Wedding Planning Your Way
Moir-Smith, who sees many brides and grooms use obsessive wedding planning as a way to fend off the more complicated feelings that can arise during the planning period, recommends a different tack: “I advise couples to not be afraid to hold off on planning and enjoy this precious time,” she explains. “It creates the opportunity for each of them to start acclimating to this enormous life change.”
Like many couples, you may need to postpone wedding planning for the first 30 days if you’re feeling overwhelmed. “We wanted to take the time to enjoy being engaged and limited ourselves to only talking about what we both envisioned for our wedding,” says Shannon McKinnon of Bowmanville, Ontario. “It was a great opportunity to settle into our roles as a couple and take in all the changes that were happening.”
Beth O’Reilly, of Sheboygan, WI, echoes this sentiment. “Although I did try on a handful of wedding dresses within the first week, I made a decision not to get bogged down in planning right away. I just wanted to enjoy the feelings of excitement and anticipation.”
Whether you savor your engagement or fast-track your wedding planning, make sure your decision feels right. If you’d prefer to take things slowly, don’t start planning a wedding simply because your loved ones are pressuring you to set a date and choose a location. Likewise, if you’re both full of giddy, nervous energy, perhaps planning would provide an outlet. The choice is yours—the key is to make it consciously and comfortably.
Processing Your Many Emotions
During the wedding planning process, strong emotions other than pure bliss may come as a shock to you, yet experiencing a wide range of feelings is a natural part of the transition from singleton to spouse. As your identity as an independent individual slips away, grief is a common reaction. “Suddenly, each member of the couple is wondering how they can stay true to themselves and still be a married person,” Moir-Smith says. “These identity issues are shocking, but the true purpose of an engagement is to slowly shed that single identity.” The more fully you surrender that old identity, she explains, the more painless your transition to married life will be on your wedding day.
To successfully survive this emotional rollercoaster, Moir-Smith suggests examining your deepest feelings. “Taking time for self-reflection, whether it’s journaling, talking with a confidante or looking through old photographs, is a vital part of the grieving process,” she advises.