When we think of wedding day jitters, it is often in the context of a bride getting cold feet just before walking down the aisle. The guests are seated, the priest is waiting, and the bride is nowhere to be found. And while I think disappointed guests is a better result than a bad marriage, often these jitters can be addressed and reduced with a little forethought and planning. But here’s an important fact to remember: a proxy marriage may not be as traditional, but it doesn’t alleviate many traditional stresses. The core concern for most with cold-feet is whether the marriage is a good idea. Accepting that this is normal, and means nothing about the long-term success of your marriage, is the most important step in getting past those feelings and starting to embrace the coming union. Here are a few more:
1. Diagnose the Problem. Be completely honest with yourself, which is harder than it sounds, and think about what is making you nervous. This isn’t about blame, nor is it about avoiding responsibility. Instead, the only way to address the problem is to know what the problem is. Avoid making excuses and avoid dodging the question. Set aside some time to really think about the question without interruption or distraction. Write down the answers you discover, or record them on a tape recorder. Whatever is the easiest way for you to explore this complicated topic.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Think Small. Often, wedding day jitters can come from expanding plans. You may start with an idea of what you want for your wedding, but as those plans start to come along it may swell beyond what you originally wanted. The size of the guest list will often balloon beyond what you originally imagined, and sometimes beyond what you can imagine. Remember, that just because you are considering a proxy marriage, it doesn’t mean that you have to skip the big wedding. But it also doesn’t mean that you have to plan a huge wedding. Intimate weddings are often more memorable for everyone involved.
3. Visualize your Perfect Wedding. From professional athletes to Fortune 500 CEOs, more and more people are practicing visualization on a regular basis. Use this technique to increase calmness and produce a perfect wedding. Set aside some time and find a comfortable seat and imagine everything going well. This is a tough task. It will be easy to start imagining everything that can go wrong. But it is important to avoid that kind of thinking, and instead see your special day going completely according to plan.
4. Talk to your Fiance. Remember, you’re not in this alone. In fact, that’s the whole point of the wedding. Whether you are planning a traditional wedding or a proxy marriage, the result is two people being joined together. If you can’t talk about these things now, how will you talk about even bigger issues later? The worst thing you can do is ignore your feelings. They don’t go away, instead they just fester and get worse. Practice communicating now, you’re going to be doing it for a long time.
There is nothing wrong with feeling apprehensive about your upcoming marriage. It does not mean that you should cancel the wedding or that it is doomed to failure. Instead, it’s just the process that millions of couples before you have endured. So embrace the uncertainty and accept that you’re in for a wild ride. Marriage is nothing, if not unpredictable.