The dust has settled. The initial giddiness and sheer excitement of being engaged has worn off and its time to get down to business. You have a wedding to plan – an actual event to coordinate complete with logistics and vendors and contracts and difficult personalities. Virtually all brides encounter some variation of wedding planning stress and frustration, where you spend hours mulling over decisions, obsess over finding the perfect vendor and wonder why you’re the one having to handle all of the details and follow up. Maybe you instigate arguments. You probably want to slap the next person who tells you to relax and remember that your engagement and wedding is supposed to be a happy occasion. Like you didn’t already know that.

 

Let’s be honest – it’s stressful and can easily drive a perfectly normal young bride to insanity. So, unless you want to elope or put the entire wedding planning process in someone else’s capable hands, get ready to deal with a bit of craziness, a handful of irritation and a lot of stress. So what do you do about it?

 

1. Look down and look to the left. See that sparkly thing on your finger? That’s yours and it was given to you by the love of your life. Don’t forget that – EVER.

2. Work out. Richard Branson himself (billionaire and founder of the Virgin group) swears that exercise is the #1 way to boost productivity, so get out your yoga mat or running shoes and get moving – you’ll feel better and hey, you’ll look great too. Studies have shown that exercise boosts productivity, energy and lowers stress.

3. Make a mini to do list and set deadlines. The key word here is mini, as in no more than 2-4 weekly to do’s (unless you majorly procrastinated and have no choice). Please be realistic and kind to yourself. If you finished all of your tasks, then give yourself the rest of the week off and resume the following week with a new set of to do’s.

4. Learn how to make a quick decision. There is nothing more frustrating than going back and forth on wedding decisions – carrot cake or banana? Invitations with or without personalized stamps? Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio? Yes, your wedding must be pure perfection, but you will save yourself a lot of time and stress by learning how to make a decision and stick with it. And the best way to do that is to listen to your gut. Your intuition is usually right. Just make sure it aligns with your budget.

5. Take Action. If something gets you worked up, give yourself two options: Do something about it or let it go. If your problem requires some sort or resolution, then take action. Don’t put it off, dwell on it or pretend like its going away. You will only get even more worked up and consumed by this problem adding to your stress and worry levels. So commit to making a decision – and the sooner you address the situation, the sooner you can move on.

6. Learn to let the little things go. This is a tough one especially because your wedding is such an emotional event. When something gets you worked up, ask yourself – “Can I let this go?” and “Will I let this go?”. More often than not, the answer will be Yes. So make a decision to let go and move on.
7. Go on a date with your fiancé and order an expensive glass of wine.Yes, even if you’re on a tight wedding budget, you need to be able to enjoy this time in your life. Stay connected with your fiance and enjoy each other’s company. Because remember what comes after the wedding? The honeymoon. And after that, Marriage.
8. Go try on wedding dresses by yourself.It’s hands down one of the most exciting part of wedding planning and as the bride, you are entitled to try on as many dresses as you please. It can actually be more relaxing and pleasant to go alone and escape the opinions and preferences of others. More importantly, it’s fun!

9. Plan your fantasy honeymoon. Get on Pinterest and dream of massages and beaches and romantic dinners for two.

10. Spend some time in nature. There is something about the great outdoors that makes our problems seem small. Being in nature gives us a natural high and with it energy, vitality and perspective. It is instant therapy, fuel for the soul. Live in a big city? Go to the park. 18 degrees outside? Build a snowman. No snow? Get creative.

11. Breathe. When we are tense and stressed out, we tend to breathe quickly and shallowly. So take 2 minutes to sit down, close your eyes and breathe deeply, in and out through the nose. It’s simple and it works.

12. Very slowly nod your head back and forth. And don’t forget to breathe. Feels good doesn’t it?

13. Take 5 minutes before you sleep at night to consciously deactivate.  Lay flat on your back for five minutes and consciously think about relaxing all parts of your body form head to toe. You may realize your shoulders are still tense, or your jaw clenched.  Five minutes on deactivation and relaxation is so important for muscle release.

14. Meditate. If you like how you’re feeling from #11, #12, and #13 and #11, then give meditation a shot. It is hard to pick up because our brains so darn difficult to turn off, but once you are able to find a moment or two of silence, you will appreciate it.

15. Watch Father of the Bride. Get into a fun, lighthearted mood. Any episode of Sex and the City or Modern Family will do as well if you don’t have 2 hours to spare.

16. Keep a journal. Write what you feel, without worry or judgement and write every day. Writing helps give you a new level of clarity and soon you will not be venting or complaining, but brainstorming, questioning and being creative. Writing every day is a wonderful habit to pick up regardless of where you are in life. I recommend a site like 750words.com.

17. Acknowledge that you are stressed out. Once you are feeling overwhelmed, be aware of how you are feeling and ask yourself what emotions you are feeling. The simple act of acknowledgement helps

18. Forums. Human beings need to feel connected and need to know that others are going through the same thing. It’s the “me too” mentality. So go to Yahoo answers, to the forums at WeddingBee or TheKnot and commiserate with other brides who are in the same boat.

19. Delegate. I know, I know, if you want to get something done, do it yourself. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Yes, we hear you, but for heaven’s sake, pick a few things (even the smallest of the small) and ask someone else to help out.

20. Go dancing with your fiance. Pick a club, a lounge or anywhere that has a dance floor and get out there – practice your first dance, let loose. And if hubby to be doesn’t like to dance, then replace fiance with girlfriends, or move on to #21.

21. Stay within budget. 5 years from now, no one will remember if you spent the extra $5 per bottle for a better bottle of wine, if you spent $300 or $175 on a makeup artist or if you splurged on the ___ for your invitations. Before you get up-sold on anything, ask yourself the 5 year question. This is especially important as the wedding date draws near because brides tend to go credit card happy.

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