Photo: Getty Images
Ask any bride if she had bad dreams leading up to her big day, and we bet she'll say yes. Turns out, wedding nightmares aren't all that uncommon thanks to the huge amount of stress that goes into planning a wedding. While not predictors of the future (hallelujah!), dreams are symbols and metaphors for the unresolved conflicts we're struggling with during the day, notes Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills psychotherapist and author. Here, she breaks down what the wedding nightmares of four brave brides really mean. Tell us, can you relate?
The Nightmare: "My wedding nightmare, which I've had a few times, is that there's suddenly a problem with my dress and I have to find a new one! It's hard to tell what happened to the dress, but I have to head to a shop and try to find one off the rack that fits me. It probably doesn't help that my dress is currently at the tailor, so it's not hanging in my closet where I can look at it all the time." — Emily, 25
What It Means: Emily's dream, or nightmare, symbolizes her anxiety about her wedding dress currently being at the tailor's, instead of at home where she can feel in control. When our anxiety level reaches the unmanageable zone people have only two ways to react: to collapse into depression or to attempt to control their environment. Preparing for a wedding and entering a marriage is a highly stressful, anxiety-provoking life event. Emily's nightmare indicates that, without her wedding dress in her closet at home, she feels a bit out of control and that is a scary feeling.
The Nightmare: "My recurring wedding nightmare was that my hairstylist wouldn't show up the morning of my wedding and that me and my bridal party would be stuck doing our own hair or begging salons at the last minute to help us. Luckily, that never happened!" — Bridget, 30
What It Means: One of the important things when interpreting dreams is to ask the dreamer how she felt in the dream. I can't ask Bridget personally, but we get a clue when she says in the nightmare she is "begging". There is a desperate feeling in the word begging. Again, this nightmare symbolizes the bride's anxiety coming out in control. She cannot relax knowing that her hairstylist may or may not show up. The feeling of a no-show or being out of control is unbearable. Bridget is wrestling with this conflict through dreams during sleep.
The Nightmare: "I had a reoccurring nightmare that I couldn't get into my dress. This wasn't about weight or size — but the fact that I, the bride, could not put my dress on without the help of my bridesmaids. I was in the bridal suite of my venue, looking out the window on to the lawn where all of the guests were waiting, and I was yelling for my 'maids to help me get into my dress. They wouldn't help though!" — Ashley, 29
What It Means: Ashley's nightmare speaks of a certain kind of dependency, or fear of her own autonomy. In the nightmare, everyone is waiting and Ashley is completely dependent on her bridesmaids (friends) in order to proceed with her life milestone event. She is frozen and cannot function forward on her own. This nightmare is a wonderful warning or red flag to Ashley. She is about to join in a union of marriage. It would be very important for Ashley to not position herself as a dependent person in the marital relationship.
See More: Should You Hire a Bridal Coach?
The Nightmare: "I kept dreaming that I was too fat to fit into my wedding dress. It literally kept me up at night because I was so stressed out about it and would dream about it." — Katie, 27
What It Means: I wonder if Katie ever had a weight problem or body image issues? Often, these past ghosts in the closet emerge suddenly at critical times in our lives. Katie's nightmare has the flavor of self-consciousness and the possible worry that she will have nothing to wear that fits. It is a conflict of, "Am I good enough?"