Wedding Planning Stress | 5 Tips to Avoid It!
Anxiety is killer. And you know all too well the signs it’s coming on. You may have a clinical diagnosis or you’re noticing things are just off due to wedding planning stress. Either situation deserves paying some attention to. And thankfully we are now living in a space that mostly welcomes discussions on mental health and anxiety.
We’ll shamelessly admit: we are elopement photographers, planners, and officiants who have seen so many couples come to us in stress about their big day. We also both have struggled with depression, and I (Des) deal with anxiety on a regular basis. So we are with you. We want to hear you. And we want to help you.
Why do I have wedding planning stess and anxiety?
Back in the day, this might’ve been called those “pre-wedding jitters” or “cold feet.” Now we have enough scientific information to know that is simply not the case. As you’re planning your big day, spending oodles of money, and dealing with family members that may be less than a blast to be around, your wedding day can turn into a big dark cloud that follows you around. We believe it shouldn’t be that way. And it doesn’t have to be. So we’ll put a shameless plug here for why we photograph elopements—elopements are better for your mental health if you are prone to anxiety and stress.
Here are some real stats about the effect a traditional wedding may have on a couple:
4 out of 5 brides show physical signs of stress during traditional wedding planning. Let’s get that crap outta here.
1 out of 3 couples experience a diagnosable mental health disorder while recovering from wedding planning. Let’s just be chill while we plan together. Zero stress. Just love.
2 out of 3 couples experience wedding day amnesia and cannot recall up to 80% of their wedding day. I can guarantee you will remember your elopement day. 100%.
We believe that’s tragic. We believe your wedding day should be about bringing joy—not an impending mental health struggle. So we help couples transition from having a “big wedding” to having an adventurous elopement that brings them peace and ton of fun. 😉
But hey!! Let’s get to those tips we give all of our couples!! *Disclaimer: We are not mental health professionals. Please consult a mental health professional before implementing any mental health routine, medication, or advice. These tips are not in order of importance and are meant to be practiced simultaneously.
Tip 1—Be open about your wedding planning stress and anxiety.
We know, talking about wedding planning stress and anxiety can be scary. In fact, maybe even moderately terrifying. But we have found in ourselves and in our couples that open communication about your anxiety is the key to seeing growth. Maybe the source of your anxiety is not really having close relationships, but we know one relationship you have where you can share! 😉 Your partner!!
Practice transparency with your partner and be open when the dark clouds of anxiety about your wedding come on. It’s imperative, however, to be frank about the response you need to being open about your anxiety.
A good practice is to say something along these lines:
Hey, honeybee. I’m about to say something to you. I am not saying this to hurt your feelings, make you feel guilt, or for you to try and fix it. I am saying this to get it in the open and be heard. Please listen. Ask questions. But do not try to fix it. I just need a listening ear.
Once you have prefaced with this, your listener has exactly what they need to do in hand to help you process without adding extra pressure to your anxiety. This goes for sharing with your future spouse to sharing with a galpal, mom, or stranger on the street.
Feel free to hash out verbally the specific sources of anxiety and your feelings about it. Also, I’ll add it’s totally okay to not know why you’re anxious. Sometimes anxiety lingers with no seeable cause. It just is. And that kind of anxiety is okay to talk about as well. In fact—we’re begging you to talk about it. Because we believe you deserve relief.
We are passionate about having mental health discussions with our eloping couples or couples considering ditching the big wedding for an elopement, because we believe that eloping truly is better for your mental health and relationship. We are real folks. Real listeners. And real co-strugglers. So let’s friggin talk!!!
Tip 2—Prioritize your relationship and what you enjoy doing, not the wedding planning stress.
Perhaps you’re feeling that sting of wedding planning stess because your relationship has taken the backseat to this massive, pressure induced event you feel you need to put on. Unfortunately, a lot of folks really put pressure on you to plan a big day that is catered to them, your guests, not you and your commitment to one another. There is so much PRESSURE that comes with planning a traditional wedding from vendors, guest lists, color schemes, it goes and on. And if you’re constantly talking about things that truly don’t matter to you, then anxiety is bound to follow.
If you notice your conversations with your boo are suddenly all about your wedding, it’s time to take a big step back with a strategic plan. We recommend a lot of our couples to have a weekly date night where there is ZERO wedding planning allowed. No talk of bridesmaids, caterers, weird Uncle Bob that might show up. None of that junk. Just talking about things that really get you excited. Like maybe an adventurous trip you have coming up or how stinkin’ adorable your pup is when he yawns. I mean that’s friggin adorable.
That’s one reason a lot of our couples come to us about eloping—they are sick of wedding planning and all the anxiety that comes with it. They want a day that prioritizes their relationship and what’s really important to them—their mental health. Planning an elopement is wildly simpler than a traditional wedding, esp with us. Because tbh we LOVE taking that pressure off and giving our couples a zero stress environment to plan in and catch-up calls to ask the deep questions, “Okay, but really… how are you really?”
