When I mention wedding drama, people often think about a fussy bride who can’t decide between an orchid and a lily. Or a woman who is losing sleep trying to decide if her bridesmaids should wear blush or dusty rose gowns. She is indecisive or demanding or obsessive. That is what wedding drama might look like on the surface but that’s never what is really is.
Only women who have been through it really understand the deeper nature of this disorientation. When you get engaged, you are suddenly thrust into a change cycle that is equally as difficult as it is wonderful. So often we forget that weddings always represent change and change always has really hard parts- even when (and perhaps more so when) we really wanted them. That discomfort is what is under all the wedding drama that looks like seating chart wars and budget showdowns.
But wedding drama is really about the changing nature of your relationships with those who matter most- yourself, your fiancé, your families, and your friends. No matter how it presents, the tension always ties back to one of these fundamental bonds.
A bride, in different ways than her groom, goes through a major identity shift when she gets married. ANd it often catches her off guard. i mean- we change our names! That alone is a huge piece of identity that can bring up very strong feelings you never expected. And that’s just part of it. Your space changes, your priorities, how you spend your time and your money, your holidays. The list goes on and on. And it’s exciting but also really overwhelming if you don’t take the time to tend to truly ending your single girl chapter so you can have the emotional space to shift into married woman chapter. Feeling like you don’t have the confidence and clarity you used to is part of the engagement phase. You will get your grounding again as long as you process the emotions that this transition time requires.
Your family is also doing through a major identity shift as well. We tend to underestimate the ripple effect of our engagement on our family origin. Your relationships with your parents and siblings will change when you get married. That can be really painful- whether your relationships are close and no one wants the change. Or if hey are strained and the wedding just makes that fact more apparent.Of course, in the end, it’s about adding more love and life to your family unit. But that initial change will bring up some tough feelings- maybe fears about getting to spend less time with you.
And on the other hand, you have your fiancé’s family who going through their own process with the changing dynamics. If can be really hard for brides to know how to enter another family and feel out her place, her voice, and her role. It can be intimidating, stressful, and awkward. In the end of course it usually works out great but its during the engagement when the tensions are the highest and emotions are the most raw and unfiltered.
Finally, there are the friends. So many brides brides have been awesome girlfriends. They have spent years focusing on cultivating and enjoying wonderful female friendships. They have had first row seats to our dating lives and now that you are engaged, things change significantly. You have less need for their opinions and advice now that you have found your person. And all of your energy is now around planning a wedding and figuring out your new life. You might be feeling like you needs your friends more than ever in some ways to help with the wedding or be by your side celebrating the whole process. But your friend might be feeling like she doesn’t know where she fits in, she might feel like she like your lives are so different now that your friendship will inevitably decline. No matter the details- the relationship is changing and that will cause waves.
For some brides- just one of these areas is causing them angst, for most, it’s all three. And all of it is completely normal, expected, and healthy. And totally manageable. My big thing is just not to let yourself think that it’s ever about the wedding details. All the drama has a message for you, it’s there to help you. If you let it lead you, whatever wedding drama you have can lead you to the most important marriage prep around.