Four Ways to Care for Your Mental Health During Wedding Planning

Graphic that reads "Four ways to care for your mental health during wedding planning" with a picture of a wedding couple

Graphic that reads "Four ways to care for your mental health during wedding planning" with a picture of a wedding couple

February is National Wedding Month, being that it’s the month when Valentine’s day happens. It’s a good time to start planning since most engagements happen over the winter holidays. This gave me a reason to go down memory lane and revisit my wedding. Adding advice on protecting your mental health. 

Don’t get me wrong, a wedding is a joyful celebration, and planning a wedding can be fun and exciting. However, for me and many others, it can be stressful and overwhelming. 

I have been married for almost 6 years now and I still have flashbacks to my wedding…not all of them are positive. Knowing what I know now, I wanted to share a few ways to care for your mental health while wedding planning.

My Wedding

I was 34 years old when I got married. At that age, being Latina, I thought it would never happen. So of course I was beyond happy when my boyfriend at the time proposed to me after a little over a year of dating. 

Being that I felt so old (shaking my head now), I jumped right into wedding planning and set a date within one year of getting engaged. I wasn’t going to wait any longer to get married. Being that I live with anxiety and depression, wedding planning was a roller coaster. If we include the actual wedding day, I felt like I was on a roller coaster without a safety belt. 

It was held at a community reception center about an hour away from where we lived. We had around 150 guests, a DJ, and live music. Our food was catered and we had an open bar where we had to provide the alcohol. Our decorations were elaborate including fresh flowers, uplighting, cloth tablecloths, and personalized menu cards. We even had a photo booth! 

I want to share with you what I think helped me stay sane throughout that time and what I wish I would have done to make our special day more enjoyable. 

Wedding Planning Tips to care for your Mental Health

Here are my tips taken from my own experience that I believe can help you care for your mental health while wedding planning.

1. Get a Wedding Planner

At the time of our engagement, I was working full-time as a school Vice Principal. I was BUSY! I knew I was going to need some help if I was going to stay on track with planning this wedding within a year. 

Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made and it was worth every penny. If this isn’t something you want to add to your budget, at least consider hiring a day-of wedding coordinator. That way you don’t have to be the point of contact for all of your vendors on your special day. 

The main thing when looking for a wedding planner is to make sure you connect with your wedding planner. It was especially important for me that our wedding planner respected the cultural traditions I wanted to incorporate into our wedding. 

Also, decide how involved you want your wedding planner to be. Do you want them with you on all of your vendor visits? What is your expectation with communication turnaround, including your preferred method of communication? Because it was hard for me to answer my cell phone during the work day, it was necessary for my wedding planner to communicate via text messages. 

2. Focus on the Essentials- Save money!

We spent close to $40k on our wedding. We live in California, and I wish we had some (or even all) of that money to put toward a downpayment. I don’t regret having a wedding like ours, but there are some things I probably would have saved money on. 

One thing is decorations. We spent SOOO much money on fresh flowers. Looking back now, I probably would have cut that budget in half and not had as many flowers. They were beautiful, and it was exactly what I dreamed of but it doesn’t compare to having money to start your married life instead of being in debt. 

We did save money on alcohol, believe it or not. The reception center we went with allowed alcohol to be provided by us so we didn’t have to pay the marked-up price catering companies like to charge, we only had to pay for bartenders. If you can do this, I would recommend having signature drinks and not a full menu of alcohol. We stuck to beer, wine, and tequila.  

What I wouldn’t cut back on is photography. Going with a lower rate may be tempting, but you should only do that if you trust and vibe with the photographer. The way I see it is that you don’t often have all of your close family and friends together, the memories captured that day are priceless.

3. Cultural Traditions- It’s OK to say No to Them

This may be hard to do, but when it comes to protecting your wellness it’s necessary. There are many beautiful Mexican wedding traditions, but for me, it came down to what I wanted my wedding to be like. 

We didn’t do the traditional dances. I didn’t even want to do that bouquet toss but was somewhat forced to. Looking back, I wish I would have stuck up for that. A few reasons I did this were because it took time away from dancing and I didn’t fully believe in the message behind it. 

My mom was mad at me but we didn’t invite everybody. Even then, we still had a pretty large wedding. If I gave in cultural traditions, the number of invitations that went out would have been more than doubled. It was important to us that we still had a personal connection to the people we were invited and not do so out of obligation.

4. Wait to Go on Your Honeymoon!

We decided to go on a mini-moon right after our wedding instead of going on a tropical honeymoon right away. This allowed us to stress less about making a flight the day after our wedding night and it also gave us some time to adjust to our “married” life for a while before going away for a longer period of time.

Waiting a couple of months to go on a longer honeymoon also helps you travel during the off-season, it can save you money and it may also be less busy leading to a more enjoyable time. It also gave us something to look forward to again, almost like the wedding kept going. 

Another thing that helped me stay calm throughout wedding planning was using a travel agent to book everything for our honeymoon. It allowed me to focus on my work and not worry whether or not we were missing something or booking at the wrong time. It truly came down to delegating the time-consuming items on the checklist.

Picture of a wedding couple walking out of the church. Bride has her wedding bouquet in one hand and holding hands with her groom in the other.

My Reflection- how does this fit into wellness?

It is completely normal to feel stressed about wedding planning. However, I want first-gen Latinas to center their wellness, and not leave it to the backburner during a highly stressful time. I remember what it felt like and there are some moments that left me questioning whether or not it was the right choice to even have a wedding. 

Hopefully, with these tips, you will be able to set boundaries and truly enjoy your special day. Envision what you want that day to look like, set a budget, and be confident in saying no, even to your mama, madrinas, or primas. Here’s to centering your mental health while wedding planning!

Learn more about me. Follow me on Instagram @hablandowellness.

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