Staying calm and mentally sane throughout wedding planning isn’t as easy a feat for some as it is other. Planning a wedding may place unwanted pressure on any couple to make it ‘the perfect day’ or the Pinterest-style wedding they’ve long dreamed of, while a combination of decision-making, money-spending, and family politics can all add stress to your already busy life.
Before we begin talking about “mental health”, I should clarify – we all have mental health of course. It is our individual thoughts and emotional, psychological wellbeing, and just like our physical health, we can have good mental health and poor mental health as well as good and bad days in between.
Thinking about and being aware of your mental health is vital to wedding planning right from the start, so that when you do encounter stress, you know how to deal with it. Navigating the potential stresses of wedding planning will set you up well for marriage, so take it in your stride and be grateful for the lessons you’ll learn along the way.
Finances – The Wedding Budget
Money can become a huge deal when you’re planning a wedding. There’s few other times you’re spending the equivalent of a house-deposit on one day, and for many it’s not just their own money their spending (i.e. the Bank of Mum & Dad).
Taking financial contributions from others can lead to an imbalance, or a change in the relationship with those people, as though meant in the most generous of spirit, money can come with expectations too. Before you accept financial contributions, understand exactly what those generous contributors want in return – don’t just accept offers of financial support and assume that your supporters won’t want their voice heard in the planning of the wedding. On the other hand, some parents won’t be able to contribute, so make sure to manage this relationship tactfully.
As for your own money, talk to your partner early and openly. Make sure you know (and approve of) how much you’re both willing to spend and how much your budget should be, and how much you can actually afford in order to continue a normal life both until, and after the wedding.
Once you have a budget in place, keep discussions open, and if you want to ‘blow’ the budget to spend money on something that’s particularly important to you, have another conversation with them first.
Family, Friends and the Guest List
There’s little more political than a wedding guest list, and many brides and grooms are fraught with difficulty over it. It’s one of the very first steps to begin planning, so to ensure it isn’t also the first source of stress. Have open discussions with your fiance and both sets of parents about their expectations, and be kind but firm. At the end of the day, it’s the relationships that live well beyond the day. The relationship with your partner, your joint families, and your friends. Don’t let a wedding be the source of disintegration and stress between yourselves – deal with these issues openly and constructively.
Explain that you can really only invite X number of people – those whom you have enough space and money for. For many large families, parents will feel pressure to invite all of their relatives, but this can’t be at the expense of your wedding budget, or your enjoyment. You don’t have to feel guilty about not wanting someone there – it’s your day and it’s absolutely your decision. Oh, and the smaller the wedding, the easier the seating plan!
Work + Life + Wedding = Balance
Trying to balance work, life and wedding planning may feel like a lot of pressure. The key is to incorporate wedding planning within your day-to-day life, rather than looking at it as an insurmountable chore to squeeze in. Make sure you start early, set a calendar and plan it in small chunks – little white book is the perfect place to get organised. With a 12 month diary incorporated, you can use it every day, and tick off each of your wedding ‘to-do’s’ one at a time, and when you have the time.
As the day comes closer, have catch-ups with girlfriends while tending to little wedding errands, and it will be all the more fun for both of you.
Make sure you get enough time to totally relax, and also pamper yourself. If possible, book yourself in for regular relaxing facial or a massage.
It is of course so imperative to make sure you are getting enough sleep. It will clear your mind, ease decision-making and do wonders for your mental health. Speaking of sleep, never go to sleep angry at your partner – it’s bad for your night’s rest and your relationship – so snuggle up and shut your eyes.
Keeping up with the Joneses
In many groups of friends, engagements, and therefore weddings, follow each other in quick succession. While it’s great fun that you can all plan, and attend each others’ weddings, it may be a source of angst if you feel like you’re constantly trying to keep up with your friends’ weddings, or wedding budgets.
Weddings can be as unique and different as their couples, so instead of focussing on what everyone else is doing, sing your own tune. What makes you and your fiance different, and how can you celebrate that? Don’t feel obliged to follow every custom or tradition, or fit the cookie-cutter mould of wedding that Hollywood movies portray. Be you and be different, seize the opportunity to make your wedding uniquely personal, and you’ll have less to stress about.
Don’t be afraid to ask a friend, wedding planner or even us at She Said Yes for help, guidance and a little sanity check. You may be surprised how willing people are to lend a hand – if you just ask.
Many brides actually suffer from poor mental health after the wedding, once their big day is over and done – it can feel like a bit of a come-down, or ‘Post-wedding-blues’. You’ve just been through a major life milestone, so it’s understandable to have some anxiety with change, and there may feel like less to look forward to. For us, having the honeymoon a little later helped with that, but it also takes a shift in your thinking. Focussing not on what’s just been, but on what’s to come, is much more positive. It wasn’t until near to first wedding anniversary that I really started to get excited about all the things we were going to do in the future – and how much we had to come.
This was one of the major reasons for creating ‘I still do‘ too, as a wedding anniversary diary and keepsake of marriage – every year, beginning as soon as you’re married ideally, and again on your wedding anniversary, working through your lives together and setting goals for the future. Setting goals is an incredibly powerful tool for your mental health, whether that’s months, years or decades in advance.