Once you start having wedding stress dreams – and believe us, you will - you might wonder: am I normal? Does this happen to other people? You might be especially worried if you’re dreaming about running away from your wedding, or your husband-to-be not turning up at the altar.
Relax: wedding stress dreams and nightmares are completely normal. In fact, we’d wager that almost every single bride and groom will have at least one bad wedding dream in the lead up to the big day. It certainly doesn’t mean anything sinister, e.g. that you’re getting cold feet or you’re not ready to get married.
Wedding anxiety dreams are purely a symptom of stress. Wedding planning is likely taking up a lot of your time right now – it might be all you can think about. Therefore, it’s bound to cross over into your dreams. Your wedding dreams likely don’t have a deep, mystical meaning – your brain is just overworked, and your night-time visions are a symptom of that. Your dreams will likely become more frequent as your wedding looms closer.
What Are the Most Common Wedding Stress Dreams?
Wedding stress dreams can involve almost any weird, catastrophic or scary scenario you can think of. No two wedding nightmares are alike. However, there are some common themes which tend to creep up a lot.
• Embarrassing attire. It’s your wedding day, but your dress is missing, ripped, stained, or the wrong size. You’re forced to get married in a completely different outfit, or even in your underwear!
• Disappearing wedding party. You can’t get married because your fiancé has gone missing. Or your dad disappears just before he’s supposed to walk down the aisle. And where are your bridesmaids, anyway?
• Getting lost. You (or your guests) can’t find your way to the venue. Or else you get there, but it’s all wrong – you end up marrying in a church instead of a country hotel.
• Running late. You oversleep on your wedding day and if you don’t hurry, you’ll be late. So you end up rushing to the church with bed-hair and no makeup on. Alternatively, you completely forget about the wedding and end up missing it entirely!
• Bad weather. You’re getting married outdoors in the summertime, but all of a sudden a monsoon hits or a thunderstorm breaks out.
• Falling over. It’s a bride’s worst nightmare: you trip and fall whilst walking down the aisle. Worse still, your guests all laugh at you and it’s captured on video.
• Unreliable suppliers. The photographer doesn’t turn up, the baker drops the cake, the decorations aren’t ready, the flowers are all wilted or your DJ plays the wrong music.
• Problematic guests. None of your guests arrive – or hundreds of complete strangers show up and you don’t know anyone there.
No matter what you dream about, it all revolves around one main theme: something goes wrong, and your wedding is a disaster.
What’s Causing These Weird Dreams?
To put it bluntly: stress. Paranoia, anxiety, worry, fear – whatever you want to call it, wedding nightmares are fuelled by this underlying sense of ‘something is going to go wrong’.
You might not even feel as though you’re under any stress while you’re awake. But even if this is the case, your unconscious mind – the one that stores all your deepest worries and concerns – might be. Scientists believe that we have bad dreams and nightmares because they’re beneficial to us: they help prepare us for things that could go wrong in our waking lives.
Back in prehistoric times, we’d likely have nightmares about being chased by a wolf or attacked by a rival clan. Waking up in a panic, we’d start to plan what we would do if it really did happen. Then, if the scenario came to pass, we’d be better able to handle it.
The same is true for wedding stress dreams. Your brain is trying to make you aware of what could go wrong, so that you can assess how you’d react and what you’d do. This is why, the morning after a nightmare about your dress not fitting, you might get the urge to try it on again – just to make sure.
How to Stop Having Wedding Stress Dreams
Wedding nightmares are triggered by stress and anxiety. Whatever your dreams consist of, they’re your sleeping brain’s way of expressing your underlying fears and worries.
So to stop having wedding stress dreams, you need to tackle your anxiety, learn how to relax, and solve any wedding-planning problems you’re having. Otherwise, your disturbed sleep is going to start taking its toll on your day-to-day health and happiness. Here are some hints and tips that can help stop wedding stress dreams.
Give Yourself a Break
If wedding dreams are starting to overwhelm you, it’s time to cut yourself some slack. These dreams are a clear sign that you’re stressing yourself out, and doing too much. So, start by giving yourself as much time off from wedding planning as you can afford – ideally, at least a week.
Use that time to take your mind completely away from your upcoming nuptials. Practise some self-care, such as treating yourself to a spa trip. When it’s time to start thinking about your wedding again, you’ll be a bit more relaxed and have a clearer head.
The problem with wedding planning is that it can quickly take up your entire life. This is particularly true if you haven’t hired a wedding planner. You may find that wedding planning is constantly on your mind, that it’s all you talk about, and that wedding-related paraphernalia litters every room in your house. It’s no wonder that you’re having wedding stress dreams!
What you need to do is compartmentalise. Dedicate one single room in your house, e.g. the study. Keep everything to do with weddings in that room – banish it from areas where you relax, like your bedroom and the living room. Then, only wedding plan during certain set hours of the day – and take some dedicated days off.
Address Your Prime Concerns
During your scheduled wedding-planning hours, and in your dedicated wedding-planning room, get down to business and address your main worries. What have your wedding stress dreams been mainly about? We often dream about scenarios that we’re frightened will happen.
For example, if you’ve been dreaming about dress problems – like the dress not fitting – make a plan of how you’re going to prevent this. You might start researching reputable tailors in your area, and make an appointment to have your dress altered to fit you perfectly. Brainstorm ideas of how to prevent your main wedding worries from happening, and make a ‘plan B’ for what you’d do if they did. You’ll soon start to sleep easier.
Unshoulder the Burden
Often, wedding stress dreams are a symptom of being overwhelmed - you feel as though you’re struggling to cope with the whole planning process. You worry that you’re not going to get things done on time, or that you’re going to crack up.
The most important thing you can do is to ask for help. Whether it’s your mother, your bridesmaids or your fiancé, you need someone to assist you – you can’t do everything yourself. Don’t worry about being a burden – your nearest and dearest will be more than willing to help out, especially if they know how stressed you are.
If wedding worries plague you in your waking life (as well as your dreams), try practising mindfulness. This is a technique used for treating anxiety, and it can be incredibly effective. It involves focusing purely on what you can see, hear, feel and smell around you (rather than indulging the abstract thoughts and worries in your head).
Practise your mindfulness whenever you feel stressed. You can also meditate – which is essentially being mindful, but in a quiet room with your eyes closed.
Set up a Healthy Sleep Routine
Aim to get yourself into a calm and relaxed mood just before bedtime every evening. This will give you a better chance of having a peaceful, dream-free night’s sleep. If your head hits the pillow while your mind is still racing – especially if you’re thinking about your wedding – it’s more likely you’ll have a wedding-related nightmare.
Try doing something relaxing before bed, like taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to classical music. Avoid screens in the hour or so before ‘lights out’, as the blue light can stop you from falling asleep. Keep your bedroom comfortable, cool and quiet.
Let It Go
Finally, make peace with the fact that more than likely, something won’t go exactly as planned on your wedding day. Nobody ever has a 100% perfect wedding where everything goes precisely the way they envisioned it. The most important thing is that you’re marrying your true love. And even if something does go wrong, it will still be the happiest day of your life.
You can’t control absolutely everything, so if anything in particular is worrying you, try to get some perspective. Ask yourself: will it still matter in 10 years’ time? If not, just let it go. Relax, and enjoy your wedding day!