Cold feet is that feeling of dread, nervousness, and stress you may be feeling in the lead up to your wedding. It’s accompanied by plenty of ‘what if?’ questions and a tendency to second-guess life decisions that you were previously certain about.
Unasked for questions will pop into your brain at odd moments: Is now the right time to get married? Have I chosen the right life partner? Will we really be able to stand each other for the next 40 years? Would I be better off with that guy I liked in high school and went on one date with?
Focusing on these thoughts isn’t helpful or healthy. Before you know it, you’re more stressed than ever!
The good news is: this is normal. Most brides (and grooms) will experience moments of anxiety and nervousness as the wedding approaches. You’re not alone and you can do something about it. Read on to find out why we experience cold feet and what you can do about it.
Cold Feet Is Often A Reaction To Stress
Often, cold feet is a natural response to stress. Everyone tells you that your wedding day will be the best day of your life; they’re right. What they don’t tell you is how much hard work you have to put in to organize that day.
Merging two separate lives isn’t easy. Nor is organizing a huge event which everyone you know will come to (and you only get one shot at). You’re doing both at once.
Conversations about money, tricky guestlist negotiations, and a thousand-and-one small details and problems that need solving. It’s no surprise experts list planning a wedding as one of the top 10 most stressful life events.
You might find your cold feet accompanied by a shorter temper and wishing it would be over. All this is normal; let’s see what we can do about it:
7 Ways To Cope With Cold Feet
Cold feet shouldn’t ruin your wedding. Here are six ways you can relieve some wedding stress and cope with how you’re feeling:
Tip #1: Make Time For Yourself
If you’re spending all your time planning your wedding, you’re probably cutting back on your own leisure and rest time. Schedule a day for yourself where you can take some time to relax and not think about organizing a wedding.
It might be a spa day with your mom or best friend, a nice hike, or a trip to go shopping (for something non-wedding related). The activity doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something you love doing that will help you relax and reduce your stress levels.
Tip #2: Remind Yourself Why You Are Getting Married
There are lots of reasons why you’re getting married; very few of them are to do with having a big stressful wedding – but right now, that’s all you can think about.
Take some time to think back on your relationship, the good times you’ve enjoyed together, and think about what you’re looking forward to. What do you love about your future spouse? What qualities do they have that will make them a great husband? Why did you choose to marry them?
If you think back to a time before wedding stress and cold feet set in, there were probably lots of reasons – remind yourself.
Tip #3: Share With Family
Sometimes, you just need someone to listen. Share how you are feeling with a close family member and see what they say. If they know you well, they’ll be able to help you decide if you’re experiencing a few jitters, of if this is really something to worry about.
They’ll also be able to remind you how much you love your partner, about the great times you’ve had, and about your exciting future. Sometimes, the stress of wedding planning makes it hard to remember the good things, and it takes someone else to remind you.
Tip #4: Consider Premarital Counselling
An experienced counselor or therapist may be able to help you deal with your anxiety and understand what is causing it. You can attend this either as an individual or a couple.
This can be a safe, supportive, and non-pressured environment to discuss your fears.
Tip #5: Talk To Couples Who Are Already Married
Talking with couples who are on the other side of the wedding can help you put your fears into perspective. Find a couple who have been happily married, preferably for at least ten years, and ask them to sit down with you to answer a few of your questions.
You’ll likely find that they were a bit nervous too, but that didn’t stop them! How much poorer would their lives be today if they had given in to short-term jitters? Taking the long view can also help put the wedding into perspective: it’s just one day.
Tip #6: Spend Quality Time With Your Fiancé
It’s not uncommon to get to the end of the week, only to realize that you’ve barely spoken to each other about anything that isn’t the wedding. If you’re not careful, wedding planning can put your relationship on hold and open up a gap between you.
Schedule some time to do something normal with your future spouse at least once per week. Go for coffee, to a restaurant, or to the cinema. Whatever you would normally do as a date. Putting your relationship on hold while you plan a wedding is unhealthy and potentially damaging – but it’s easy to do.
Tip #7: Improve Your Lifestyle
Since cold feet is connected to stress, many common lifestyle solutions to stress will help you. This includes:
- Doing exercise
- Improving your diet
- Practicing meditation
- Cutting down on caffeine
- Getting a great night’s sleep
It’s easy to forget to look after yourself in the leadup to a wedding because you are so busy. Take a look at your lifestyle for places you might have been neglecting your health and take corrective action.
Should You Talk About Cold Feet With Your Spouse?
You should consider talking to your spouse, but you need to do it in the right way. Expressing doubts can be painful or hurtful to the other person, so choose your words carefully.
Ultimately, this is the person you are going to marry, and you should be able to be honest with them. Open up to them, listen to their own concerns, and try not to react to a negative way to anything they say (and hopefully they’ll do the same). Being honest is usually the best thing you can do in a relationship – and it’s likely they’re feeling a bit nervous too.
If you’re not sure how to do this, or you think they might reactive in a negative way, seek help. You might want to suggest pre-marital counseling to help you discuss it healthily.
How To Recognize When It’s More Than ‘Cold Feet’
Of course, not every bit of cold feet is nothing; some feelings are warning signs that something is not right in your relationship. Experiencing one or more of the following is a sign that you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your decision:
- You experience panic attacks at the thought of married life, or it regularly brings you to tears.
- You dread seeing your future spouse and find yourself making reasons to avoid them in the run-up to the wedding.
- Your future spouse is violent or has threatened you now or in the past.
- Most of your friends and family don’t like your future spouse and think you are making a mistake.
- You’ve considered canceling the wedding, but the only reason you haven’t is because it would be embarrassing or because of financial reasons.
- You’ve found out something new about your spouse, such as a drug or gambling problem.
If this is you, speak to someone – either a counselor, a family member, or a close friend. Don’t ignore your feelings – any of these signs is enough to consider postponing or canceling the wedding. Don’t leave it till the last minute to think about this. The more time you give yourself before the wedding, the more likely you’ll make the right decision.