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Dreaming is wild any day, but when you’re planning a wedding, dreaming takes on a whole other meaning—literally. As one of the biggest occasions in a person’s life, it’s not all that surprising that you’d dream about the day and find yourself awash with wonder or even worry when you wake up the next morning. But, rest assured, nuptials-themed dreaming is normal and not all bad, according to dream analysts Lauri Quinn Loewenberg and Layne Dalfen.
Meet the Expert
- Lauri Quinn Loewenberg is a certified dream analyst, author of Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life, and recurring guest expert on Dr. Oz, The Today Show, and Daily Pop on E!.
- Layne Dalfen is an author, dream columnist, and expert for Oprah Daily and Psychology Today. In her work, she helps clients take stock in the conversations that play out in their dreams so that they can become better problem solvers, both short and long-term.
According to Loewenberg, the dreams that weddings can conjure are full of information that has the potential to navigate you through this very important time in your life. “If you have a wedding in the works, it is likely on your mind every day, and therefore you will be dreaming about it at night,” she shares. “Those dreams are actually helping you plan, prepare, perfect, and get your negative issues out of the way so that you can get in the right mindset for the day you get married.”
Dalfen adds, "In our dreams, we test out different possible solutions and reactions to the people and situations in our life, and when we get comfortable with whatever the response is, we bring the behavior out into our waking life. The dream is the safe place where we get to rehearse potential responses.”
While no two wedding dreams are the same, anyone planning a wedding is probably prone to dreams with overlapping motifs. Ahead, Loewenberg and Dalfen explain everything to know about wedding dreams and what they mean for you.
Why We Dream
Before we can understand what certain wedding dreams mean, we first need to question why we dream at all. Loewenberg notes that “we dream because we think. Dreaming is a thinking process and our dreams at night are a continuation of our thoughts from the day.”
During the day, if we’re feeling particularly bothered by something, we’re proactive about finding distractions to push the unpleasant or persistent thoughts out of our periphery. At night, though, as we enter into REM/dream sleep, we no longer have the tools or wherewithal to defend against those intruding or non-threatening, yet still all-consuming thoughts. Now, Loewenberg tells Brides, “We are thinking on a deeper, more focused and insightful level because our lights are out, our eyes are closed, the outer world is tuned out—and we’re now deeper into our minds, our subconscious, thinking about our lives, our relationships, our struggles, our goals, etc.”
Common Wedding Dreams and Their Meanings
Wondering what your wedding dream means? Here are 8 common wedding dreams, decoded:
The Dream: Something is wrong with your wedding attire.
Dreams about your wedding attire could allude to any anxiety you may have regarding alterations or fit, or it could mean that you are nervous about finding the perfect outfit—especially if you haven't found "the one" yet." This kind of dream can, however, symbolize present tensions about your wedding attire. For example, Loewenberg offers, "If you dream you are trying to walk down the aisle, but a bear is sitting on your train making it impossible to move forward, you could interpret it as a physical nod to the feeling like someone (your BFF, your mother, or your sister perhaps) is being too overbearing about your dress decision.”
The Dream: No one shows up to the wedding.
If you’re dreaming about an empty ceremony space or being introduced as a married couple for the first time with no one there to clap or cheer, it can mean that you’re afraid of bad blood or recent falling-outs being the reason that one or more of your friends or family members don't attend your wedding. It could also mean “you’re feeling like your wedding day isn’t as important to other people (your friends, your family) as it is to you.”
The Dream: There are issues with your bridesmaids or you have different bridesmaids in your dream.
Loewenberg says that many of her brides have worried about fighting with their bridesmaids in their dreams. “It’s tough to narrow down the select few who get the special honor and privilege of being named bridesmaid, so if you’re fighting with the ones you’ve chosen you might just be wrestling with an internal conflict or angry at yourself over something.” Conversely, whoever is standing beside you in your dreams might be who you’re feeling particularly close with at this junction. Maybe you’ll want to at least consider adding another bridesmaid if they’ve shown up for you in ways your other girls haven’t as of late.
The Dream: You’re running late to your own wedding.
Perhaps you've waited so long for this day to come or you are the last of your friends to tie the knot. There are also so many deadlines involved with getting married, so your dreams might just be cluing you in on the closing of those windows. Loewenberg asserts that “whenever there is a deadline in waking life, we will often dream of running out of time in some form or fashion.”
