Wedding Stress: From “perfect day” to “celebration of love”

My fiance and I are recently engaged, which is super exciting! But we’re already getting stressed about wedding details and I can’t stop thinking about how I just want everything to be perfect. I’ve been dreaming about my wedding since I was a teenager and I thought I’d be excited, but now I’m just anxious. What is happening to me?

Congratulations on your engagement! You are on the road to building a long-lasting relationship! Sounds to me like you have entered a moment of complete bliss but also nervousness and anxiety about preparing for the big day.

Often couples who are getting married struggle with knowing how to plan the perfect wedding day — one that will capture the essence of themselves as individuals and also as a couple for their loved ones (and social media) to see. In attempting to plan this perfect day, an array of emotions can arise including frustration, anxiety, happiness, and disappointment; which can all happen just in the first planning stages of just trying to book a venue! However there are a few tips you can follow in order to make this special day less stressful, with less emphasis on perfection, and more of a celebration of love and commitment:

Keep things in perspective
One thing that I often tell my clients is that your wedding reflects maybe a 12 to 14 hour block of your entire lives together. Of course, while I understand the importance of such a momentous occasion, there are other priorities to maintain as well. I always encourage clients to keep the big picture in mind: is it really worth risking fulfillment, happiness, security (financially and emotionally) with your partner over too-high expectations of one day? In my work as a premarital counselor in Bethesda, MD, I often suggest couples take time to make a list of important parts of their wedding visions. Be clear in your communication with your partner about your expectations for the day and how you hope to achieve those expectations.

Have a schedule
Often couples feel simultaneously energized and burdened by the tasks of planning and executing a wedding. This can result in lower relationship satisfaction, fatigue for each of the individuals, and high stress levels. One exercise I help couples do in premarital counseling in Bethesda, MD is to work on scheduling. Try making a calendar that has different wedding goals for each month so that the to-do list does not become overwhelming. Additionally, it’s important to also make plans for the times when you’re not completing tasks related to the wedding. Sometimes couples do not realize how much extra time they may be giving to the wedding and may be taking away from other important facets of life, for example self-care, family relationships, or friendships. Therefore, try to stick to a schedule of already blocked times that you and your partner use to discuss elements of the wedding.

Remember: you are a team
Stress in general can cloud our judgement and perspective of our outside world. Wedding stress in particular can be disorienting and, as a result, have negative effects on your couple relationship. It is important to maintain the same levels of love, respect, honesty, compassion, that were held tightly and helped you grow to a place where you felt ready for marriage. Remember that you and your partner are a team, a solid unit, and your bond cannot allow your wedding to crack the solid foundation of a beautiful relationship. If you are finding it difficult to maintain a great relationship during the planning of your big day, consider premarital counseling in Bethesda, MD to help re-balance your relationship and get it back on track.

Congratulations on your wedding and best of wishes to a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship!

This post was written by Michelle Collins, an experienced premarital counselor and marriage & family therapist at Emily Cook Therapy in Bethesda, MD.

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