Feeling stressed about planning your wedding? You are not alone, but there are many practical, easy things you can do to avoid a burnout.
Wedding planning burnout can creep up on you, but it’s subtle. If excitement around putting together a wedding colour palette and picking florals has been replaced by cynicism, disinterest, negativity or just generally feeling that you’d rather slink under a rock than plan your wedding, you’re likely feeling the effects of wedding planning burnout.
Unlike the newly-engaged butterflies or productive ‘positive’ stress that motivates you to complete a task, wedding planning burnout occurs when drive becomes despondency and you feel apathetic about your future nuptials. At this present time, during a pandemic, now more than ever is a time you should stop and take a minute to think about how you're feeling.
For younger couples, the primary stress triggers for wedding planning burnout revolve around pleasing their families, in particular, the parents or in-laws who may be contributing financially to the wedding. Conflict, whether internal or verbalised, can arise when there’s a struggle between having a wedding ‘their way’ and not knowing how to tell often well-meaning family members to back off and give them space. People pleasing can lead to the couple feeling torn and unmotivated.
For older couples, wedding planning stress frequently occurs as a result of loaded expectations, couples invest a vast amount of time and hard-earned money into planning the ‘perfect’ wedding. As a result they want everything to go exactly to plan and anxiety is heightened and sustained whenever anything throws a curveball in their vision of their big day.
What ever the pressure you are feeling, here’s how to bounce back from wedding planning burnout.
A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved
With your partner, with your family and most crucially with yourself. Assessing your stress levels, support and resources sooner rather than later is essential to beating burnout. You need to be realistic about your feelings and how much you’re loving or hating the process. Consider your strengths and weaknesses alongside your time and financial constraints. Once you are honest with yourself and your partner, you will be able to move through wedding planning much more strategically and calmly, whether that means sharing the load more equally with your partner, delegating tasks to family and friends or opting to hire a professional wedding planner from the start.
Pick Your Priorities
Establish what’s most important to you both as a couple and regularly check-in to remind yourselves of your wedding day must-haves, and the aspects that in the plan of things don’t matter too much. Set clear priorities for your wedding planning. Your priorities are the foundation for your wedding day and agreeing on them will make it easier to make decisions going forward.
Let Your Wedding Planning Flow
Rather than attempting to set every element of your wedding day in stone right away, let wedding planning flow rather than forcing things.
Not every couple has an eye for design or a feel for event planning, so being able to visualise how everything will work together can be very daunting. Once your venue is booked, consider that a key source of inspiration. For example, a barn venue will lend itself more easily to a rustic theme while a five-star city hotel ballroom might call for a more polished aesthetic. From there let smaller decisions define choices such as your colour palette. If your spouse-to-be has decided on a navy blue jacket as part of his attire, for instance, perhaps research colours that complement navy to make decisions about your bridesmaids’ dresses and florals. Just like a jigsaw puzzle, let each small choice inform the next step.
Focus on what you have already achieved, rather than stressing about what you haven’t, and don’t feel compelled to include certain traditions or details just because it’s ‘expected’.
Move Away from the Pinterest Board
On the subject of decision fatigue, Pinterest & Instagram have a lot to answer for in our view. Social media in general are both a blessing and a curse when it comes to wedding planning and overuse can easily lead to inspiration overload and wedding planning burnout.
Identify what style of wedding you want before you start using Pinterest boards, rather than afterwards. Be strict and think of your wedding planning and decide on a theme or source of inspiration, stick to it and use specific targeted keywords when using social media to avoid confusion and getting stuck in Internet rabbit holes.
Sticking to your vision and limiting time spent scrolling through immaculate Pinterest weddings will also help you to avoid comparing everything, measuring your future wedding up against an impossible online yardstick. Remember that those flawless weddings you’re scrolling past and ‘saving’ only scratch the surface of what went on during the actual big day – you won’t be witness to the fact that Auntie Wendy crashed in late or that the canapés went cold. No wedding on earth ever went perfectly to plan, and that’s all part of the fun.
Focus on What you Love
Whatever gets your wedding planning mojo going again, do that. Whether it’s scheduling a food, cake or wine tasting for you and your partner, booking a wedding dress fitting followed by coffee or cocktails with your bridesmaids, or penning in a few beauty treatments in the run-up, it all counts and it’ll inject the joy back into proceedings if you’re feeling swamped by spreadsheets... A part-time wedding coordinator or planner could help to lift both the load and your spirits in this situation too
Delegate the elements of wedding planning that you find difficult or time-consuming to an expert. This is an excellent alternative to a full wedding planning service and a more cost-effective approach all round. You can shape and really enjoy the aspects of wedding planning that light your fire and leave the stressful elements to the pros while still keeping control.
If a wedding planner is out of reach due to your budget, some simple organisational hacks could prevent pre-wed dread.
Take a Break
Whether between wedding planning ‘milestones’ or when it all becomes a bit too much, ensure that you take regular breaks from your wedding planning. Take a few weeks off to reconnect with your partner and reflect on why you’re getting married in the first place. Ensure that wedding planning doesn’t take away from the activities that you enjoy in daily life and decide if planning your wedding is leading you to compromise on your wellbeing such as sleep, exercise and healthy eating.
Don’t neglect your fundamental needs for the sake of some matching napkins or a forensically calculated seating plan – it’s just not worth it and will ironically make you less prepared for the day in the long run.
Make sure that friends and family know that you’re pausing your wedding planning so that they don’t ask lots of anxiety-inducing “how is it going?” style questions and consider daily journaling to prevent panic from spiralling and to reinforce what’s really important.