One of the biggest mistakes a bride or groom can make when planning a wedding is thinking that they need to take on everything alone. Even with a team of wedding vendors and a supportive fiancé, there can be a lot of moments throughout the wedding planning process that become overwhelmingly stressful, hard to deal with, and filled with drama that just seems to have no end in sight.
When that happens, brides should know it’s okay to reach out for help, whether from close friends and family they trust, or a professional, like a local therapist.
Shannon Kalberg, a marriage and family therapist and an adjunct clinical professor at Pepperdine University, encourages brides to see a therapist if they are completely overwhelmed by the anxiety of wedding drama or planning.
“When the anxiety starts to manifest into panic attacks, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, or difficulty concentrating, then it is most definitely time to seek professional help,” Kalberg says. “A therapist can act as an unbiased sounding board who helps the bride contain and manage her stress.”
Kalberg also says that going to a therapist has an added benefit for someone who has taken on many of the wedding tasks, possibly solo, and is starting to feel very alone throughout the entire process.
“Additionally, the bride can have the opportunity to unload her stress and practice radical honesty about the wedding within a safe, contained space,” Kalberg says.
So if you’re wondering whether you alone, or you and your fiancé together, should head to a therapist to work on some of the wedding drama that’s happening, here are some things to consider.
Chat with Your Fiancé First
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by wedding stress, a good first step is to have a conversation with your fiancé. Let them know what is going on and what you notice has gotten out of hand. Perhaps there are problems that you two can’t seem to work out, often having to do with communication styles and trust, that might prompt you to want to see a couples therapist before the wedding. If the drama has nothing to do with your relationship, but just pop-up problems here and there, you might want to talk about you seeing a therapist solo, to work on some of your feelings.
Come Up with a Game Plan
If talking with your partner helps you decide that you want to seek some help, set a game plan with each other. Whether that’s weekly check-ups or conversations, just so that even if you do decide to see a therapist, you and your fiancé are still on the same page during the wedding planning process and your relationship grows stronger, not apart.
Book a Session with a Therapist
Do research online with websites like Psychology Today or ask friends and family members you trust for therapist recommendations. When you find a handful of therapists you are considering, ask if they will do a short phone consultation so that you can see if you feel comfortable chatting with them and like their style. Then, book an in-person or virtual appointment with them for weekly or monthly sessions.
Keep Each Other Accountable
After you see a therapist, whether by yourself or with your partner, they will give you steps to help solve some of the pre-wedding drama. Work with your fiancé to keep each other accountable throughout and make sure that you are communicating throughout the process, so that resentment doesn’t build up and you can work to solve wedding problems together.