Let’s talk about reducing stress whilst wedding planning. For those who missed it, Zola released a report that 96% of couples cited wedding planning as “stressful”, with 40% of couples going on to say that wedding planning was “extremely” or “very” stressful.
Although I am not entirely surprised by these statistics, it shows that there is a growing acceptance around wedding planning and how it will impede on your mental health. And I am all about promoting good mental health!! (seriously, I started a charity about it.)
So last week I wrote a piece on reducing financial wedding stress. However, money isn’t the only contributing factor in high-stress wedding planning. So this week we’re shifting gears a little bit. One of the most overlooked sources of stress and anxiety comes from those closest to you. Yes, that right! Today I’m talking about relationships. Reducing stress in relationships while planning your wedding needs to be a high priority, especially if you plan on speaking with these people again after the wedding.
“blood runs thicker than… champagne?”
Reducing stress in relationships whilst wedding planning begins with one word: Ex-pec-tations. Expectations! The key to keeping your relationships with your family from devolving into a nasty game of Hungry Hippos is to be unequivocally clear about expectations as early as possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it will be easy. In fact, you might have to have some really uncomfortable conversations with some loved ones early on. Here’s some helpful phrasing to be sensitive to your family members whilst still being assertive about what you want:
- “Hey Dad, I wanted to let you know that [Fiancé] and I have made the decision not to invite [Uncle Jerry] to the wedding. We know he means a lot to you, so how about we all go out for a drink once we’re back from our honeymoon?”
- “Hey sis, thanks so much for offering to make our bouquets. [Fiancé] and I have made the decision to hire a professional florist instead. I have found a few fantastic options, would you like to come and meet them with me?”
Things to note:
- You don’t owe them an apology, so don’t say sorry! Be sensitive to their feelings, but know that they ultimately want the best thing for you.
- Be clear and assertive, rather than beating around the bush or delaying the conversation.
- Extend them an opportunity to take the next step in the process with you. If they are prone to steamrolling, don’t feel obligated to invite them to meet with your vendors. Instead, consider delegating a low-risk task to them to take ownership of.
“here comes the Bride, and her 17 best friends”
You do not have to do anything at your wedding because your friends: (a) did it at theirs; (b) begged you to do it so they can live vicariously through you; (c) offered to pay for/organise it. Keeping your friends in the loop is always a great way to invest in those relationships, but ultimately the decisions about the wedding should be you and your fiancé’s to make.
I’ve heard multiple stories of people wanting to “demote” their friend out of the wedding party. This can be a huge point of stress and anxiety if you are worried about the repercussions the might flow on from that conversation. Wedding Wire wrote a fantastic piece about how to navigate the situation. The key thing to remember is that relationships should be more valuable than any wedding dispute you may have, so getting to the root of the problem is a fantastic way of honouring the other person and the friendship you have with them.
“a bicycle built for two…”
If anything I say in this blog sticks today, I hope it is this: no wedding, I repeat, NO WEDDING is more important than the relationship behind it. Having disagreements about the budget and guest list are natural and need to be discussed (or argued). However, if planning a wedding has taken your relationship to a place where you are struggling to be with your fiancé, then you may need to rethink what’s important right here.
If in doubt, here are a few questions to ask your partner, and yourself:
(remember that “having a wedding” and “being married” are two different things)
- Why are we having a wedding?
- Do we want/need to have this kind of wedding?
- Is there anything you’d like to change about our wedding plans to make you more excited?
- Does our wedding reflect the marriage we want to have?
Henry Paul is a wedding photographer based in Sydney, Australia. Take the first step in reducing your wedding stress by meeting with him. For more information, click here.