Nearly every bride I work with asks me: "Where is all this stress, depression, anxiety and worry coming from?"
"I thought this was going to be the happiest time of my life!
But I'm upset and even sad much of the time.
(I know I want to marry my fiance, so it's not cold feet.)
What gives?" (Or, more often, "WTF?")
1. You are planning the most expensive and elaborate party of your life…with 2 Moms
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.
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.
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.
4. You're a beginner at marriage.
Solution: Acknowledge your newbie status, and educate yourselves about what it takes to build a successful marriage. Books I love are John Gottman’s 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work and Tara Parker Pope's For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed.
5. Your "negative" feelings go unacknowledged by others.
Solution: Put an end to your isolation. Find a sympathetic, compassionate ear to share and process your true feelings with. Let someone with the wisdom, patience, and insight help you work through your complex -- and yet perfectly normal -- feelings. Stop suffering through this alone. Let the right person in, and you'll get a much better understanding of what's going on for you.