10 Emotional Stages of Planning a Multicultural Wedding

When it comes to planning a multicultural wedding, there are 10 emotional stages that you’re likely to go through. These emotions are totally normal to go through and knowing them upfront will help you identify them and acknowledge that you’re going through them so you can move forward.

A lot of times when emotions take you by surprise it leads to overwhelm. This inevitably leads to paralysis and you start to ignore your responsibilities to your wedding. As the clock keeps ticking the overdue tasks will only start to weigh you down. Having a planner by your side will make each stage easier to navigate through as well as will keep the planning moving along even if you aren’t quite ready to hop back into the process.


Already planning a wedding isn’t easy, but throw family dynamics, language barriers and cultural differences into the mix and it’s all got you ready to elope. But don’t give up, what you’re doing here is bigger than you will ever know. You’re creating a platform that others can use to love freely without bounds. In documenting and sharing your celebration you’re making the world a better place.

1. Cloud 9

The first stage of emotions, I call, Cloud9. It’s that moment you’ve both been passively talking about, maybe it started by casually brining up conversation, then maybe picking a ring and perhaps an ultimatum was involved.  After 4-years of dating and planning, he finally gets down on one knee on your well-deserved vacation overseas. You knew it would happen someday but he totally took you by surprise. That’s how you know that he is a keeper because he’s a great planner!

Followed by the proposal are the ring selfies and social media sharing in which the responses are heartwarmingly overwhelming. You might even get a care package with the silly “does this ring make me look engaged” mug. What’s another mug to add to your collection!

2. Dream Big

The next stage...Dream Big! This is seriously my favorite because it’s the place where you feel the most connected to your wedding. Before you get into the tedious tasks and the thick of all the planning you have a vivid vision. The details aren’t 100% ironed out but you have a pretty good idea. It’s best to hire your planner at this stage because you’re able to communicate your plans and ideas before they get weighed down by the tasks and budget constraints.

3. Get to Work

For my A-types, this is the FUN PART! It’s time to get to work and go from engagement to wedding planning. You start to strategize and pull out the color coded post-it notes. You get some serious pinning down and do hardcore research on Instagram. Here are a few of the top Insta wedding accounts to follow.

@MichelleIsabel_ (shameless plug)



@SecretWeddingBlog or check out their website

@MunaLuchiBride or check out their website.

If you need a little guidance on how to stay organized throughout the planning, check out these three uber helpful tips.

4. Overwhelm

Ah! The inevitable overwhelm! The cloud9 euphoria starts to wear off as you stare at the mountain of tasks before you. Feelings of anxiousness start to creep in and your partner/bridal party are nowhere to be found because #Life. Your partner just got a promotion, your maid of honor is pregnant, your bestie is off galavanting in Peru, your squad is working tons of hours and you don’t want to have to reach out to one more vendor that is unresponsive and/or spelled your name wrong in the first email. C’mon!

This is an email from my bride who’s mother was involved in the process, which inevitably stressed out the bride. Family meddling can feel intrusive. Most of the time they are just asking questions out of concern so it’s best to just hand it off to your planner for assistance. Parents from different cultures don’t always understand social barriers as we know them.

This is an email from my bride who’s mother was involved in the process, which inevitably stressed out the bride. Family meddling can feel intrusive. Most of the time they are just asking questions out of concern so it’s best to just hand it off to your planner for assistance. Parents from different cultures don’t always understand social barriers as we know them.

5. Paralyzed

And so you become paralyzed. The Pinterest begins to develop cobwebs and the sticky note cork board only gets bigger and bigger. Tasks aren’t getting done, vendors aren’t getting back to you, proposals aren’t within your range and you’re starting to realize that the dream wedding you originally set out isn’t happening.

6. Elope

Now, you’re at your breaking point. Nothing is working out and the numbers just never add up. Between the family dynamics and the wedding planning tasks, it’s all just a cluster! You decide to cancel all your contracts, lose all your deposits and just fly to Santorini to elope, just the two of you.

7. Accept Defeat

But you remember that you’re planning a cross-cultural wedding and this just isn’t unacceptable for the family. So...you accept defeat. You realize you can’t do this alone and honestly, your mental health, your social life, and your relationship isn’t worth going at it alone.

8. Hire Michelle Isabel & Co

You find Michelle Isabel & Co! Turn the music up and put your hands up because you just got yourself a confidant, a therapist, a planner, a strategizer, a designer, a project manager but most of all a friend. We are the one professional in your corner ready to take the punches. We advocate for your needs, your plans and your guests.  

9. Excited Again!

All your stresses, worries and anxieties are gone. You can breathe again and return to your regularly scheduled program called life. Call your co-workers because you can hit the bar again, you can go on hikes on the weekends, you can take the fur babies to the dog beach, you can plan for Outside Lands but most of all, you two can go back to date nights and spending quality time together. You can do couples counseling to plan for your marriage while we handle the tedious wedding logistics.

10. The Best Day Ever!!!

When you work with us, the very last stage is: The BEST day ever! You and your guests will be dancing till you get kicked out of the venue just so you can go and continue the part at your rooftop bar.

It’s all exciting and overwhelming at the same time. But I can GUARANTEE you that come your wedding day, it’ll be worth every stage.

Pro tips to getting through or avoiding some of the emotional stages you’ll encounter

  • My biggest tip for helping you navigate these emotions is to first and foremost, hire a full service wedding planner. Especially if you know that you’re type-A and if you know that you are not a finisher (meaning it’s easy for you to start tasks but it’s very unlikely that you’ll follow through), you’re going to hit a roadblock. Another way to know if you need help is if you know that you get overwhelmed quickly or if you have a demanding career. These are all signs that you need help from a planner.

  • Plan a few mini vacations where wedding talk isn’t allowed.

  • Attend couples counseling, I HIGHLY recommend this.

  • Schedule frequent nights throughout the week where you do not go straight home to wedding plan.

  • Try to keep your wedding planning at work to a minimum so you don’t take the joy out of planning.

  • Enroll in a physical exercise like yoga or soccer.

  • Schedule wedding planning days with your bride tribe. It’ll be nice to look forward to that day verses talking about it every minute of every day.

  • Get your partner involved but with boundaries.

And always remember that by planning your multicultural wedding and showing it to the world, you’re helping others see that love is boundless. There are people all across the world being denied this very opportunity you have to be with YOUR person. In those moments of stress, at the very least, remember that in doing this, you’ll be helping someone else.

While these stages are common, they don’t have to be a reality for you. If you do hit some of these stages, you don’t have to go at it alone. You should enjoy your planning experience and enjoy your partner throughout your engagement. You shouldn’t be spending your time stressed, arguing and overwhelmed. It’s literally a time to celebrate! We’d love to chat with you to see how we can support you. Please enter your name in the form below and we’ll be in contact with you shortly.

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