This is sort of a "Wedding Flowers 101" post, the last of the original series! Wedding stress affected all couples more than usual this year. COVID wrecked basically everyone's 2020 plans, especially wedding plans. It has been a beautiful, terrible, challenging year for everyone. And for couples who had planned a big wedding in 2020, we've been on this rollercoaster ride together. Wedding stress has challenged couples more than ever this year, so I wanted to share some tips that might help.
Full disclosure: I wrote this before COVID, and I have not seen good new data yet. But these concerns are likely magnified given the global pandemic, intermittent shutdowns, economic challenges, and death and illness in our communities.
As a professional floral designer, almost every couple I meet with has one thing in common: wedding planning is stressing them out. I didn’t realize quite how bad it was until I read a study from Zola, the wedding registry, about wedding planning stress. Zola surveyed 500 engaged and newly married couples pre-COVID, and the results are not pretty:
- 96% of couples called wedding planning stressful (the other 4% must be lying!)
- 40% of couples categorized wedding planning as “very” or “extremely” stressful
- 71% of couples thought wedding planning was more nerve-wracking than another major life event, like finding a new job or buying a home
- 43% of couples said wedding planning was putting a strain on their relationship
- 47% of couples get so stressed that they consider eloping, with 8% wanting to call it off completely
- 86% of respondents experienced, on average, 3 or more stress-induced physical symptoms like difficulty sleeping, breakouts, reduced sex drive, headaches, or hair loss
I knew it was bad, but I did not realize it was this ugly. And I'm sure that this year's challenges made things even worse. But it makes sense! If you are planning a wedding, you have probably never done it before. It’s like taking on another job. After all, there is a reason people hire wedding planners.
If you are still planning your wedding, you should know two things: 1) You’re not alone, and 2) There is a better way. You can get the wedding of your dreams without having a meltdown, alienating your friends and family, or letting the pressure affect your relationship. No matter what kind of wedding you are planning—yes, even an elopement—you will need help and support.
Wedding Flowers 101 started because of the statistics you see above, as well as some distressing conversations with couples. As an industry, we wedding folks need to do a much better job of educating, guiding, and supporting our clients. I’ve tried to do that with this series, but I also want to walk through some of the things you can do yourself to ease the stress of this process.
- Build an amazing team. I hope that previous blog posts in Wedding Flowers 101 have given you the tools to hire awesome vendors that you trust. Building this team will help you let go of some of the wedding stress. It's in capable hands now. You don't need to worry about anything. We will keep you informed of COVID rules, changes we need to consider, all of that stuff. We have your back.
- Practice self love. We are all having a rough go of it right now. Our lives have been turned upside down for months. We were robbed of our glorious Seattle summer with friends. We can't release energy at the gym. Your 2021 wedding might be a big fat question mark. But please, allow yourself to feel your feelings. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your partner. Find some healthy coping mechanisms. Lean on your amazing wedding team. We are all doing our best in an impossible time. And whatever you are going through, you deserve compassion and love. When it comes to your wedding, give yourself the space and care you need. Grieving your 2020 wedding plans is 100% normal.
- Don't sweat the small stuff. If there is anything we learned this year, it's that some things are more important than others. Health, wellness, and protecting the people we love are all more important than weddings. I do not believe that everything is small stuff. Having your wedding postponed or cancelled is Big Stuff. But there are things you can let go of, especially if you have an amazing team and clear priorities. If it's not a priority, just let it go.
- Stay organized. No matter what is happening with your wedding right now, staying organized is a gift to your future self. Keeping good records of shopping for vendors is more critical now that dates are getting shuffled around. You will be grateful for lists of vendors you liked if you need to start thinking of Plans B-Z!
Normally here I would tell you I have an amazing PDF with all sorts of extra tips on managing wedding stress. And okay, I DO have a PDF for you, but it was written last year and our world has changed dramatically since then. I will definitely be updating it this winter. If you would like to get the current version anyway, there is still some valuable knowledge in there. Just put your e-mail below and I'll send you a copy. We can laugh together at my quaint suggestions of visiting with friends when you are feeling overwhelmed. (Sigh.)
I have my last wedding of the year next week! But I have some exciting posts in store for the next several weeks. And I'm looking forward to taking more time to post, answer y'all's questions, and provide more great resources each week. Comment below if there are things you would love answers to!