What to do if wedding planning is sucking the joy out of life

Guest post by Kirsten Hansen
Mason Drinking Jars with Flower Lids available here.
Mason Drinking Jars with Flower Lids available here.

Have you been wondering if you're the only one not squeeing every moment about your upcoming wedding or feeling like your inner curmudgeon has come out to play? It's okay. You're not alone.

This wedding planning thing can suck hard. Not everyone loves planning a wedding and some people downright hate it. Drama happens, things go wrong, and planning is a whole heck of a lot of work.

If that's you right now, then maybe we can help make things at least a little better.

Take a break

Seriously. Give yourself time off to do things you enjoy. Even better, do things as a couple that have nothing to do with venue tours or fittings or guest lists. It can be easy to let wedding planning take over your life — but it doesn't have to be that way. Life isn't waiting for your wedding to be over and it will go on after the wedding (avoid setting yourself up for post-wedding blues). Maybe you need a weekend, maybe you need a month. Just know that it is okay.

Simplify

So you may have realized that this wedding thing can be kinda complicated. Or maybe you are just not a planner by nature. Well, then make it simpler. I'm not talking about getting a better spreadsheet. I mean flat out simplify. If you don't need it, then don't worry about it. Letting go of things can be super-freeing. And you know what? Nobody will know. It's easy to get lost in all the amazing details that you could include (paper straws, the ultimate geeky favor, handmade brooch bouquet). Yes, some people do all of this and it is amazing. Some people don't and it is totally okay, too.

Or sometimes simplifying means having someone else handle it. Maybe you have a relative or friend who has been dying to help with something. Well, why not let them? If you're worried about their commitment to your vision, choose something that isn't a top priority for you and just let them do it (or not). It's one more thing that's out of your hair and it can make them happy. Maybe you need a wedding planner or day-of coordinator.

Sometimes simplifying means just cutting it all back. Can you invite fewer people? Can you have cake and punch instead of a full dinner? Can you go with a second-choice venue if it means you don't have to decorate for three hours or arrange transportation? There may be compromises, but if it means life not sucking as much, it's probably worth it.

Make space for quiet at your wedding

For all of you who don't like the idea of being front and centre at your wedding, it can be managed. Maybe you need an intimate ceremony with just a few people and then a big party later where everyone celebrates together. Or how about private vows before, during, or after the ceremony? Give yourself or your partner time to slip away and make sure you have somewhere to go. Even if you aren't worried about being the centre of attention, it can be awesome to have a private dinner or some down time with your wedding party. If you need to have a quick swig of something, then give yourself a few moments to do that.

Focus on your priorities

Sticking to your priorities is important whether it's being eco-conscious, saving money, having all your friends and family present, a chocolate cake with raspberry filling, bitchin' DJ, or eloping. Do your best to make it work. Maybe it won't be perfect, but if you keep your focus on these things then the rest of it can be a little easier to let go.

Value your relationships

Weddings can bring out the crazy in people, but do your best not to let it get in the way before you need to fire a bridesmaid. You may see the best sides of people you hadn't expected, and you might see the worst sides of others. Maybe you're negotiating a new relationship with your parents or you're figuring out how to communicate with your partner. If you want them around after the wedding, try to talk it out (and practice good conflict resolution methods).

Do it differently

When all else fails, it's time to change. Maybe this means eloping. Maybe it means a surprise wedding. Maybe it means getting weddinged later. It could be changing the time or location. But if wedding planning is making you miserable, then make a change if at all possible.

How are you coping when wedding planning makes your life suck? What sacrifices are you making for your own sense of well-being?

Comments on What to do if wedding planning is sucking the joy out of life

  1. I needed this today – my wedding is at the end of the month and I am OVER. IT. There is always someone to call or something to be reserved or something to buy…I can’t wait until it’s here, but I also can’t wait until it’s over. This is a good reminder to remember what’s really important.

  2. So great. Also is anyone not squeeing, not crumudgeonly but just…not caring? Everyone is asking me details and it’s just like “well, we’re having a phone call with a potential DJ” and then they get excited and I didn’t realize phone calls are so exciting? Or asking me what I’m gonna wear and I just say “a dress?” I just never feel like talking about it because it seems boring to me!

    • I’m on the same boat as you, here. My FH’s mom seems to be really thrown by my lack of micromanagement and desire for extreme detail. The wedding is still over a year from now and she won’t stop asking me about what I want her to wear, what my mom is wearing (apparently the MOB’s dress sets the tone for what the MOG wears? That’s a thing? Maybe?), what I’m wearing.

      And yeah, meetings with potential vendors are not exciting. If anything, they’re somewhat excruciating and sometimes they’re even really boring.

  3. This is totally true! I had to step away for a month after ending up in tears! It did not set me back one bit whatsoever and I’m glad I took a break!

  4. This is great! T-minus 17 days and holy balls am I ready to be DONE with wedding planning. I am pretty organized by nature and we kept things small and very low budget, but it was WAY more work than I ever thought it could be. It’s incredible how much other things get pushed aside because of wedding planning, like cooking, we have ordered pizza so many times in the last few months it’s not even funny.

