The New Year has officially begun. Out with the old, and in with the new! Time to get on with the last yards of your wedding planning! Right? Or, Not? Well, if despite the arrival of a fresh new year, and the realization of your quickly approaching wedding date, you still feel paralyzed with an unexplainable uneasiness, let me try to explain why. You may be experiencing a bit of ‘Page Fright.’
What is Page Fright? Page Fright is a terminology that I’ve coined for the anxiety and fear that can come along with making a change in your life that may not be as monumental as moving on to a completely ‘New Chapter’, but is still significant in subconscious and intuitive ways that matter. For instance, if you are like many engaged couples, you are probably already spending a fair amount of time with your fiancé. Different from somewhat antiquated traditions, many engaged couples today may even already be living together. Consequently, it is not uncommon for one to think that getting married should really be “no big deal.” I often hear couples say, “We are living together already, so nothing will really change.” If your situation is similar, sure we can concede that getting married may not seem like a completely new Chapter in your lives together. However, in subconscious and intuitive ways, something still may change, once you are married, right? Otherwise, why get married?
Even if you feel that marriage will not signify a completely new Chapter in your life, you should at least allow for the possibility that it may still represent a new Page for you, within a broader Chapter. And that uneasiness that you are feeling, and possibly trying to suppress, is just your subconscious being signaling to you that this new Page matters. Your uneasiness may not necessarily be about your partner ,and how they may change. Instead, it could be related to new situations and experiences that you may have to undergo, as you move into your official matrimony, and the new Page that it represents for your life’s story. Some may find that they will need to develop new skills in event planning. Others may experience the anxiety of meeting the expectations of their wedding guests. And some might even find that they will have to really tap into their skills in diplomacy, in order to navigate issues with in-laws. No matter what lines may be on your new Page, give yourself permission to feel a little overwhelmed by the unpredictability brought on by it. Acknowledging your feelings in this regard will empower you to put them in an appropriate place, so that you can move forward more productively.
There are different ways that you can acknowledge and deal with your Page Fright. Talk to other newlyweds about their planning process. Book yourself a spa day with your besties, so that you can decompress. Keep a journal. All of these are possible ways in where you can allow yourself the freedom to feel a little afraid, while at the same time show yourself a little self-care and nurturing, so that you can make the mental and emotional transitions you need to; without frustration; without judgement. Don’t panic. What you are experiencing is common, manageable, and surmountable. Again, try to remember, that your feelings are really just your mind, body and spirit’s way of subconsciously communicating with you about something that matters to you. To acknowledge this is to show compassion and empathy for yourself, and that is a good thing.
As you move through your journey in preparing for your big day, remember to ‘check in’ with yourself. Continue to ask yourself: “how’s it going?”, “how am I feeling about things?”, “what emotional needs do I have right now that aren’t being met?” Also, don’t forget to recap recent experiences: “how did that meeting go?”, “what really worked well, that I would like to try to do again?”, “if I were going to give someone a gold star right now, who would it be and why?” Of course you cannot stay in these moments of introspection indefinitely. However, giving yourself time to acknowledge these undercurrents of emotion and information will help you to navigate and savor the content of your new Page.
Finally, try to stay in tune with the Chapter in your life that you are living through right now. Identify the broader picture of what you are trying to accomplish. For example, ‘to start a family’, ‘to celebrate your love’, or ‘to bring families together.’ Staying connected with the broader theme of what you are trying to achieve will serve you well in keeping your momentum and focus as you move through your wedding planning. It will also help you to savor the experience a little more. For example, ‘I remember when I was first trying to bring our families together for our wedding, there was a page in that whole chapter in where I had to really try to figure out the complexity of everyone’s travel and lodging schedules.’ In this example, having worked out travel and lodging logistics to unite you and your fiancé’s families seems like a worthy effort to undergo for such a beautiful outcome; and it is truly the outcome that matters. Keeping a broader objective like this top-of-mind will help you to navigate the less enjoyable logistical aspects with more grace. Ultimately, staying in tune with how you are feeling, being self-compassionate, and staying focused on the bigger picture, will help you to overcome anxiety that you may be experiencing, so that you can move on to the amazing day that you are going to have for your wedding.