Let’s face it – the world is full of stress-beating advice like ‘have a hot bath’. Sure, a hot bath is lovely, but is it really going to help a bride so stressed she’s practically generating her own electricity? Of course not. So, here are a few frank but warm words of advice and encouragement about what could actually help you beat that wedding stress when you’re totally frazzled.
First thing’s first – planning a wedding isn’t all butterflies, rainbows and pink champagne bubbles. Pretty much every smiling bride you’ve ever seen has wept at some point, or at least considered an elopement. The sooner you realise this, the easier time you’ll have. The wedding stress will come from places you’d least expect – like your own parents, or your bridesmaids! Tell yourself ‘from this day onwards, I won’t be surprised if something goes wrong’. And when something DOES go wrong, ask your other half ‘how do WE solve this?’ Don’t take the whole burden of solving every conundrum by yourself.
Which brings us to point number two…
… do you feel like you’re doing all the planning practically all by yourself? Then WHY are you?
This day isn’t just for you – it’s the start of a marriage. So, two people should be involved in it. If your other half is very happy to leave everything to you so they can simply show up on the day, that’s not good enough. It’s equally not good enough to leave them with just one thing to do – like suits or booze. But, let’s say your other half is really bad at doing weddingy stuff, like calling suppliers, DIYing, shopping, and filling out spreadsheets. That’s fine – they need to step right in there with emotional support and opinion-giving when you ask for it. That’s as important a role as anything on your to-do list. Adapt a mantra of ‘we’re in this together’, and act accordingly. You’re a team. A united TEAM.
Then, there’s work – and if you feel you’re doing TWO full time jobs (the other one being your wedding planning), then you’re not alone! We’ve already extensively covered all the possible options in our How to Plan a Wedding Around Work. The very best thing that could happen is having your boss as your ally. We recommend sitting down and thinking very clearly and carefully about how much time you can realistically devote to wedding planning with a full-time job – because when you’re stressed, both will suffer. If you’re ‘working 9 to 5’ and then doing wedding planning 5 to 9 every day, you’ll very soon discover it just isn’t doable at all.
You’d rather not think about wedding disasters, right? Who needs to be reminded of all the things that could go wrong? Well… you’d be surprised at just how effective this is at beating wedding stress. Yes, you read that right. It’s a bit like going on a road trip adventure, where you’d prepare for every eventuality. You’d look up advice online. You’d have your car’s tyres, oil and brakes checked. You’d pack food, water, flashlight, headache pills, batteries, and blankets. If anyone’s coming with you, you’d take some entertainment too. Your wedding is like that road trip! You think ahead to things that could go wrong, and prepare as much as possible. Here are some of our favourite examples of wedding disasters and how to stop them before they happen. And, we promise, as you read more wedding disaster stories online, you’ll find yourself having a good giggle or two as well.
Worried you’ve forgotten/will forget something terribly important? We’ve compiled all our checklists into one handy bunch – just pick whichever one you need and start ticking! You’ll pretty soon see, black on white, how well you’re doing and how there’s no need to stress whatsoever.
Which leads us to the timeline – something no wedding day should be without. A rushed bride is a stressed bride, so figure out and write down the timings of everything, then put one person (one of the bridesmaids?) in charge of keeping an eye on in. You don’t need to be the one running around with a schedule in your hand, because you have more important things to do. Figuring out your day’s timings doesn’t have to be done immediately (after all, things could change!), and it won’t take long at all. This is a guaranteed wedding stress beater.
Now, we’d like you to think about the things that really help you relax in your real life, the one without wedding planning. What do you usually do to de-stress? Watch movies, read books, bake, sleep, exercise? Whatever it is, you absolutely shouldn’t stop doing it – in fact, you should be doing it MORE. Extra wedding stress needs extra relaxation – just like a really stubborn cold needs a few more days on the meds to fight it properly.
And last but not least… are you feeling absolutely terrified, and crying about the wedding? Is it way less fun than you thought it would be? Maybe, just maybe, you’re not planning the right type of wedding. If you keep thinking everything’s too much (too much to think about, too many people, too much expense) and wishing you could run away, then maybe you should look at the whole thing and make some changes. You can do that, you know. Call your venue and ask about down-scaling your package. Consider having a casual do, rather than a super fancy one. Go for an intimate wedding and put the money towards an amazing honeymoon instead. It’s not too late if you haven’t yet sent out the invitations. And even if you have sent them out, you can still do things like move to another venue, or change the whole style (from posh to picnic!). It’s YOUR day – nobody will be angry with you. Doing this is far better for you than sticking to the original plan and shredding your nerves in the process. The only way to love your wedding day is to have the day that’s truly yours.
On a final lighter note, remember – stressed is desserts spelled backwards. Go ahead and get yourself that bowl of ice cream, you deserve it!
Above photo from Helen & Philip’s real wedding at Amber Springs Hotel, Gorey, Co. Wexford by Insight Photography
Main photo from Mairead & Neil’s real wedding by McMahon Studios
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.