Congratulations! The question has been popped and you’re well on the way to planning your dream day. The budget has been decided, the date is set and it’s all very exciting. But as the spending gets under way, you start to notice some anxiety and stress creeping in. There’s a temptation to cut things out of your plan and rein everything in.
We all know that weddings can cost a lot, which is stressful, but there seems to be something else holding you back; a niggling voice in the back of your mind, panicking as you struggle to part with your money. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, it’s possible you are dealing with an unhelpful money mindset, adding extra layers of extra stress to your wedding planning.
What is your money mindset and where does it come from?
Our money mindset is our set of beliefs about all things money; how we relate to it, feel about it, spend it, save it and control it. It’s also about our emotional connection to money and the various feelings that the idea of it can bring up with in us.
So where does it come from? Our money mindset starts with our upbringing, what we experience and the way our parents or caregivers relate to money. As a child, you are busy soaking up the atmosphere of your home environment like a sponge, absorbing the spoken and unspoken communication around you. Feelings around money are a big part of that atmosphere, playing a huge role in how our family lives are structured. Each home has their own micro culture when it comes to what emotions and behaviors money invokes. Growing up in this atmosphere and culture around money will directly impact the way you go on to relate to your money, finances and sense of security.
Here are some examples of the most common unhelpful money mindsets that often come up during wedding planning:
‘Never over-spend because you don’t know when you could lose everything.’
‘It’s extravagant and ridiculous to spend money on yourself.’
‘If it’s not necessary, you don’t need it.’
These examples are very typical and highlight how our mindset around money can often be based on a sense of lacking, scarcity and fear, which may be from our own experiences growing up, or inherited from our parents or caregivers. Because these beliefs can be inherited and learned from our past, even if you actually face no immediate financial threat in the present, your mindset can still be rooted in scarcity, lacking and fear, if that’s what has been learned.
This explains the uncomfortable niggling feeling you have when you are spending more than you would normally because you are planning a wedding, even if it’s within your budget. So, it’s fair to say, your money mindset can really impact how easy or challenging wedding finances and spending becomes. Here are some tips on working with your money mindset to reduce stress when spending.
Observe, take a breath and be mindful
The next time you feel anxious, stressed or uncomfortable spending out on your wedding, take a moment to decipher if there are any beliefs coming up that are connected to your money mindset being rooted in lacking, scarcity or fear. If so, they will likely be adding to your perhaps already heightened stress levels!
Is there anything going on for you such as it not feeling ‘right’ to be making ‘unnecessary’ purchases? Does spending on your wedding feel unsafe or scary, perhaps even ‘wrong’ in some way? If anything like this is happening, it’s likely you have an unhelpful money mindset playing in the background. Being able to identify this in the moment can help you instantly shift some of that anxiety and stress you are feeling. Call it out, and remind yourself that you are safe to spend within your budget however you wish.
Affirmation to create change
When you have identified beliefs coming from your lacking money mindset, you can begin to start challenging them. Think about reframing your beliefs to something more positive and fitting for your present-day life. For example, ‘It’s a bad idea to spend on something that isn’t necessary’ to ‘I can spend my money on whatever I choose and I am allowed to spend for joy.’ Once you start to make these small adjustments, you will begin to alleviate some of the extra stress that comes with wedding spending.
Keep calm and carry on!
When the inevitable moments of stress and anxiety arrive, knowing how to keep calm and relax your nervous system will help you to get through it. When we experience stress, our nervous system is heightened and we are operating at an elevated state. Being able to calm and relax the nervous system so our stress response reduces is vital to remaining calm and functioning well. One way we can do this easily is using a simple breathing technique which, when practiced daily, can help to keep us regulated and relaxed.
Close your eyes and place your hands on your lower belly.
As you inhale, allow your belly and the rib cage to expand and rise as you count to four, taking a gentle pause at the top of your breath.
On the exhale, allow your belly to gently float back down as you count to four again, taking another gentle pause before the next inhale.
Repeat for five minutes focusing on the expansion of your belly and rib cage with each in breath.
The expansion of the belly engages the vagus nerve which then stimulates the relaxation side of our nervous system. This places our whole body into a very physical state of natural relaxation, keeping us regulated and allowing our body to recover from the damage that stress causes.
With the money mindset in check, it can be a good idea to start looking at setting boundaries and having clear priorities to help you stay on track. In my experience, when you are planning a wedding, everyone who has ever been married likes to share their opinions on what you are doing! Although this is most often done with love, when you are in the midst of spending your money, it can be very overwhelming and so this where your boundaries become important. By deciding what you are comfortable discussing and sharing about your wedding planning, you can minimise the overwhelming input from those around you. You get to choose how much you want to share about YOUR budget, YOUR spending and YOUR choices. Having these clear boundaries can help to keep things calm and ensure you continue to feel comfortable with your money mindset.
As well as boundary setting, having some clear priorities will also help to minimise spending stress. Discussing or writing down what matters the most to you both and what part of your day you value the most will make it easier to see how to allocate and break down your budget. As well as prioritising the various elements of your wedding, here is a gentle reminder you may need at some point; you are allowed to come first! It’s very easy to get lost in what other people would like and trying to keep up with wedding comparison, so work together to remind each other that this day is first and foremost about celebrating you as a couple and you absolutely get to reflect this in your budget and spending choices. You are allowed to prioritise you!
My final piece of advice for keeping your spending stress low, it to make sure you set aside some time to research. There are so many independent brands that price themselves fairly and can work to a range of budgets. Don’t be afraid to choose the smaller businesses or do things differently to make sure you get the best for your budget but also, and very importantly, the best for your vision!
About Emily Hughes
Emily Hughes is a Trauma Informed Psychotherapeutic Counsellor and Hypnotherapist, specialising in Anxiety, Eating Disorders and Self Esteem Work. Emily runs an online practice with the intension of making therapy more accessible. You can learn more about working with her at emilyhughestherapy.com
- Photography: Jamie Y Photography