Wedding planning can be all consuming. The “to do” list never seems to end and there are so many things to juggle. It is also a really exciting time of your life; planning a beautiful marriage ceremony and huge party for all your loved ones is a milestone. It quickly becomes the only topic you want to talk about! You may find yourself telling anyone who will listen about the wedding.
When you first get engaged everyone is so excited for you. You are bombarded with questions about the proposal and you become accustomed to presenting your left hand to virtual strangers. However this initial excitement can quickly die down and others around you will begin to carry on with their lives.
The questions about wedding planning lessen, and when you start to talk about the big day you can see people’s eyes glaze over. This can even include your fiancé. It is so disheartening and can leave you feeling paranoid. It can also damage relationships with your friends and family if you talk about the wedding endlessly.
Whilst the wedding is a huge part of your life at the moment, your friends and family will be there throughout your whole life. It is vital that you maintain these relationships and not to isolate people.
Below are my tips on trying to navigate this difficult aspect of wedding planning, whilst maintaining relationships and staying sane!
Try to be perceptive. If you have brought up the wedding in conversation try to read whether the person you are talking is losing interest. Are they starting to look away or trying to move the conversation on? If so, take the hint and talk about something else.
If someone has asked you about the wedding, consider whether they are they truly interested in the detail. Is their question the equivalent to “how was your weekend” to a colleague first thing on a Monday morning, are they are expecting little more than a response of “good, thanks”? If you find that they are asking follow-up questions or engaging with the conversation, then you know they are actually interested.
I found talking about wedding planning particularly difficult at work, especially during those moments at the coffee point when you have to make polite conversation. You will probably encounter the same colleagues and you will come to realise which ones ask you questions repeatedly and are genuinely interested.
Why not buy a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine for those colleagues, or others, who have put up with months of wedding chat. They will appreciate the gesture, as I am sure you will have appreciated their support and counsel.
I have mixed thoughts on wedding forums; as they can be negative places at times and can leave brides questioning their decisions. However, they can also be a great community. You can speak with other brides who are planning their own wedding and there are even threads for brides getting married in the same month as you. You can use the forum to exchange ideas and advice. There are so many different forums and threads, so you will always find someone who is willing to talk about a specific topic or listen to you rant about that comment your mother in law made last week.
My only word of warning is to not take anything on the forums too seriously or personally, particularly discussions regarding wedding etiquette. There are some people on wedding forums that are forceful with their opinions and can be quite harsh. It is a good idea to read the different forums and choose which ones are for you before joining and be careful about which threads you start.
There are also ways to get your wedding planning fix from social media. There are YouTube channels and blogs where you can follow other brides and their planning journeys. There are Podcasts such as Bridechilla and Ring to Veil, where you can listen to discussions on various wedding planning topics. This can help you feel like you are part of a community and can also be a really great source of inspiration and support.
One of my favourite social media platforms is Instagram, as you can create your own personal support group, by following and engaging with other brides to be. I found this platform to be really supportive, particularly with my fitness and healthy eating goals. It helped me to be accountable and I made friends which I have never even met. It was great to see others go through the journey, including the ups and downs. You can upload your wedding inspiration and ask for advice from others. It can even be anonymous if you do not want to reveal your true identity.
You picked your closest girlfriends to be your bridesmaids and you have probably been there for each other through many difficult times over the years. Use this network during your planning process to satisfy your urge to talk about the wedding. Set up a bridesmaids WhatsApp group to keep them up to date.
Try to meet up with your bridesmaids as regularly as possible. But be careful not to only organise meetings when you have a DIY wedding task for them or when you need them to go to a dress fitting. Try to organise fun things to do which aren’t wedding related, what about going to a comedy club, wine tasting, or hosting a movie night.
When you meet up, set aside some time to catch up about the wedding, but then make sure you move onto other topics and ask questions about what everyone has been up to.
When talking about the wedding with others, I found it useful to ask for their advice and listen to their wedding anecdotes. Then it becomes a two way conversation. Did they struggle with deciding whether to invite children to their wedding and what things did they regret not doing? This can be interesting and helpful, whilst satisfying your urge to discuss the wedding.
It is important to remember that everyone is going through their own issues, worries and stress. Has the person you are chatting just been through a break up or a stressful life event? They may be going through things that they do not want to share, such as financial, health or fertility issues. Remember that it may be difficult for your single friends to constantly hear about your wedding.
Alternatively they may have even just been through something really positive and exciting, such as buying a new house or going on an amazing holiday, that they really want to tell you about.
Keep these things in mind and try to be sensitive. Make sure you ask others about how they are and show the enthusiasm you expect back. Be thoughtful and remember things such as birthdays and other big events.
Also be mindful of what you post on social media. Whilst anonymous forums can be great, public forums, where your friends and family can see what you post, can cause friction. Facebook in particular can be dangerous. There are likely to be a number of people on Facebook who are not invited to the wedding, so try to limit wedding planning updates.
Also try not to use Facebook as somewhere to vent your wedding stress. It may seem like a good idea to post a comment about the wedding guests who have failed to RSVP by the deadline or that bridesmaid who moaned about her dress, after a few glasses of pinot noir, but it will upset people and you may damage friendships irreparably.
If you want to keep people up to date on social media, only announce big wedding planning moments such as buying your dress or choosing your venue. Remember that even your close friends and family will be unlikely to get excited about how you finally managed to find menu cards in the exact same colour as your bridesmaid dresses.
Wedding planning can take anywhere between a few months to years and it is important to look after your relationship during this stressful time. Your marriage will last longer the wedding planning process (unless you are Kim Kardashian…) and it is far more important than the day itself.
Schedule date nights or technology black outs when wedding talk is banned! Do fun things together. It can be a dinner, the cinema or even just making a fort in your living room. Make a pact not to talk about the wedding and really spend quality time together.
Try to make wedding events, such as cake tasting or venue shopping, fun. Dress up smartly and go as a couple, then why not go for lunch afterwards!
If it is in the budget it is also good to have a weekend or week away to reconnect. It can be an exotic holiday or even just a weekend camping or a night in a hotel. During wedding planning we could not afford an annual holiday and it was easy for months to go past without spending extended quality time together. You could combine it with Christmas, a birthday or an anniversary to reduce the cost impact.
It can also be helpful to set aside an evening a week which is dedicated to wedding planning and decision making. Then the expectations are clear and you can compile a list of decisions that must be made by the end of the evening.
Take a timeout
Wedding planning is very stressful, especially as you may also be working a full time job, buying a home and/or parenting. Unloading about your wedding planning worries can help with stress relief; however it is important to find ways to de-stress without talking to others. Find your stress relief methods. If you can de-stress in your own way, it will mean you are not relying on others to help you stay sane.
I like to take my dog for a walk and listen to Ben Howard to clear my mind. You may like to read a book, have a manicure, take a warm bath or take a boxing glass. If you realise that you are overwhelmed with planning, take a step back and implement your stress busting method. Then the next time someone asks about how it wedding planning is going, you won’t feel the need to empty your head of all your worries.
Hope that helps! Let me know your wedding planning worries below or by email x