Rules of Engagement: What they don’t tell you in the bridal magazines.

Growing up I had an unreal expectation about getting married. I always thought that when the time comes I would be an expert on what I wanted and that it would all come together perfectly. Well, I had been planning it in my head for years. And then I got engaged!

Don’t get me wrong, the buzz of the celebrations and excitement of finally talking about my dream wedding had me on a high for weeks. Straight away I asked those closest to me to be bridesmaids, sending each other ideas from Pinterest became our main method of communicating. But then the well wishes faded and reality hit.

From the moment that ring went on my finger people asked, “have you a date set yet” and twenty other questions. Thinking about venues, guest list, dresses, bands, photographers, makeup, hair, invitations and table plans consumed me. Now, planning a wedding is difficult at the best of times, but when you are a final year student the added stress just makes the fairy tale image disappear. Important moments that I had dreamed off my whole life were over-shadowed by deadlines. My employer assuming that because I was getting married I would need more hours. And at first, this was my belief too. But after a few weeks of burning myself out I had to put an end to that too. And that’s when another stress factor appeared, money.

How do you pay deposits for venues, bands, photographers etc on a part-time wage? It seemed impossible. It finally got to the stage where I didn’t even want to talk about the wedding. I lay at night thinking about money, deadlines, dresses and 100 other things. It became overwhelming and was affecting my state of mind and mood. The one moment in my life that I had dreamed about since I was a little girl was ruined. I became irritable, emotional and lashed out at those close to me. I even blamed my other half for being selfish and asking me to marry him just because his life and career was stable. Even though deep down I wanted nothing more than to be married (and was probably hinting about it for months).
Then it hit me, this expectation us girls have of the perfect day from magazines and films is unrealistic. Anything worth having isn’t easy, just like a university degree. From talking to other people about their wedding planning, I know now I’m not alone in these thoughts and feelings and understand that nothing in life is perfect, especially not people. So now I have taken the pressure of myself and am enjoying being engaged. What is the point in stressing about the best day of your life, enjoy the moment.


Lisa Corrigan is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Facebook