Wedding planning slump: how do you get re-energized?

May 2 | Guest post by Ocelot
Photos Andy Chrisst
Photos Andy Chrisst

If you know anything about neurology or brain cells, I'm currently mired in a slump I'd compare to the action potential "undershoot" — the point where the membrane can't do what it's supposed to because the ion channels are inactivated. If you're not familiar with that, let's just say I'm so burnt out on "wedding stuff" that all I can do is loaf about on the couch and whine (or wine).

After a whole pile of crazy from family and several friends having weddings this month, I'm so burnt out. I'm getting really sick of talking about wedding stuff. It's kind of lost its novelty. In fact, I've been so burned out on it that it's taken me over three days to compose this post. I could barely get myself to think about how pooped I was… and thinking's pretty much all I do.

It's almost a few months before my wedding date and I have a ton of stuff left to do. This is a pretty vital time in planning. Lots of stuff needs to happen NOW, including my most important personal detail, choosing my wedding dress. The dress is so important to me that I've been squirreling away floor-pennies to pay for a fantastic seamstress. And, I just don't have the energy to even LOOK at the swatches or designs she's sent me. Every time I try, I get the urge to take a nap instead. I am so inactivated that I can't find any fun in it anymore. And that worries me!

What's a gal to do in this situation? How can I perk up enough to get tasks done? Here's what I've been trying:

  • Spending time with my Mister. Trying to remind myself what this is really about!
  • Dancing my ass off at a hail storm of weddings I'm attending this month. See, weddings ARE fun!
  • Setting up a NO DRAMA zone. I have little patience right now and I'll listen to your concerns tomorrow (or never).
  • Delegating. Even though it's really hard for me to give up control and trust that people do well, there's only so much I can fit in my brain. This is a thing I really need to work on anyway!
  • Napping. Don't know how it's helping, but it's sure not hurting.
  • Doing a little thing every day, no matter how little — reading a few Tribe posts, making a list of shit to remember, making one phone call. It's not exactly POWERING through it, like I would like, but it's progress and that feels good.
  • FEEL GOOD about progress, no matter how little. (It needed a bullet of its own!)

It's not ground breaking innovation in bridal motivation. It's just what I've found myself doing to keep from totally giving up or getting overwhelmed. I suppose these are good things to do even if you're NOT feeling burned out. They are pretty easy.

Any new suggestions on ideas to help me out of the wedding planning dumps? I can always use more tricks up my sleeve!

  1. Make yourself a done list. That's helped me a LOT.

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  2. I have been going through a period of being burnt out on planning too! I just had my bachelorette party (a month in advance). It was out of town so I made it a "no planning" fun time with the girls weekend. It helped me re-energize and refocus.

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    • I had a long-ish engagement (I guess? 2.5 yrs?). About a year into it I became overwhelmed by wedding "stuff" and looking at wedding stuff and trying to decide on stuff I wanted in my wedding. I'm not talking just about material things, it was everything wedding related, services and all, that I was tired of looking at.

      Because I still had enough time, I declared a one-month ban on anything wedding related. I put away the magazines, didn't visit the websites, and stopped talking about WEDDINGS in general with people.

      It was a huge relief to know that I didn't have to look/read/think/decide on anything. After 30 days I felt recharged and was able to really focus on getting it all planned.

      I told this to a friend who was going through the same thing, but on a tighter schedule. She decided to take only 2 weeks off (she delegated a lot in order to keep things moving), and it helped her too.

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  3. I'm also having a slump, but for many different reasons.

    For you, maybe having a crazy workout session will make you feel energized enough to tackle something? Working out always gives me energy, even if it's just playing Just Dance or DDR. :D

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  4. A little bit of exercise goes a long way- even if it is just a twenty minute walk. Exercise=endorphins=happy time.

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  5. ugh I'm in the same boat. I have a lot done but there's still so much left to do. And I have trouble cold calling people – even though I'm calling them because I want to buy something from them.
    There are some major things I still need to get done, but I'm really not motivated to do them.
    I tend to work well when there's a reward (even if it's just praise – who am I kidding, especially if it's praise!). SO maybe if I tell myself "if I do X this week, then I can go out to play pool"
    That actually might work.
    I should also get my fiance, mom and bridesmaids to pile on the praise when I get this stuff completed. lol!

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  6. Studies show that the brain releases 'happy' chemicals when ever you finish a project, keeping a list of everything you've finished will help you boost that. Finish everything that's mandatory first and you'll realize how unimportant some of the small details are the closer you get to the day of. Obviously everyone's opinion of what's the most important is different but it felt really good to be able to mark stuff off the list because the project was only important to the esthetic, not the over all feel of the day. Not 'making' 120 flowers was one of the best decisions I made in terms of keeping my sanity, and my friends were too enamored with food, drinks and having a good time that most of them don't even remember the centerpieces.

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  7. When we hit a slump we go for a walk or play some Final Fantasy just to keep our minds fresh, or we cook something together, just anything that reminds us why we're doing this

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  8. To get past my planning slump I created "Wedding Free Wednesdays." I give myself permission to not worry about the wedding for at least one day a week. If I want to do something, I can (like oogle Offbeatbride.com) but there's no pressure on Wednesdays! I also look over my To Do list at everything I've crossed off! It really helps to see how much you've done!

