With months or even weeks left until your wedding day, you may be dying with excitement one day and wracked with nerves the next. "The days leading up to a wedding are almost always a mix of excitement and nerves," says Lesli Doares, licensed marriage therapist and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage.
But there's one thing for which all brides can breathe a big sigh of relief: these up-and-down feelings are totally normal. "These roller coaster feelings are completely normal," says Doares. "Weddings, no matter the size, are important both practically and for their deeper meaning. Getting married is a milestone and therefore generates a lot of mixed emotions. Major change can be scary, even when it's something you want."
For example, Doares points out, a shy bride could feel gloriously happy about tying the knot until she thinks about being the center of attention during the ceremony. "There may also be some tension or dread around the mix of people who will be present," she says. "This is especially true if some of the invited guests are have-to-be-invited guests as opposed to people the bride and groom really want there."
You're high thinking of dancing to your DJ's spin and down when your mind wanders to your future father-in-law's toast — and it's easy to think something is wrong in those low moments devoid of excitement. "We automatically think that there should only be positive emotions when we're taking what we believe is a positive action," Doares explains. But "when you're caught on the roller coaster of feelings, it's important to keep in mind that the feeling is just that — a feeling. It represents a particular moment in time."
It's not only normal but totally OK to really feel and embrace the ups and downs, Doares says. "Be curious about what is being tapped," she says. "Naming something as anxiety is helpful but figuring out what the anxiety is about is better. Are you concerned about your guests having a good time? Are you bothered that your annoying aunt will be there? What is the feeling really about? Feelings are just a source of information. While excitement and happiness are pretty clear, anxiety is about harder to understand at first. The more willing you are to explore it, the more you can learn about yourself and your reaction to change."