Pre-match nerves or a warning sign?
When I decided to write about anger and weddings it was a thought that amused me to start with. Then, as I thought about it more, I realised how pertinent my work can be.
A large component of anger is stress. I am sure we all know that we are more likely to be triggered into anger if we are under stress and pressure. Given the emotional investment, the planning investment and the financial investment in a wedding it becomes one of the most pressured and stressful times of our lives. So let’s deal with the stress and first and then talk about anger.
The first question to ask is whether you would prefer a hugely stressful day watching everything like a hawk to check the finest details fall into place or whether you actually want to have the happiest day of your life?
If the answer is “perfect but stressful” then take control of everything yourself, plan it all in the tiniest detail and watch your blood pressure rise steadily as the day approaches.
If the answer is “happy” then learn the following –
- Delegate – get others working for you. People want you to have a great day so your friends and family will be happy to help. Beware the pitfalls of delegation though. You have to be clear about what you want. You have to let go of some of the control and you have to be prepared to accept the odd mistake.
- Manage your own expectations. Do you really need that exact colour of bridesmaid dress to set your wedding dress off which is only available once a year because it is made from an extract of a wild and rare flower or would that nice peach colour do?
Classic Wedding Anger
Pre-wedding anger otherwise known as loss of a personal goal
This is caused by anything that gets in the way of your day being perfect. The issue may come in the shape of an elderly relative insisting they won’t sit next to someone else because of a feud they have had for years. It may be your prospective mother-in-law insisting on interfering with everything from the food choice to the colour of the bridesmaid’s dresses. It may be the hotel forgetting that you want fresh rose petals scattered before you as you walk into the reception.
Whatever the guise of these issues they boil down to one thing. You want the day to be perfect in every way and these people/ objects are in your way.
It may be you can rationalise that they are being interfering or that people just don’t listen to instructions and this is why you are angry but the bottom line is they will stop your day being how you want it and that makes you angry.
So what can you do to avoid this anger?
In simple terms “be prepared” is the key phrase. In reality this means be prepared to assert yourself, set your boundaries and state your expectations (more on expectations later). The benefit you have in planning your wedding is that you only invite those that you wish to invite. It is your day after all. If you think someone will cause trouble or let you down, don’t invite them. The assertive part will be that you may wish to explain that to them. In fact, having that conversation may well lead to them committing to you that they will not cause trouble and you get a win-win. They attend and you have a great day.
Some of the greatest issues come because of assumptions made. The greatest assumption that is made about weddings is that everyone agrees that it is the brides (and groom’s, but we all know it’s really the bride’s) day. If everyone can agree that this day is about celebrating this couple and that their happiness, on this occasion, transcends all other issues then it’s amazing how people can pull together.
One bride I knew predicted that certain parts of the family would not agree with her desire for a civil ceremony in a hotel rather than church. Because she did not want to single out those that would not agree she wrote a letter to her whole family announcing the engagement, stating her intention to marry in a civil ceremony and acknowledging that this may not be to the taste of the whole family. She then asked that they put aside any issues they may have with her choice in order that they could support her and her husband to be in having the best start to their marriage they could have. She never heard a peep of dissention from those that thought Church is the only way.
With regards to anyone who provides services to you such as photographers, wedding venue, etc make sure you get what you agree with them in writing. This is not, as some may think, to give you a weapon to beat them with when they don’t come up to standard. The objective is for you to have a great day with everything how you want it. In my experience most issues are caused by misunderstandings. Getting everything agreed in writing avoids misunderstandings and gets you, your perfect day.
Real anger that comes back time and again.
Your prospective spouse my start getting angry as the stress and the pressure grows. There will be many a bride/groom who has overlooked undesirable personality traits of their prospective partner in a bid to avoid issues with the big day. You may explain them away as “just stress, it will be fine when it’s all over.” In my experience marriage comes with plenty of stresses to face together. So these behaviours will return.
You may explain them away because you think it is too late to pull out despite having reservations. You may also recognise these as aspects of you partner’s personality that you knew about but thought may go away. My advice is if you commit in haste or with reservation, you have the rest of your life to regret it. The good news is that with the help of people like me, even those with the deeper, darker anger can be helped. Before or after the wedding, the choice is yours.
Beating Anger Derby delivers Anger Management training Courses on a one to one or group basis. For more details go to www.beatingangerderby.co.uk
Contribution by Julian Hall of Beating Anger Anger Management Derby