Andrea planned her own wedding during the pandemic, which was an incredibly stressful time. She learned a few tricks along the way.
Minimizing Stress Before the Wedding
Weddings are exciting, but they can put an excessive amount of stress on brides and grooms. You have to plan several things all at once, deal with different personalities, and do what you can to stay on track.
Stress will come up while doing wedding planning, but there are a few things a bride can do to stay calm.
My own personal anecdote: I've been to countless weddings, and it's always better when the bride enjoys herself and isn't too stressed. It's good to savor the moment and not get too caught up in the minutiae.
I planned to do a destination wedding in Mexico, but then the pandemic happened and wrecked those plans. My fiance and I decided to keep our wedding date, move the event closer to home, and got everything in order in about two months. It was crazy, but the event turned out to be a beautiful celebration of love.
Methods to Reduce Stress
My recommendation would be to try not to do all the wedding planning by yourself. Split up responsibilities. If you have a strong partner, they should pick up a fair share of wedding tasks. You can also depend on your bridal party and family.
I would try to do something wedding related each week before your wedding. I would recommend a period of engagement of about six months to a year. Trying to plan a wedding in under six months is possible, but it will be stressful and many of the things you may want could already be booked.
- Write out your thoughts. Sometimes you need to dump everything in your head into a journal.
- Pinterest, Etsy, lists, and spreadsheets are your friends.
- If you have to plan something you find tedious, try to plan something that sounds fun as a reward. For instance, making a seating chart might be boring, but cake testing could actually make for a nice date with your partner.
- Be flexible. Everything isn't going to go the way you envisioned.
- Be organized. Keep track of email conversations, make sure you have replied to items, and keep things up to date with vendors.
- The smaller the wedding, the less stress. You won't have to worry about as many people and their needs if you limit the wedding size. For every person, you're adding more stress. Each person also costs you more money.
- Plan to take off time before your wedding and after. You may take a honeymoon right after the wedding or a year later, but either way, you should take time off from work. Unless you absolutely love your job, going from a dream wedding to the 9-5 grind can be jarring.
- It's okay to say no. Set boundaries with people. If you don't like someone's suggestion, don't take it to heart. Politely redirect things.
Get a Good Therapist
Minimizing wedding planning stress is similar to minimizing regular old stress. If you feel your anxiety is spiking, you may want to get a therapist. Think of your therapist as your mental health trainer. This is someone who you can confide in, who you can talk to about your future marriage, and who can give you directions on how to lower your stress. Getting a therapist is a good idea. It helps you to ascertain healthy mental health habits for you and your marriage.
You can find therapists online or in your area. Not all counselors are super expensive. Shop around, look for discounts, compare different plans.
Practice Yoga or Other Exercise
When you're so focused on getting all the wedding details right, juggling work, school, and other responsibilities it can be easy to forget to move. It puts stress on your body when you don't move. You can gain weight and become sedentary if you don't move enough throughout the day.
You need to schedule time to unplug and workout. Yoga and stretching can help you to unwind and feel good about yourself. There are many relaxing stretches in yoga that may help you to unseat hidden emotions inside your body.
Add more movement into your day. Actually fold up all your laundry, do some chores from cleaning the bathroom, to washing the dishes, to vacuuming.
Here are some ideas to get more movement:
- Walk 10,000 steps a day. Did you know if you just step in place behind your couch your Fitbit or other step counter will accept it as part of your daily total of steps?
- Go out for a morning run.
- Go swimming.
- Buy some weights and walk around the house with them.
- Walk up and down stairs with weights.
- Go on a nature hike.
- Go out dancing for the night.
- Ride a bicycle.
- Take a walk with the dog.
Spend Time in a Hobby
Sometimes what can really help with stress is to rely on a creative outlet. If you love to write, paint, dance, or illustrate, then you should make time to do these things. With all the wedding planning, you may have a lot on your mind. A creative outlet can help you unpack your thoughts.
- Spend time writing poetry, short stories, and diary entries.
- Follow paint and art demonstrations off YouTube.