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  9. Oh, ma'am! Do I feel the undershoot! Though mine is 90% Federal grant writing and 10% wedding. I am greatly pleased that I somehow think I have the big things still on track, but we made a lot of the major decisions early on and that's helped a lot as the wedding gets closer!

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  10. Can you get an event planner to help you? I'm guessing that your procrastination is coming from the enormity of the decisions that need to made. Does it feel like any decision you make is going to be the wrong one? Having an experienced person to advise you and set some realistic expectations might take some of the load off. If it were me, having someone to say "I've used this ____ several times and everything was great" would help me sleep at night.

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    • Anne, I think you are on to something. When I find myself in this kind of slump/procrastination mode, I am usually having some apprehension about something having to do with the task(s) at hand. Either I don't feel confident about my ability to do it, or I don't feel confident about a decision or something like that. So sometimes I have to do something to get PAST the apprehension, like get help, or just DO EET, and find out it wasn't that bad, or whatever.

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  11. OMG I relate to your post so much right now!

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  12. I made myself a list of things to do each month. Little, big, doesn't matter. Each month I gave myself about 4 or 5 to get done. It showed me ALL the things I already got done and it made me feel like I WAS making progress (although it never felt like I was).
    Also, go to bed early. I know you want to stay up late and wedding plan, but for real. Go to bed early. It helps.

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  13. It sounds so simple, but by just stepping back and taking a few deep breaths has done wonders for me. It's all about reaching that Zen in order to keep pushing on! And of course, spending time with your mister as you said :)

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  14. Honestly, I thought I was really the only one. And I felt bad about it. I just wanted the planning to be over, so when I brought up an idea to my husband and he didn't quite agree, I'd get pissy, then we'd end up fighting about how I'm working my ass off and the house is never clean. I see how bridezilla is born.

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  15. Boy, do I feel this post! My issue is that I'll "complete" things… but not necessarily pay off things. Like, "Oh, I booked the photographer, venue, dress, day of planner, etc.," but then I end up feeling really lazy and bummed because I have to work harder to pay off everything :P So I've "completed" a checklist item, but not actually "fully completed" it, so I decided to make envelopes and just put any spare anything in them towards different funds. Is any of it enough to make a substantial payment? No, but it seems to make me feel better than never seeing my direct deposits go out to vendors ;)

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  16. meditation or a weekend off – totally off – from the wedding can help quite a bit.
    exercise is a must to oxygenate the brain.
    scheduling what you have left to do, even if it's in broad general terms can help you focus on one thing at a time. maybe focusing just on the dress will help now, because once you get that done, it may inspire you!
    for me, when there is something I hate, I try to turn it into something I look forward to – ex: when I have to pay bills, I make a pot of great tea in a lovely pot, set out a china cup and silver spoon, and have something chocolate while I take care of business.
    burnout is mental, physical, and emotional so do something to help each area.
    good luck! I'm sure you'll have an aamazing wedding!

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  17. Being well aware that I am the type of person who will hit this point quite a lot & easily (my wedding is 11 months away so I have plenty of time to hit that wall) I have a few plans to try and keep it off and to help when it does happen.

    1. Dinner time my fiancee and I sit at the table and chat (most nights) and I have made the rule that there will be no wedding talk during this time. I think it is important to set aside time which is time for me & my partner to be close without thinking about plans

    2. I have a folder that I keep track of all the information, ideas and plans. It also has a pocket where I am keeping the congratulations on the engagement cards (for safe keeping). The very first page of this is the "Completed List", so whenever I am planning wedding stuff I open that folder and I am instantly reminded what I have done.

    3. Set aside a time to have non-wedding "me" time. For me that can be drawing, painting, curling up with a (non-wedding) book & a cup of tea – whatever. But each week I have at least an hour for me that I can do whatever I like that is nothing to do with the wedding.

    4. I have already talked to my best friend (the Maid of Honour) and when ever I feel in this mood she will help me have a girls night where the wedding topic is taboo. Nothing wedding – just a fun night/day out with a friend or two.

    Hope this helps – I think a lot of these ideas have been given however I thought Id share my own little slant on how I am dealing with things.

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  18. Girl…you are in good company! Someone gave me some advice yesterday that hit home. She said "Be decisive." If you don't feel like hunting down your hunny to confirm for the fifth and final time that -yes- yellow napkins are ok. Or -yes- roses would be nice on the ring bearer's boutonniere. Just make the call. Get it over with. Take it off the to-do list. And most of the time, nobody is going to care. And if they do, tough…you're the one doing the work, you get to decide.

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  19. I'm so glad that I'm not alone. I have lost my wedding mojo, although I'm not sure that I've ever had it…. We have been engaged since 2006 and planned to get married in 2010. We ended up having issue after issue, the venue shut down, the dress was a disaster and there was a few family issues. We ended up cancelling the wedding, as it was just too hard.

    Two years later we are still not married. I can't bring myself to make a commitment to anything including a date, venue or dress! I'm not excited about planning it at all as the first time was such a mess. Why is it so hard to plan a wedding that is a little different?
    Any help or suggestions????

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  20. Ok, after a tough day I searched "overwhelmed" on OBB and this post came up. The bullets were so so so helpful – even a year later. I'm breathing a little easier. Whew.

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