So you wait for a blog post and then typically two come along at once. I’d intended to write these far more often but maybe it’s not surprising that it’s only as the wedding gets closer that there are more stresses and concerns to write about.
With 7 weeks to go until W-Day obviously by now all the big things are done. Venue, flowers, catering and clothing are all sorted. By now we are dealing with the fine details, the little things that won’t make or break the wedding but are all things that still need to be done. And it’s the little things that I have particular expertise in worrying about.
Above all I want everyone else to enjoy the day. I have no doubt that I will – I am marrying the person I want to spend the rest of my life with and no amount of glitter, Prosecco or canapes will change the happiness that I feel about that. But I am definitely a people pleaser and I want everyone to get what they want out of the wedding, which of course is fairly unlikely.
Mostly I want my bridesmaids to be happy. I feel guilty that we’ve not all been able to meet up yet given that we live so far away from each other and I worry I’m not involving them as much as I should be. All of them have a lot going on and have different stresses in their lives at the moment – a part I imagine of getting married at an older age where everyone around you is already tied up with their own lives rather than getting married in your heady twenties before mortgages, jobs and responsibilities come along. Consequently I feel guilty if I don’t involve them and I feel guilty if I do ask them to help with something. If I wasn’t an atheist I’d make a great Catholic.
A course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy taught me to write things down as a way of dealing with them or, if you’re writing a blog post, of opening them up to people you’ve never met. So here are some of the ridiculous things I’ve worried about, mainly in the small hours of the morning:
- What if my bridesmaid forgets to buy shoes? I know the others are sorted but she hasn’t mentioned anything.
- I’ve forgotten to ask my friend what her children want to eat – they’ll all starve.
- I haven’t told anyone about the rehearsal yet- people won’t turn up and then they’ll end up walking the wrong way down the aisle on the day.
- What if no one talks to each other and we spend the whole day in silence?
CBT also teaches you to try and counter-argue these thoughts with ones that are more rational and not based on the mental machinations of a sleep deprived bride. So to use this blog as my own personal therapy:
- She will not forget to buy shoes – she’s hardly going to walk down the aisle barefoot.
- There’s £5000 worth of catering here, no-one is going to starve.
- The aisle is handily marked out by candles, like a matrimonial landing strip, it’s going to be hard to miss it.
- There is a large Irish contingent attending, of course it’s not going to be quiet.
There, I feel better after that. I’m off now to worry about whether the colour of my bouquet will clash with my second cousin’s eyeshadow.
When you start to plan a wedding it is the only thing that other people can talk about. Not the only thing that I can talk about, but the only thing other people seem interested in. I have absolutely no idea now what I used to talk to people about. I must have been really boring for this to be the only topic of conversation now.
I have bets with myself on how long it’s going to be before someone asks the obligatory question in a conversation. The speed generally depends on when I last saw someone and how well I know them. Those I don’t know as well tend to ask it almost immediately, assuming that this is something I must want to talk about as a prospective bride.
Well, we’ve established I’m maybe not a ‘typical’ bride so therefore no, I don’t particularly want to spend every conversation talking about my impending nuptials. I’m not constantly harassing my bridesmaids on Whatsapp about hairstyles, make up suggestions and whether I should get a spray tan for a wedding taking place in the middle of Autumn. I’m not a girly girl and I’m not about to change that because I’m putting on a white dress and am semi-reluctantly wearing heels for a day. My bridesmaids are also not like this.
So when people ask the inevitable “how are the wedding plans going?” I quickly run through in my head a selection of appropriate sarcastic responses:
- Well it was going well but unfortunately our Satanist celebrant had double booked themselves.
- Oh haven’t you heard? It’s all off, we split up 6 months ago.
- It’s a disaster, the diamond-crusted candelabras weren’t available so we’ve had to go for solid gold ones instead. The day will be ruined.
- Wedding planning? Do I have a wedding coming up?
But usually my response is just “Fine” followed by a plethora of cliches from both parties. “It’s not long now”, “It’ll be over so quickly”, “Everything will be fine on the day”. Because no-one really wants to hear that you’re waking up at 3 in the morning wondering whether people actually like you enough to turn up to the wedding. But that’s another blog post too…..
Hen dos are breeding grounds for anxiety. I’ve been on two in the last few months and while I’ve generally enjoyed them I find that I worry about them before, during and after the event. Don’t get me wrong I feel really lucky to be invited on them, especially as they were both for people I’ve not known that long and have met through my partner. It’s just they seem to bring out the worst in me. The thought process goes something like this:
Will I get on with people? Will I have things to talk about? Am I interesting enough? What if I get tired, I really struggle with social interactions when I’m tired. Is it acceptable to nip off to have a bit of time to myself?
Oh this is alright actually. Everyone seems nice. Hang on, she didn’t sit next to me. Did I offend her? Maybe I said something stupid. I’d better not say anything. No, now it’s been ages since I said something. I’d better at least say something. Oh, you just laughed awkwardly instead. Well done.
Maybe I just shouldn’t go outside again. Maybe I should take up karate/stripping/bungee jumping/insert other ridiculous hobby here so I’ve got something to talk about. What is wrong with me that I can’t just enjoy a weekend of fun?
It’s all these thoughts that make me feel unable to relaxed and most likely come across as aloof and unfriendly which is really far from what I am. And consequently I ended up not enjoying the events as much as I could. Surely I can’t be the only person to feel this way about social gatherings?
I’ve just got back off a hen do and this time I was able to put in a couple of strategies to make it more bearable: i) when we had a bit of down time I took the opportunity to sit by myself and read a magazine for a bit to recharge and ii) I didn’t stay out quite as late as everyone else as I know that being tired makes me feel so much worse. It did seem to help but I’m still a long way off feeling relaxed at these things, which is why my hen do will be small and intimate with just my bridesmaids.
Now I just need to worry about making sure all my bridesmaids are happy but that’s another blog post….
This is my first blog but it felt like a really good time to start doing it. I get married in 5 months time and am fully ensconced in dresses, menu choices and whose great uncle is more likely to hit on one of the bridesmaids. This is a momentous occasion – there’s a reason many people refer to it as ‘the big day’. And while I absolutely cannot wait for that day to come round the planning of said occasion is causing me sleepless nights and anxiety like nothing I’ve known before. This blog is my way of purging these anxieties and maybe along the way helping others who are having trouble sharing in the excitement of those around them.
Before I go any further I want to stress that above anything else in the world I want to marry my partner. I’ve managed to meet the kindest, funniest and supportive man and couldn’t ask for anything more. I wasn’t one of those little girls who dreamed about her wedding day as to be honest I never thought it would happen. But somehow after kissing many frogs, snails and other questionable amphibians I’ve finally found someone I want to grow old and saggy with.
I am not naturally the most optimistic of people. When I was little my mum bought me an Eeyore badge and told me to wear it when I was feeling down so the whole family would be alert to what mood I was in. I’m also a natural worrier, I care too much what people think and I’ll often put other people’s needs before my own. That makes me sound like some self-less god-like being but in reality it makes me a nervous, quivering wreck with questionable social skills. As I have discovered over the last few months, these qualities do not go well with wedding planning. Through this blog I hope to document the trials and tribulations of getting to ‘the big day’ for someone with an anxious nature in the hope that I’ll look back one day and realise it was a complete waste of time worrying about these things and what I should really have been concerned with was the state of UK politics, nuclear war and the fact that bees are slowly dying out.