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When this is published, I will have been engaged for almost a year and my wedding is finally coming up in a little over a month! When you are planning such a big event, like a wedding, it is all about the countdown. The countdown to the engagement party, to the bridal shower, to the bachelorette, and to the big day! As a bride, I have a lot of excitement, stress, anxiety—and the most joy I have ever felt in my life. It is exhausting! The engagement time is a crazy roller coaster.
As a psychotherapist, I feel I have some pretty great coping skills in my back pocket to use when I feel stressed or overwhelmed. However, once the wedding countdown started, I admit that I’ve had at least one anxiety attack. One was the week after I got engaged.
The engagement was everything I’d ever hoped it would be, but I was not prepared for what was to come. I was, of course, congratulated by everyone I’ve ever known, which was nice to share our excitement. But then came the questions about when/where the wedding was, suggestions on where/when to have it, people inviting themselves and others to the wedding, you name it! It is overwhelming to get these types of questions when you don’t even know what is happening with the wedding yourself.
I wish someone had prepared me for that and what came next… the cost of a wedding! I had an idea from friends who have been married before me, but I had no idea how much each vendor (photographer, florist, entertainment, etc.) would cost. That was my breaking point. I felt extremely overwhelmed and anxious that planning the wedding of my dreams would be impossible.
But then I remembered the one thing I tell my bride-to-be clients over and over when they are feeling anxious: Don’t lose sight of the reason you are planning the big party. You are marrying your partner, and that is all that matters in the end.
Ever since my anxiety attack the first week of my engagement, I have been using the following coping skills to help whenever I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed. I recommend them to anyone planning their wedding as well:
1. Take a day off; you deserve it! It is important to take a day off work and schedule a massage or go to your favorite workout class. Self-care is extremely important for everyone. When you are planning a wedding, it is like adding on an extra job. You want to not only take a day off your day job, but also off from wedding planning. I promise you the tasks can wait a day. This will also help clear your head and help you feel more relaxed.
2. Have a regularly scheduled date night with your partner. Don’t forget the number-one thing is that you are marrying your partner. You will get lost in planning all the little details and will lose sight of the real reason the wedding is even happening: love! Celebrate your love, and schedule in a regular date night. It can be as simple as cooking dinner and watching Netflix at home—just make sure it’s scheduled and you both don’t talk about wedding planning during this time.
3. Plan an engagement-moon. I think this is becoming more and more popular—and for good reason. If possible, schedule a trip during your engagement. This will give you time off your day-to-day stressors at work, wedding planning and anything else creating stress in your life. Even if you are just getting away for a long weekend, I highly recommend you take a break with your partner. This will help you truly celebrate your engagement and get you excited for your life together.
4. Create an exercise plan. I am not condoning that it is a must for every bride to lose weight for the wedding—if you’re doing this, then that is amazing for you. If you feel you don’t care to lose weight for your wedding, then good for you and don’t! What I do ask, though, is that you create a time for yourself daily to clear your mind from wedding planning. This may be done with a yoga class, meditation, going for a walk and listening to your favorite music, going for a run, trying a new workout class, or following a fitness plan. This time to yourself will help you clear your head, release any frustrations or anxieties, give you more energy to get your many tasks done, and make you feel good.
5. Consider therapy. I am a strong believer that having a therapist to talk to can help you through a stressful time. Most people seek out a therapist when there is a big change happening in their life, such as getting married. There are a lot of changes that are happening in your life at that time as well as the stress of planning a wedding. Seeing a therapist can help you become more organized with your thoughts, your planning, and help you decrease your anxiety. Ever have a vivid anxiety-produced wedding dream? You will need someone to talk to who can understand and help you through this time so that you can feel more in control during this stressful, yet very exciting time in your life. A therapist can help you come up with the coping skills that will work best for you.
Courtney Glashow, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist practicing in Hoboken. She specializes in teen and young-adult counseling. Courtney can help New York or New Jersey residents through telehealth therapy sessions as well. You can contact Courtney at email@example.com or at anchortherapy.org for more info.
Courtney met her fiancé, Tom, her junior year of college at the University of Delaware. The couple live together in Hoboken and celebrated 7 years together. Their wedding will be at the Highawn Pavillion in West Orange. They chose their venue because of the food and because it has “Tuscany vibes to it and [they] traveled to Italy together which was [their] favorite place to go!”