Photo by: Brandis Alves Photography
The Bride's Ultimate Guide to Tackling Wedding Stress
Getting married is one of the most exciting events in your life! However, we understand that the big day can cause some stress both before, during, and after your ceremony.
Heck, a recent Zola study recently reported 40% of couples categorized wedding planning as “extremely stressful, and 71% thought it was more nerve-wracking than any other major life events (even finding a new job).
Maybe you’ve just said “yes” to the love of your life, and right after the moment of intense happiness and excitement, you suddenly feel a wave of dread when you realize how much time and money will have to go into your wedding.
Or, maybe you’re days away from your wedding day, and you’re nervous it’s going to be a disaster. How do you deal with it all? We’ll give you a breakdown of some common wedding stressors and ways you can tackle them for some peace of mind.
How to handle the stress that comes with getting engaged:
How do I start planning?
Getting engaged may be the most stressful time, since you have so many question marks and unknowns in front of you. What’s a girl to do?
- Write it out. Take an hour out of your day to write a roadmap. Build a checklist of everything you think you may need, including invitations, the guest list, venue arrangements…everything you can think of related to your wedding. It will help you clear your head if you feel like you don’t have to remember it all.
- Share your checklist with your future hubby and maid of honor. See if your fiancée or maid of honor have any ideas to add to your list…sometimes it’s easy to forget the most obvious things when you feel overwhelmed!
- Order your checklist by date and priority. Break down your tasks into small, manageable pieces by identifying when you need to address each item. This way, the long list won’t seem as daunting if you have specific to-do’s for each month leading up to the big day.
- Reach out to your friends and family. If there are items on your list that your maid of honor, bridesmaids, friends, or family can help with, don’t be afraid to ask! Feeling like you have to do everything yourself can contribute to major stress, but the to-do list will get easier when you enlist some help. Just a word of warning: sometimes parents and family can add additional stress to the planning process. Just be aware of who will be the most sensitive to your needs as you enlist helpers.
How do I handle all of the opinions?
Since your engagement, you’ve probably gotten a wave of congratulations and well wishes (yay!). You may also notice you’re getting a lot of unsolicited advice and opinions. Unfortunately, people sometimes view an engagement as a time to air their personal opinions about marriage and partnership—some well-meaning and some, not so much!
The best thing you can do at this point is take everything with a grain of salt. Generally, these opinions (especially the negative ones) have more to do with the person giving them than you and your partner. You can hear the commenters out respectfully, but don’t let the negative opinions get you down. Ultimately, it’s your life and your choice who you marry!
How to handle wedding planning stress
How am I going to pay for this?
Your budget may be one of the single largest factors in how your wedding will turn out. During the planning stages, it’s important to get a realistic idea of the money situation to avoid further stress.
- Estimate your costs in the beginning. Remember that giant checklist we talked about in the beginning? Bust that thing out and start assigning prices to each item on the list. Even if you don’t know for sure, give a high estimate to be safe and try to find out the cost as soon as you can.
- Total up your costs and prioritize. If you total everything up and the cost of your wedding seems high, think about things that you want to prioritize. What are some non-negotiables for you and your partner? What things could you do without?
- Communicate your costs. Do you have a family member lending or giving you money for the wedding? Are you taking out a loan to foot the bill? Unless your wedding is fully coming out of your own pocket, it’s a good idea to clearly communicate your costs with whoever it’s coming from to avoid surprises later on. It’s not uncommon for family members to help out with a wedding, but it shouldn’t be expected without a clear conversation.
- Avoid racking up credit card debt. It may seem tempting to charge some of your expenses to a credit card if you don’t have the money in-hand. Avoid this like the plague. The last thing you want to do is start your marriage with thousands of dollars in debt.
There are way too many decisions and options – how do I decide?
It can be hard to decide between wedding dresses, venue spaces, food choices, or many of the other decisions in front of you during your wedding planning phase. You may feel rushed, but allow yourself to take the time you need to make decisions. Make some time for yourself every day to chip away at some of the wedding planning work. If you’re still having trouble making a decision, ask someone you trust for their help or unbiased opinion (if that’s something that won’t stress you out more!).
