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Do you hear wedding bells? Planning for the big day and managing your mental health

Weddings can cause huge stress and anxiety

As we approach peak wedding and civil partnership season, many of us thought planning for what is known as the happiest day of our lives would be a blissful fairy tale of caterer tastings, venue scouting, and making fun decisions on colour palettes and outfit choices.


The reality of organising yours and your partner's 'Big Day' is actually one of the most stressful life events you will ever encounter, which can lead to changes in diet, arguments with loved ones, and a feeling of endless amounts of invoices from wedding suppliers. Keeping many to lie awake at night.


For many of us, when our special other 'pops the question' we are filled with ideas and imagination of how we wish to celebrate our love and commitment and might start putting our plans into action by attending wedding fairs. This can be the start of many a stressor as we walk through a room of multiple vendors all engaging for our business while we give the non-committal answers of 'we're just browsing, it's really early days for us to be thinking about dates, transport, guest list numbers, etc.' before receiving a bounty of supplier gift bags with wedding cake samples and discount codes.


The anxiety of making arrangements can lead to many individuals second-guessing their choices and creating conflict between those they wish to cement their partnership with or disagreements amongst family, which can create feelings of self-doubt, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, confusion, anger, and frustration.


I vividly remember once a bride-to-be expressing these emotions by saying, 'Everybody keeps telling me how it's supposed to be mine and my fiancée's wedding day, but instead I feel as if all I'm trying to do is keep everybody else happy'. They continued to explain how they had built this idea from childhood that planning their special day was going to be enjoyable but instead 'just wanted the event to be over and done'. 


Marriage can be seen as the ultimate commitment between two people

One of the biggest stressors when it comes to making arrangements is finance, which, according to the website, is one of the top five reasons that causes couples to engage in heated conversations. The average cost ranges in the UK from £20,000 upwards, with the couple discussing whether they can afford certain aspects of their dream day to become a reality. Asking their nearest and dearest for financial support or even occurring debt. A groom-to-be asked me, 'Am I being unreasonable? I know it's always been my partner's vision to arrive in a classic car, but it costs £800 for a 5 minute drive! I'm not sure if we can justify this expenditure?' 


Weddings can reunite, bringing people closer together, but they can also have long lasting damage amongst personal relationships and friendships.


You may relate to some points mentioned within this article or are currently experiencing similar thoughts and feelings. At The Empathy Project, all of our counsellors are qualified and here to listen to the highs and lows and respect all the emotions you are feeling. Unlike certain friends or family members, we will not provide unsolicited advice or tell you what you should or should not be doing or how to live your life. 


You might find it helpful to speak to one of our counsellors, unlike other counselling services, there are no set number of sessions you must attend. We believe clients should have the autonomy to choose the amount of sessions that are right for them.


If you are making arrangements for your upcoming vows, we wish you all the very best of luck.


Charlotte Parker MBACP is a Person-Centred Psycotherapist and our Counselling Director. You can find her counselling profile here, and book a session with her here.

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