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A Stay-Calm Guide for the Bride: How to Reduce the Stress of Wedding Planning

Updated on July 31, 2018

Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the best times of your life. It is the culmination of so much planning. For some, it is the realization of a lifelong dream. It's a celebration of love, and the marking of a whole new life together.

It can also be really, really stressful.

Having a sanity-saving plan of action is key in making sure that you aren't a frazzled mess by the time your wedding day arrives. Seriously. Even if you're cool as a cucumber now, give yourself a few weeks (or months). Stress-reduction strategies are going to be your friend.

Keep calm and bride on.
Keep calm and bride on.

Staying Afloat: Ways to Keep an Even Keel as You Plan Your Wedding

Delegate, delegate, delegate: Don't try to do every little thing yourself. If you can afford it, hire a wedding planner to help in organizing details big and small. If your budget isn't big enough to accommodate a full-on wedding planner, look into "Day-of Coordinating" and "Hosting" services. It can be a lifesaver to have someone who can handle all the logistics of making your day run smoothly, and deal with problems and issues that come up. Wherever you can, enlist family and friends to help.

Regular exercise can be a serious stress reliever.
Regular exercise can be a serious stress reliever.

Meditate the stress away. Research published recently in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) suggests that meditation can help ease anxiety and stress. While meditation isn't exactly mainstream yet, it's become far more widely accepted in Western culture. If you find yourself feeling stressed out or dreaming up worst-case scenarios all the time, you might just find some relief through the ancient art of meditation.

A Guided Meditation to Help Ease Anxiety

Exercise, girl: Working out ahead of your wedding won't just help you fit into your dress. Exercise is a vital part of a healthy stress management plan. And you don't have to take my word for it. Just ask the smart guys and gals over at the Mayo Clinic or Harvard Medical School. Time and again, research shows us that regular exercise really does boost your mood and improve your outlook.

Just be a regular couple: If you're starting to feel like your relationship has been entirely consumed with wedding planning, step back and take time to just be normal for a night. Go on a date and try your best not to discuss any wedding details. This could be something as simple as a night of Netflix and chill (no wedding-themed movies allowed!), whatever makes you feel less stressed out.

Don't let wedding planning consume your whole life as a couple.
Don't let wedding planning consume your whole life as a couple.

Consult an expert: Talk to someone who has experience or expertise that you value. This can be a church leader or a trusted family member whose marriage you would like to emulate with your partner. This person may be able to give you valuable insights to guide you and help you keep things in perspective.

Take time out for yourself: Any time you're feeling stressed out, step back and make a little time for some self-care. This doesn't have to mean an expensive trip to the spa (though there's nothing wrong with that, either). Giving yourself the night off from planning to treat yourself to whatever makes you feel pampered and cared about.

Long-married couples often have sage advice to offer.
Long-married couples often have sage advice to offer.
Every once in awhile, just indulge yourself in something mindless.
Every once in awhile, just indulge yourself in something mindless.

Remember that your wedding is not in a competition: When you're in the midst of wedding planning mania, it's easy to get caught up in the hype. You're looking at wedding magazines, blogs, and bridal websites where every detail is beyond perfect. It's enough to make anyone feel inadequate.

Don't. The idea is to glean inspiration from these things ("I love this dusty rose and grey color scheme!" or "I'd like to do a woodland theme like this!"), not to compete with them. There will always be someone (or a lot of someones) with a bigger budget than you, more time than you, or more creative than you. Meh. Whatever. You can create a beautiful, memorable wedding and reception without those intricate centerpieces or elaborate guest favors. In fact, you might just be surprised by how much all those details you fussed over during planning will go unnoticed in the happy chaos of the big day.

Get yourself a wingman (or woman): Enlist a trusted friend or family member (perhaps the maid of honor) to keep an eye out for signs that you're getting overwhelmed or succumbing to stress. If you start to crack, your right-hand person can bring you a cool drink or sit you down for a quick chat before any potential meltdowns.

You Are the Eye of the Storm: Keeping Your Cool on the Big Day

Try to avoid known stressors (and have a plan for the ones you can't): If a particular in-law always gets on your nerves, keep your contact with her to a minimum and enjoy the company of those who lighten your mood. If there are certain songs that drive you crazy (in a bad way), tell whoever is on DJ duty not to honor any requests to play them (just be ready to forgive if one does slip through the cracks; hey, it happens).

Have an emergency bride's kit on hand: Makeup, hair, and dress mishaps can ramp up the anxiety level of even the calmest bride. Keep an emergency kit with you to help you cope with wedding day snafus. This could include things like tweezers, tissue, hair spray, stain remover, makeup, aspirin, dental floss, and any other little goodies that might just come in handy on the big day.

It's All Good

When something goes wrong (and something probably will), try your best to turn your attention to the bigger picture. Some of the most memorable moments in life are the unscripted ones. The things that were deviations from the original plan are often the things we remember most fondly.

An unexpected guest, an unplanned speech, a tipsy Father-in-law. Whatever it is, imagine yourself telling the story to your kids one day. Perfectly flawless events might be nice for television, but real life consists of funny stories and interesting experiences.

How you choose to respond is what matters. Do you really want to be reminiscing about your wedding one day and hear, " the DJ played the wrong song and then mommy got really mad and scowled at everyone the rest of the night..."?

Accept that not everything will go as planned, and enjoy every wonderful and imperfect moment of your big day.
Accept that not everything will go as planned, and enjoy every wonderful and imperfect moment of your big day.

Are You Prepared for Wedding Day Mess-Ups?

If something goes wrong on my wedding day, I will:

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© 2018 Arby Bourne


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