What if I change my mind later?
Don’t even go there. It may be tempting to think “what if I don’t like this later?” Try your best to make your decision and feel confident and peaceful with your choice. After all, very few choices are life-and-death—you will be able to cope (and most likely won’t even think about the option you didn’t go with after the choice has been made).
What if my vision doesn’t come together?
Brides-to-be can feel a lot of pressure to create the Pinterest-perfect wedding. You may be saying “I’m so overwhelmed. How can I make sure everything comes together?” Our steps to coping with this feeling:
- Accept that it may not be perfect—and that’s okay. You can’t always prevent every little mishap, and sometimes you have to favor your sanity over perfection.
- Come up with a Plan B. This is HUGE. If you’re thinking “what if ___ doesn’t work out,” follow that thought! Try to imagine other possibilities and give yourself a backup plan. Nothing gives you peace of mind like knowing it’s all taken care of!
- Don’t give in to pressure. The internet and bridal reality shows are full of images of what your wedding (or wedding planning) is “supposed” to look like. If your experience is different, that’s okay! Try to focus on the positive things during your wedding plan stage.
How to handle wedding-day stress
The wedding day itself is here, and you’re worried that it’s too good to be true. How do you cope with unexpected surprises the day-of?
What if I forget to pack something?
Prepare ahead of time! Set some time aside for yourself a few nights a week before your wedding, and make sure you’re packed. Common things you should check for include:
- Your veil
- Your dress
- If you’re changing dresses between the ceremony and reception, make sure to bring the extra dress.
- Anything you’ll need to get ready the night before and morning of
- Anything you’ll need to pack for your honeymoon, if you’re leaving right after the wedding
Again, don’t feel like you have to do everything alone! Don’t be afraid to ask a bridesmaid or best bud to help by bringing something to the wedding.
What if something goes wrong?
Things may go perfectly, or you may have issues with the DJ or an unruly guest. The key to dealing with this is to strike a balance: think ahead of anything you can do to prevent the issues you see happening—but also allow yourself to relax and enjoy the best day of your life! Know that if an issue arises, it is not necessarily your fault, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. Our tips?
- Communicate clearly. One of the best ways to avoid potential snafus is to communicate clearly with everyone involved in your wedding. Make sure the officiant, the caterers, the DJ, and anyone else involved are fully aware of what you expect of them.
- Take the time to get a good night’s sleep and eat a good breakfast the day of the wedding. You’ll be less able to deal with any issues that come up if you’re tired and hungry.
- Self-care before the wedding day. Similar to the point above, you’ll be more able to think clearly and quickly problem-solve if you’re calm, cool, and collected. Take the time to meditate, exercise, go to the spa, or anything else that will help you get in the zone leading up to the big day.
Past that, all you can do is relax and hope for the best!
How to handle post-wedding stress
The wedding is over, you’ve left for your honeymoon, and you feel like all the stress is over. Or is it? Enter a stack of thank you cards.
How am I going to tackle thank you cards?
Some say sending thank you’s is still appropriate up to a year after the wedding. However, it will be better for you and your guests to get their thank you’s out of the way sooner.
- Aim to send out all thank you notes within 3 months of the wedding. The wedding will still be fresh in your guests’ minds, and you’ll still have the momentum and excitement of the wedding day.
- Divide up the cards between you and your husband. You take a stack and he takes a stack, and suddenly the thank you cards get written a lot faster!
- Don’t know what to say? Keep it simple. If you’re procrastinating writing thank you cards because you don’t know what to say, draft a general, simple message like “Thanks so much for your gift/card/attendance at our wedding. We’re glad you could share our special day with us!” Use this as a template for each card, and then customize as needed when you have something more personal to say.
A toast to a low-stress wedding
No matter what size or budget your wedding, it’s bound to be a little nerve-wracking at times. Don’t let this get you down! Keep your eyes on the prize—you’re getting married!
Do you have tips on how you survived stressful situations before, during, or after your wedding? Please share in the comments below!