“I Just Want To Be Done!” How to Manage Wedding Planning Stress

The Engagement Coach Adrienne C. Laursen shares five tips for managing wedding stress.

Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage Therapist, Fox 9 Relationship Expert, and owner of The Engagement Coach, shares five tips for managing the toughest wedding stressors for every bride. Adrienne works specifically with dating, engaged and newlywed clients in her private practice, located in Wayzata, Minnesota.

Getting engaged and planning a wedding is supposed to be the highlight of your life, right? Often times, though, the stress of planning your wedding can really spoil the excitement.  These five stressors are normal and typically present for most couples in the thick of wedding planning.  And, while you can’t really eliminate all of this stress (let’s face it, planning a wedding is super stressful), you can learn to better deal with it so you and your groom can have a more positive and enjoyable experience.

1. Managing Everyone’s Expectations (Yours Included)
You’ve been dreaming about your wedding day for years and unfortunately, so has your mother! All kidding aside, moms often think they know best when it comes to planning your wedding, selecting your dress and deciding on the guest list. It can be hard to manage all of the pressure and expectations your parents place on you for this one, very important day. Setting clear boundaries and expectations upfront may help manage any frustrations or differences of opinion down the road. I often suggest writing out a plan, or a list of responsibilities for everyone involved.  (For example: Who manages what, budget guidelines, deadlines for decisions, maximum guest count, etc.) That way, you’ve got something concrete to reference when expectations get out of control.

2. Difficult Friends and Family Members
We’ve all got one—you know the one—friend who thinks this is actually her day: the divorced parents who make your wedding all about how much they despise each other, the crazy relative who demands she bring 15 guests because the family hasn’t seen each other in 10 years.  When dealing with difficult friends and family members, try to remind them what this day is really about. If they become too difficult, it may be necessary to set firm boundaries or remove them from the wedding altogether. Just be sure you’re not trying to manage all of this stress alone.  Get emotional support from your good friends, fiancé or a therapist to ensure you keep your sanity and actually want to attend your own wedding.

3. Frustrating Vendors
Even with the best intentions and laid-out plans, your wedding vendors can still be frustrating and lack the follow-through you desire. If your vendors get too frustrating for you to handle, consider delegating that job to a trusted family member or close friend. You may also consider hiring a wedding planner to manage that stress for you. Sometimes, the money spent on a planner can be really beneficial in the long run to saving your sanity and your relationship with your groom!

4. Your Wedding Budget (Or Lack Thereof)
Communicating about money is hard enough when you’re married, but most couples get their first glimpse of money management while planning their wedding. Learning how best to spend the money you do have can present a challenge for a lot of couples.

Wedding stress can increase significantly when you’re presented with the upgrades vendors offer and often pressure you to consider. If it gets overwhelming, know that it’s okay to take a step back, go home and discuss your options in a private setting. It’s really easy to get mesmerized by all of the add-ons you can choose from, but committing to your original budget will save you a lot of heartache in the end. Just remember that the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can have for your wedding, so don’t let yourself get pulled in to spending more than you can afford, or you’ll be regretting your decision when it comes time to pay off that debt.

5. Each Other!
With all of the stress, decision making and pressure you’re likely to experience, you may find that you’re turning that frustration on each other. Often times, grooms will complain that their bride-to-be is just too crabby and stressed out all of the time. Brides will likely take issue with the fact that their groom is too uninvolved and that she’s left alone to handle all of the details.  Staying strong with each other, and remembering to communicate regularly will go a long way to staying connected and happy as a couple. 

For more information on Adrienne’s premarital, engagement and newlywed counseling services (and get free relationship tips!), visit her website.