The words “wedding” and “stress” tend to go hand in hand. Am I right?! If you’ve ever planned a wedding before, you’re probably vigorously nodding your head! We all know wedding planning can be stressful, and it’s important to recognize the impact that stress can have on your mental and physical health. Not only can stress lead to a host of health problems, including anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and weakened immune system function, but it also takes away the joys of being engaged and relishing in the love you have for your boo. By taking steps to manage your stress, you can not only enjoy the planning process more but also improve your overall health and well-being. A win-win in our book!!
Start Early and Stay Organized
One of the best ways to minimize stress in the lead-up to your wedding day is to start planning early and stay organized. Create a wedding planning timeline, and break down tasks into manageable steps. Use a wedding planning app or a spreadsheet to keep track of deadlines, appointments, and payments. This will help you stay proactive and avoid last-minute rushes.
While you’re getting started early, you should also knock out your prenup, as well. Prenups can take time to do (discussions, negotiations, finalization, etc.), so getting the prenup process started three to six months prior to the big day is ideal.
Wedding planner pro tip: “Divide the wedding planning process into phases. This allows you to complete one phase, take some time off, and then begin another phase.” -Gigi McDowell, Founder of Fêtefully, a virtual wedding planning platform.
Set Realistic Expectations
A major source of stress in the lead-up to a wedding is unrealistic expectations. Many brides and grooms envision a perfect wedding day, and when things don’t go as planned, it can cause stress and anxiety. To reduce stress, it’s essential to set realistic expectations for your wedding day.
Recognize that there may be hiccups or things that don’t go exactly as planned, but that doesn’t mean your day won’t be special and memorable.
Pro tip: Rank planning outcomes based on importance to you. Place your energy on things that are at the top of your priority list.
For example, let’s say you imagined your wedding florist to be a world-renowned person from Paris who you planned on flying in…but… turns out they’re actually unavailable for your wedding day (even though you asked two years in advance!!). Make sure you are okay with this sort of thing happening over and over; otherwise, your stress meters will be through the roof!
Create a Checklist
Creating a checklist of all the tasks you need to complete leading up to the wedding day can be incredibly helpful. This allows you to see everything that needs to be done in a clear and organized manner, which can help reduce stress and prevent important tasks from slipping through the cracks.
And, if you’re anything like us, there is TRULY nothing better than crossing off items on your to-do list each day. Dopamine rush, anyone?!
Wedding planning doesn’t have to be a one-person job. Don’t be afraid to give tasks to your partner, family members, or wedding planner. You can also assign tasks to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. This not only reduces your workload but also helps to involve others in the planning process and build a sense of community.
For example, you can have your BFF or sibling plan the bachelor/bachelorette party and have your mom or aunt(s) plan the bridal shower. This will alleviate some of the stress, for sure!
Pro tip: Track tasks delegated to others in a streamlined manner. Communicate clear expectations but give people room to be creative. Assign to-do’s to others based on their strengths and special gifts. People can surprise you and go all out when you trust them to deliver on things they truly enjoy doing.
Procrastination can add unnecessary stress to the wedding planning process. Try to tackle tasks as soon as possible rather than putting them off. This will help you meet your wedding deadlines (such as getting a prenup, picking a venue, selecting flowers, etc.). Have you ever heard the saying, “Do the hard things first?” Well, it’s true! Getting the hardest things done first can really help your productivity and, ultimately, lower stress levels!
Pro tip: Create faux due dates. Make due dates a few days to a week earlier than they should be done. This gives you room for unexpected life events that may pop up as you’re planning.
Be Mindful of Finances
Wedding expenses can add up quickly, which can cause stress and anxiety. It’s important to be mindful of finances and create a budget for your wedding.
