Weddings are synonymous with joy, but the path leading up to your big day can be littered with stress-inducing stumbling blocks. If you’re feeling more than a little anxious about how things are going — or if you’re simply overwhelmed by your to-do list — it’s important to find ways to take care of yourself before you stop enjoying the planning process entirely. Check out these handy tips to help reduce your pre-wedding stress and recapture your excitement.
When you’re planning a wedding, everything seems important. Will the world come to an end if you choose the “wrong” cake flavor? Not a chance, but when you’re in the thick of things, it’s easy to lose sight of the finish line and even why you’re drowning in fabric samples in the first place.
That’s when it’s time to take a step back. Remember why you’re getting married and that marriage is about a whole lifetime of first dances, shared meals, and giggling with friends and family. Your wedding may well be one of the best days of your life, but it’s still only one day.
This is your wedding day — not your parents’, not your in-laws’, and definitely not your nosy co-workers'. It’s understandable that people get excited and want to be a part of such a happy occasion, but that doesn’t give them the right to be overbearing or otherwise make the planning process more difficult. To avoid (or at least minimize) the chances you’ll be subjected to unwanted opinions, make it clear who gets to participate in which decisions.
Now, here’s where things can get a little sticky. If you’re getting help paying for your wedding, the contributing party may feel entitled to help plan too. If you’re not comfortable with that, you may need to rethink your funding.
Otherwise, decide which aspects you’re willing to compromise on and which are totally non-negotiable. For instance, maybe you really want to elope, but your Dad has long dreamed of walking you down the aisle. You could compromise by having an intimate ceremony that includes a stroll down the aisle, but save the partying for you and your new spouse at the honeymoon destination of your choice.
Depending on the size of your wedding, there could be dozens or even hundreds of moving parts. Who to invite, where everyone will sit, what you and your sweetheart will wear, roses vs. tulips, dandelion yellow vs. canary yellow for the tablecloths — it’s going to be easier to keep it all straight if you find a way to be methodical and efficient from the get-go.
Step one is to print out a wedding checklist. This clever roadmap tells you what to do at every stage of the planning process. Are you a year or so out from the big day? Then it’s time to talk specific dates, work on a budget, and choose your wedding party. Eight or nine months left until you say ‘I do’? Browse wedding invitations and talk about your top three honeymoon locales.
Pinning all your hopes onto a single venue option or caterer could lead to lots of disappointment, not to mention unneeded stress. Waiting to hear whether you get a sought-after DJ or scrambling to save enough for a deluxe honeymoon is okay if you have your heart set on those things, but it’s always good to choose backup options you can still be happy with. That way, you know that if plan A fails, plan B is ready to swoop in and save the day. It ensures that you’ll never be left with nothing, allowing even the biggest worry wart to enjoy some well-deserved peace of mind.
This is the perfect time to try out a fun new workout or other physical activity. Skip the treadmill and elliptical and explore some more outside-the-box ways to refocus your energy:
- Try your hand at rock climbing
- Go swing dancing
- See what goat yoga is all about
- Get friends together for some frisbee golf
- Check out some new workout videos on YouTube
- Do some of the dance crazes on TikTok
- Have a water balloon fight with your BFF or soon-to-be spouse
- Master the humble hula hoop
If you’re more of a traditionalist, try to squeeze in some extra pilates classes or head out for a hike. The goal is to get your body moving and the endorphins flowing.
It may sound strange, but you’d be amazed how quickly engaged couples forget that there are things to discuss other than the going rate for a photographer and whether they want lamb or chicken served at their reception. In order to help keep your eye on the prize (meaning each other), schedule periodic date nights. You can do whatever you like — bowling, a movie, one of those trendy escape rooms — just no discussing anything to do with the wedding.
If your wedding party or family offers to help, let them. After all, the whole reason you’re having a wedding is to let loved ones share in the joy. They’ll be happy to share in the planning, too. You could throw a centerpiece-making party and have everyone get crafty over pizza and wine, or ask a friend who’s good at scoring deals hunt for the perfect pair of high heels, so all you have to do is approve and pay.
It’s so kind of your Aunt Alma to offer to make all the food for your reception, but putting your wedding in the hands of amateurs is risky. They may not realize what an undertaking it is to make lasagna for 150 people or that a wedding band can’t just play three hours of original songs. Relying on free services can result in lackluster décor or even an officiant who no-shows the day of the event.
Sign a contract with every vendor that lays out what you’re paying for in detail. Double-check the date and time, and look for any hidden fees. Also see what happens if something comes up last minute. Wedding planning in general is stressful, but having your videographer come down with the flu 24 hours before you’re due at the altar takes stress to an entirely new level.
If you’ve started planning and discovered that coordinating vendors and tweaking seating charts just isn’t for you, do yourself a huge favor and hire a wedding planner. Leaving the most complicated tasks in the hands of professionals leaves you free to be a bride or groom. Not only will you free up a lot of your time and personal resources, you may also be able to save on flowers or discover cool ideas you wouldn’t have thought of on your own thanks to your planner’s contacts and experience. We call that a win-win.
While you’re busy taking care of all those wedding-related details, be sure you’re also taking care of yourself. Everybody’s idea of self-care is a little different. Check out these ideas and pick the ones that feel right to you, or find your own way to relax and rejuvenate:
- A warm bath with Epsom salts and a side of aromatherapy candles
- A massage
- Adult coloring books
- Listening to a funny podcast
- Having a virtual happy hour with friends
- Cooking or baking
- Changing the layout of your living room or bedroom
- Writing down a list of things you’re grateful for
When all else fails, grab your partner and give them a big, fat hug. Love won’t completely erase the stress of wedding planning, but it will help you release a little bit of angst and refill your tank with something more positive. And just remember, in a few months the planning will be over, but you’ll be Mr. or Mrs. for life. Yay!