When my partner proposed to me, it was a complete shock. So much so that, after crying happy tears and saying yes, I then proceeded to have a panic attack and had to have a little sob in the shower to recover.
The panic began to inch its way back with each and every person we broke the happy news too, and each and every subsequent question they asked. Having never really thought about what my wedding could be, I found the questions people had overwhelming, and the long wedding-planning path ahead, incredibly daunting.
While the Hollywood cliché is that most women have been planning their wedding day since they were a little girl and can’t wait to get a ring on their finger, I found the more I shared my anxiety with friends, the more I realized I wasn’t alone in my overwhelmed emotions.
“Most people feel anxious to some degree before their wedding,” says meditation and mindful expert Andy Puddicombe, who is also the co-founder of meditation app Headspace. “It takes so much planning to organize it all and, for many, it can feel like a really big step in life,”
With my big day fast approaching, and an anxiety cloud always looming, I asked Andy to share some of his best tips for dealing with pre-wedding anxiety.
Take time to meditate
I always recommend a daily meditation practice for anyone getting married. It helps to keep you sane throughout the planning process and can really help you be more present and enjoy the day itself. Just a few minutes a day can make all the difference.
What to do if you struggle to meditate
If you’re anything like me, you like the idea of meditation in theory, but practicing it almost seems impossible. If you need a little help, meditation apps such as Headspace are a great way to be guided through the process and make meditation part of your daily routine.
If you’re still struggling to quiet your mind, or make the time, meditation classes are becoming more and more common around the UK. As someone who gets distracted easily, I tried a sound meditation class at RemindStudio in London. Taking place in a warm, glowing room, the class involved lying on plush mats and pillows, closing your eyes and breathy deeply while the instructor plays soothly sounds on a gong, crystal bowls and other instruments. By focusing on the different sounds, I found it much easier to let go of thoughts and be present, than if I was just in a silent room at home.
Keep these 3 things in mind throughout the wedding planning process:
Motivation: This is your day. There will be a lot of pressure to meet the expectations of others but be clear about what you both want as a couple. Allow others to have their say, be inspired by their enthusiasm, and then come back to your original intention for why you are getting married and how you would like the day to unfold.
Perspective: While it may feel like one of the biggest days of our life, marriage is about so much more than the wedding day. So rather than focus too heavily on everything being absolutely perfect (it never is), focus on the feelings for one another and your shared future together. In short, it's ok to relax and enjoy the day.
Compassion: One of the quickest ways to get out of our head, to step out of our thinking, is to focus on the happiness of another person - in this case, your future husband or wife. So acknowledge your own feelings, but focus on their happiness, and making the day memorable for them. It not only alleviates anxiety but is the perfect way to approach married life.
Avoid overthinking things
It sounds obvious, but most of our stress comes from over-thinking. Perhaps we are thinking about what we felt went right or wrong in the past, or perhaps it's what we hope or fear for the future. When it comes to a wedding, there are so many things we get caught up in and are left feeling overwhelmed. So avoid the temptation to think about the wedding the whole time. How? By learning to meditate, learning to step back from all those thoughts, so that you can feel calm, clear, happy and well.
Be Kind To Yourself
One of the most common forms of anxiety and stress leading up to the wedding is wanting to look our best on the day. It's incredible how demanding we might be of ourselves and how much pressure we can put ourselves under. Perhaps we are even quite unkind to ourselves in the process. So sure, of course we want to look our best, but being kind to yourself will be reflected in the way you look, and if you can reduce stress as well, you can feel confident in the way you look on the day.
Andy’s tips for dealing with anxiety on the day
- Meditate as soon as you wake up - set the tone of the day in your own mind
- Remind yourself of motivation, perspective, compassion and focus on the element that seem to resonate the most
- If possible, get some exercise in, as this can often help to burn off any excess anxiety too
- Have an eating plan for the day that includes foods that help promote positivity and balance, whilst preventing any hunger pangs or unwanted sugar crashes.
- Prepare a playlist for the day. Music that helps to relax, inspire, energize, or whatever else you'd like to feel as you get ready