Wedding planning is exhausting for everyone. But when you’re struggling with a chronic mental or physical illness, or when your life circumstances drain you of all but a few precious slivers of your time and energy, planning a wedding can feel impossible.
In the spirit of making this post as spoonie-friendly as possible, I’m going to go easy of the preamble and get right to the point. If you struggle with finding the energy or time to devote to wedding planning, you are not alone- you still deserve an amazing, beautiful wedding, and there are steps you can take to help yourself get there:
Hire a wedding planner. You and I both knew this one was coming, so let’s just get it out of the way: Wedding Planners are there to make your life easier. We can’t make all of your decisions for you, but the whole purpose of hiring us to do have someone else take care of the tedious, fiddly, or daunting details of your wedding. BUT- and this is a big “but”- Not everyone can afford a wedding planner. We’re wonderful people to have on your side… but we can be expensive. I know we can be expensive- I won’t try to convince you otherwise. If you really need the help, consider reaching out to some wedding planners in your area and asking if they offer à la carte or sliding scale services. Granted, many of them don’t. But some (including myself!) are happy to offer pared-down services for those with restrictive budgets.
Have a long engagement. If you aren’t in any rush, consider giving yourself a nice, long engagement period. The longer your engagement, the more time you can give yourself to plan your wedding. And don’t let anyone- ANYONE– make you feel bad about the length of your engagement. A year, two years, five years, ten years… IT. DOES. NOT. MATTER. There is no wrong amount of time to be engaged. Whatever length of time works for you is the perfect length. Period.
Identify your biggest “Spoon Suckers”. The process of planning a wedding usually involves a wild number of tasks to be completed. Sit down and take a look at all of the tasks involved in your process (it might help to have your partner(s) there with you). Identify which tasks are the most draining for you personally. Visiting venues or vendors? Sending emails? Making phone calls? Looking over contracts? Designing stationery, seating charts, or other documents? If you can figure out your biggest stressors, you’ll be more effective at working around them.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner(s) or loved ones for help. Whether it’s delegating tasks, requesting advice, or asking for supportive gestures (cuddles, preparing meals, reminding you to take breaks, having comfort items on hand, etc.), it’s incredibly important to lean on your support system if you need it. Our brains can often trick us into thinking we’re a burden, or that we’re being annoying when we ask for something, anything, from another person. This isn’t the case- I’m telling you right now that you aren’t a burden, and it’s okay to ask for help. You are loved and your brain is lying to you.
Put markers on your calendar. If you have a calendar that you look at every day, use it! This can be the calendar on your wall, on your desk, in your phone, on your computer, or in your planner. Put markers and reminders on the days, weeks, or months where you need to get something done. Set aside some time one day (or right now) to do it- it will help keep you on track and minimize your chances of forgetting something and needing to deal with it at the last minute. If you don’t have a calendar… just print one off! If you have access to a printer, you can easily find prinatable calenders online. If you don’t have access to a printer, you can probably download a calender onto your device. If you don’t like downloading things, you can easily create your own calender with a free, open-sourced word processing program or in your computer’s image editing tool.
Gradually put together a crunch-time kit. We planners usually have ours with us on the day of your wedding. But this can be a kit that’s more personal to you and your needs. Carry it with you, or entrust it to someone else- your partner(s), a loved one, or your wedding planner are all good options. Slowly collect items that you might need over the course of your wedding: Painkillers, prescription or over-the-counter medication, stimming tools, distraction or comfort items, epinephrine, or naloxone are all good places to start.
Take care of yourself. Don’t neglect yourself in favour of getting stuff done. Drink water or brew a cup of tea. Don’t forget to eat. Take a shower. Take breaks. Remember to take your meds. Stretch your body or take a walk if you can. Listen to some music or relax on the couch for a while. It’s true that our worth is NOT defined by our productivity… but if you have something you want to accomplish, it’s easier to do when you are able to take care of yourself. Being kind to yourself will go a long way towards making wedding planning a positive experience.