Planning your Wedding – will it be wedding day bliss or wedding day blues?

Congratulations … that’s so exciting! You’re getting married!

Such a huge decision. Now, to plan your wedding day. 

Hmmm did some of the euphoria leave your body at that thought? 

Where to begin? How to begin? How to make it YOUR wedding day? Suddenly the difficult reality of your families also being at your wedding, comes into focus and begins to blur that picture of blissful happiness and joy!

That’s where I, a trauma informed family relationship therapist, can help. (You really didn’t plan or budget for counselling in your pre wedding agenda, did you? However, this just might be the most important investment you can make in yourself, your day, and your future together.)

So here’s some pointers (from a counsellor) for turning wedding day blues into wedding day bliss.

1. Don’t aim for perfect … aim for wonderful.

Wanting your wedding to be perfect, all but ensures it won’t be!

Putting those unrealistic, demanding expectations upon yourself, your friends, and your family, creates a dynamic of stress, anxiety and emotional tension that is very likely to make the day far from enjoyably perfect! In fact, perfectionism is a coping mechanism, usually created in attachment trauma, to try and reduce the fear of ‘not being good enough’. 

So if you are a bit of a perfectionist, a trauma therapist can gently, but quickly, help you to release those attachment experiences that created this unrelenting expectation, which you put upon yourself, and inadvertently, others. 

Your wedding day will be so much more wonderful without perfectionism coming along as an uninvited wedding guest!

2. Don’t try and change others … aim to change their impact upon you.

Yes, it would be great if those difficult, challenging, mean, jealous, spiteful, hurtful, controlling, stubborn, down right awful (you insert the most appropriate adjective for your situation!) members of your family could seek some therapy to change their harmful ways. But you and I know that’s very unlikely to happen, right? None of us, not even therapists, can change someone if they don’t see the need to, but we can change their impact upon us and therefore our response to them.

So stop focusing on them, and start focusing on you, learning ways to reduce the hurt and harm their behaviours create within you. To be fair, this desensitisation process, might need the help of a skilled trauma therapist! 

If your therapist uses Emotional Freedom Techniques (AKA Tapping), you will be surprised just how quickly you can turn down the volume of their hurtful ways and, you have a gift for life in how to not let the chaos of others, create chaos for you. 

3. You can’t change others, but you can support them to be the better version of themselves.

People only act ‘bad’ when they feel bad. So if you can help family members to feel emotionally safe and respected, they are less likely to show their ‘less than charming’ side at your wedding! 

Remember hurt people hurt. So if you have the odd family member stuck in very self protecting ways (read: ways that are harming of others), they’ve probably experienced trauma and challenges that created those protective mannerisms. They are a bit stuck in rigid protective ways. Kindness and compassion goes a long way in soothing their pain. 

Kindness really is a gift to self, if giving it to others, makes your wedding day run more smoothly and joyfully!

4. Create a survival plan for ‘if the worst does happen’!

Knowing what you will do, how you will support each other, if a calamity does occur, can be calmly reassuring and help you weather any storm. This is where humour and a positive mindset can be your greatest marriage assets. You can always reframe any ‘disaster’ as providing you both something to share a laugh about, as the anniversaries roll past. Picture yourself, old and wrinkled and still in love, and laughing together about how (insert their name) did (insert the calamity) on your wedding day! 

Overcoming challenges and reconnecting on the other side, is actually what builds trust and strengthens relationships. If you think of it that way, the chaos of others, is creating the glue for you two!

5. Share the love!

Use the wonderful good feeling vibes of your imminent marriage as motivation to heal rifts and create harmony in your family.  Sometimes important events like weddings can be the motivation needed for families to heal their differences. Are you brave enough to suggest to an estranged family member, that you would love for them to enjoy your day with you? Maybe seeking the help of a family resolution expert might be money well spent, if it creates not only the day of your dreams, but a closer, happier family. 

Who doesn’t want their family to be friends again? Worth a try – what’s to lose, other than a whole lot of old grief and animosity?

Do you really know what makes some one captivatingly beautiful, handsome or serene on their wedding day? The glow of calm confidence that comes from self compassion, where you genuinely love and accept yourself, no matter what. The best way you can prepare for your wedding day, long before diets, choosing wedding dresses and suits, hair styles and makeup artists, is how to calm your nerves. This can honestly be achieved in a few sessions with a really good therapist.

My wedding gift to a couple would be a few sessions with a well qualified  therapist teaching them the magical and yet practical skills of Emotional Freedom Techniques (AKA Tapping) to calm their nerves and chase away any chance of the wedding day blues. 

Wishing you a wonderful perfectly-imperfect wedding day, with just a sprinkling of moments you can share a laugh about in the years to come.

Allow your love for each other to build bonds of kindness with others on your special day.