Butterflies in the stomach is quite an adequate description. So is dryness in the mouth, weak knees, thudding heart and many other such symptoms of emotional upheaval and stress.

It’s natural to feel all this and more as you are headed for the flower-bedecked ‘mandap’ where you are going to be joined to your partner in holy matrimony.

After all, this is one of the most important events in your life.

The attention of every person present is on you (well, almost – except for the little nephews and nieces running madly around the wedding area!) and it is natural to feel a combination of nervousness, shyness, and many other emotions at leaving behind one life and stepping into another.

Pre-marriage nerves are such a classic phenomenon that they also have classic remedies. The bachelor ‘stag’ party is one such dubious solution. The friends of the bridegroom get together and get drunk. By their combined antics they successfully distract the chap getting married from any anxious thoughts about his impending nuptials. However, the biggest drawback of this classic remedy is that the groom himself sometimes lands up on the marriage morning smelling of rotted grapes when he should be smelling of cedar and lemon. There has to be a better way.

Meanwhile the bride also suffers from her own attack of nerves. While her friends sit around applying ‘mehendi’ she can be spotted crying softly into a handkerchief one minute, laughing wildly the next, and suddenly looking at her face in the mirror as if she didn’t know who stood there…

Why do people go through all this when they have decided to be married of their own free will? When their wedding is actually a culmination of a friendship or courtship or engagement? The truth is that pre-marriage nerves are felt by nearly everybody – brides and grooms going through ‘arranged’ marriages, or ‘love’ unions, even people getting married for the second time. It seems as if the hours before a wedding are just made for anxious thoughts, when self-doubt and uncertainty come pouring in through some secret window in our minds.

It is never possible to completely do away with pre-wedding nerves. Some things that can help, however, are:

- Getting enough sleep. When you are going to spend a good part of the night lying awake thinking, it is a good idea to get to bed a little earlier, disregarding the taunts and challenges of sundry friends and relatives.

- Being confident about your clothes, footwear, appearance. Don’t shy away from a ‘dress rehearsal’ if this is going to give you the perfect fit for the day of the wedding. Not being worried about visible clothes tags, ties that have been tied askew, and ghagras that are held together with a safety pin is very important for peace of mind in the wedding mandap.

- Isolating yourself from- relatives, friends and acquaintances giving off negative vibes, news and comments about the wedding arrangements, your new family, what someone said etc. Don’t let people dump their nasty views on you before such a momentous milestone in your life.

- Spending a few quiet moments in prayer, meditation or solitude – in which you express thanks for having such a partner, the wedding, and also resolve to make it a happy union for the rest of your life. Being alone and sorting out your thoughts in a positive framework is sometimes all you need to go out there and SMILE!

Have a great wedding!

B. John Bosco


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