Joanna Richards of the Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network recently interviewed me on why brides get so stressed about wedding planning. Here's her great article, Don't Be a Bridezilla.
We talk about "brides" but this can happen with one partner in any relationship, male or female. My full answers may be helpful in dealing with wedding stress, so sharing with my readers:
How stressful is it for brides to be to bring it all together?
Wedding planning can be extremely stressful. Sometimes it takes on the tone of a family crisis, because many emotions arise during this time, and people put so many demands on the bride. Parents and families often have very specific expectations and they are not shy about insisting the bride and groom meet those expectations. On top of that, on a very practical level, the work involved in planning a wedding is like having a second job.
What turns a bride into a bridezilla?
I know this is a cliche, but so many brides have dreamed all their lives of their wedding day. We've been raised on handsome princes and happily ever after. We see this in movies, media, and magazines. So this is what so many brides set out to achieve, this perfection and magic. And when things go wrong--as they always do-- they take it very personally.
For some brides, it is just an emotional falling apart from the exhaustion and the pressure from those around them, and from dealing with the crazy amount of work involved with wedding planning. Brides are often shocked by how much goes into it and stunned when so many people around them are pushy and needy rather than helpful and supportive.
Some brides are very dominant people to begin with and they are determined to orchestrate and control the entire wedding. When things go wrong, they get unreasonably upset. And when they cannot control people, or when people are not happy or excited to follow the bride's wishes, they get upset. Even though the bride may seem out of control she is often still reacting to her hopes and dreams for her wedding not being fulfilled as she hoped and planned. And I do believe part of this is related to the huge expectations so many brides have for their weddings, based on real pressures and cultural pressures to have the wedding be "the best day of their lives."
How often do you see this?
The mythical "Bridezilla" is blown out of proportion but I have seen it happen. I will stress that there is often more to the situation then meets the eye. Sometimes it is just mini emotional break downs when the pressure and the disappointment are too much to bear. And then once in a while there is someone who just cannot accept anything that does not their way and who act out in ways that are difficult for those around them to handle.
Another thing to remember is, many people involved in a wedding have their own expectations and agendas, and sometimes, when a bride wants to do what she wants, and not spend all her time pleasing others, people then call her selfish or a bridezilla.
On the opposite end, some people are just selfish and want what they want. Women who are planning a wedding and who tend to be selfish individuals, basically will approach the wedding in the way they approach life -- to fulfill their own needs. It gets dramatized during wedding planning because it is such an emotional time for the bride and families and there is even more pressure for things to go according to plan.
5 Signs That You're Becoming a Bridezilla:
1. You are not normally not someone who yells or lashes out, but find yourself doing that because you are feeling frustrated and pressured in ways you have never experienced before.
2. You are beginning to believe no one involved in your wedding is meeting your expectations on anything. You feel they are all doing it wrong, not following your demands, and aggravating you with their incompetence.
3. You are taking everything personally. You feel hyper-sensitive, anger easily, and can become overly upset by even the smallest disappointment, on a fairly regular basis. Not just normal upsets and disappointments, or the experience of a certain person or people getting on your nerves, but everything is an upset.
4. You are constantly playing the blame game, looking to fault others, accusing vendors, loved ones, your mate, or someone for anything that goes wrong rather than trying to problem solve or take any responsibility for the situation.
5. You have almost totally lost touch of the reason you are getting married and your relationship is suffering as you put all your focus on the wedding.
What kind of advice do you offer?
- Identify the problems. The problems that plague couples are enormous. They need to identify the real issues, before they become so overwhelming that it seems that nothing is going well. It's important to know if this is just wedding stress or if there are some real underlying family or relationship problems that need to be addressed.
- Hold on to each other. The best advice is to remember why you are marrying each other and to hold on to each other and remain a united team throughout the planning. As much as possible, don't allow anyone else's influence to divide you. You can love, honor, and celebrate your families at your weddings, but you will never please everyone so manage your expectations and theirs from the start.
- It's only one day in your life. Some brides believe the success of the wedding will determine the success of the marriage and this is completely unfounded. The wedding is the ritual that leads you to your marriage. You will spend a year planning your wedding, and one day experiencing it, but a lifetime building your marriage. This is easier said then done, but if there was more focus on the marriage and less on the perfection of the wedding it would be a healthier way to approach your new life together.
- Get emotional and spiritual support. When I see a bride really stressed by wedding planning, we usually talk about it. Often I do pre-wedding coaching with the couple to take a look at the root of the problem and try to smooth things out so that they do not get out of hand. Sometimes, when there are tricky religious issues to handle, I meet with the parents too. I also hear from so many couples around the world, stressed out about their weddings because of religious and cultural issues, so I do a lot of spiritual counseling and wedding stress coaching by SKYPE theses days. If the relationship between the couple is suffering, I will recommend pre-marital counseling with a marriage and family therapist.