Pre-wedding jitters: A Rite of Passage

Anxiety, fear, sadness, grief: Those “pre-wedding jitters” are much more than just nerves.  Paradoxically, there’s a lot going on that can make a bride-to-be feel like her world is falling apart, even as she plans to marry prince charming in the wedding of her dreams.

It’s not just the stress of planning, the anxiety caused by family  members, friends, and vendors. According to, the time of engagement and marriage is a rite of passage, accompanied by a shift in your identity and many questions about your future role as wife. Your identity as an independant single woman changes into married woman, one half of a whole.  Your relationship to your girlfriends, parents, and other family members shifts. You give up certain aspects of your personal freedom. There are new duties, expectations, and commitments are placed on your shoulders.

“…in traditional cultures, the members consider all rites of passage as a sacrifice and a gift, a separating and a joining, a death and a rebirth. As much as the wedding is a time of celebration, happiness, and new beginnings, it is also a time of saying goodbye to an entire identity and grieving the losses…”

According to Sheryl Paul, author, bridal counselor, and editor of, this normal pre-wedding anxiety (or even fear) is suppressed because our culture does not allow room for it. A bride is expected to be happy, excited, and confident at all times. “When women are given the words and context in which to understand their inner world they breathe a great sigh of relief.” You can learn more at or get Sheryl’s books, Conscious Bride and Conscious Bride’s Wedding Planner.