We love to guide couples like you through a seamless elopement planning experience that gives you more freedom to enjoy each other and your relationship. You’ve now got time to get back to things that really bring you together like getting back on the trail, cruising the internet for your dream tiny home, or volunteering at animal shelters. Whatever it is you do, you’ve now got more time to do with with joy.
Tip 3—Seek professional or semi-professional help for your wedding planning stress.
As noted above, we are not mental health professionals. We are mental health warriors who advocate mental health for our dearly loved couples. And this third tip is a biggie.
What is professional help? That would involve seeing a licensed mental health professional either once to check it out or dedicating your time to see a mental health professional on a routine basis for your wedding planning stress. Professional help often comes with cost… but another bonus of our culture becoming more open to these discussion—many insurances now cover mental health care or at least supplement the cost of office visits or medications if you go that route as well.
Professional help can help give you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening with your anxiety and give you tangible helps to battle. We highly recommend our couples to explore this route to see if it’s the option for them.
But we also know that not everyone has the time or funding to commit to an ongoing counseling or therapeutic relationship. We have definitely been there—but you still deserve help. You owe it to yourself to work on healing even in the midst of the crazy. So be creative in ways to seek help.
Dan & I were in a place at a time where we simply could not afford professional help, but we knew I needed the extra help. So we researched free counseling services in the area and found many free services that were amazing!!
One service that was super valuable to me was a depression and anxiety mental health therapy group based out of a church. The group counselor was training to be licensed and was in his last semester before being licensed. And it was 100% free. We met weekly to talk life, relate to one another, and go through an insightful curriculum on depression and anxiety. We refer a lot of our local couples to this group when they need a quick boost or a routine boost.
So much healing can be found in professional or semi-professional help. You will learn you really aren’t alone, and others are genuinely interested in listening to your struggles. We’re some of those folks too. Hit us up!!! And let’s talk about ways to seek healing from this wedding-induced anxiety together. Hint, hint: eloping is a big help. 😉
Tip 4—Hire vendors who are sympathetic and care deeply about their clients.
It’s not a prerequisite for vendors to have struggled with anxiety, but it really helps. What helps more than that, though, is hiring vendors that really love their clients well and has experience with clients who have struggled with wedding planning stress. You can tell a difference when you start planning when you come across a business or vendor that is genuinely excited about getting to know you, your day, and your big life dreams!! Vendors like these are 10,000 x’s more likely to listen well and work with you when you need to take a break from planning.
Here are some things a vendor may say or do if they are more relational or care about their clients personally:
Your first conversations are more about who you are as a person rather than numbers and logistics.
They regularly interact with you on social media in a genuine, caring way.
Talking about tough things comes naturally to them. They’re unafraid to get into the weeds with you about why you’re making the wedding decisions you are.
They are just as vulnerable with you about their personal life as they are asking you to be with them.
Hiring vendors with these qualities will surround you with a support system that is unrivaled. With your boo and vendor team—you are unstoppable. You can kick anxiety out of here or at least feel the community you need to deal with it.
We LOVE being that community for our couples! And we also super love giving vendor recommendations from florists, personal chefs, etc. that we know personally to be amazing support to our brides. These vendors are the key to knowing your day will be focused on you both and your commitment. OMG I’M GETTING PUMPED JUST THINKING ABOUT IT!!! So let’s talk about it! Are you considering eloping? Let us put together a ballin’ vendor team for you that knows what it is to surround someone with support! <3
Tip 5—Seriously consider if that “big wedding” really is worth that wedding planning stress.
You’ve probably heard about your wedding day your whole life from fam—even before you were fully potty trained. Lol but the truth is that a big wedding really isn’t for everyone, no matter the pressure we feel from others. Your mental health is important enough for you to revisit the idea of your wedding altogether.
Ask yourself, “what really brings me peace?”
For some folks, they feel at peace in a big, fancy ballroom surrounded by 300 people all joyfully congratulating them in a sea of flowers and candles.
But for other folks—peace comes through cherishing deep relationships, hiking around the solitude of your favorite summit, or that rush you feel when you’re rafting. The great outdoors has so much to offer those of us who struggle with mental health, and elopements put you right in the middle of it so you can exchange your vows in a place where you feel peace, trust, and excitement to be alive with the one you love most.
It is 100% okay to be different and admit that a traditional wedding isn’t for you. Eloping can be the solution.
Maybe the idea of eloping is new for you! A lot of our couples who elope didn’t even know what it was, so we put together a resource to help couples see what an elopement truly is! Find that here.
A lot of couples also don’t realize how many others elope each year, so we surveyed real couples to elope to find out exactly why they eloped. You might be shocked that you feel pretty similarly. You can find out, “Should I elope?” here.
And we’re a lot like you—maybe you enjoy a good checklist so you can really evaluate: “Is this doable? Won’t it be the same amount of wedding planning stress?”
We are pumped to say that’s a big no, sister friend!!! So we put together an elopement planning guide and checklist for ya too! Check it out to see just how beautifully this process comes together to get you married in a healthy way. And we are STOKED to hear from ya.
So go on. Hit that little black button to contact us. We are real. 🙂 And we love to talk with couples like you to help them craft a day that is meaningful, authentic, and creative.