Tips for Managing Wedding-Planning Stress: Part 1

A week before my wedding, one of my bridesmaids asked me if I was stressed. I had the whole week off before my wedding. I replied, “What is there to be stressed about? I have plenty of time to get everything done before the big day.”

Or so I thought.

When my friend asked that, I thought it was funny and sort of sad that we automatically assume brides are always stressed out. For months, I had been looking forward to Wedding Week just as much as the actual Wedding Day. I was excited for our friends and family to all be together in our home city for several days.

I had no idea how crazy and yes, I’ll admit, stressful, that week was going to be when it came.

Monday through Friday was a rat race of endless questions, each seeming to require three more phone calls. Last-minute changes, forgotten details, seating arrangements–all of these unexpected things kept piling up.

Kyle and I both waited until Wedding Week to write our vows, which took surprisingly more time than I expected. We hosted friends and family most of the nights, which called for lots of cooking and cleaning and more cooking and cleaning. Of course, we wanted all of these things and I wouldn’t have done it any differently, but I wasn’t prepared for all of the unexpected busyness of the week.

I've got my coffee and my Wifey cup - definitely relaxed and happy on my wedding day.

I’ve got my coffee and my Wifey cup – definitely relaxed and happy on my wedding day.

Some people have stressful points throughout their engagement and are blessed with a calm Wedding Week. For me, I had an easygoing 19-month engagement followed by an intensely hard Wedding Week. I learned that if you go into the challenging times with the mindset of powering through–confident that everything will work out–you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your day when it comes around.

I won’t deny that I had plenty of mental freakouts and maybe one or two complete meltdowns the week of, but on our wedding day, I was completely happy and relaxed.

You only get this day once; you don’t want to lose a single moment to stress or negativity.

How do you power through stressful wedding-planning moments to be a relaxed, happy bride on your wedding day? The following tricks worked well for me, even when things were beyond chaotic.

1. Admit when you’re stressed and ask for help.

It is hard for me to admit when anything does cause me stress. Luckily, my groom knows me better than I know myself. At one point, he told me to sit down and relax while he cooked dinner. Bless his heart.

One thing you’ll notice around your wedding is that people genuinely want to help you. All of my bridesmaids, my groom, friends and family constantly asked what they could do.

Suck up your stress, and ask for help! As the bride, you might want to do everything yourself because only you have the vision for how you want everything to be. You might not want to let that go, but what might you need that can make life a little easier in the moment? Can someone get you a glass of ice water or a hot coffee? A margarita? Some relaxing music? Ask for it! But always remember to…

2. Be grateful.

No one wants to help a bride who is issuing out orders and demanding foot rubs. Be kind and respectful when asking others for help, and always be thankful for every little way a person pitches in.

When things get stressful, breathe for a moment and express gratitude for what is actually happening. In my case, I thought about how lucky I was that so many people were making the effort to come to our wedding, that I had someone who loved me and wanted to marry me, and that we were fortunate enough to have the support from our families and have such a beautiful wedding.

These important things are the real meaning behind coordinating the flowers and deciding who will get along at each table. It may be stressful to plan everything involved, but the underlying meaning makes all the hard work worth it.

Remember what you’re grateful for and don’t be afraid to express it. Doing so will instantly lift some stress off your shoulders.

3. Live in each moment.

Living in the moment.

Alright, Groom. Let’s live in the moment.

This tip comes from my prolific groom. As things were beginning to get hectic, he pulled me aside and advised me not to think about how busy everything was going to get or about the things I still had to do. He reminded me to live in each moment and be present with the task at hand.

So many people told me the day would fly by, but being present and aware of each moment as it happened, it didn’t feel that way. When you feel like you’ve experienced each moment, no matter how fast-paced it is, you are satisfied.

4. Find little moments in each day to enjoy alone with your groom.

Seizing moments alone with your groom is a fun challenge during Wedding Week. You’re constantly busy and surrounded by family and friends, providing quite the twist to your normal routine with your man. But when you think about what everyone is here for and what all the chaos is about, it’s you and him. Make sure you’re still finding time to acknowledge him in midst of all your company.

Then he surprised me with that....

Then he surprised me with that….

Kyle and I decided early in the week that we’d make small moments for us each day. A couple of the days we woke up early before anyone else and took our fur child to the park. After our especially stressful rehearsal, (perhaps only stressful to me), Kyle pulled me aside before the dinner and we just talked for a few minutes as though no one else was around. These little moments gave us both a chance to regroup and check in with each other, a peaceful reminder of the beautiful day we were heading toward.

5. Let out your stress in a healthy way.

The best place to let your Bridezilla out is in the gym! When something stresses you out, turn up the music, go for a run or do your favorite workout. You are filled with so much adrenaline, especially during Wedding Week, that you need a healthy place to let it out.

Stay tuned next week for the remaining 5 tips!

Photo credit: Lucy Elayne Photography

About the Blogger:
Michelle Chalkey is a Des Moines-based freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in Iowa Living MagazinesAround Iowa, and Parachute by Mapquest. Michelle’s Iowa wedding was in September, and she has learned the do’s and don’t bothers of wedding planning. To learn more about Michelle, visit her website at http://www.michellechalkey.com.