So, you said Yes!

Wedding Bells and the Psychology behind Getting Married 

Congratulations on getting engaged! If you are a bride or a groom at the start of your wedding planning, then this blog is for you. It is an exciting time for both of you and I want to send you my best wishes. 

Wedding bells are the symbolism of a call to an event that involves a plethora of emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. It is not just the organisation of the party, but also the life-changing event of getting married to someone you love. Marriage is an extensive topic with plenty of research about it. However, wedding preparation leads to several situations you may have never considered before, some of them will prove a challenge and others will be easy quick wins, and to my knowledge, research on the topic is limited…

During the preparation of my own wedding, I knew that I had to apply my own psychological resources to overcome certain overwhelming emotions and thoughts sabotaging my happiness, even as a Clinical Psychologist. I am a human being, and I was not immune to feeling the intensity of what it takes to becoming married. There were unexpected situations that required me to be contained, and for someone who managed and planned my own wedding, I simply could not move this onto a dedicated wedding planner . 

Preparation Helps!

Mental Health is an important subject that has been overlooked by the ‘Wedding Industry’ and  this is the reason why I am writing this blog. I would like to be a friendly voice to address the psychological aspects of this life event, which we must remember is a time to enjoy and rejoice with the love of your life and the family, and or close friends.

I am not a wedding planner, but I have expertise on how to help people to make them feel free from psychological burden. You see, I looked for some books about emotional regulation and there were one of two that addressed the topic through a journal approach without going in-depth. ‘The four weddings and a funeral’ written by Richard Curtis does not give you the tools to cope with the emotions and thoughts neither. The specialised wedding magazines that I read were only focusing on marketing useful suppliers and the publication of helpful articles for the wedding preparation, such as dresses for the season, décor, and venues for the wedding of your dreams, but nothing about how to navigate psychological issues related to getting married. This of course is all from a bride to be perspective. The groom had his own issues to contend with! For example, choosing his best man, appropriate speech, stag do expectations in addition to family and friend dynamics. 

A few examples of the types of things that can come to the forefront is for example, a bride that has the pressure to choose a dress with her friends or family. What if you feel embarrassed about certain parts of your body? What if you don’t want to do it in front of everyone and would prefer a quieter way of going about things. Then again maybe you want the champagne afternoon with your bridesmaids. Just avoid the spicy food! if you recall the film…Choosing a dress could trigger low self-esteem and feeling self-conscious about your body.  

Another example is how to manage expectations, comments and opinions from friends or relatives (your parents!) on how to organise your wedding, have you heard throwaway comments such as ‘Why a weekday wedding? Why are  you not inviting so and so?. How do you navigate conversations that could be sensitive and confrontational. How do you behave in such situations, set boundaries, so you both feel respected with your own decisions. 

Other difficulties could be managing grief and bereavement, what if a beloved relative has passed away and the absence makes you feel down? How are you going to navigate the feelings of sadness or anger? 

What if you are getting married for second or third time? Do you still get overwhelmed with doubt? How do you cope with fear and manage your inner critic? 

And of course, what if money and the wedding budget get you and your partner into trouble and you start to disagree on how to spend it, and decision-making feels unequal, or you feel unheard. What if you start questioning if he/she is the right person to marry?

Self-discovery and support

The above scenarios can be areas experienced as individuals or as couples that put a strain on our mental health which can interfere and jeopardise a beautiful experience, hence, the need to learn how to manage yourself during the preparation.  During the wedding planning there is an element of discovery and finding out what you like, in terms of the style and venue and location and type of ceremony and, so yes, pre wedding, during the wedding and post wedding there are unexpected situations to contend with as well as the aftermath of a party and the beginning of a married life. Please let me assure you, all of us that have gone through this have enjoyed it all and even for some who decided to do it a second or third or more times. The challenges shared here are not meant to scare you from getting married, or to worry you in anyway about what you said ‘Yes’ to! It’s a guide to introduce some themes and discussions to know that you have support and advice available to help. 

The real thing that happens is you get to become much closer to the one you love, you share these challenges and overcome and find and build harmony and trust in this journey and your relationship becomes stronger. It brings you closer to your family and friends, whether this is large or a small wedding, the ones you want to have with you on the day are the ones who are closest to you and the ones you want to party with!

These are just a few examples of what you can experience in the preparation of a wedding, there are so many! 

If you feel like you need some coaching on how to regulate your emotions, thoughts, and behaviours or if you think you need to do in-depth therapeutic work to prepare during this time of your life, drop us an email or text us, together we will discuss your situation and discuss the best solution for you. You deserve to have fun and enjoy every single moment of this life-changing decision.

We wish you all the best on the big day!


1 Comment

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