As romantic and exciting as engagement is hyped up to be, I have to admit I've often wondered whether planning a wedding is stressful on couples. After the high of getting an exorbitant amount of likes on your engagement announcement on Facebook and Instagram, there's the reality that you have a lot of budgeting and meticulous planning in your near future. According to a new survey of 500 engaged and newlywed couples by Zola Weddings — a free suite of wedding planning tools for couples — seven out of eight couples (96 percent) said wedding planning was stressful.
"Wedding stress comes in waves," Jennifer Spector, Newlywed-At-Large at Zola Weddings, tells Bustle. "The thing that makes all of these [wedding planning] things so stressful is that most people have not planned a big event with all their loved ones, so the combination of logistics plus personal relationships can be a molotov cocktail of stress. Not what you want for your signature drink!"
Even though dealing with the seating chart might make you want to pull your hair out, it is possible for both you and your partner to keep your cool and not take out your stress on each other. The key is to stay organized, communicate, and compromise when necessary — and also recognize that all this stress over one day will be worth it for a lifetime of marriage. "The most important thing a couple can do is remember that a wedding is one day, but a marriage lasts a lifetime," Spector says. "If you have that focus in mind, the wrong table setting or a disgruntled relative will not affect you in the same way."
If an engagement is in your future, here are seven statistics that reveal exactly what to expect.
1Wedding Planning Is *Very* Stressful For 40 Percent Of Couples
According to the Zola survey, 40 percent of couples categorized wedding planning as "very" or "extremely" stressful. To put things in perspective, 71 percent said planning a wedding is more stressful than major life events such as buying a home or finding a job — yikes.
2Almost Half Of Couples Felt Wedding Planning Put A Strain On Their Relationship
Ironically, planning the day you and your partner celebrate your eternal love can actually cause a lot of tension between the two of you. Of the 500 couples surveyed, 43 percent of couples surveyed said wedding planning put a strain on their relationship.
3Wedding Planning Can Affect Your Health
As if it weren't bad enough to be stressed and aggravated for months on end, 86 percent of those surveyed said they also suffered some sort of stress-induced symptoms, such as elevated anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, reduced sex drive, and headaches. There were also some pretty unpleasant cosmetic side effects, like hair loss and skin breakouts.
4The Planning Process Made Couples Consider Eloping
The survey found that 47 percent of couples were so stressed by the whole planning process that they considered eloping or just tying the knot at city hall instead. Another 26 percent said they considered just taking the money and running — and knowing that planning a wedding might literally make my hair fall out, I can't say I blame them.
5...Or Calling Off The Wedding Altogether
For eight percent of couples, planning their wedding was so maddeningly stressful that it caused them to contemplate calling the whole thing off altogether — and another 16 percent of couples said they considered postponing the wedding.
6Finding "The One" Is More Stressful
Picking out tablecloths and booking venues might be agonizing, but it turns out there's one thing the couples surveyed found more stressful: finding "the one" you want to marry in the first place. (But don't forget why the idea of "The One" is toxic in some ways.)
7Talking It Out Can Help You De-Stress
It might be tempting to bottle all your negative feelings up to avoid looking like a bride-or-groomzilla, but couples surveyed said talking to a loved one was actually a helpful way for them to de-stress during the wedding planning process. Other ways couples chose to de-stress from it all were: listening to music, working out, writing in a journal, drinking, and over-eating.
Even though planning a wedding can be a source of stress and create tension between you and your soon-to-be-spouse, there's one silver lining: it can make you stronger as a couple. "Planning a wedding is a huge project — it is a spectacular feat of teamwork, compromise, budgeting, family obligations, and dancing in public," Spector says. "So if you can get through all that, you have already accomplished a great deal and have set the right foundation for your marriage."