Experiencing cold feet on the way to wedded bliss?
Here are our top tips to tackle your big wedding day
While officially celebrating love for a partner happens on a single day in a couple’s life together, a wedding is far more than just a simple event. This one day in a person’s life has been dreamt about for years, perhaps since childhood. It has possibly featured as a topic of conversation by family members while growing up. And it will have a person hoping that the memories created on this day are treasured long into the future. As it’s clear to see, the vast expectations heaped on this event are likely to bring psychological stress, to not only the individuals involved, but their families as well.
In this article, we’re going to share our top tips on how to get through your big day – in the lead up to the event, and during the many changes that take place afterwards.
Make sure you’ve got time to prepare for all the changes
Now, if you’re the one who’s getting married, it’s important to plan well ahead of time and communicate your needs to everyone involved clearly. Ideally, couples take this important event as an opportunity to establish their identity together and even, to establish their blossoming authority within the family tree. While it’s important to listen to and include suggestions by parents and other family members, since this is a step of maturity and growth for each individual who is about to get married, it’s really important they honour each other and ensure their needs get met. So for example, if the bride has ideas on what type of wedding dress she would like to wear, it’s important that her needs are met – and that, for example, her mother allows her to make her own choices as an independent adult.
Sometimes, because parents struggle with the transition that their child is about to make, all kinds of hidden feelings can surface during times like this. An event like this can be the first time, for example, when two families come together. Family dynamics that weren’t obvious before can cause tensions and pressure. And it can be hard to determine where these tensions are coming from. Sometimes people blame their partner during stressful times, whereas the source of issues usually runs through one’s own family of origin.
Our tips for individuals who are tying the knot include:
- Spend time alone with each other well in advance of the big day and work out what your dream wedding will be like
- When creating the vision for the day, try to anticipate what each family would want and how to accommodate those needs
- Discuss whether or not you’d like event management, as this can take a lot of stress out of organising a large wedding
- Discuss strategies on how you’ll back each other up, in case complications arise when communicating plans to your family
- Discuss roles family members can be assigned, so key family members feel important and included
- If there are family members that require boundaries, you can assign another family member or friend the role of keeping an eye on them for you (ie ensuring a sibling doesn’t drink too much etc)
- If you suffer from anxiety and know your triggers, then do communicate those to both sides of the family. Sometimes a trigger can be as simple as a person asking if you’re okay – so be sure to let people around you know exactly what they should and shouldn’t do
- You could book a mindfulness workshop for yourself, as a couple or for your whole family in the lead up to your wedding as a healing part of the journey
What to do as a family member of someone getting married
Whether you are a sibling, a parent, or even an adult child of a parent who is getting remarried, there are lots of things you can do to help make their day an event to remember for a lifetime.
It’s important to note, that this day may bring up feelings in your family that haven’t previously had time to surface. The person about to get married may be taking their stress out on you, on another family member or even on their partner – which may cause you to worry and wonder if the partnership is right for them.
It’s important to recognise that who another person chooses to marry is their choice to make. Though it may be tempting to get involved, and though you may have offered lots of advice in the past, there are ways for you to be there for your family member in a loving and healthy manner – in a way that supports and enables your family member’s growth as a responsible adult. You can, for example, suggest couples therapy if your concern for the couple has been present for some time.
By taking the following tips into account, you could be remembered as someone your family member was able to count on – your calm and strong presence could well offer much needed relief, in what might otherwise be a time of tremendous stress.
Our top tips for family members include:
- Actively listen to your family member when he/she expresses what he/she wants their big day to be like
- Encourage your family member to create a day that celebrates each individual’s identity and their newly-forming identity as a couple
- Offer space to your family member, tell them you are there for them when they need help and will listen to them without judgement
- If your family member confides information in you, listen carefully and respectfully hold that information in confidence
- See if you can help other family members make the transition, especially if a parent is likely to experience empty nest syndrome
We’ve helped many parents overcome empty nest syndrome, and helped many couples cope with the stress that comes through such a profound transition. If you would like to discuss the dynamics of your family as it changes, then please do contact us for a confidential chat.