How are you doing, lovely readers? It’s been a rough start to the year, and if your wedding planning mojo has done a disappearing act I hear you. You’re not alone. A survey identifying the most stressful life events identifies weddings as being in their top 10* – and if we add covid worries and postponements onto that, the stress factor rockets.
I don’t say this lightly: I know some of you are really struggling. While we have been doing our best to keep a positive outlook on these blog pages, there are times when we all need comfort more than inspiration, and then there are times when we really, genuinely need help.
If you’re planning your wedding for 2021 or 2022, and think you might need help, please read this expert blog post just in from The Priory. Remember you can reach out for professional help, or seek support from one of the amazing mental health charities out there. There’s a list of mental health charities here for you.
Couples (and their close family members) with weddings scheduled for 2021 are likely to be experiencing even more pressure as a result of COVID-19, with many also feeling guilty for worrying about a wedding during a global pandemic. Dr Senem Leveson, consultant psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London, has looked at the impact that wedding stress, guilt and uncertainty can have on a person’s wellbeing and has outlined the importance of communication during this difficult time.
Many couples with weddings in 2021 are faced with the uncertainty of whether their upcoming nuptials will be able to go ahead as planned due to the coronavirus pandemic
Weddings often take months, even years, of careful planning and organisation, which in itself can be stressful. The coronavirus had added a further layer of pressure, as many couples do not know whether their weddings will need to be rescheduled or adapted in light of COVID-19 restrictions.
With so much uncertainty surrounding weddings booked for 2021, it is important to note the impact that this can have on people’s wellbeing. Dr Senem Leveson, consultant psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London, says: “Planning a wedding during this period can feel like having said “yes to distress”. I speak from personal experience here, having tied the knot in October in front of 13 guests.
“Uncertainty, though a reality of life, can make us feel powerless and out of control.
“Planning a big life event, such as a wedding requires a sense of security and constancy, a sense of knowing what will come and when.
“The uncertainty of not knowing whether or not the event will go ahead, under what conditions, and whether it will affect the health and safety of guests can create a lot of worry and anxiety. This is in addition to the huge unknowns we need to navigate during this time, such as our legal rights if an event is cancelled.
As constant worry can make us feel unsafe and take a toll on our mental health, Dr Leveson advises that people who are struggling seek support: “We all vary in our ability to tolerate uncertainty, depending on our constitution, upbringing and circumstances, but we all have a limit.
“If the uncertainty and worry feels overwhelming and starts to impact on your day-to-day-functioning, then it might be a sign to seek help. This can range from asking for support from loved ones to speaking to a GP or mental health professional.”
Some people have found it difficult to open up about their wedding stress during the coronavirus outbreak, as they feel guilty for worrying about their wedding day during the global pandemic. They also feel anxious about how people will respond to their concerns. Dr Leveson reminds people: “Anyone that loves and supports you would show understanding and empathy. It’s important to acknowledge the validity of our feelings – we feel what we feel – no matter how ‘trivial’ they might seem to us.
“Feeling guilty about burdening our friends and family with our worries is understandable, but if the feelings of guilt overrule our wellbeing and happiness, then it might be sign to speak to a professional.”
Dr Leveson also encourages couples to communicate and connect with each other during this difficult time: “Be open and clear with one another, share your worries and anxieties and focus on having fun. Remember the reasons why you are getting married to each other in the first place – it is about declaring your love for one another and that is the most important thing.”
*Weddings are one of the top 10 most stressful life events according to the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), a survey identifying the major stressful life events