- Go to a beautiful landscape in nature and paint what you see.
- Take up dance lessons with your fiance.
- Get into crafts.
- Write songs.
- Play the piano.
- Learn a new language.
- Go on a nature hike to take pictures.
Rely on hobbies if you want to approach your thoughts and get them out of your head.
Turn to meditation if you need to turn off your anxious mind. I like to do yoga first and then meditation, but it doesn't really matter.
Get into a comfortable position and relax your body. Listen to videos online that guide you and have soothing vocals. There are lots of videos on YouTube meant for relaxation including guided meditations, ASMR, binaural beats, and chakra balances.
Spend 30 minutes to an hour unplugging from social media, your wedding tasks, even your gorgeous partner, and trying to find a place of calm and serenity. If you soak up that kind of serenity in private, then you can take it and use it in your social life.
- Check in with your body to see if you have any pain that you might be ignoring.
- Don't let your thoughts run all over the place. Try to have self-control with your hummingbird brain.
- Abstain from caffeine which can accelerate anxiety.
- Avoid content that stresses you out. Watch things that make you happy. Read books that make you happy. Play games that make you happy.
- During meditation, you may want to have a bottle of water near you.
- I find it is best to meditate in a quiet space. I prefer rooms that don't have very many objects in them.
- Meditation in nature can be relaxing, especially in a beautiful garden.
Don't Worry About What Others Think
You can hold to traditions or you can break traditions: at the end of the day, don't worry about what others think. You're getting married to someone you love. The two of you are getting the opportunity to convey your love in whatever way you feel is best. Don't take your mom or future in-laws complaints or suggestions to heart. They mean well, but sometimes they just don't get it.
Take everything with a grain of salt. You make the decisions you do because of what you believe, what budget you have, and because you know what annoys or doesn't concern you. You don't have to talk to people about every detail and try to get them to understand.
Dealing with Bridesmaids
Most brides are going to walk away with a couple of people in their bridal party or family who they found made things more challenging than need be.
I recommend not having too large of a bridal party. Many of your close friends will be happy to be guests. Bridesmaids can run into a whole assortment of hurdles: getting pregnant and having to drop out, forgetting important information, getting their dress altered at the last minute, juggling bridesmaid's duties with work and other circumstances.
So how can you make your bridal party less of a stressful experience? Don't overload your friends with too many tasks, also if you need help... split those tasks up among your attendants. Don't just rely on the maid of honor or one bridesmaid.
- Put people together who get along with each other.
- Give your bridesmaids gifts and reassuring words.
- Buying dresses for them will take some stress off their shoulders.
- Don't plan your wedding stuff too early. If you're getting up at 5:00am the day of the wedding to get everything done, something is seriously wrong. The day of your wedding everything should be in motion. You should actually enjoy yourself and go get your nails done, walk around town with a coffee, and relax a little.
- Only add mature people to your bridal party. You may have a best friend who is great, but if chaos is her middle name... let her be a guest, or a reader, or something else. There is also nothing wrong with having no bridesmaids.
It's time to make yourself feel good. Have a spa day, buy some face masks, paint your nails, buy your favorite skin care, eat the ice cream you want, do what makes you feel pampered.
- Sleep as much as you want.
- Get a professional massage.
- Buy a machine that gives massages.
- Get a haircut.
- Eat incredibly healthy and tasty foods.
- Go walk around a museum.
- Drink mimosas.
- Buy new sheets.
- Paint the walls.
Whatever pampering means to you, that probably will help you to unwind and get rid of some stress. You want to drop your stress baseline. If you feel like your stress level looks like a giant, tall mountain, then you need to flatten it to look more like a meadow.
Pamper yourself. Practice basic self-care. You get to decide whether you give yourself self-care or self-sabotage. Follow the basics, and it will help minimize stress.
- Go to bed at a regular time.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Shower regularly.
- Drink lots of water.
- Move around and get some exercise.
- Clean up your surroundings.
- Donate things you don't use to a cause.
- Change your sheets and bedding.
- Get your house to smell fresh, like lemons or eucalyptus.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence