If I'm not stressing, why is everyone else stressing? (And how the answer changed everything)

May 19 | Guest post by Lynnze
Grant & Sam's Retro Wedding - Saturday 25 August 2012
(Photo by Helen Russell Photography)
"Your cousin is freaking out. Can you please explain to me what you're wanting her to wear?"

I sighed heavily at my aunt's text before copying and pasting pictures, and explaining, for the umpteenth time, what I envision for my eight bridesmaids:

  • ANY shade of teal.
  • Comes below the knee.
  • Classic, "vintage," "retro" style. (Complete with a dozen pictured examples as well as direct links to reputable sites for purchasing).

And refrained from adding, "Not. That. Hard." as I face-planted into a pillow and muffled a scream.

Instead, I tactfully said, "We're still six months out. There's plenty of time to find something. Assure her she doesn't need to stress."

I had an almost "Anti-Bridezilla" moment — "I don't care which shade of teal they are! If I'm not stressing, why is everyone else stressing?!"

And then I had a very real Bridezilla moment: "Their stress is stressing me out!"

I expressed the latter to my wedding planner and she, most beautifully and perfectly, laughed along with my sentiments before gently reminding me, "They are all here on the common goal of supporting you and your happiness."

And just like that, my perspective changed.

Instead of a source of stress, I looked at their efforts and worries for what they were — their loving me and them trying to show it by wearing whatever it is I envision for the wedding. My heart softened toward them and I started putting in more personalized effort. "I know you usually prefer [this kind of style], so let's look for how that can meet the style I'm looking for."

These are my sisters. My closest friends. My cousin. I know them just as well as they know me. And six months out from the wedding is plenty of time to put in the one-on-one effort with each of them.

And, perhaps inevitably, it's become about more than the shoes and the dress…

My recently-reconnecting sister replied to my "Will you be my bridesmaid?" by re-sending a journal we stopped circulating six years ago.

My sister-to-be and I find we have similar tastes and this gives us common ground to build our foundation of sistership.

I ask each of them, regularly, "How is the rest of your life?"

As I pay more attention to their likes and needs, I truly acknowledge them for who they are, and have that much more to embrace and love in return.

This new perspective continues overflowing into my other relationships. When my many mothers turn to me with their what-should-I-wears, I embrace them with the same excitement and personalized show of love. When my husband-to-be expresses frustration, I turn to him openly and ask, "What do you need? What is YOUR vision?"

Yes, wedding planning is overwhelming. It swallows you up. It, and people, can straight-up drown you with needs and wants and demands and questions and…

But it can also not. The whole planning process can also be a beautiful way of giving and receiving all the love that I, unintentionally, was saving for celebrating on the one Big Day. So here's a moment for that — a reminder that they each show their love in their own way, and I am most happy, and thankful, to love them in return.

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  1. My wedding is on Sunday (yes! THIS Sunday!) and this is exactly what I needed to read, right now. Thank you for this!

    15 agree
    • SO glad I could pass it on, lady. 🙂 I hope you're weekend is everything you envision and need. 🙂

    • What an AWESOME post!! Just what I needed to hear. My wedding is this SATURDAY and I needed to read this post to keep me grounded! I needed to be reminded that these people ALL love me (although I really think trying to be a Bridezilla would be more fun!). Now I'm gonna contact them all to let them know just how much I truly Love and appreciate them juggling their lives around for mine!! Your a great wife and woman already to accept the reminder given to you!!

      1 agrees
  2. Awww, it is touching to see that your family cares enough to be stressed out about the details of your wedding. Hey, they care…..for some brides out there they can't even get an RSVP, LOL. Good luck with everything and keep us posted…..especially with what BM dresses they choose.

    4 agree
    • Will do. They're still looking as of now. And yes….I'm sending out invites this month and I'm sure there will be some that'll need a hunt-down….my family are professionals at procrastinating. Lol

  3. Oh man, THIS. Although the bratty voice inside my head is still saying "I don't wanna!" I have definitely been drowning in everyone else's needs, wants, problems lately. I absolutely needed this to be put in perspective for me, so thank you.

    3 agree
    • I'm so happy to hear this helped! Keep your head up (above water lol). And sending lots of love your way.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I've been finding it difficult to work with my normally opinionated family members who suddenly just want to know what WE want… There's been a few articles around here that have helped – such as if the Laissez-faire bridal style upset or confuses your party members, give them more guidance, but I feel this article sums it up nicely.

    1 agrees
    • Good! Glad to hear. Thanks for commenting! I hear you about opinionated….but that's also why we love them. (Heavy sigh – lol)
      Hope everything smoothes out for you.

      2 agree
  5. People want guidance, and to be told what is expected of them. Added to the mix is their love for you (and your fiancé), and their desire to do things "right" for you. They don't want to mess up. They want to make you happy.

    7 agree
  6. I just have to say it is REALLY COOL to see my little epiphany on this site. I LOVE you guys and you all have made such a huge difference in my wedding/life. Definitely a big fan and am honored to be a part of the community in this way.

