I don’t have to tell you that people planning weddings are stressed out. I’ve been around a few both personally and professionally of late and I’ve seen up close and personally how all sorts of stuff comes bubbling up to the surface. Old wounds get re-opened, old fights get re-fought and it can seem like this amazing, wonderful event is becoming eclipsed by crap. So who are the key players in the stress stakes and how can you cope with them better? Let’s take a look!
Say “wedding” and the price goes up 25%. That goes for venues, caterers, florist etc. It’s one of the main reasons I know people choose to get married abroad where the wedding industry isn’t so intense – France for instance. Vendors want to make money and will often use what I call conversation spoilers such as judgement in order to apply the pressure and really hit your emotional trigger points. Have a budget and stick to it. Say NO (thank you). And learn to listen out for the kind of communication they’re using to get you to spend more than you’re comfortable with.
These people stress you out for a few reasons. One, you’re wondering how they’ll behave at your wedding. Two, you’re scared that’s going to be you in ten years with your love. And finally, it seems like they just suck all the positive energy out of the room.
How to deal with it? Well, this is where some savvy communication tactics come into play. Be ready to listen out for conversation spoilers like distortions, deletions, generalisations and providing solutions that all shut down open, honest and CLEAR communication. Second, brush up on your listening skills. Seriously, people love. to. talk. So if you can listen in a way that gets people talking, you’ll be off to the races in terms of diffusing the bickering and stopping it from raining on your parade.
Take some time to learn how to communicate to these folks so that you can let them know that what they’re saying is upsetting and hurtful and figure out some strategies together as to how you can move past this.
Finally, if you’re worried that this will be you and your honey in ten years time…think about a couple of sessions of pre-wedding counselling just to hone and polish your communication skills. Even the most sorted couples I know have said they benefited no end from taking this step to protect their relationship.
Everyone will want to know the details of your wedding and everyone will have an opinion. That they’re not scared to voice. Sometimes forcefully. It blows my mind when I’m just on the side lines of a conversation about wedding plans…once revealed, I’ve heard people say, without a pause for thought of whether or not what they’re about to say might be hurtful, things like “Oh you don’t want to do that!” or “Green…? But that’s such a difficult colour to wear.” And guess what, you have the right to say “I don’t care”. You might not want to say that out loud or you might want to say it in a more polite way, but that’s still your right.
Your parents may well have been a source of stress for most of your life, so why would they stop now, right?! Whether its complaining about money you’re spending, wanting to have a hand in everything, leaving you feeling like you’ll never live up to their ideals of what a wedding should be, or disapproving of your marriage totally, parents have that special knack to really push your buttons.
Be clear on your boundaries. That means being able to say no and sticking to it. If your parents are contributing money to the wedding, being clear on the boundaries is crucial. If you constantly find yourself saying “no, but” or “no, because” or “yes, no, maybe, I don’t know”…you’re demonstrating to that other person that it’s OK to push you, that it’s OK to over-step your boundaries because you don’t respect them either. It also means becoming aware of people-pleasing behaviour and making a conscious effort to move away from it.
It’s true, the number one person who will stress you out the most is the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. This is mostly because weddings are stressful, and they’re the person you’ll be around most. The most common complaints are “He’s not doing anything to help with the wedding” and “she never talks about anything other than the wedding.” Avoid this with some simple planning.
And guess what? Clear communication is, again, the best way to gracefully navigate these choppy waters. That might mean you go ahead to divide up the tasks between you so that you don’t suddenly get into a row about doing most of the organising (don’t forget to check in with each other, it doesn’t take much to report back to the other person and say “Done, x,y and z!”)
You might want to take this a step urther and sit down with a calendar. Figure out when you have time to schedule a couple of hours each week to deal with wedding stuff together.
Then, schedule a NO WEDDING night. This is perhaps the most important thing to stop each other from stressing you out. One night a week, neither of you are allowed to mention the word wedding or anything wedding related. This can be a date night, or just a relaxing at home together night to remind you why you’re going through all this craziness in the first place!
If you’d like to invest in some strategies to help make planning your wedding easier, then you’ll love this new audio download I’ve created especially with you in mind! It’s called How to Survive and Thrive While Planning Your Wedding and it’s packed to the gills with skills on how to spot communication spoilers, how to talk so people will listen and how to get what you want without sounding (or feeling) like a brat!
Name: Tamarisk Saunders-Davies