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A Bridal Therapist’s Advice On How To Handle A Canceled Wedding

By Luv Collective
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There’s no doubt that being engaged right now is hard. While things could certainly be worse, we feel for those brides who have had to postpone or cancel their dream weddings, and who right now, may or may not be sulking on the couch with wine in hand. 

I was so stressed during my wedding planning that I literally started a company to help alleviate stress for other brides called  Luv Collective. We’re a platform where brides can book wellness experiences for bachelorettes, weddings, and most importantly, for themselves. One of Luv Collective’s offerings is all around bridal therapy, because although we’d rather be a bridechilla, it def takes some help to get there.

But with the global pandemic bringing with it a new kind of wedding stress, we called in Luv Collective’s resident bridal therapist, Landis from AisleTalk, to help learn some tips and tricks on how to handle it. Landis is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in New York City. She was trained at Columbia University in New York City, earning master’s degrees in counseling psychology and mental health counseling. After working in nonprofits, providing psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families coping with a wide range of stressful situations and mental health conditions, she realized how stressful navigating the transition of getting married can be, and that she loved helping clients through that particular time in their lives. Once she had that epiphany, she combined her passion for psychology, counseling people through stress, and interest in weddings to inspire wedding therapy as a specific specialty. 

What Would You Tell Brides Who Have Had To Postpone Or Cancel Their Wedding?

First of all, I’M SORRY. There is no way around it. No one plans a wedding casually. You picked a time that was significant in the scope of your life planning, you invested money and emotion and energy gearing up for this, and so did everyone around you. This is a completely unexpected interruption, and I want to acknowledge and validate the difficulty in it.

Beyond that, rather than tell you something, I’d want to ask you: how are you feeling about all this? 

Along those lines, I’d want to tell brides who’ve had to postpone/cancel: feel your feelings! Don’t let others tell you (implicitly or explicitly) that you don’t deserve to feel that way, and definitely do not judge yourself if you feel sad, disappointed, angry, heartbroken, robbed, defeated, or anything else. And if you don’t feel that bad, that’s okay too! 

I’m working with a lot of people on identifying and processing feelings. You can do that with yourself, a professional, or a nonjudgmental friend/family member. Talk about your feelings. Journal them, sing them out—whatever it takes. All of the feelings I mentioned are natural parts of any grieving process. And BTW: Grieving does not only take place in the context of someone dying. It also can happen when we lose something. Like something we had been planning, anticipating, dreaming of, you get the idea. A wedding can absolutely fall in that category, because a wedding is a way we mark a big life transition. 

Only when we acknowledge and validate our own difficult feelings can we work toward acceptance. It’s not that we’re happy, but we accept the new normal, and we are able to possibly start making alternate plans. But we can’t get there if we keep judging ourselves for the feelings that come before. 

What Can Brides Do To Reduce The Wedding Stress Right Now?

First of all, make sure you have a good support team. Your fiancé, your family, your MOH, your planner, your therapist, etc. They will help you make decisions if you are in a gray area, and will help you cope once you’ve made them if they were hard ones to make.

Shift focus to the tasks you can do remotely now, and save in-person stuff for later. Reorganize those to-do lists. And when you’ve run out of things to do, shift the focus off wedding planning. For most of us, this time is about accepting that we can really only do so much right now. 

Use the extended timeline to work on things you might not have had time for before. Wedding therapy can be helpful for this—maybe quarantine is bringing up old relationship wounds or family stress. Maybe you’ve been wanting to develop a meditation practice, try a new exercise, or perfect your skin care routine! In a time of feeling so globally out of control, focus on some small things you can control. 

What Is One Thing Every Bride Should Know About Wedding Planning?

It doesn’t last forever. Whether it’s an exciting time for you or a challenging time or both. It’s a relatively short period of time in your life, so if you can remind yourself that it’s only temporary, you might be able to enjoy some parts of it, while knowing that the less enjoyable parts won’t last forever.

Images: Gus Ruballo / Unsplash; Betches / Youtube