"Get married!" they said. "It's such a great experience!" they said.
And for some couples, it IS their jam:
Friend: "So, how's the wedding planning going?"
Them: "Great! We're having so much fun choosing our photographer/looking at venues/working out colours together etc."
But for many, wedding planning is quite simply a freaking nightmare:
"I cannot get excited about the planning at all."
"I can't wait for the day to be over already."
"I'm really stressed and I'm not sleeping."
"I'm so over it!"
First up, wedding planning stress is real and it's not something to be swept under the rug as, more often than not, the warning signs are a symptom of a much bigger issue.
It's also important to remember, when you are knee deep in handcrafted wedding invitations and their colour-matched envelopes, that most brides and/or grooms have had these thoughts or feelings at some point during their wedding planning.
With the average engagement in Australia being 21 months many soon-to-be-weds are getting more involved in the details of their big day than ever before and that means that external (family and friends) and internal (you being extra hard on yourself) expectations are higher than ever.
Other pressures, like budget constraints, dysfunctional family dynamics and bridal party dramas also take their toll on a couple long before they walk down the aisle.
So to get clear on your feelings, you need to work out where your problem really lies.
Let's get down to the core of the matter: what is it that you're actually hating?
Is having your family weigh in on every decision you make annoying because you don't have the same taste OR is it driving you nuts because you've been living out of home for the last 7 years and are now very independant?
When your friends ask if they can bring a 'plus one' to your reception, is it infuriating because your budget is tight OR because they didn't let you bring your boyfriend (now fiancé) to their wedding a couple of years ago?
Try and work out what (and who!) is driving you crazy and then search a little deeper for the real reason behind your anger.
Once you know the source of your issue, it's time to work out what can be done about it.
Many of the brides and grooms I've had discussions with over my 8+ years as a celebrant, think that it's better to just keep quiet and get on with things. But I can tell you from my experience, that this is rarely the best way forward.
Most wedding planning decisions can be changed or reversed without too much trouble and it is almost always better to address ill-feelings when they arise rather than on the wedding day when everything boils over.
You need to ask yourself: Can my issue (own your problem) be stopped, removed, reduced or delegated?
Now you need to do something about it:
- Get clear on what you're going to do (have a chat with the family member/tell the bridesmaid that she's no longer needed/cancel that supplier),
- the best time to do it (always remember, praise in public, criticise in private),
- the consequences and
- who can support you afterwards.
Yes, you will probably hurt someone's feelings or lose a deposit in the process, but consider how you will feel if you DON'T do something to make your wedding (and wedding planning) a better experience for you and your fiancé.
Follow your instincts and trust your gut - that's how you two got together in the first place, after all!
How are you dealing with the stress of wedding planning? Let us know in the comments.