Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting tasks that you will undertake together as a couple. It’s a chance to celebrate the love you have both found with all those that have supported you on your journey towards this special milestone. You can take this opportunity to be creative and make the day as unique and individual as your relationship. Of course, for many of us, planning a wedding also comes with a certain degree of added stress – regardless of whether you are naturally an anxious person or not. We are not all professional project managers with experience in coordinating the services of a dozen or so suppliers, and liaising with a whole host of professionals you have never worked with before can be a daunting task. So if you are getting a little flustered, cut yourself a little slack; you are not superhuman and there is never more than 24 hours in a day – everything will get done on time and your day will be wonderful…breathe deeply and stay positive.
I have listed a few simple tools and ideas for reducing your blood pressure and restoring a sense of calm and optimism before your wedding day below.
Prevention is better than cure
Securing the services of wedding suppliers who you feel naturally aligned with will play a huge role in minimising stress before your big day. Having identified what is important to you and found wedding experts who not only respect but share your values will allow you to trust in their professional ability to create the wedding day of your dreams.
I do understand how difficult it can be to say “No” to pushy and persuasive sales types, but as hard as it may be to do this at a wedding fair or open evening, think how much more stressful it will be when trying to deal with them a month before your wedding when you realise they do not have your best interests at heart and your day seems to become more and more about them and how they prefer to work. Trust your instincts about people and their services and remember that if it doesn’t feel right, they probably aren’t the supplier for you.
Identify the source of the stress
A little bit of stress is common and no cause for alarm. When you do start to feel that these feelings are impacting on other aspects of your day-to-day life, take a little time to sit and question what the specific cause of this stress is. Pressure to meet deadlines and coordinate suppliers is perfectly common and understandable. Pressure to conform, please others or prioritise aspects of your day that aren’t meaningful to you, is not something that should be accepted as unavoidable.
Do not underestimate the the value of open communication and honesty – right from the start of the planning process – with all people involved in your wedding. Whether you feel pressure or conflict from friends, family members or wedding professionals, be honest about any concerns that you have and politely explain how you might like their approach to alter slightly to be more in line with your ideas. In most cases, these people will be horrified to think that they have caused you any unnecessary stress and be keen to resolve any issues quickly so as to get things back on track with minimal fuss.
For the rare few who still insist on you doing things their way and who continue not to listen to you, stand your ground and explain that they may cease to be involved in your wedding if they do not respect your wishes and individual requests. There is no need to be rude or confrontational but there is just as little need to be apologetic for being yourself and having a strong sense of what you want.
Make Lists and Write things down
Not a radical idea I know, but one that does have a massive impact not only on productivity but also on feeling good about how much progress you are making. Splitting lists down by months, days or by who is responsible for each action can be a good way to get some of the stress and worry out of your head; essential for a perfect night’s sleep.
Making lists doesn’t have to be restricted to the things you have yet to do though. Sometimes a page full of unticked items can be depressing and daunting in equal measures so counteract them with more creative lists. You can start by writing a list of all the tasks that you have already completed which always provides a great mental boost, but how about a list of the top ten things you are looking forward to about married life together, or five reasons why your wedding is going to be wonderfully unique? If you are getting really stressed and anxious, this activity does help to remind you that your wedding is a fun occasion and not an arduous exam you have to revise for.
Set up a separate email account
Web-based email accounts are free and easy to setup. Create one specifically for all correspondence related to your wedding day; provide this email to the relevant suppliers and any friends or family members that are involved in the day. Not only does it save time sorting through your personal account to find emails dating back to the first wedding fair you attended, it also means that you are less likely to miss any important messages from a supplier trying to contact you in amongst Pinterest recommendation emails and Ocado offers.
Most importantly, a separate email account for your wedding, enables you to control when you view these messages and means that whilst you may need access to work or personal emails throughout the day, you can restrict how long you spend sorting through supplier messages and organising consultations and be able to set aside specific times to do so. This really helps to prevent your wedding dictating your daily activity and keep you feeling in control.
Keep a sense of perspective
You are investing a lot of time and money into having the wedding that you dream of; it’s understandable that you want everything to be perfect and for the suppliers that you are paying good money for to provide a service that is exactly as you have requested. As much as every aspect of your wedding is important, try not to overthink every single detail on a daily basis. It is very easy – in all aspects of our lives – to start to obsess over the smallest of things and for these to become bigger and bigger issues than they need to be.
Take a step back, remind yourselves of what it is most important to you and assess whether what you are worried about is going to have a major – if any – impact on these priorities. If you start the day engaged and end the day married, you’ve pretty much nailed this wedding lark and everything else is a huge bonus! Yes, I am being overly simplistic but sometimes it’s helpful to think in these terms at 3am when you are wide awake with 5 weeks to go and you can’t decide whether to buy the best man Prosecco or Malbec as part of his Thank You gift!
Ignore those “Must-have” Lists
We have all seen these lists online; “10 must have wedding photos”, “The must have songs to get your guests on the dance floor”, or “This year’s essential wedding theme styles” and hopefully most of us treat these as a bit of fun and take the advice with a pinch of salt. Don’t fall into the trap of using these kind of “guides” as the authority on how your wedding should be. It’s understandable that having perhaps never been involved in planning a wedding before, your initial reaction when starting to plan your big day is to go online and seek guidance. However, always remember that the day is about you and can be whatever you want it to be. “The Perfect Wedding” (like “The perfect partner” or “The perfect holiday”) does not exist – it is a subjective concept. “Your Perfect Wedding Day” does exist – but only by you both being true to yourselves can it become a reality.
There are no “Must have” photos, outfits or first dance songs. The only “must” is that each element of your wedding must be reflective of, chosen by and meaningful to you. Do not stress when your ideas of what is perfect doesn’t match these so-called experts’ ideas. Give your heart and mind a bigger say in your wedding than your social media apps!
Being in control of your wedding plans does not mean that you have to do everything yourselves. Whether you hand over certain responsibilities to friends & family or wedding professionals; delegating specific tasks and actions to trusted members of your “wedding team” can help to lessen the stress involved leading up to the big day. Very few of us have the luxury of not needing to work or look after family members, and so by splitting the planning process up into smaller actions and assigning these to relevant others, more can be achieved in a shorter time.
The key to delegation is to try and play to people’s strengths – think not only in terms of what tasks people might be best suited to but also what they might be excited and flattered to be involved in. Forcing responsibilities on people who are reluctant to be part of the build-up will lead to a lot more stress in the long term.
Looking your best on your wedding day is not achieved through crash diets, drastic surgery, or excessive exercise you have not sensibly built-up to. However, eating healthily and factoring time for some regular exercise in the lead up to your big day will help you to feel physically and mentally sharper and feel able to cope with any stresses or unexpected issues that may arise. Sleep is another key ingredient to looking and feeling your best. Nerves may limit your ability to have a perfect night’s sleep the day before the wedding, but getting into a good routine in the weeks and months beforehand will really help to keep you energised and feeling positive as you plan the big day.
I’m a firm believer that nobody needs to dramatically change their appearance in order to be wedding-ready or photogenic. However, the healthier you feel both physically and mentally; the less stressed you will feel and the more relaxed you will be (this will have a knock-on effect on your awesome wedding photos too).
Above all, remember to slow down, breathe and smile; you have met and are marrying your perfect partner. How lucky you are!
These tips are taken from my book "How to have a wedding that's as individual as you are" which is due to be published early 2018.
Do you have any more tips for keeping calm before the big day? If so, why not comment below...you never know how many panic-stricken couples may be thankful for your advice.