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How to Survive Your Wedding Preparation

By Martha Michael

Stress and Wedding Planning

Major symbols of romance are indelibly linked to the common traditions associated with weddings. The flowers, candles and flowing white lace set the stage for a meaningful ceremony followed by popping corks and dance music.

Even when the situation inhibits the chance for a large gathering -- pandemic, anyone? -- most wedding couples still seek the support and affection of friends and family members and plan accordingly. For large or small parties, the stress of planning your special day can turn wedding bells into alarm bells.

Keeping Your Head in the Game

An article by The Knot warns engaged couples that becoming consumed with your bridal checklist will ruin the experience. An alternate checklist, however, may hold the key to happier nuptials. Take a look at your lifestyle for the presence of signs that your wedding plans are too stressful.

Losing your lunch - When your work breaks turn from grabbing a sandwich with an associate to meeting with cake decorators, your body may start running on empty. Your lack of nutrition can affect you physically and the lack of relaxation may dampen your mood. Limiting the number of planning meetups per week would help.

Relationship strain - It would be nice if you and your partner could bond over the responsibilities of hosting a wedding. But if there’s an imbalance in the division of labor, one of you may feel excluded while the other gets bitter from bearing the load. Try to remember the reason for the entire process -- to celebrate love.

Second guesswork - If you keep finding yourself back at square one, chances are you’re overthinking it. When you get carried away with ordering flowers and picking out tuxes, you can end up in a cycle of anxiety -- that you’ve made the wrong decisions. Step away from the phone calls and wedding singer auditions for a while. When you come back to it you’ll be fresh and, hopefully, experience less anxiety.

Priority check - If you’re wasting time organizing the business cards you collected at the last bridal show instead of ordering your wedding dress, it may be that you’re stuck in a state of procrastination. Make a deal with yourself -- find a small to-do on your checklist that you can accomplish quickly and follow it up with something more daunting. And look online to access a wedding planner’s list with a timeline so you don’t end up wearing your bathrobe down the aisle.

The Sleep Solution

If you’re operating under the idea that after the wedding you have plenty of time to sleep, your stress level may be rising. A blog by mattress company Saatva talks about the effect of sleep deprivation from wedding stress. Acknowledging the challenges involved in adding the task of wedding organizing to an already full schedule, the article offers some tips to minimize the prospect of losing sleep due to your weighty responsibilities.

Spending time devoted to winding down each night is a good habit, at any time of life, says licensed clinical social worker Kimberly Wilson. “Make a cup of chamomile tea, take a warm bath or read,” she says.

The goal is to slow down your brain activity, which can be aided by mindfulness meditation and deep breathing. Also, minimize your caffeine and alcohol intake. They can both act as sleep disruptors.

Stopping Stress

It seems counterintuitive that the happiest day of your life can also mean you’re heading toward a stressful place. But it’s part of the human experience, says Suzanne Gelb, PhD., in an article in Psychology Today. The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory ranks getting married seventh in a list of stressful life events that include death of a family member and being fired at work.

Gelb reminds readers that it’s a big undertaking to plan a party when you are not a professional event planner, but you can minimize the challenges with some self-reflection. Make a list of aspects that neither you nor your partner care about. Sometimes streamlining the ceremony or reducing the reception cost makes a big difference in stress reduction.

Remind yourself who the wedding is serving and why. When you rededicate yourself to the object, that you’re committing to the person you love, some of the other concerns become significantly smaller by comparison.

Emotions are abundant when it comes to weddings. You may be a teary father walking his only daughter down the aisle or an anxious bride with perfectionist tendencies. It’s natural to be nervous about the process. But take some helpful advice and don’t say yes to the stress.

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