Fretting about Weddings: Stop Comparing, Start Celebrating

By Darla Breckenridge
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wedding stress strategiesAt a wedding this weekend I spoke with three single women of varying ages. There was a great deal of fretting displayed by these women as they worked to negotiate the dance floor, the bouquet toss, and shapes and sizes of the other women. But we don’t think you need to be single (or the bride) to experience wedding stress, or what I call “fretting about weddings.” I’ve noticed that mothers of brides, mothers of grooms, matrons of honor, bridesmaids, guests, etc. — all feel anxiety about how they look and how to navigate the social complexities of these events.

  • I wish I had lost weight before this wedding.
  • I wish I didn’t have to wear this strapless dress.
  • Oh, I look so fat! I am going to sit down at this table where no one will notice me.
  • I think those people over there are looking at me…
  • How will I handle another person asking me why I’m not married yet?

It’s time to let go of fretting at weddings. Otherwise, you miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the celebration, enjoy the music and food, and engage in conversation with new and old friends. Here’s how:

  • Remember that comparison is the opposite of compassion. When we start comparing ourselves, our appearance, or our achievements to others the slippery slope of feeling socially isolated, awkward and uncomfortable is upon us.
  • Practice mindfulness. Look for the details in the venue that please you… bouquets, hair design, the wedding cake.
  • Indulge in healthy rebel behavior and silliness. Entertain your mind by imagining what secret the guy in the polka dot tie might have. Or look for the craziest dancer and sit back and enjoy the show.
  • Laugh. Ask people about a joke or funny story they have heard recently. Or ask them about the best/worst wedding they ever attended.
  • Learn something deeper. See how many conversations you can generate that have a real quality to them. How can you find out what really matters to someone, what they treasure or really care about?
  • Appreciate someone else’s angst. Then, focus on two things that you are grateful for.

Do you have any wedding strategies that help you to let go of fretting at weddings?

6 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Tracey says:

    I went to a very lovely party recently, and while I was a bit apprehensive at first, eventually, I danced (with some coaxing from a very nice person)and had a good time in general. Then I saw the photos, saw what I looked like, and then wished I hadn’t been out there. It killed my good time knowing that whoever sees the pictures will only see my huge ass and have a good laugh.

    • Lisa Christie says:

      Whenever I feel this way, I remind myself that if I am enjoying myself and having a great time, and someone has the time to criticize me while I do it, then their opinion shouldn’t matter much anyway. That’s not a quality person. Amy Poehler once said “There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.” I agree. If can’t let our weight or appearance or whatever stop us from living.

  • Megan Krejci says:

    Tracey – You’ve heard that pictures don’t lie. But photographs only capture the light rays as they bounce off objects in the area. If you were happy and enjoying yourself, then I am positive that you were beautiful and a pleasure to be with. Set the photo aside and focus on the fun you had at the time. Pictures lie all the time.

    • Lisa Christie says:

      I agree, Megan. You had a great time, Tracey, and that is what was important. What is the saying? I love this one line from “Mean Girls” where Kevin G says “Don’t let the haters stop your from doing your thing.” Just remember that! When someone is smiling and laughing, then they are beautiful.

  • Tracey says:

    Maybe in the moment, but I cringe when I think of people seeing those photos in the future. I guess I’m hung up on what my now ex-brother-in-law said when my dad showed slides from when we were younger. He turned to me, so all could hear, and said “You were a real pony, weren’t you?” At this most recent event, I stand out like a Great Dane among poodles. (My husband’s family is full of very petite women and men.) I want to hear someone say something nice about me, that I look pretty. Everyone is so quick to say how nice this one looks or how beautiful that one is. Silence breaks the heart.

  • Lisa Christie says:

    Tracey, I can relate all too well. When I get trapped in comparing, or thinking I’m not as good as someone else because of my weight, I have to remind myself of what I do like about me and what makes me a good person. We live in a society with a deep-seeded weight bias, and we have to have our tool kit ready for those moments of insecurity.

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