The Dream: You’re marrying someone other than your fiancé or fiancée.
If you’re dreaming about marrying someone who isn’t your fiancé, it might just mean that that person “symbolizes some good quality, fault, or flaw you’re preparing yourself to be committed to." She adds, "Walking down the aisle to find your real-life best friend at the altar usually indicates that you can sigh a breath of relief and relax knowing that you and your spouse have a solid and strong friendship and your marriage will be built on it.”
The Dream: You can't find the wedding venue.
If you’re dreaming about being lost or not being able to find your way to the wedding venue, then it might mean you’re feeling some indecision or uncertainty about an aspect of your wedding plan.
If your dreams become repetitive, stressful, and disheartening, understand this as a tell-tale sign that you are putting too much pressure on yourself and not allowing yourself to enjoy the wedding planning process.
The Dream: You’re getting married, but you are single in real life.
If you’re dreaming about getting married, but that is not the case in real life, it might mean that you’re approaching some other sort of commitment and not feeling ready for it. The dream is trying to alert you to this turning point via visuals of marriage and exchanging vows. Dalfen encourages the dreamer to look within and question, “Is my dream pointing me to this commitment for the purpose of grabbing my attention to speak now or forever hold my peace?” If so, then when you wake it’s time to take action and not stand idly by.
The Dream: You lost your wedding ring.
You’re likely feeling like an opportunity, a new job, a new career trajectory, etc. has slipped through your fingers and won’t be coming back around. Your frustration and suffering in your dream is likely the frustration, sadness, and disappointment you’re experiencing in real life, but not allowing yourself to concede to and heal from. “We humans are self-regulating. If we hold in feelings and thoughts we experience during the day, our dreams will surely present them to us at night,” reveals Dalfen. “It’s all for the purpose of encouraging us to bring those feelings out to daylight. In essence, the dreams let the air out of the balloon.”
Reasons for Wedding Dreams
This may come as a surprise, but you don't need to be actively planning a wedding to have a dream about one. In fact, you don't even need to be in a relationship at all. Whether you are single, dating, or engaged, here are the reasons you might be having wedding dreams.
If you’re single.
If you’re single and you’d like to get married one day, then maybe it means you’re finally ready to jump into the dating pool and test the waters. If you’re single and want to stay single, then maybe a random wedding dream has less to do with marriage and vows and more to do with commitments. Loewenberg shares, “Is there a lifestyle change you need to commit to? Are you suddenly feeling like you are ‘married’ to your job? What is it that you need to stick to or that you’re feeling stuck to? Your subconscious may be trying to help you decide if this is something you want to be a part of your life ‘till death do you part.’”
If you’re in a relationship, but not engaged yet.
If you’re dating or living together and starting to hear wedding bells in your slumber, you may be at a crossroads and need to seriously consider whether this relationship is the real deal or just the deal for right now. “The subconscious puts us in a very real-life scenario so that we can figure out if the experience is something we want or not. How we feel in the dream and when waking up from the dream is often a big clue and a brutally honest answer about where we are emotionally and psychologically,” assures Loewenberg.
If you're currently planning a wedding.
Here’s where you’ll want to take your dream and cross-reference it with your wedding to-do list. Loewenberg explains, “The more stressed the planning is, the more upsetting or frustrating the [dreams] will be. However, when you take the time to examine the dream and compare the frustration or struggle in the dream to what was going on or what was on your mind the previous day, you may find the dream is actually giving you some pretty good insight and advice!”
What to Do When You Wake Up
There are points, though, where you may need to filter out or quell the more meddlesome dreams—especially with a wedding date creeping up. "Any little step that can alleviate stress during the day will directly affect the tone of your dreams at night,” reveals Loewenberg. In her experience, many brides and grooms find resolve and comfort in daily dream analysis and reflection via a dream journal:
- Before going to bed, write about your day on the left page of your journal. Include what you accomplished, what you struggled with, what you still need to do, as well as any important conversations you had and what was on your mind the most.
- When you wake up, write your dream(s) on the right page of your journal. This way, your day and your dream are side-by-side so you can see how they connect.