    3 agree
    • I just have to say it is REALLY COOL that you love us enough to share your insights with us. We <3 you! 🙂

      5 agree
  7. I was in a wedding a couple summers ago and my instructions were "On the ice blue to teal spectrum, cocktail length or shorter, chiffon or other flowy fabric. Now fly free!" The bride felt like she was being totally awesome by not forcing us into matching $300 one shoulder chartreuse satin or whatever, and I still love the dress I ended up buying for the event, but the process of dress shopping was super stressful. At times I wished she had just picked something matching so I could just buy a dress and know I wasn't making the wrong choice for my bestie's wedding. It's HER DAY after all and the WIC, if nothing else, has drilled into us that EVERY.DETAIL.COUNTS. So all of a sudden, I am choosing a DETAIL that COUNTS for a wedding that maybe I'm not 100% sure of the vision of, and I love my friend, and what if I get it wrong? Will she hate me? Will her wedding be ruined? Will it strain our friendship? What if I buy something she hates– will she tell me, or will she just silently seethe and I'll be the one thing she sighs regretfully over when she peruses her wedding album in years to come?
    See? Stressful, right? All my stress came from love.

    In conclusion, it sounds like your wedding planner and the revelation she offered sent you in the exact right direction. Best wishes with the rest of your wedding planning, and when one of your bridesmaids or ushers or aunties or uncles or anybody is stressing over some thing you're totally whatever about, just gently ask them why they are so stressed and undoubtedly they will tell you in some words or others that it is because they love you.

    4 agree
    • Exactly. And truthfully, I'm just the type who genuinely isn't going to care. I'll look back and be happy their faces are there, not think about their dress. It makes a lot more sense to patiently and lovingly remind them of this, than to get stressed out myself. 🙂

      2 agree
  8. This is really well said. You really just helped me to grasp a better perspective on things as I am feeling the same. For that, I thank you. Congratulations on your wedding and these bettered connections with your girls 🙂

    1 agrees
  9. Nicely done! And so very true in all its aspects. We love you. That is all. And that, my dearest daughter, is everything. ??

    1 agrees
  10. I also just wanted to share that, to alleviate stress of picking the *right* bridesmaid dress BUT also giving them the freedom to pick their own, I went on a shopping trip with my sister (MOH) and picked out a few favorites and told them the color. They really liked the non-overwhelming freedom! If you're a Tribe member, here's more details and a link to the photoset: http://tribe.offbeatbride.com/journals/2014/01/bridesmaids-dress-flickr-stream-for-faraway-attendants

    1 agrees
    • Thank you! I am planning this wedding long distance, but if they're still having trouble when I finally return eastward, this is a great idea!

  11. It's so funny – this same thing happened to me! My original "view" was for my bridesmaids to pick something they liked – and it was way too stressful for them. I ended up picking a really cute dress that they all said they liked and the stress was over. It was hard for me to realize all they wanted to do was make ME happy at the time – I was annoyed they wouldn't just pick something to wear! Having been a bridesmaid 9 times, it has been hard for me to switch roles into the bride- but this article places how I have been feeling into the perfect perspective! Sometimes intentions of loved ones are mis-understood! 🙂

    2 agree
  12. It's SO refreshing to see a bride so relaxed about the wedding planning! Thank you for making me feel less alone 🙂 as someone who is naturally very anxious, I'm surprised at how blasé I've become it all! It seems like people are sitting, watching, waiting for me to explode 😛

    3 agree
    • haha! I hear you! Sometimes I get overwhelmed by how MUCH goes into a wedding….and doing everything ourselves…I'm so thankful for my planner for being able to funnel my energy. Otherwise I wouldn't get anything done. The little things just aren't worth stressing over when you can get so excited about the big things – being married and having family and friends around you! woo!!

  13. I love that you were open to this perspective! It can be really hard to look at what you perceive as irritating behavior & realize that it comes from love. But, really most of the time the family members that irritate us are doing so because they love us. I know I struggle with this sometimes. Thank you for reminding us all.

    2 agree
  14. I'm experiencing the same thing! It's not really stressful for me yet (I'm about 5 months out), but everyone else is freaking out. It's hard for me to take a step back and remember that everyone is just trying to do nice things for me! Thank you so much for your words of wisdom- I will make a better effort to be patient and understanding of my 'maids/parents/guests!

    1 agrees
  15. My wedding is this Wednesday, September 10th. I'm getting bombarded with tons of questions from guests and family members about the wedding and this is exactly what I needed! Their stress is stressing me out while I'm being as calm, cool, and collected as I can be. Honestly, this is exactly what I needed! They are asking me out of love and wanting to make me happy. I'll try and hold onto that. Only 3 days left to go! Thank you!

    1 agrees
    • Good luck with everything running smoothly and ENJOY YOUR DAY!! ????
      Mine is the 27th an I'm at the point where I just can't wait to delete my Pinterest boards and get rid of all the DIY wedding stuff and ENJOY the actual day. haha have fun!!

  16. I so NEEDED this today. My mom is FREAKING OUT about my bridal shower. Our family & friends are geographically distant, including the bridal party, so they decided to do three smaller showers – and my mom is helping with the one in my hometown. I knew the date for my Massachusetts shower, and I know the date & location for my Maryland shower. I, personally, prefer to know when the shower is, especially since I, you know, have to drive three hours to get there. Mom is ABSOLUTE in her insistence that I know nothing about the Jersey shower- she (jokingly) has been threatening harm to my brother/bridesmaids/anyone who knows the date if they tell me. then, earlier this week, she let slip the location…and immediately started crying. I'm also pretty sure she's going to change the location now.. which I think is silly. But, over this week, I've come to the realization that she's only this stressed about it because she loves me and she wants everything to be perfect for ME. and how can I be upset with that?

    1 agrees

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