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The 3 Main Sources of Wedding Stress and How to Manage Them

Wedding planning is stressful — here's how to manage it.

Your wedding is often called the best day of your life. So why is it usually so stressful? It’s because while it can be the “best” day, it can also be the biggest. There are just so many pieces to plan and coordinate to make it all happen.

A common prescription for avoiding wedding stress is to make it small and simple, but this doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re like me, you’re someone who wants to make the special days in life truly special. This doesn’t mean making them huge and expensive necessarily, but it does mean making them bigger than a casual affair. In the case of a wedding, there are ways to make it memorable while also managing the stress of planning it. Read on for the three most common causes of wedding stress and how to mitigate them.

Others’ Expectations

The announcement of a wedding is met with excitement from loved ones, which is a great thing. Sometimes, though, this can come in the form of suggestions or even requests about how the event should be planned. The best course of action here is to make these “helper” types feel heard but ultimately remember that the wedding is for you and your spouse-to-be. First off, don’t make any promises to others about how your wedding will be because, according to psychologists, this can lead to resentment if someone’s expectation isn’t fulfilled. If anyone gives you input while you’re planning, actively remind yourself that they are just trying to be helpful. If they push you to include something they want (but you don’t), thank them for their help but politely remind them that the day is for you and your spouse. It’s not “their” day, nor is it even “your” day. It’s a day for you and your spouse — sometimes someone else’s suggestion doesn’t fit in a couple’s shared vision for their wedding and that is OK.

Money

Everyone has heard stories of weddings costing over $150,000, but even “cheap” weddings under $15,000 are a significant chunk of change. It’s especially difficult if you have a large family and/or group of friends you want to invite. Luckily, there are a few ways to make the cost manageable. First off, be realistic and cut out expenses that really aren’t necessary. A recent study found that couples frame 6 wedding photos regardless of whether they spent $1,000 or $7,500+ on a photographer. It also showed that many couples never or rarely watch their wedding video after they get it. For some, wedding photography is really important so this wouldn’t apply, but if not then don’t feel like you need to drop thousands on it. Don’t feel bad about splurging on whatever elements will make you most happy — food, photos, the dress, etc. — but really think about what will actually make the day better and what is just an extra expense. It entirely comes down to what will make your day special, and cutting out the things that won’t.

The Marriage, Itself

It’s not uncommon that someone’s nervousness about getting married can be placed onto the planning of the wedding. And even if you aren’t confusing wedding stress with the stress of getting married, it can certainly add to it. There are a few ways to mitigate any (very normal!) nerves that come with an upcoming marriage. First and most importantly, keep lines of communication open with your partner and spend quality time with them. Next, take some time for yourself. These two methods might seem to conflict, but each will go a long way in alleviating any cold feet. Being with your fiancé will remind you of why you made a great decision to marry him or her, and getting time alone will help you clear your mind from the frenzy of planning.

It’s easy to forget while you’re stressing that a wedding is a happy and exciting thing. Throughout the process, be mindful of the stress you’re putting on yourself and actively remind yourself of the joyful occasion to come. You’ve found your soulmate — that’s something to celebrate every day.

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