Whether you’re obsessed with planning your dream wedding or you've never spent a waking second thinking about putting a ring on it, you may still find yourself having dreams of getting married. But if visions of veils, suits, rings, tacky bridesmaid dresses, open bars, and rehearsal dinners are dancing in your head as you slumber, what is your subconscious trying to tell you? While some wedding dream meanings could indicate that you’re thinking about tying the knot, it’s not necessarily that straightforward.
It’s not surprising for someone to dream of getting married if they’re already engaged or in the process of planning a wedding. But nocturnal nuptial visions are also common among those of us who can barely commit to a hair color, let alone a contractually-bound life partner. That’s because dreams about getting married symbolize more than a simple desire to fall in love and settle down. Weddings are richly symbolic life events that hold significance in many people’s subconsciousness — whether they want to get married or not. Wedding dream meanings can reflect everything from anxieties about recent life changes to excitement about the future.
Bustle chatted with dream analyst Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, author of Dream On It, to go over the most common types of dreams about getting married and get some tips on how to decode your own wedding dream meanings.
Dreams About Weddings If You’re Actually Planning One
This is for all the brides- and grooms-to-be who are recently engaged or in the thick of wedding planning madness. With many of your waking hours being spent running through wedding deets, it makes sense that these thoughts could seep into your dreamworld, too. However, they may still hold some significance beyond the obvious — so Loewenberg says that you shouldn't just blow them off as meaningless.
"Bride-to-be dreams are trying to help you with the different stresses you experience as you plan the big day, as well as help you resolve any issues that need to be taken care of before you start your new life," Loewenberg says. The subjects of a bride-to-be dream will typically be connected to something related to the real-life wedding planning process or reflect something we’re fearful of.
"Being late for your wedding is super common, merely because there are so many deadlines you are dealing with,” Loewenberg says. “But dreaming something is wrong with the dress often means there is something with yourself you are unhappy with." Analyze whether the fear that comes up in the dream is literal or if it might be symbolic for something a little deeper — like a fear of commitment, self-esteem issues, or trust.
Dreams About Marriage When You’re Single
Wedding dreams don't necessarily imply a desire to actually tie the knot. They may actually relate more to the themes of what marriage symbolizes in our culture — like commitment. "Marriage is two individuals committing to each other 'til death do they part,' so to dream of marriage when you aren't planning a wedding would mean there is some other type of commitment you are embarking on in real life," Loewenberg says. "Whatever this commitment or obligation is, your subconscious is presenting it to you in the form of a marriage so you can better understand your role in it.”
This commitment could be something obvious, like taking a new job or signing a lease, or something more abstract, like adding new habits to your routine or developing a deeper friendship with someone. According to Loewenberg, these dreams are asking us if we’re prepared to be in these commitments for the long haul.
Dreams About Being Proposed To
Dreams about getting engaged or being proposed to, like dreams about getting married, often symbolize commitment. But according to Loewenberg, they show that you're at a different point in the commitment process. So while wedding dreams suggest you're already committed to something, a proposal dream might mean that you're still figuring out whether you want to get involved.
"Typically, being proposed to [in a dream] would suggest you are kicking around the idea of something," says Loewenberg. "Did someone suggest or propose an idea to you? Are you thinking about 'engaging' in some activity or situation?” These dreams can help our conscious minds weigh the pros and cons of engaging with a new responsibility or commitment, and help us work through some of the fears, anxieties, and pressures of potentially taking on something new.
Dreams About Marrying Someone You’re Not Interested In
Among all the weird marriage-related dreams one can have, one of the most awkward is marrying someone who isn’t your partner or who you’re not at all interested in. This often happens because this person is significant to our lives in some other way, or simply popping up in our memory — but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a secret crush on them.
Instead, your dream’s beloved might be a personal symbol of the values they represent in your life. "Ask yourself what stands out about them to you — maybe they are always volunteering or doing charitable work,” Loewnberg says. “That would likely be what they represent to you, in which case your subconscious is proposing the idea of of being more charitable in your own life."
Dreams About Marrying Someone Other Than Your Current Partner
Dreams about wedding someone random is one thing, but if you’re already in a committed relationship with someone, then marrying someone else in a dream might feel even more uncomfortable. However, you shouldn't assume that a dream about marrying someone else automatically means you are having problems with your significant other. More often, your dream-spouse actually symbolizes qualities you want to commit to yourself.
"If you already know you are dissatisfied with your marriage then yes, [a dream of marrying someone else] can symbolize that," Loewenberg says "But if [in a dream] you are marrying someone you know or know of (like a celebrity), then apply this little trick: What three things first come to mind when you think of this person? Of those three things, at least one of them is a quality you need to commit to 'til death do you part.'" In other words, use your dream lover as a mirror to your subconscious desires.
But what if you’re dreaming about getting married to an ex-lover? “Marrying an ex instead of your current partner may point to unresolved issues within yourself,” Loewenberg says. “[These may] need to be taken care of before you walk down the aisle.” Use these dreams as guides to what personal issues you should be working through before committing to a new relationship or getting deeper into a current one.
Dreams About Someone Else’s Wedding
Sometimes marriage ends up being a theme within our dreams even when we’re not the ones getting hitched. "Whenever you are the observer in a wedding dream rather than the participant, it will be connected to some situation in your real life where you are not taking an active role,” Loewenberg says. “Most often, it is about an issue that does not involve you but concerns you and is on your mind, like a friend or family member's issue."
Try to analyze your own dream by examining who’s getting married, what role you’re playing in the wedding, and how you’re feeling throughout the dream. “Your subconscious may be showing you that you are not taking an active enough role in some area, and that in order to reach a particular goal, you need to commit to it," Loewenberg says.
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