7 Ways To Deal With Anxiety Around Planning Your Wedding

by JR Thorpe
Jacob Lund/Fotolia

Weddings, whether you're having a tiny get-together in a registry office or an epic party with 400 guests, can be stressful. The logistics of modern weddings are more complex than ever before, but opting for small-scale celebrations with handmade or cheaper elements doesn't necessarily take the stress out of it. If wedding planning is making you feel symptoms of anxiety, it's important to take a step back and register what's actually happening. Then, you can take healthy steps to help yourself cope with the causes of your anxiety. Strategies to make it all easier: check.

There are many typical anxiety triggers involved in weddings: relationship worries, money, family arguments, cultural traditions, being part of a big public event, life-changing decisions, and thinking about the future. Even if you've never had a history of anxiety before, these triggers can bring on feelings of panic, feeling "trapped," nightmares, endless rumination over worries, and other signals that you're experiencing anxiety. A wedding is an enormous event that commemorates two people's commitments to each other — it's incredibly normal to feel stress or anxiety around it.

This is something to take seriously, and there are various ways to manage it — from organizational help, to delegation, and being emotionally honest with those around you. It's important to pay attention to your feelings. Here are seven ways to manage anxiety around planning a wedding.


Be Honest About Your Finances

One of the biggest sources of serious anxiety around weddings is financial. Weddings can be expensive, even if you've budgeted immaculately or are going very small-scale. If you keep waking up in the night concerned about the cost of something, "Keep asking yourself why you’re worried until you get to the bottom of the problem," Iona Bain, financial advisor and author of the Young Money Blog, tells Bustle. Being honest with yourself about the roots of your anxiety — you really want something but know you can't afford it, for instance — is the first step to solving the issue itself.


Organizational Apps Are Your Friend

Sometimes it's not actually helpful to have fifteen binders and six magazines with all your "ideas" in them. If you're doing a logistically complex event, make like actual event organizers and document everything in appropriate places. Apps based around wedding planning, like The Knot, exist specifically for this purpose. Or get a more general organizational app like Trello or AwesomeNote, oriented towards your particular style — note-taking, lots of lists, ideas pulled from webpages and cut-outs — to group everything into one place and make it easily shareable. And remember — the best organizational system is the one you'll stick with. It'll make your life far less of a headache.


Delegate — And Accept That You've Delegated

Give away responsibility for things. And once you've given it away, actually let it go. Delegation when you feel as if you're in charge of coordinating an event with your partner can be tricky; you may find it hard to divide the elements of the event between yourselves, let alone other well-meaning members of your families or friends. But if somebody has been given a job they probably won't appreciate constant hovering or checking up on them, unless they're 5 years old and are going to try to put your bouquet down the toilet. If you're going to delegate, do it like a manager and accept that you've delegated.


Have A Calm Space

Sometimes you just do not want to think about your big project. That includes weddings. Have a place or a time — a meditation area, for instance, or 10 minutes a day where you drift off elsewhere — where you stop thinking about the wedding and commit to calmness.


Reinforce Emotional Boundaries

Anxiety around weddings can be caused by emotional factors. Events involving family can be highly stressful no matter what, and weddings create specific demands, expectations and conflict around traditions. Emotional boundaries are very important in this context. If somebody starts treating you in ways that cross them, you reserve the right to refuse to engage with them and walk calmly away. Weddings can bring out some spectacularly bad behavior in everybody from relatives to friends, so it's important to have these boundaries — and to have your partner on your side to reinforce them.


Be Part Of A Team With Your Partner

A lot of the burden of wedding planning can fall on the bride because of the cultural expectation that this is "her" day. But the truth is, if you're choosing to marry your partner, you are in the planning together. If that means one partner takes on a lot of the work, fine —but it should be a mutually agreed upon decision, and the other partner should pick up the slack in a different area of your shared life. You're getting married; you need to know how to communicate and band together when something's tough.


Get Help When You Need It

The wedding is the beginning of a life chapter, not the end — but it's also a very stressful event and can create a lot of anxiety. There's no shame at all in needing some extra psychological support while you're attempting to navigate your anxieties around your wedding, and identify what might be causing them. Many soon-to-be-married couples seek out couple's therapy to navigate the change in their relationship, and that's absolutely one avenue to explore. But finding a therapist or counselor for your own needs can be hugely helpful. If a therapist is out of your budget, talk to your GP about free support groups and investigate affordable therapy options. Your anxiety is real and valid, and deserves to be supported.


Weddings are stressful events no matter the scale. If planning yours is inducing anxiety, it's important to manage it appropriately — so you can enjoy your and your partner's day.