Keep calm and wedding on
This expert advice can help you manage the wedding stress
From navigating family politics to dealing with 1,001 details during your lunch break, planning your big day can lead to big-time tension. Here’s a primer of what to expect when you’re planning and how to manage the inevitable feeling of being overwhelmed.
What to Expect
Wedding worries can either be specific to the event or the person, says Dale V. Atkins, Ph.D., a New York City-based psychologist and author of “Wedding Sanity Savers” (Broadway Books, 2005). For the event, your concerns might be related to logistics: an unexpected August downpour or the dance floor is a ghost town, says Atkins. Your fears also may be related to potential behaviors, she adds, such as your mother who makes a scene if you even mention your father — and his new wife. Even if you try to plan for every possible disaster, anxiety can mount as you realize that things like the weather or sudden vendor illness are out of your control. As the I do’s approach, Atkins notes that many brides also get stressed about the personal changes they’ll be facing regarding freedom, privacy and spontaneity, as well as the future for the marriage. It’s not unusual for brides to wonder things like “Am I absolutely sure this is right?” and “If every bride feels great about her future husband, why is the divorce rate so high?” Basically, it’s not just the grooms who get the jitters. Get some relief with these stay-sane suggestions:
Have Reasonable Expectations
“Expecting perfection sets a bride up for disappointment,” Atkins says. Instead, accept that some things will inevitably go differently than you planned, focus on the positive and think about how you might handle challenges in a healthier, more productive way than you might see in, say, a dramatic wedding-themed TV show.
Talk About It
Rather than keeping your jitters bottled up, Atkins recommends talking with loved ones who appear to have respectful, loving relationships — get their perspective on a marriage’s ups and downs, as well as thoughts on what works. Spending time with people you like is another good way to let go of fretting about your event’s details — they will remind you that no one cares if your centerpieces are more orange than coral.
Whether it’s a foot rub at your favorite nail salon or a luxurious hot stone treatment at a local spa, massage reduces stress hormones and provides downtime when you simply can’t work on your wedding, says Lauren Housley, owner and lead coordinator at Chicago-based Ryan Alexander Events. Other self-care like facials, pedicures and acupuncture also can distract and refresh.
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: anything from CrossFit and aerobics to walking and yoga can boost your production of feel-good endorphins, increase your energy, serve as meditation in motion and, let’s face it, help you look even better in your dream gown. Not up for the gym? Check out a Flirty Girl Fitness DVD and go for a spin on the pole, says Housley. “Not only will you get buff and toned, you’ll also learn some fun dance moves!”