Congratulations: you’re engaged! While it might be tempting to dig right into the planning process, going wild on Pinterest boards and scouring your local bookstore’s stock of wedding magazines, take a deep breath first. Wedding planning can stress out even the calmest engaged couples.
In fact, wedding registry resource Zola studied 500 couples and discovered some shocking statistics about wedding planning stress impacts:
86% of respondents suffered on average 3+ stress-induced symptoms, including skin breakouts, hair loss, loss of sex drive, insomnia, headaches
47% of couples considered eloping or getting married at city hall because wedding planning was so stressful
71% of those surveyed said wedding planning was more stressful than major life events, like buying a home, and finding a job
This is no way to spend your engagement!
Before you do a minute of wedding planning, give yourself time to relax, celebrate, and prepare for the stress ahead. Here are some of the best ways to ward off wedding stress!
Create a Wellness Plan
A healthy, calm body will help you keep a clear mind as you plan your wedding. Gentle exercises like yoga, meditation, foam rolling and stretching are particularly effective at building mind-body connection and calming stressed nerves. More high-intensity workouts like hip hop dance, rock climbing, boxing, and running are fantastic ways to beat out intense stress.
Many couples go into wedding planning with fitness goals for aesthetic reasons (who doesn’t want to look their best on wedding day?), but more importantly, a strong wellness plan with both active and calming activities will help so much to stay relaxed and emotionally balanced during the process. You can even try different workouts with your partner to experience new things as a team, strengthening your relationship and your health for many happy decades ahead!
Prepare Your Happy Place
Even the most stress-free wedding planning processes run into a bump or two. Sometimes it hits when creating the seating chart and you have to add an entire extra table to avoid seating you-know-who next to Aunt Bertha. Or, it may happen when you realize an important budget item was lost in communication with a destination wedding vendor in a different country. It’s wedding planning. You are guaranteed to hit a rough patch along the way!
By recognizing this in advance, you can soften the blow. Prepare in advance to deal with it! If soaking in a hot tub helps melt your worries away, stock up on some nice bath bombs now. If you relax by disappearing into a good book, set a weekly time to visit the library to pick up new reads. If you know work/life balance is going to be a challenge, schedule a long weekend escape in advance of the big day to tune out from everything and be together as a couple. Know your happy place and be prepared to go there on this journey.
Surround Yourself with Support
Wedding planning can become an isolating endeavor. It’s all about your big day - your style, your preferences, your attire - it’s natural to become wrapped up in yourself! This one day is a reflection of who you are as individuals and as a couple, and pressure can be intense to make everything perfect.
The reality, though, is that every wedding day is still a real-life day, and there’s no such thing as perfection. When you find yourself spending a lot of time alone on wedding tasks, take a break. Call up a supportive family member to chat - and make sure you also talk about things other than the wedding. Keep a standing weekly appointment with the girls (or guys) for a cocktail or coffee. