At 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?