Andrea planned her own wedding during the pandemic, which was an incredibly stressful time. She learned a few tricks along the way.
Coping with Stress as the Groom
Brides are not the only ones who get stressed during the wedding process. Grooms get stressed too. I talked with my husband about how he managed his stress for the wedding and what he wished he had done to calm his nerves.
Many of his concerns were similar to mine. He also was worried about putting on extra weight, thinking about the future, and the budget. He also thought a lot about whether I was happy.
Below are some ways to limit stress, as well as common wedding stressors and how to cope with them.
Stress Coping Mechanisms
Go to bed at a decent time. Have a consistent sleep schedule.
Take a weekend trip to be in nature.
Eat healthy and make good choices about what you put into your body.
Practice a creative talent you enjoy: painting, writing, dancing, etc.
Get a massage.
Drink water consistently throughout the day.
Go over your personal finances to make sure you're on track.
Get out of the house and do something fun: go watch a movie, see a football game, go to a concert, etc.
Move and get in some exercise.
Read a book that comes off wise to you and you find nourishing.
Break the norm. Take your partner out on a nice romantic date. Don't stop all dates up to the wedding.
Express gratitude. Say thank you to your partner for the things they do.
Tidy up your place. Vacuum, do dishes, do laundry, and the like. Check to make sure these things are getting done (maybe daily, maybe weekly).
Write down your thoughts in a journal.
Get Organized and Budget Everything
The groom will feel a lot better if he has a budget and can oversee all the expenses. The couple should work together to stay within the budget. You need to be careful about where you spend money. You may have to drop some items and put the money elsewhere.
- You should start budgeting before the wedding. You'll want to budget how much money you'll spend on a ring. Wives-to-be usually don't propose. Same-sex couples: it's more of a mystery as to who will propose. (You don't have to have a traditional proposal.)
- Avoid going into debt or putting everything on credit. You don't want to be paying for a wedding, a one-day event, for years.
- Compare prices, use Etsy, use Pinterest, look for gorgeous venues that have less cost.
- The less money you spend and the more you stay within your budget, the more secure and confident you'll feel about the beginning of your marriage. Weddings are not supposed to wreak you financially.
- Try not to use all of your wedding budget. Ideally, you want to save money for big-ticket items in the future like a new house, a new car, or a baby.
- Use Excel or another type of spreadsheet to keep track of money, conversations, and the like. Organization is key to managing stress.
- If you and your partner don't want to include something in your wedding, then don't put money on it. Sometimes we do things for other people or follow traditions when really we don't have to do these things.
- Remember: you can have the wedding of your dreams and within your budget. You don't have to spend $10,000 to make everything happen.
Opt for a Smaller Wedding
You and your partner will have to agree on the size of your wedding. I encourage inviting fewer people and having a smaller bridal party. The more people you invite, the more expensive everything will be.
The same goes with your bridal party: the more attendants you have, the more it will cost you in terms of clothing, gifts, food, etc.
A smaller wedding is manageable. I encourage only inviting close friends and family. You don't need acquaintances who might only be at your wedding for the food and to mix and mingle.
The bigger your wedding gets, the more complications you'll run into.
- You may have to consider getting more parking spaces.
- It may be harder for everyone to get to the wedding and reception on time.
- You run the risk of running out of food if you have a buffet-style wedding.
- Your event may feel cramped. Too many people are cloistered together.
- Your photographer may get overwhelmed and unsure where to focus their attention. Smaller weddings make things more clear for them, and they can get more artistic shots.
- More people = more complaints.
- For just a moment, think about your guest list size. Be honest: can you think of a time where you were happy around a group that big? If you like being around 300 people, then go for it. If you have never enjoyed being around 300 people all at once, then don't invite 300 people.
I don't want to completely scare you off from big weddings. There are some perks to them. You will get more gifts with a larger wedding, and people do often give money.
Weddings boost your social connections. All the people you invited to your wedding who showed up will like you even more because you invited them and made them feel special.
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Make Sure to Give Yourself Time for Your Hobbies and Interests
It is easy to lose yourself and your identity when you concentrate heavily on your romantic relationship, wedding, or future marriage. You need time to be by yourself and to explore your own thoughts, interests, and hobbies.
Your partner also needs time to be alone. You don't want to get so lost in wedding planning that it consumes all of your free time. You may grow to resent your partner. You may grow to resent your family.
- Take walks around the neighborhood. It's good to move and not go sedentary. Taking walks can help you avoid gaining weight. Walks are good for your physical and mental health. If you have a dog to walk, you'll enjoy bonding with him.
- Get creative. Are you a writer? Are you a painter? A great way to unwind is to get into your talents. Creativity can be a form of catharsis. Also, exploring your talents could help you come up with solutions to the wedding without even trying.
- Take showers by yourself. Go ahead and pamper yourself. Hot water and steam can do wonders. Don't be afraid to try face masks, exfoliation products, or a massage. If you feel good, you'll look good.
- Read books, watch TV, and play video games. These things can spark your imagination, help you escape from the daily grind, and get you thinking about something you like. If you're reading something, watching something, or playing something that makes you feel out-of-sorts or aggressive, then drop it and try something else. It's easy to get obsessed with a video game that puts you in a bad mood. The point of reading and playing is to brighten your day.
- Hang out with your friends. Go to a bar and hit up the pool table. Go bowling. Go on a hike. Ride bikes with your friends. (Your partner might like some of these things too, so you don't have to make it solely for your alone time.)
