What are the top 10 ways to handle wedding stress? Weddings are stressful. Even if you’ve had the event mentally planned for years, chances are things won’t go exactly as you hoped. Between managing your in-laws, organizing the catering and making sure your future hubby knows what to do, those pre-wedding butterflies can easily turn into stress-induced hives.
Luckily, you’re not going to have to say “I do” in a medicated haze just to get through the day — or the weeks leading up to it. We’ll show you how spending a few moments in silence can release the tension of your wedding woes and why seeking help from (gasp) your betrothed could reduce your anxiety level while simultaneously strengthening your relationship.
These are top 10 Ways to Handle Wedding Stress.
1: Focus On What’s Important
Every wedding is made up of a million stress-inducing little details, and through all the forgetful florists and cantankerous caterers, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important: the love shared between you and your fiancé.
This day you’re planning — the whole event — is about the two of you celebrating the love you share and the binding vow you’re about to make to each other. So, the next time you’re up to your eyeliner in anxiety, or your future mother-in-law insists on giving you a few more “suggestions,” remember that the guest list, food, music, location and everything else are just temporary. Your love is what’s going to last forever.
2: Organization Is Your Friend
Even if you’re the type who’s never made a list in your life―and you’re proud of it―now is the time to change that. There will be hundreds of details to pin down, and trying to keep track of them all will seriously fray your nerves. “It may seem like a daunting task to monitor it all, but there are some wonderful online organizers that include timetables, budget spreadsheets, and the like,” says Yifat Oren, an L.A.-based wedding and special events planner.
3: Stay Within Your Comfort Zone
Many stressed brides schedule “relaxing” activities that are out of their usual routines. “Don’t reinvent the wheel here,” says Julie Pryor, an event coordinator and owner of Pryor Events in Los Angeles. “Do whatever relaxes you ordinarily: whether it’s meditating, getting a massage, or hanging out with your best friend. But if you’re not a person who’s into yoga, the day before the wedding isn’t the time for some elaborate yoga class.”
4: Don’t Try to Wear Too Many Hats
Your role in the wedding is to be the bride―not the caterer, the florist, or the bandleader. “Interview your vendors carefully, get references―from people you know, if possible―and once you’ve hired them, let them do their job,” advises Oren. “Communicate clearly via e-mails and keep records of your arrangements, but trust that they will deliver what you’re paying them for without micromanaging.”
5: Get Him Involved
Some overzealous brides insist on planning their entire weddings. But then they feel jilted when they catch their beaus slaying aliens over Xbox Live when they’re revising the seating chart again.
If this sounds like you, we’re here to tell you that you can’t have it both ways! Before you toss out his video games with that tacky old beer stein, talk to him about what you need and expect from him. Jot down a list of things you’d like him to help with, and keep him posted on deadlines and vendor meeting dates. Chances are he’ll be glad to assist if you let him — you just need to give him something to do.
6: Designate a Wedding-Day Contact
Give someone the authority to make last-minute decisions and insulate you from snafus. If the chandelier plummets into the wedding cake ten minutes before the reception, you’re the last person who should be hearing about it. “Pick someone who you trust completely and empower her to make decisions in your stead, whether it’s a problem with the caterer or rearranging seating for a guest who’s a no-show,” says Anna Post, author of Do I Have to Wear White?
7: Get Physical
If the stress of organizing and planning your wedding is making you see red, you might want to consider trying to burn off some energy — and anger — the old-fashioned way, through exercise.
Exercise relieves stress, and you don’t have to be an athlete to walk or even run around the block. Engaging in moderate exercise for as few as 30 minutes a day can improve your mood, so try to carve out some time to power-walk around the corner or pound the pavement over to your favorite café. As an added bonus, you’ll tone up and maybe even lose a few inches before the big day.
Hosting back-to-back blowouts is twice the headache: “You shouldn’t be planning the equivalent of two weddings,” says Pryor. “Keep the rehearsal dinner very simple and different from the actual event―just cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, or a barbecue.” (Better yet: Let the groom and his clan handle the whole event.) And as tempting as it may be to stay out late catching up with out-of-towners, set yourself a curfew and stick to it. “Nothing good happens after midnight, and you’ll pay for it the next day,” says Karena Bullock Bailey, a wedding and special events planner in NYC. “Grab a couple of bridesmaids and exit gracefully―you don’t have to say goodbye to everyone.”
8: Sit in Silence
Your wedding is going to be a beautiful, wonderful experience, but all the stress that comes between saying “yes” and “I do” is almost enough to cause a girl to swear off fondant, flowers and family forever! Before you elope in what you’d forever be forced to think of as your “wedding jeans,” try sitting alone for a few minutes and meditating.
While meditating, you can delve into what it is that’s bothering you, or you may choose to visualize a nice, stress-free ceremony. You don’t have to focus on any one thing (or anything at all, actually), but just sitting by yourself, with yourself, for a few minutes in silence each day can have a profoundly positive effect on your mood and overall outlook.
If the thought of meditating intimidates you, don’t worry. You don’t need to spend years fine-tuning your technique to reduce stress. A study found that newly practicing meditators’ brain waves moved from the anxiety-riddled right-frontal cortex to the more relaxed left-frontal cortex, making the group generally happier and more relaxed than before they began engaging in the ancient practice.
You might think it’s impossible to get eight hours of sleep every night or to eat three squares a day, but neglecting your basic needs is only going to make your wedding stress worse. Lack of food and sleep tend to increase feelings of anxiety, and when you’re tired or hungry, you’re more prone to making bad judgments.
“Not eating on your wedding day is the worst thing you can do for your nerves,” says Bailey. Yes, it’s natural to be focused on how you’re going to look in your dress, but face it: At this point in the game, what you put in your mouth isn’t gonna make or break your silhouette. “As soon as you wake up, have a reasonable breakfast with protein and some carbs―because once you’re wound up and nauseous, it’s too late,” advises Bailey. Continue noshing throughout the day and into the reception; having a nourished, well-tuned body will help your psyche follow suit.
10: Set The Good Habits Now
It’s important to be rested for your big day and to eat healthfully in the hours leading up to the actual wedding, but you need to start a sleeping schedule and meal plan months before the wedding to really reap the positive effects. Go to bed and wake up at consistent times, and make sure you’re eating protein, whole grains and fresh veggies or fruit at every meal. Set the good habits in motion now, and we’ll give you our blessing to be a little naughty on your honeymoon.