What It's Really Like to Be a Bride

Etiquette, Wellness
Public And Private Face Of Being A Bride

Photo: JW Studio

Hap-hap-happy and excited every minute of every day, 24/7/365: That's the public face of being a bride. Friends, family, co-workers mean well, but meeting hyper-enthusiastic and hyper-excited energy about your wedding can be exhausting. As a bride-to-be, you find yourself saying things like, "Yes, my wedding is in 19 months, and it is very, very, very exciting!" Or, "I really am enjoying every single moment of getting to know my future mother-in-law better!" And "Thank you, so very much, for offering me so many creative ideas for my wedding!"

The pressure you feel to be only happy and only excited can really wear you out. Because you're already having a pretty intense private experience all by yourself. You may be feeling anxious about being a beginner at marriage. Or have twinges of sadness about the end of your single life. It may piss you off that all people ask about is your wedding. Hello? You're still an interesting individual, not just a bride. All these feelings are normal, but it's hard to find a place for them when you feel like your world demands you only be happy during your engagement.

See more: Keep Calm and Marry On: How to Stay Focused When Planning Your Wedding

This dichotomy of your private face and your public face can feel disconcerting and lonely. What's important is that you have people in your world — your fiancé, your girlfriends, your family, a therapist — with whom you can share your true, real, inner, private emotional experience. Who really gets where you are and what you are feeling on the inside. Having a few good allies on your side who are invested in your real emotional experience will make it more palatable next time you say, "Oh yes, I am very excited to select which Port-o-Johns we're going to rent! Very excited!"

Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is the author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the '"Happiest" Time of Her Life and has been helping brides feel happier, calmer and better prepared for marriage since 2002. She is a bridal counselor, an expert in engagement anxiety and cold feet, and the founder of Emotionally Engaged Counseling for Brides.

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