So you get engaged. Hooray! You tell people. People get excited. People start overwhelming you with questions. People start offering unsolicited feedback. Under pressure, you start researching wedding planning. You find a lot of information that will take considerable time to digest. Three months after you said you would start, your budget remains untouched. You still receive daily reminders from people about your wedding.
What happened to slow your wedding planning progress?
I’ll tell you what happened — emotional labor. Even with a wedding planner, 90% of planning is the difficult work of sorting and processing emotions. This isn’t a cut and dry corporate party. This isn’t a normal project that you can delegate tasks to and move on. Whether you want it to be or not, a wedding is an emotional nuclear bomb. Your job is to find a way to disarm it.
What people often do is completely disregard this and then...well you know what a bomb does. They delude themselves into thinking that trying to fix the bomb of emotions lurking beneath the surface with spreadsheets and timelines is the entire answer. It’s not. Anxiety, loss of sleep, poor nutrition, seeing that family member you hate, endless phone calls, life, work, overwhelming details about things you don’t normally care about, wondering if your favorite cousins will come since they announced on Twitter they don’t support your “kind” of union, hoping your grandmother is well enough to travel, worrying about whether or not this is a ridiculous idea, trying to appease your impossible mother who’s suddenly made this about her — all while also trying to stay in a healthy relationship. This emotional roller coaster would make just about anybody feel burnt out.
You need a management plan so that you can actually enjoy yourself.
Schedule Some YOU Time
If you haven’t started planning yet, it’s imperative to get four dates in your calendar NOW. You need four weekends that have absolutely nothing to do with your damn wedding. Carnivals, Netflix binges, staycations, vacations, road trips, a monasterially silent weekend — whatever you need to decompress and detach, schedule it now. It doesn’t have to cost a lot but it does have to be an intentional opportunity to turn your brain off. You’ll need it.
Set Up Emotional Checkpoint with Your Partner
The second thing you’ll need to establish is a recurring time (you establish the frequency) where you are checking in with yourself privately and checking in with partner. Create a distraction free zone so that you can actually focus on processing the emotions coming up in your personal and relational reflections. Make time for this. This will be the first thing you try to cut and I’m telling you this is truly not optional. You will notice a massive difference in how you and your partner operate when you don’t do this.
Schedule a Getaway to Reconnect
If you’re already in the throes of planning and have less than 3 months till your wedding then you need to roll all of this into one weekend. We recently talked about the concept of a pre-moon, and it’s so critical. If you can’t afford to get away then get some blackout curtains from Ross, honey, tell people you will not be available, put your phones on do not disturb, and work your emotional ish out. Talk about people involved, talk about your feelings about them, talk about your needs leading up to and on that day, talk about how the process has hindered or helped you. Let it out and work it out.
Sign Up for Premarital Counseling
I’m not a mental health practitioner so if you can afford it, try to get a session booked with one before your date. Just one can help you for years to come.
You can and will work through this, but you have to first acknowledge that this is a task you’ve never dealt with before in conditions you’ve never dealt with before. Together you’ll be able to conquer the emotional labor of planning and enjoy your engagement if you give yourself the time to process it all.
Jordan A. Maney is an Assistant Editor at Catalyst Wedding Co. and is a San Antonio-based wedding planner. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at loveallthedays.com.