Coping with Wedding Stress
I’m in the midst of planning an autumn 2009 wedding and am well-acquainted with the ups and downs of such an undertaking. Between social conventions, family dynamics, and inflated expectations, planning a wedding can be a minefield.
Maybe I’m very lucky, but so far the process has been relatively easy. However, I realize that not all brides and grooms have this experience. I have five guidelines for wedding planning that I’m using to manage some of the stress inherent in the process.
1.) Embrace Realistic Expectations
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your wedding won’t be perfect--and actually perfect would be very boring. All your zany relatives will be attending and some of them won’t be taking their meds. The caterer might run out of shrimp or vodka. The air-conditioning might break at the venue. Things that you can't control will happen. Also, remember that everything associated with weddings is insanely expensive, so be honest with yourself about what you can realistically afford (see tip #5).
2.) Use Online Resources
Sites such as TheKnot.com, indiebride.com, and gayweddings.com are great sources of information regarding everything from vendors to vows. You can post anonymously and read honest reviews. Indiebride.com has a special section named “kvetch” with subcategories devoted to topics like “marriage and feminism,” “second thoughts,” and “same sex marriages.” These online sites offer a legitimate means of getting validation from other brides and grooms who share similar anxieties.
3.) Compromise, Compromise, Compromise!
Weddings seem to intensify and exacerbate family dynamics. From the guest list to the seating chart, it is impossible not to offend someone. Remember to carefully pick your battles. This is especially important if the bride and groom are not paying for the wedding. I mean, if your mother is dead set on having a certain color of peach in the color scheme then maybe you can just go with it.
4.) Remember to involve your life partner…
Frequently one person is more involved in the planning than the other, but make sure to include him or her. Ask your partner, “What components of the wedding are the most important to you?” and encourage them to take the lead in those areas.
5.) Don’t go into debt!
Do you really need two swan ice sculptures and a self-serve candy station at the reception? Prioritize what is truly important to you and create a special day that reflects you and your partner. If you are realistic about what you can afford (see tip #1) You will be glad that you don’t have Visa bills following you for the ten years of your marriage.