Don't Take Things to Heart from Your Parents or Future In-Laws
Parents tend to want to make their opinions known during the wedding process. Ideally, your parents won't contribute too much with their opinions and what they think a wedding should look like. Great parents give you a significant financial gift for your wedding, and then they stay out of it and focus on their own lives.
If you have very opinionated parents, try to take what they say with a grain of salt. Find small tasks for them to do to keep them off your back.
- Everyone during a wedding will have a couple of friends or family members who made things more challenging than necessary. Do what you can to handle it with grace.
- Don't get overly focused about the people who are making things harder than necessary.
- Vent to your partner about it, but not all the time.
You do not have to agree to anything your parents say is necessary for a wedding. You don't have to accept decorations they want to make for you.
- Take your parents out to lunch. Ease their fears about you getting married. Let them know you want positive support, and you're going to limit negativity.
- Establish boundaries. Don't let them walk all over you. Don't give them keys to your place, don't pick up the phone every time they call and don't let them start coordinating everything. You have to tell your parents "no" sometimes.
- Give them gifts. Make your parents feel loved. They may be acting insecure because they're worried about whether they'll be included or whether you love them.
- Your parents may also be freaking out because when your child grows up and gets married, that means you as a parent are getting old.
- If they're saying something mean, don't say something mean back. Adding fire to fire doesn't help anything.
- Elope if they're really too annoying or can't be trusted. Eloping usually does equate to less stress. You can go to a nice location, spend less money, and not have to worry about guests.
- Getting angry doesn't solve anything. Don't lash out at your parents. Don't let your blood pressure get higher over little things. Pace yourself. Take breaks from your parents or other stubborn family members.
- Be patient. Practicing patience can lower your stress.
Skip the Traditional Bachelor Party
My husband says a lot of the typical bachelor parties are way too gross. He didn't want one. He didn't think it would get him in the right headspace before his wedding.
He doesn't care for most of the activities associated with a typical bachelor party. Drinking all night doesn't feel that great. Going out to clubs is overrated. You don't have to be hyper-masculine to have a good bachelor party.
If you are going to have a bachelor party, then pick a best man (or best woman, etc.) who really knows your best interests at heart and isn't going to embarrass you and take you on a journey that sounds like hell.
If you like loud music, cigars, flashy lights, and bright colors, then go for it. If you don't, then don't stress yourself out over it.
- Your bachelor party should be about activities you like.
- Don't try new things for your bachelor party. You should do familiar things. New things can be exciting but also anxiety-inducing.
- Don't invite friends who can't be responsible to your bachelor party. This will give you nightmares.
- In general, don't focus too much on your bachelor party. Focus more on your wedding and honeymoon. Don't spend money on a bachelor party: that's the best man's job.
- Don't do the bachelor party the same weekend as the wedding. You will be exhausted.
- Don't do things you might regret or would cause friction in your marriage. Be mature.
- If you just want to go camping and kayaking, then do that.
- Don't overeat or drink too much at your bachelor party. It could cause your blood sugar to spike and make you anxious. It could also cause you to gain weight right up to the wedding, and then you can't fit in your suit.
It's okay to see a therapist if juggling your job, your friends, other situations, and the wedding is making things too stressful for you. Now is a good time to talk to a professional who can help you address concerns with anxiety. A therapist can help you develop strong coping mechanisms. This person can give you direction about your life and advice about marriage. You can get a therapist for yourself or do couple's counseling.
Therapy is about your time. You get to schedule an hour out of your day to turn everything off and focus on yourself. A therapist checks in with you to see how you're doing. They help lower your baseline stress.
Getting a therapist who you trust before your marriage is a great idea. This person can help make improvements in your life and help you to have a strong marriage. Weddings are not just an event to show off to your friends and family. Weddings are about your future.
People often get cold feet before their wedding. It's normal to have fears about your future and if you're making the right choices. Sometimes we overthink about something all at once rather than taking it piece by piece, day by day. Therapy will help give you boundaries. It'll help you to get the right frame of mind before your wedding, during it, and after it.
Don't Worry Too Much About Your Partner's Happiness
It is entirely natural for a groom to worry about his partner's happiness. You're dying to see your partner smile, for them to feel good, and for everything to go right for them. You know how meaningful the wedding is to them, so you go the extra mile to make sure they feel good.
You just don't want to get overly worried about your partner's happiness. You can do simple things to make them happy. Know that if they're stressed, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to have a wedding or that they think you're the wrong fit for them. They may also have anxieties.
You want to boost the love in your partnership to help ease the stress. Some of the simplest ways to do so are to follow the five love languages:
- Words of affirmation: compliment your partner often. Give them reassuring words. It can be hard to see yourself or your relationship properly sometimes. Say nice things, be positive, compliment anything and everything as long as you mean it.
- Gifts: buy them something they want, buy them something fun, buy them something you know they wouldn't buy themselves. You don't have to buy something expensive; you just want them to know you think about them. You can also make them a gift or bake them a tasty treat.
- Acts of service: this love language isn't always clear to see. This would be doing things for them because you love them and want to be helpful. This includes doing the dishes, taking out the trash, filling up the gas tank, cleaning up the cat box, doing groceries for them, doing laundry, tidying up the place, running errands, and being excellent company.
- Touch: add more hugs, kisses, and hold their hands. Dance together. Cuddle. Be affectionate.
- Spending time together: make a point to have shared activities, even if it is as simple as watching TV together or eating dinner simultaneously.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence