Cold Feet: even the words themselves can be enough to send a shiver down your spine. When you first get engaged you might have been filled with a mini-tornado of excitement and joy, but as the big day gets closer nerves start to edge in.
There is a seemingly endless list of things to plan, tiny details to remember, people to talk to and decisions to make. Somewhere in the middle of all of this the excitement may have petered out and left you feeling anything but.
It is normal and natural to feel any mix of emotions in the lead-up to your wedding. It is one of the biggest days of your life and the beginning of a whole new chapter for the two of you as a couple.
What if you are having bad feelings about your impending wedding?
You might feel unsure of yourself or nervous about everything going smoothly on the big day, but when do you know if any feelings of uncertainty are a sign of something more serious?
And how to get through the pre-wedding jitters and make it to the big day in one piece?
Nerves or cold feet?
A wedding is a big deal and will quite reasonably bring on all sort of emotional response in the participants. Some couples easily feel happy and spread this happiness around, whereas others may feel something quite different.
Here are some completely normal feelings that you might be having in the lead up to your wedding
- Nerves about choosing one person for the rest of your life
- Nerves about getting up in front of everyone to get married
- Uncertainty about big decisions such as your dress, reception venue and bridal party
- Worry about upsetting anyone with the choices you make in the planning of the wedding
- Frustration with each other as a couple, with your parents, or anyone nearby really
- Stress about the wedding budget
- Hunger from dieting, or just forgetting to eat
You and your partner may get stressed, and sick of each other sometimes, and you might fight, and all of this could be very normal. It can depend as well on if you are usually a passionate and vocal couple in the first place.
I have a suspicion that a wedding takes all of the organisational skill and political negotiations of launching an international space station specifically to test if you and your fiancé are right for each other!
But if the fighting gets more constant or concerning, or your feelings for or about this person seem different to before, then take a look deeper.
There are a rare few people who will be feeling uneasy because they are not sure that getting married at this time, to this person is the right thing to do. It is better if you don’t ignore these feelings, or try to push them aside as jitters because if there are real grounds for your concern, these shouldn’t be ignored.
What if you think it is something more serious?
It may be a good idea to speak to a professional counsellor about what you are going through, as an objective third party can help you get to the bottom of your feelings and work out if there is a basis to them or not.
If you have serious doubts that you shouldn’t go through with the marriage, it is better to face these now rather than later. And while calling off a wedding may feel like the worst you can do, it is not as bad as marrying someone when you know it is not right.
Some ways to help with pre-wedding jitters
If you are feeling all sorts of queasy and jittery butterfly feelings about your wedding and a marriage commitment, here are some great ways to settle yourself and get your mind back on track.
Schedule in some date nights for just you as a couple, and ban any talk of wedding planning.
Go simple and low-budget on these; recreate some of your first dates or imitate what you would have done in high school; drive to a lookout and park, or have a picnic on the beach, or walk through the city late at night. The idea is not about being extravagant because that can be kept for your wedding day, but about connecting as a couple.
Look into practising mindfulness regularly to clear your mind and re-centre yourself.
Planning a wedding means that your mind is always in the future, and usually worried about something that may or may not go wrong. Mindfulness reminds you to be present in the current moment, and enjoy whatever simple feeling or experience is there.
It is also about showing yourself kindness and compassion and learning to reduce or disconnect from any judgemental thoughts or negative behaviour patterns that you might engage in.
Get out there and do some easy exercise, either on your own, as a couple, or to destress with some friends. Do something that is fun and that clears your mind and gets those lovely endorphins running. Getting fresh air, interacting with your environment or just feeling some sunshine on your skin are all extra benefits of this which can help your mental state as well.
Counselling is not just good for people with serious illness or concerns, talking to someone can help us through all sorts of times of our life.
Traditionally couples would have counselling from the minister of their church before the wedding, and there is some sense in this. It can help to work out where you are on issues like money, parenting, career, interacting with your families and more before you get married. If you’re planning a secular wedding, slot in some time for a few pre-marital counselling sessions with a professional.
Online support and forums
Support groups through social media and online forums are another great way to work out your stress and get some options. Whatever you are going through in your pre-wedding jitters, you are guaranteed that someone, somewhere has felt this way before too.
Remember after all the madness that it is one day only and that the focus of all of this is your marriage and life together, not the wedding itself. Make sure that at the end of the day you are still happy to be up there, holding that one person’s hand, for the rest of your life.
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