Stick to this budget as closely as possible and avoid overspending. When you overspend, you tend to get stressed (at least, we sure do!). Make sure to communicate openly with your partner and family members about expectations and budget constraints to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
Pro tip: Do your research on the industry before creating a budget. Many couples and their families think of a “magic number” and are soon disappointed when the market can’t serve their needs within that number. Prioritize spending based on your specific goals and needs. Build a budget that’s reflective of your love story and unique goals.
Speaking of mindfulness…taking care of yourself is crucial during the wedding planning process. Make time for activities that you enjoy, such as reading, yoga, or spending time with friends. Practice mindfulness exercises like meditation or deep breathing to help you manage stress and anxiety. Consider booking a massage or a spa day to relax and recharge. (Just consider it a wedding expense, it’s totally fine, we approve!!).
While we’re on the topic of self-care and meditation, we have to throw in gratitude. In the midst of wedding planning, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos and forget about the joys of the process. Practicing gratitude can help change your mindset and focus on the positive aspects of your wedding day. Take a little time each day to reflect on what you are grateful for, such as your partner, family, or the love and support of your friends.
Pro tip: every night or once a week, set aside time to write in a gratitude journal with your partner. You each say or write down five things you’re grateful for. It can really put things into perspective and help you realize you can handle the hard things!
Learn to Say No
It’s easy to get lost in other people’s expectations for your wedding day, but it’s important to learn to say no when necessary. Don’t feel obligated to include every suggestion or idea from family and friends. Focus on what are non-negotiables to you and your partner, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries to protect your own well-being.
At first, saying no is intimidating and scary. You feel like a bad person and may get anxious feelings before telling someone no. But afterward? It’s the biggest relief. Especially because, most of the time, we always anticipate the worst, whereas the reality is people are okay with you saying no!
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is critical for your overall health and well-being, especially when you’re under stress. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night and create a regular sleep schedule. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed, and establish a relaxing routine for bedtime to help you unwind and get ready for sleep.
Exercise is an effective way to reduce stress and improve your mood. Make time for regular physical activity, such as running, walking, or yoga. Exercise not only helps to minimize stress but also boosts your energy levels and improves your overall health and well-being.
Even something as simple as going for a 30-minute walk per day can make your stress levels drop. If you’re not super motivated, try picking out a wedding podcast or setting up a wedding planning chat with your wedding planner/mom/BFF on your next walk. Then, it’s like you’re killing two birds with one stone!
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is very important for managing stress and promoting overall health. Focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try your best to avoid processed and sugary foods, which can increase inflammation and stress in the body. We know, we know, this one is especially difficult, especially when you just really want to dig into some wine and ice cream to wind down your wedding planning-filled day. But it is so important to the management of your stress!
Stay Connected with Loved Ones
Wedding planning can be isolating, especially if you are doing most of the work yourself. Don’t let it make you miserable!! We, humans, need socialization. Make sure to stay connected with loved ones throughout the process. Lean on your BFFs, siblings, aunts, uncles, parents, and grandparents for support and advice, and make time for fun activities that allow you to spend time together and take your mind off wedding planning.
Remember the Big Picture
Finally, it’s important to remember the big picture. The wedding day is just one day, and while it’s an important one, it’s not the only thing that matters. Focus on the love and commitment that you share with your partner, and remember that the wedding is just the beginning of your journey together.
Be transparent about EVERYTHING and with everyone. Ask for help when you need it from vendors and family.
By doing things like setting realistic expectations, creating a checklist, prioritizing self-care, practicing gratitude (and more), you can reduce stress and ensure a successful wedding day. Remember to stay flexible, practice relaxation techniques, and eat well. And most importantly, remember the big picture – that you are committing to spending your life with the person you love the most!
Passion can best be described as a limitless dream – and with over 18 years of experience in the events industry, GiGi McDowell is the heart of Fêtefully; the most innovative and comprehensive wedding planning platform available for today’s on-the-go couples. Fêtefully connects couples with the top wedding planners in the world while leveraging technology to go from inspiration to “I Do” virtually.