Over the holidays, my friend surprised me by asking that I be her matron of honor for her upcoming nuptials. Needless to say, I humbly accepted the duty as any "best friend for life" would have done.
My friend's wedding is on the sooner side, so I and the fellow bridesmaids got right down to business on planning her bridal shower and bachelorette party.
During a conversation about decor, we realized the bride hadn't given us a real color scheme for the wedding yet, so as the honorary attendant, I called my friend to get the details.
After asking about the colors, my friend asked if I had a minute to discuss other wedding-related items. Being as boring and obsessive as I am, I said sure! And to my surprise, instead of spouting off to do lists and questions and ideas, my friend just started crying.
She could barely get a word out. I immediately hung up the phone, picked her up, and took her out shopping to discuss what was happening.
As I suspected, she was having a "bridal meltdown," an emotional collapse brought on by the sheer stress and anxiety that wedding planning causes. Think about it, in addition to the overwhelming pressure of logistics, you're managing a major life change that is both literal and symbolic. Getting married affects not only the couple, but their friends and family, and causes all kinds of shifts in relationship dynamics.
After letting my friend have a good cry and a couple deep breaths, I gave her two pieces of advice that were given to me by trusted advisors when I was planning my wedding. It's advice that sounds a bit harsh and a bit hokey, but it's none-the-less true.
You aren't special. You're wedding day is special, to you. You have a special place in your parents, fiance's, and friend's hearts. But you, and most of your situation, is not special.
While the details of the problems vary from couple to couple, the basic issues are pretty universal. You aren't the only couple to have knock-down-drag-out fights over the guest list.
Every single person who doesn't elope has this problem in one form or another. Even couples with the biggest weddings will argue over who makes the list, who gets to sit where, and whether so-and-so can bring a plus one or their children.
Whether you've known your partner for 10 years or 10 minutes, every parent wants to make sure their baby is "making the right decision." And inevitably, you may feel like your parents are having second thoughts or don't support you.
This isn't the case. Your parents realize, most likely more than you do, the magnitude of the commitment you are about to make. They just want to make sure you are happy and as aware as you can be of the challenges ahead.
While the details are different, the challenges are the same for most couples.
This isn't to say your stress is insignificant or you don't deserve to have your meltdowns from time to time. I certainly had my fair share of crying fits over my parents not "getting" me and my vision. But remembering that you aren't special should serve as a comfort to you.
Knowing you aren't special should help you realize that you aren't alone, you aren't weird, and this confrontation or stress is completely normal.
But most importantly, knowing that you aren't special will help you to remember the second piece of advice: It gets better.
When I was pregnant, people told me all the time how hard being pregnant is and how painful labor would be, but the second the baby is born I would forget it all. Spoiler alert: I didn't forget the annoyance, discomfort, or pain, however, none of it seemed to matter.
I didn't care that it sucked getting to this point because the annoyance, discomfort, stress, agony and emotional tirades were over and I got this beautiful by-product out of it.
Your wedding day works the same way. You aren't a cartoon animal, you won't just magically forget that you had a crying fit in the middle of the mall over which shoes your bridesmaids will wear.
But I bet you'll laugh about it later. The day of your wedding, all the nonsense that leads up to the big day won't matter. Instead you'll be focused on your partner and the life you'll be starting together.
Your meltdowns will be nothing more than fun stories to tell your nieces, nephews, cousins and children when they plan their own weddings some day.