Ok DUH. You've heard it a million times, and maybe have even witnessed someone go through the wedding process and LOSE THEIR MIND just a little (or maybe a lot) during the planning. I'd also heard the tales and have seen first hand that getting married can bring out a different side in you. But getting married myself has given me a TOTALLY different perspective and insight into the "stress" everyone references. Here are some things I learned:
1. The marriage is different than the wedding. And planning for a marriage is A LOT more work than planning a party (and let's be honest, the party is hard enough to plan). I think this part gets overlooked too often in the wedding conversation, and the focus becomes only about the look of the party and guest lists and color palettes. Those are great things to think about and plan for, but it's only one small piece of a much bigger puzzle. In my planning, I had the added element of becoming an instant stepmom (to 2 really great kids), and even though I had enjoyed the process of getting to know the kids, it still took me a while to wrap my mind around becoming a parent and gaining the confidence that I could actually do it.
2. No one's wedding/engagement is as perfect or carefree as the photos suggest. To be candid, partway through my engagement I felt myself get super discouraged because from the outside, it looked like everyone around me was getting married so easily and quickly and they just seemed so happy and carefree! I didn't see their stresses, or anxiety, or the nitty gritty of their relationship behind the scenes, so in my mind they never experienced any of that. It can start to make you feel super alone, and that makes you feel like somehow you must not be doing this whole wedding thing "right". Well trust me---- YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS. The engagement period can be especially difficult for couples because you're trying your best to plan a life together, and that affects everyone differently.
3. It can be a lot of change all at once, and change is HARD. As silly as it sounds, a lot of changes start piling up really quickly and it can seem super overwhelming. If you're like me, getting married meant that I would have to move, I'd change my last name (which I've grown quite fond of over the last couple decades), I'd have new inlaws, and I'd now have 2 little kids to call "mine". Each change in it's essence is GOOD, it's just that we are humans and we don't LIKE to change. I consider this part to be "good stress" since it would bring so many good things into my life, but it can definitely add to the anxiety as you plan your wedding.
4. Make time for your friends, and let them in on everything. Your friends that have been with you through everything, who love you like family- they want to see you do well and have the best life possible! Let them be a part of the behind the scenes of your wedding and planning. I don't mean they have to be in every detail, because honestly they might not care about the wedding plans as much as you do... but let them into the important life things. And take breaks from planning!! Seriously, you'll even get sick of how much you think about the wedding plans, so take breaks often and take time to just be with your friends. It will help restore your SANITY and keep things in perspective. Getting lost in the details of the wedding is all too easy, so utilize your built in lifelines and step away from talking about the plans.
5. Keep doing non-wedding related activities with your fiance. For REAL, this one is hard. I'm in the wedding industry, so getting married meant that both my work life and personal life were ALL ABOUT THE WEDDING and it became ALL I talked about for like 90% of the time..... Not the best recipe for keeping your relationship healthy and rolling along. You might feel pressured by all the deadlines being thrown at you, but trust me- TAKE THE TIME. You might have to consciously try to remember the hobbies you used to have before this wedding came and took over your life, but you'll be much better off to carve out time for each other. The deadline will wait, put your love first.
I can't wait to keep sharing more of my experience with you, and hopefully help you keep your sanity while planning your wedding. And if you're not planning a wedding, this might give you some insight into why your engaged friend has been a little cookoo recently or MIA altogether. Let's help each other out, and strive for more #STRESSFREEWEDDINGS.