You just got engaged and there are so many things to consider: choosing a date, establishing a budget, building your wedding website, researching wedding venues, and checking your mindset. Checking your mindset? That’s right! Licensed Clinical Social Worker Pamela Rak is sharing her professional advice all about building a positive mindset during the wedding planning season and beyond.
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(Photo credit: TWA Photographic Artists)

Our mindset is our belief about whether or not we are able to achieve our fullest potential. And our mindsets are incredibly important (maybe even more important than our wedding itself!) as we prepare to get married. Developing a growth-based mindset that believes in possibility helps us to be our best for ourselves, increases our effectiveness in relationships, and manages our expectations and assumptions (which can contribute to destructive habits).

Last year, our son, Nick, asked his girlfriend, Emily, to marry him. Nick and Emily wanted their wedding to be a true representation of who they are. I wanted to honor their vision, intention, and preferences for their special day. We all know the old adages about mothers-in-law, so I adopted a positive mindset from the beginning. I decided I would be supportive, encouraging, and curious. I would offer traditions as ideas but not mandates and be available but not intrusive. After the wedding, I wanted to be able to be proud of the way I conducted myself and I wanted them to feel like they had the wedding they wanted, with pleasant memories to carry forever.

Adopting a positive mindset isn’t as difficult as you might think, but it doesn’t often come naturally. Below I’ve compiled 5 ways you can start improving your mindset as you step into the somewhat stressful season of wedding planning. Your positive mindset will serve you well as you plan, and even better as you navigate life as a newlywed.

1. Pay attention to your self-talk.

Eliminate words like can’t, never, always and should. These words tend to keep us fixed in our thoughts. Instead say: “I’ll try,” “Let me give that some thought,” or “I’m willing to consider.” Choosing more positive, open minded words will increase your willingness to actually be open minded.

2. Be patient with yourself.

Anything that requires change will take time and effort. Process, learn, and correct self-defeating habits as they pop up. You won’t be able to completely change your mindset overnight. Celebrate your effort, perseverance and improvement!

3. Include imagery into your tool box of coping and problem solving strategies.

Imagine ways you can create the wedding you want, even if something isn’t exactly as you first thought it would be. Look for possibilities and find silver linings wherever possible. Dream about the way you’ll feel at the end of the night. The specific shade of your linens probably won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

4. Share your ideas and feelings.

A wedding is an event, but a marriage is a lifestyle. Start practicing your communication and ability to calmly share your feelings with your partner now.

5. Create a vision board.

It’s easier to get the results you want if you know what you’re truly looking for. Decide with your partner what the top priorities for your wedding are and focus on those few things. Be willing to let small details slide.

6. Work with a therapist.

Learning helpful strategies and tools for communicating and decision making is important long past your wedding day. Consider including a therapist to help you navigate your expectations and disagreements during your engagement and well beyond into your marriage. Post-wedding blues are a very real challenge, and a therapist can help you work through those and all the challenges of newly married life.

Pamela Rak is a LCSW with over 32 years providing mental and behavioral health counseling. Her clinical approach is goal-oriented, collaborative, pragmatic, supportive, and, based upon strategies that follow best practice research methods. For more information on working with Pamela, please visit her website or contact her via email.