Planning a wedding can feel pretty overwhelming, especially in this day of social media, there's a huge amount of pressure for everything to be perfectly, and bigger and better than others. This means if you're anxious you'll probably feel that pressure even more intensely.
Think of how complicated life can be in general if you're anxious or depressed. Which means you are bound to feel stressed about such a major life event, however it does not mean you're a terrible bride or groom. Be kind to yourself, if you are on medication, keep to your routine and take it, and try not to feel bad.
You're not a bad person if you hate the planning process, however breaking the planning process down in to manageable chunks might help, tick lists or spreadsheets is a good way of doing this, believe me there is nothing more satisfying to cross something out or put a big tick next to it.
If you are like me (Who suffers from both depression and anxiety) you are probably someone who usually likes to plan. After all, planning ahead is second nature to anxious people, just to get through the day; However being put on the spot or bombarded with questions is very different, It can send you into your shell and make your head spin.
If you start to get cold sweats when looking at floral displays and potential dresses, then get your mum, dad, maid of honour, partner, or just a friend to help you, however watch turning to wedding groups on the internet such as facebook, I hate to say some people like to be unkind as if it was a sport, and will not give a honest opinion.
Creating a little mantra for yourself might help so try repeating something like this to yourself at all times: "I'm not a terrible bride/groom if I don't love this process." There's no legal requirement to have a wedding countdown clock on your desktop or spend hours adding ideas to a Pinterest board.
Trust me: The life you're going to have with your partner is going to be way more memorable and important than the colour scheme you end up picking.
Never turn down help, and never be shy to ask for help, especially If you see deadlines looming and find yourself running out of time, please don't suffer in silence. Turn to a friend or relative and say: "Remember when you asked if there was anything you could do to help? The answer is a thousand times yes."
When it comes to weddings, most other people genuinely want to be there for you. Call them and you'll instantly feel better. And if you're reading this thinking "Hang on, my anxious friend is getting married", give them a call and ask how you can help. However if there is someone causing you more stress, cut them free and turn to someone else. You would not be the first person to sack a bridesmaid or best man.
In the era of facebook, pintrest, instagram, there are endless posts of I had this or that at my wedding and photos of handmade DIY place cards, the pressure has never been greater to include loads of quirky elements. Unfortunately this can be really stressful, as well as add additional financial stress.
The general rule for anxious brides/grooms is that you should take every opportunity to reduce the pressure you're under. But that's easier said than done, as you'll also worry about how you'll feel if your wedding isn't "perfect" (whatever that means).
Try to prioritise the fine touches and detail; it all adds up and before you know it you’re facing an impossible to-do list. It's perfectly OK to have ordinary place cards, a straightforward table plan, or go without a flipflops or photobooth. You'll still have an amazing day.
Strong emotions can make anxiety worse, It's a good idea remind yourself and your partner that freaking out about the wedding does not mean you're not super happy about getting married. It's just the same old stuff you've had to deal with for years being magnified by the wedding stress.
You're both going to feel a bit weird at times – it's a big deal, and you'll inevitably have rows about who to invite and a million and one other things – but let your partner know that it doesn't mean your relationship isn't 100% solid. Sometimes being honest and just saying "I'm stressing like a hell at the moment, however please remember that doesn't mean I don't love you. I would, however, really love a cup of tea/ a pint or a huge glass of wine right about now".
As an anxious person I hate being on display, however it's an integral part of any wedding. Self-consciousness might not be something you consider until quite close to the day itself, but it's a good idea to plan for it. Even as a photographer I feel the stress, we the photos are an integral part of the day for most couples, believe me I've been physically ill the night before a wedding shoot, however on the day I've trained myself to be more outgoing than I actually feel, and in some ways feel like an actor playing a role, and that advice goes for brides and grooms as well.
You're going to feel pretty delicate the week before the wedding, even if you've been careful and looked after yourself, so this is the time to have that support around you more than ever, and don't over commit yourself as you'll want to be nice, you'll want to answer endless questions from people who didn't read the details on the invitation. Maybe people are used to you being accommodating. But this is your wedding. It's OK to say no, or to let the phone ring out.
Without feeling bad, add an extra line of protection between you and your dearly loved (and pain-in-the-ass) friends: Appoint a gatekeeper. It could be a mum, one of the wedding party, or a good friend. Hand out their number and let people bother them. They can deal with weird requests, only coming to you with important stuff.
Don't feel bad about it either. People don't actually want to bother the couple in the run-up to a wedding, but they do need answers to questions. By appointing a gatekeeper, it makes it easier for them, and means you can focus on feeling calm.
You might feel the only way for things to go "perfectly" on the wedding day is if you keep a close eye on all of it, but that's actually the best possible way to utterly exhaust yourself, which can make anxiety worse.
If your partner has absolutely no opinion on flowers, colours, and a million and one other things, turn to your friends instead. If they offer to help, let them. If the bridesmaids say they can research things for you, turn that over to them.
Learn to tell the little things from the big things. What bags your bridesmaids carry? A little thing. What the person who's conducting the ceremony is going to say about your relationship? A pretty big thing.
Focus on dealing with the big things and try to break the habit of a lifetime by delegating the minor points to your partner, friends, and family. You have great judgment and they do too.
Anxious people worry about the fact they're worrying. That's what we do, to the extent that we can actually convince ourselves of almost anything, so try to take some time to chill, do something non-wedding related, and stay off of facebook etc. for at least a week. You'll feel much better for it.
It's hard to avoid letting your wedding take over your whole life, especially on the extra-stressful final stretch. But your hobbies, friends, and interests are what keeps the anxiety wolf from the door, so letting those slide is a bad idea.
When it comes to your big day, don't be surprised if you feel overly calm, it is a natural reaction. Also remember that you have chosen people to support you who you trust, lean on them if you need too, also don't be afraid to lean on suppliers like your photographers, trust them to be there for you, and if you don't you have hired the wrong people to make sure you gel at the booking stage. For example we carry umbrellas, and an emergency kit that contains plasters, headache pills, sewing kit etc, just to remove that stress from you.
Finally take time to yourselves to enjoy your day, even if it means leaving your guests and going to another room, it is your day after all. However most of all have a wonderful day.