to channel your original idea and get excited for your wedding again!
5. PLANNING IS TAKING OVER YOUR LIFE, AND IT’S ALL YOU EVER TALK ABOUT.
If you have stopped doing things that you love and that make you happy, it is time to dial things back a bit. The best way to address this is to realize that wedding planning needs to fit into your life, not the other way around.
6. YOU HAVE SET UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE BIG DAY.
We all know that nothing in this world is perfect (and yes, that includes your wedding). With that knowledge, instead of aiming for perfection, try shooting for excellence. This shift in thought may assist in helping you to relax and soften your expectations.
7. YOU AND YOUR FIANCÉ ARE CONSTANTLY FIGHTING.
If you and your fiancé are bickering back and forth more so than positive exchanges, this might be a sign you're both stressed AF. The reset button needs to be pushed (stat). Schedule a date night where wedding planning talk is completely off the table and just spend this time enjoying each other’s company and remembering why you are getting married.
8. YOU ARE TRYING TO DO IT ALL ALONE.
If you have a wedding planner, great. Remember that you are paying them to assist in planning your wedding, so let them do their job. Not saying you need to hire a wedding planner — not everyone needs them, and that’s totally fine. But you shouldn’t be the only one steering the ship when it comes to the big day. Focus on the items that excite you and delegate the rest to your partner, parents, friends, and family. You won’t regret it!
9. YOU ARE FALLING BACK INTO UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS.
Find yourself drinking too much? Smoking again? Not working out? Having negative thoughts? This often happens when you are at the end of your rope. Get help fast, and don’t let yourself fall back onto your maladaptive coping skills. Lean on your friends and family for support, find a motivating workout buddy, or seek assistance from a professional therapist.
10. YOU ARE CONSTANTLY ANNOYED BY EVERYONE AROUND YOU.
Notice that you are on edge each time someone brings up your wedding? Can’t seem to relax when others around you give their two cents about the do's and don’ts of weddings? These are two big signs that you are way too stressed and need to refocus your thoughts. Try to focus on why you are getting married in the first place and look at it from a broader scope instead of hyperfocusing on every single, minute detail.
If you are aligning with more than one of these warning signs, keep reading (and if you aren’t, still keep reading because everyone could use some more self-care in their lives)!
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF DURING THIS NATURALLY STRESSFUL TIME
Download a mindfulness app or go to YouTube to find a recorded meditation to follow. Mindfulness can do wonders for the mind, body, and soul.
- Consider softening scents
Lavender, jasmine, chamomile, and basil have great soothing powers. Dab some essential oil onto your wrists to shift your mood quickly or use a scented candle or brew a floral tea.
- Adopt a mantra
I will listen to my partner's opinions.
I will forgive.
I will understand that the world doesn’t revolve around my wedding.
I will remember what this day is about.
I will not feed into the drama.
I will stay positive.
I will take care of myself.
I will be gracious.
- Allow yourself to be nervous
Fear often accompanies pre-wedding excitement and joy. Its normal, healthy even, to question this lifetime commitment. Just because you have concerns, doesn’t mean you don’t want to get married.
- Jot down your feelings
Journal about the experience. This is a safe and accessible way for you to express the emotions you’ve kept bottled up.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate
You can’t do it all on your own (though you are quite super). Enlist your friends and family to help during the planning stage and for the day of preparation.
- Pamper yourself
Treat yourself. Go get a pedi or mani, take a long hot bath, get a massage or a facial, and think about keeping that balance in your life.
- Take care of yourself
Exercise has positive emotional and psychological effects. Go out for a walk or run, dance around your kitchen, or go to a workout class. Any type of physical movement will help produce more uplifting and stress-stabilizing endorphins.
- Stay connected with your fiancé
If you have any concerns about your upcoming nuptials (it’s okay), find the courage to tell your partner. Some say that if you two can weather the storms of your engagement anxiety together, it bodes well for the rest of your marriage.
Written by: Shannon Gonter, LPCC, NCC
I specialize in working with men and young adults. I am passionate about my career and want to work with you to create positive change. I also strive to create a counseling environment where men and young adults can relate, feel heard, and find new solutions to their negative patterns. Some issues that I most commonly work with are stress, relationship issues, difficulty saying “no” to others, difficulties recognizing emotions and emotionally connecting to others, anger, and intimacy issues, among others.