    • I’m glad it’s not just me who’s noticed a suspicious upsurge in the amount of take-out we’ve been ordering as our wedding date has been drawing nearing!

  5. So glad it’s not just me. I am so over this wedding planning bullshit. So tired of thinking about it and fooling with it. I think we’re just gonna gather up the essential people and elope. I just don’t care about so many parts of it – venue, officiant, you know, the important, gotta-have-it stuff.

  6. Oh wow, this came at the exact right moment for me.

    We’ve only been engaged for 2 months, but we wanted to get our venue and photographer booked in ASAP, as we live in a small town and venues get snapped up years in advance. Unfortunately, most of our friends are already married, and have used most venues for their weddings, so we were trying to find somewhere unique. Ha. We’ve finally narrowed it down to three places, one of which friends of ours DID get married in, only to have FMIL look at them (why we allowed her to, I’ll never know) and declare her hatred of two venues, “But it’s your wedding so do whatever you want”.

    This is on top of a close family member declaring A WEEK AFTER WE GOT ENGAGED that he wouldn’t be present at the wedding if we invited his stepfather, before we’d even considered a guest list or venue or anything, and one of my friends declaring herself a bridesmaid even though I a) haven’t planned that far yet and b) wouldn’t be asking her anyway as she is incredibly selfish and would make our day her day.

    I’m not a wedding-crazy girl, and my fiance is doing most of the work at the moment when it comes to venue and vendor searching. I figured our planning would be very laid-back, like we are, and hadn’t counted on our day maybe being everyone else’s day too. So thankyou for this article, which has appeared right in the middle of a very stressy week! Once the stupid venue is sorted I’ll be taking a wee break from the whole thing, and maybe getting some enthusiasm back after that!

    • I know exactly what you mean. I have only been engaged 2 weeks and we live in a very small town. We have to book the venue and the church asap, but its hard to find one and on top of that we are Catholic so we have to submit our applications, go through classes, get approved for marriage by the church, all before we can even book the church or the venue!

      Part of the application process is taht we need to provide official baptismal records with ensignias for each of our sacraments: first communion, confirmation, and a blank space for the marriage sacrament to prove that we haven’t been married before. We have to have the priest sign it and then we have to sign it also. This is a bit of a problem because my fiance is from the freaking Philippines and his certificates may be in his hometown church (may not), but if they are then they may or may not be in the same format that the US Catholic Church requires… and God only knows when they will arrive!! I am going nuts.

      The venue I really wanted is already booked for our wedding date now so we decided to move it and then his cousins (some of his onnly family who can make it to our wedding) say that they can’t make it on that date because the have to go to a Couples for Christ Convention. WTF!! If we are bridezillas its because no body is helping us get this stuff done.

      I’m not going to spend a bunch of money for a half nice venue that I don’t even really like. I’d rather just elope.

      Done Venting. But yeah. I feel ya.

  7. I had a fabulous dream the other night that my wedding had already happened, and I was incredibly relieved. I told my mother how I felt and she gave me permission to stop planning, and just start making it happen. She’s been amazing at constantly reminding me to prioritize the things that I want. If not for her and my fmil I’d be bonkers for sure right now. I’m glad I’m not the only one so totally over this mess.

  8. I agree with the second response, for sure. I am looking forward to my wedding, but I feel like I’ve been much more lackadaisical in my approach in the past week or two. I’m in the final stretch (my wedding’s on August 2), and I feel like I’m just kind of throwing everything together. Normally I am a plan-everything-a-year-in-advance, must-have-everything-perfect type, but frankly, I have kind of become the exact opposite for my wedding. We are only having 7 guests (my mom, dad, and brother, his mom, dad, and niece, and our daughter), and I feel like these people know me well enough that if everything doesn’t go 100% perfectly, who cares?! These people love me already, and I love them already. That’s the main reason we’re having a small wedding. I felt like if we invited all of the people who are invited to more traditional weddings (extended family, friends, possibly coworkers), I would be stuck planning a wedding where I had to prove how “in love” we were by having crazy elaborate (and expensive!) decorations, venue, etc. I feel like scaling back has done wonders for my stress levels.

  9. YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES. So relevant to me. Enjoying the wedding for me has come to mean: a very small ceremony, a simple dress, and a simple brunch. (With a big CASUAL potluck party a month or so after). Initially I was going DIY all kinds of projects and invite oodles of people… but really, being quietly present with my dearest is what will bring me the most joy and the richest experience.

  10. I cannot stress enough how you should LET SOMEONE ELSE DO THE THINGS! The only way I got through it was delegation, delegation, delegation. If I didn’t care enough to do it myself, then either someone else did it or it didn’t get done. And nothing was “missing”…it all went swimmingly, we got rave reviews, and everyone who wanted to help felt like they were helping. Yeah, my wedding was maybe a bit more traditional than it would have been if my mom’s wedding-planner friend hadn’t been in charge of dressing the tables, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to do it the night before the wedding, and they looked lovely. This has been my advice for any other bride who’s asked for it… if it’s not vital to your vision, let someone else do it!

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