Mothers of the bride.
Friends of the bride.
Sisters of the bride.
Many people find my website because they want to help the brides-to-be in their lives who seem to be struggling with some unruly, unexpected, and difficult emotions.
Friends, sisters, mothers -- I often get emails asking, "How can I best help this emotional bride that I love so much?"
The best way to help an emotional bride: ask her about her inner life
I’ve worked intimately with brides since 2002, and I’ve identified 5 typical sources.
1. You are planning the most expensive and elaborate party of your life…with 2 Moms
If you and your fiancé were planning your wedding in a vacuum, just the 2 of you, it would be a piece of cake: You know what you like, you work together, you can deal with your budget. But that’s not what's going on here. Most brides have not one but 2 Moms inserting their strong opinions. So decisions become a delicate diplomatic dance. It’s tedious and exhausting, belaboring every detail.
Solution: You and your fiancé define for yourselves 3 non-negotiables each for your wedding – 3 things each you are unwilling to compromise on. Make sure you get those things, done perfectly, and then be willing to be influenced on the rest. Especially if parents are paying.
2. You leave that "party" -- a.k.a. your wedding -- a very changed woman.
You go home with a husband with the power to make life-and-death decisions for you, a new branch on your family tree, and (possibly) a new last name. Your wedding is NOT just a party.
Solution: Everything about your wedding feels overwrought and bigger than it should be because, well, it is. For example, the stress you feel when you can’t find the right bridesmaids dress isn’t totally about the design and color of the dress. Psychologically, you’re also working through how you’re going to “fit” all these important women into your new, unknown, married life with you. Be aware of the deeper levels always going on. (Read also: Why it may be healthy to obsess about your wedding.)
3. You're mourning -- yes, mourning.
You're coming face-to-face with the end of your single life and identity as a single woman; the end of your primary family identity being “daughter”; and the end of the simpler dating days of boyfriend and girlfriend. Each of these endings can cause emotional turmoil as brides process their feelings about these major identity changes.
Solution: Give yourself time and space to just feel. Reflect. Journal. Acknowledge the passing of time, the change in identity, the growing up that is going on. Mourning is background music playing in your mind right now. Let it become foreground music occasionally to work through it.
Bride S.C. from Australia, who worked through her engagement anxiety and engagement depression with me, here on her very happy wedding day.