Anxiety and Engagement: When Your Wedding Is Stressing You Out

I have so much anxiety over my engagement.

I have so much anxiety over my engagement.

I was the type of little girl (and teenager… and twenty-something) that spent a significant chunk of time fantasizing about my wedding. What would my dress look like? Would my wedding have more of a “rustic” or “beachy” feel? And, most importantly, who would be waiting for me at the altar when I walked down the aisle?

Even though I spent hours daydreaming (and making secret Pinterest boards) about my wedding, as my twenties came to a close, I had all but given up hope on settling down and finding my forever ride-or-die. My relationships up to that point (or, let’s be real, my “relationships”) had been laughably and tragically bad. Highlights included: “the guy who emptied out my bank account during a cocaine binge,” “the guy who couldn’t hold an intelligent conversation about anything except the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry of the mid-nineties,” and “the guy who spent a significant amount of his salary buying followers on Instagram.” 

It was rough out there, and after a long string of failures, I was ready to throw in the towel on the whole “happily ever after” thing.

But that all changed when I met Jamey. 

I knew right away that he was different from the train wrecks I usually found myself with; he was funny, he was handsome, he was smart, he was employed, and he didn’t bat an eye at any of my weird first-date questions — like which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was his favorite and why. I knew right away that he was someone with long-term potential. Someone I could really fall for.

And fall I did. We spent the next three years learning and growing and exploring and falling head-over-heels in love. We had some seriously amazing moments — like traveling through SE Asia and adopting our dog — and some seriously challenging moments — like dealing with family tragedies and navigating through some rough patches that threatened our relationship. But through it all, we got stronger. We became more bonded. And before long, we both knew we wanted to spend our lives together. And a few months ago, we made it official and got engaged.

As someone who spent a lifetime fantasizing about their wedding, there’s a lot of things I expected to feel when I got engaged: excited, grateful, relieved, completely flabbergasted that someone (especially someone as ah-mazing as Jamey) would willingly choose to tie themselves to me for life. And I feel all of those things in full force.

But there’s something else I’ve felt since we got engaged that I never expected — and that’s anxious AF.

Now, as someone who struggles with generalized anxiety disorder and OCD , anxiety is nothing new for me. But when I got engaged, I felt a rush of anxiety like I hadn’t experienced in a long time.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m in no way, shape, or form anxious about getting married. I know in every cell of my body, from my head to my toes, that this is the person I want to spend my life with. It’s all the other stuff — the “planning a wedding” stuff  — that’s got me feeling on edge.

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Like all the questions. So. Many. Questions. From the second we got engaged, I’ve been assaulted by an endless stream of questions from well-meaning friends and family — questions I don’t have an answer to.

“Have you picked a date?”

“Who’s going to be in your bridal party?”

“What kind of theme are you thinking?”

“What’s your color scheme?”

“Have you found a venue?”

“What about food?”

“Are you going to have a DJ or a band?”

“How many people are you going to invite?”

“What kind of dress are you going to wear?”

Whenever anyone asks me about wedding details, I smile and say we’re working on it… while I silently freak the f*ck out about all there is to do and how little of it I’ve gotten done.

Then there are all the decisions that need to be made. I’m the kind of person who feels overwhelmed by the menu at the Cheesecake Factory, so the sheer number of decisions I need to make for the wedding — and all of the mini-decisions within those decisions — gets my palms sweating in a major way.

Like choosing colors. It seems simple enough; sit down, look at color options, choose one. But the experience is completely overwhelming for me. First, I spend about three hours on Pinterest looking at the different color schemes available and weighing the pros and cons of each. Then, when I find a color that might be a contender, I start spinning out on the details. 

How will this color look on my bridesmaids? Should all the bridesmaids' dresses be the same color or should they be different shades? What kind of flowers can we get for the bouquets in these colors? Will this color scheme match the food? (Seriously, I’m that crazy). 

Pretty soon, I’m so overwhelmed by all the options and details that I end up right back at square one with no idea of what colors I should choose — except now I’m sweaty, anxious, and in desperate need of a nap. 

I find myself feeling anxious about the wedding just about every day — anxious about how much it’s going to cost, anxious about getting everything done, anxious about all the decisions I need to make.

Overall, this daily wedding-related anxiety isn’t fun. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed and jittery and anxious, I try to remind myself of the “why.” Why am I so anxious? Because I’m getting married! I’m getting married to my best friend, the best man I’ve ever known, the man who puts every other man I’ve ever dated to shame and makes me feel loved and appreciated and excited about the future every day — even when I’m an anxious, overwhelmed ball of nerves. And that makes me feel the opposite of anxious; it makes me feel safe.

So in those moments, when wedding anxiety has me ready to scream or cry or bury my head in the sand for the next year or so, I remind myself that it’s okay to be anxious AF about planning our wedding  — because I’m not at all anxious about our marriage. 

And that’s what matters.

I’ll just need to remind myself of that about 10,000,000 times between now and our wedding day. 


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