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Wedding Planning Stress and Mental Health

May 17th, 2020


“I will cry at the wedding because I will be overjoyed that all the wedding planning is over.” - Anonymous

A bride sitting down on a bed looking stressed

Weddings Should Be Exciting, Right?

Congratulations! You’re engaged! This should be one of the most exciting times in your life. A time to be elated and to live on cloud nine for a while. You’ve found your forever partner and now you get to bask in the joys and the fun of planning your dream wedding. This is a time to celebrate with friends and family in a way that is personal and special to both you and your new fiance. Or is it……?


Getting engaged and planning your dream wedding should be one of life’s greatest highlights. Right? Wrong. Well at least for most. Planning a wedding can actually be one of the most stressful times and events in a young couple’s new life together. Some of the reasons why planning a wedding can become so stressful include:

  • Family
    • There’s nothing like a wedding where we bring family all together, which can also bring forth a lot of past family drama
    • Many of these family encounters can be awkward due to divorce, distant relatives, and other past family issues
  • Wedding budget
    • Weddings today are extremely expensive
    • The wedding industry is inflated by expensive choices and decisions about small details of a wedding
    • The stress of who is going to pay for what (i.e. the couple, the parent’s of the bride, the parent’s of the groom)
  • Decision-making
    • There are endless decisions to be made
    • These decisions must be agreed upon by both the bride and groom
    • Big decisions include: where the wedding will take place, how many guests to invite, how much money the couple feels comfortable spending on their wedding, important aspects of the ceremony and reception
  • Guest list
    • Picking and choosing who to invite to a wedding can be a sensitive topic
    • Often times, the bride and groom’s families are different in sizes and the invite list can end up being unequal
    • Deciding whether or not to invite old friends and distant relatives can create anxiety for the bride and groom and their immediate families

Wedding Stress’ Impact on Relationships

Although planning a wedding should be fun, many times it is not; this can affect everyone involved, which is unfortunate. Some of these interpersonal relationships that may suffer include:

  • Your partner
    • Decision-making conflicts
    • Financial stress
    • Disagreement regarding fundamental views when it comes to the ceremony and ultimately marriage
  • Parents & future in-laws
    • Keeping your parents happy with your decisions for the ceremony and reception
      • For example: if your parents are religious and you have decided to not have a religious ceremony
    • Not hurting your parent’s feelings with the guest list
Two women in wedding attire screaming in stress at the camera
  • Friends
    • Friends can get jealous
    • Not hurting your friend’s feelings when it comes to planning your bridal party group and bachelor/bachelorette party event
  • Those uninvited
    • Old friends and distant relatives do not always make the guest list, especially if you are choosing to do a smaller wedding
    • If these people from the past have the audacity to reach out to you regarding not being invited, it can create extra and unnecessary stress

Mental Health Risks

When all of the above reason are taken into account, it is no surprise that a bride or groom’s mental health could become at risk. This can be due to both the stress induced by all of the planning, as well as the anxiety of the actual day of the event. Some types of mental health concerns that can be caused by the complex web of planning a wedding include:

  • Anxiety
    • Induced worry, concern, fear, and nervousness can develop from both planning the wedding and dealing with the day of
  • Depression
    • Feelings of sadness may develop if friends and/or family members feelings are hurt in the process
    • The unexpected stress can create a state of depression when you were expecting wedding planning to be fun and easy
A bride sitting alone crying
  • Eating disorders
    • Physical manifestation of emotional stress can be shown through different types of eating disorders
      • Anorexia
      • Bulimia
      • Overeating
    • All types of eating disorders are simply a means of using, or not using, food to help cope with stress
    • When things are out of control, chaotic, and stressful, people can use food as a way to find personal control
  • Addiction
    • Stress can lead to developing bad and unhealthy addiction habits
      • Alcohol abuse
      • Drug use
      • Cigarette use
  • Mood changes
    • When we are stressed, it can affect our moods
      • Anger
      • Sadness
      • Frustration
      • Irritability
      • Annoyed
    • A normally happy and positive person may develop an angry demeanor
    • These types of mood changes can impact relationships, in particular your relationship with your fiance, in a negative manner
A bride crying and groom trying to comfort her

How to Avoid the Drama

Finding ways to avoid any drama affiliated with preparations for your wedding is important to managing your mental health. Try out some of these tips to help avoid the drama all together:

  • Elope
  • Get married in the court house
  • Do not plan a wedding reception
  • Set a strict budget and stick to it
  • Maintain open and honest communication with your partner
  • Listen to your partner’s wishes and concerns
  • Remain a team with your fiance
  • Have confidence about your decisions
  • Talk to a therapist
  • Go to couples therapy

Ways to Stay Sane Despite the Inevitable Drama

When the drama is unavoidable, it is essential to find ways to help manage your stress. Incorporate as many of the following ideas as possible in order to cope with what is going on around you....

  • Communicate with your partner
  • Communicate with your family, when necessary
  • Eat healthy
  • Get enough sleep
  • Do yoga
  • Plan date nights
  • It is important to upkeep your life outside of wedding planning
    • Stay on top of your work
    • Socialize
    • Exercise
    • Don’t lose sight of who you are
  • Reach out to other married friends for advice and support with wedding planning and wedding stress
  • Talk to a therapist, either personal and/or couples

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