Thursday, April 28, 2011

#110 Planning Blues

I was speaking to a bride to be recently who is struggling with feeling alone in the wedding planning process.
She felt that her excitement about the amazing day she is preparing is ostracizing her from her friends & it is (understandably) upsetting her that they are disinterested & mocking her excitement, quite openly.
I felt so sad for her, & even more so that she felt so alone in those emotions.
Even as she spoke to me she was apologising for sharing her feelings, & I'm not even sure she noticed.

I'm not sure that there is anyone who doesn't feel these things (among so many other things of course) when they are planning a wedding.
Not everyone has family or friends close by, & even if they do, not everyone has family or friends who are necessarily able &/or willing to help.
Certainly I have heard peoples experiences of these emotions echoed again & again.
Wedding planning is not, in my experience nor of anyone I have spoken to,  the shiny picture presented to us that is comprised entirely of bridal showers, hen's nights & trying on perfect wedding dresses with all your girlfriends while sipping champagne as your mother looks on & dabs away tears of pride.

Image by John Michael Cooper

(Ironically & somewhat amusingly, when I was looking for the an image to accompany this post, one search I tried was 'lonely wedding planning'... Google auto corrected my search to 'lovely' wedding planning )

There is an absolutely HUGE amount of pressure that begins the moment you say 'yes'.
Obviously there is the 'to do' list - venue, photographer, flowers, invitations (etc, the list is so much longer than you realise?), but in addition to that there are the expectations of family & of friends which can be incredibly overwhelming not to mention conflicting! The stress of budgeting - regardless of whether that budget is $1000 or $100,000, the relatively short period of time to learn about traditions & an industry that most people know nothing about before hand, & so on...
Oh & did I mention marriage? That maybe you might have some feelings about that?
That you will have to face your partners expectations too? Lets not even mention your own expectations?
It is a truly delicate balancing act that you can but hope will stay in the air & somehow come together on the day... & then last the rest of your life.
Lucky you have had so much practice yeah? Oh wait...
Mmm.... Sounds fun?

I think that weddings & marriage, like so many other things in life, are something that you may think you understand on paper but in actual fact you can never truly understand all the emotions that come with them until you have experienced it yourself.
Unfortunately that leaves a lot of people feeling very alone, at a time that society has conditioned us to believe that we should be our happiest.
Heaven forbid you should be so bold as to try & express that & be labeled a 'bridezilla'.

In so many ways I find it very easy to see how people become caught up in the superficialities of a wedding. Outside pressures aside, it is quite an effective way of avoiding deeper (dare i say) issues that come up during what can for many, be a very testing time. The superficial details are the ones you can control. Well, sometimes anyway.

I also wonder if this is one of those things when instead of supporting each other & validating what others are experiencing, the people who do understand & could be there for each other are too busy comparing themselves & their choices, basically competing?

Among all the things to do & trying to keep everyone else happy, don't neglect yourself.
No, I'm not talking about getting a gym membership to tone up your arms.
If you need help ask for it. If you are feeling alone, tell someone. And keep talking until you find someone who can support you through the downs, AND share in the highs!
And if you are in a position to, be there for someone.
Even if you don't quite get it.


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