How To Deal With Pre-Wedding Depression Without Feeling Shame

September 30, 2023

Pre-wedding depression is awful.

Let’s talk about it. 

Do you remember how it felt when screaming, “yes!” was so thrilling? The idea of forever with this person is so exciting. Your friends are so stoked for you. Your Facebook likes are up higher than ever before. Finally, things are going in the direction you’ve always wanted. Societal validation oozing out of social media. This is what life is all about, amirite?

So why the hell do you feel like sleeping instead of planning a wedding? Why does it feel so overwhelming and anxiety-inducing? Next thing you know, it’s going to be three months before the wedding and you’ve done shit-all to plan the big day. Holy crap, now it’s time to cram everything into three months, and frankly, you still just want to be in bed. 

Cake tasting seems lackluster, photography all seems the same, and caterers blur together into one big BBQ mess. Isn’t this supposed to be the happiest time of your life? WTF is happening?

Welcome to planning a wedding with depression.

I set out writing this blog because pre-wedding depression isn’t addressed enough in this industry. I’ve even made an ultimate guide to planning a wedding with anxiety and depression. Depression is a part of my life with my own mental health and I have to learn how to co-exist with it. I’ve even made a list of 5 habits that keep me going. It’s all about honing the experience.

The wedding industry is all about HAPPINESS, GRATITUDE, AND LOVE. Shiny shit, blingy crap, expensive things. Joy joy joy. Happy happy happy. BE HAPPY, YOU’VE FOUND YOUR SOUL MATE, AND ALSO, BUY THIS PLEASE. Can’t afford it? Don’t worry, we have a branded credit card for that. Plan, spend, and gain debt. Over and over and over again. How the hell is someone with depression supposed to wade through this loud mess of shoulds and dos?

Did you know that every year, one in ten adults experience depression? It’s also the leading cause of disability for peeps between 15 and 44 years old. Someone dies of suicide every freakin’ 13 minutes. This means a LOT OF YOU ARE STRUGGLING RIGHT NOW.

So I wanted to spend some time finding ways to work WITH pre-wedding depression, as best as possible.

1. Hire a wedding planner

First, let’s discuss the difference between a wedding coordinator and a wedding planner. A wedding coordinator is almost entirely meant to collect all of the information, planning, and contracts you’ve done and make it into a fluid execution on the day of.

You’re still required to research everything, design everything, and book everything. Some coordinators will also require you to create a base timeline before they will even start coordinating things. This will not work for someone with depression.

A wedding planner, however, will do the majority of the heavy lifting. They can cost anywhere between $5k and $8k, which might seem like a lot. But how much does mental health cost anyway? Planners will help you narrow down ideal vendors, make initial contact for you, and help with the booking process.

They will help you create a budget and stick to it, possibly even being able to negotiate with vendors they have good relationships with. They will help with the design process, timeline creation, and on the day of, make sure everything goes incredibly smoothly. This amazing article on Offbeat Bride talks about a bride’s first-hand experience of what a full-service planner can do and how much money they can save you.

2. Buy a wedding planner book

If a planner is completely out of budget, I would strongly suggest the Astro Wed wedding planner, which is SO FUN!! It has pages and pages full of prompts that will help you decide on the theme, vendors, guest list, timeline, etc.

It definitely breaks down all of the overwhelming things into more edible pieces, which is so much easier for someone trying to plan with pre-wedding depression while also wishing they could just watch Netflix 32 hours a day (same friend, same).

3. Create a game plan.

So if you’re planning a wedding, it’s good to look at suggested timelines of planning, like this one on Here Comes the Guide, which has a useful checklist for you to use. Things you might not think about, like wedding insurance (I cannot recommend this enough) or hiring a wedding nanny…it’s all in there.

4. Scale down your wedding.

What’s that? Only invite people whose presence makes you happy?

I give you permission, right here and now, to not invite people just because it’s the thing to do. I don’t give a flying pegasus what your mom says and demands. GUESS WHAT MOM! THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU.

Unless the unfavorable person demanding to come is also willing to buy you that $400 KitchenAid mixer you’ve been dreaming about for six years, they can’t come. Does that sound petty?

Not really, if you think about what energy suckers (no offense to my Vampiric friends) can do to the tone and mood of your big day.

You are not obligated to invite anyone to your wedding.

There. I said it. It’s in the Universe. Now, what are you gonna do about it?

Smaller weddings are easier, hands down. Less to worry about and organize. Elopements can be done for less than $1000 and there are companies around the city that will take care of EVERYTHING for you. Definitely, something to consider!

5. Adhere to The Spoon Theory

The chronic illness community created this amazing theory that helps explain the energy expenditure that occurs every day. They say you only have about 12-15 spoons a day allotted to you, so you have to choose wisely.

Some days, you may feel like you wake up five spoons short. Sometimes, you can borrow from days in advance, which makes catching up SO MUCH HARDER.

When I was in deep depression and exhaustion, I utilized the Spoon Theory and realized I had borrowed approximately one month of spoons from the future. Which meant I had to spend 2-3 months rebuilding my count.

This graphic below is SO helpful in showing how much things can cost you, mentally and energetically. Apply that to wedding planning and well…shit gets real, real fast. Make sure to take care of yourself and, of course, drink water.

6. Run away from home and never return.

Jesus, who invited the dramatics here? LOL. Okay, so running away and never returning isn’t a feasible option. However, it is completely reasonable to sit down for a day and contemplate just eloping in Vegas.

It’s okay to sit down and feel your feelings.

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed.

Any feeling you have about your wedding is valid. If you’re only dreading the wedding, I encourage you to reflect on that emotion and figure out why you’re dreading it.

Weddings are simply the stepping stone to your marriage, but let’s get one thing straight: it is NOT the cornerstone to your marriage.

The cost or opulence of your wedding does not imply how successful your marriage will be.

I just wanted to make that bold and make sure you didn’t miss it. So many people hitch their hopes on how coordinated their napkins and plates are. But literally, none of that matters once you’re married.

In fact, I’m betting that the pressure you feel from the wedding industry and family is only making your depression worse. It’s time to give yourself permission to do what makes you feel happier, whatever that may look like.

Pre-wedding depression (and depression in general) is a bitch, no matter how you slice and dice it. Just know, you aren’t alone. I love this particular website because it explains the different depressive disorders. Depression is a spectrum, like most things, so sometimes people can be depressed and not really even realize it! Two-thirds of people with depression aren’t even getting treated!

If you find yourself having dark thoughts and suicidal ideations, please call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Their website is right here. Sometimes, when you’re in a deep dark hole…it’s very hard to ask for help.

I know even saying that people love you isn’t even enough. Just know that your feelings are valid and that things CAN be good again.

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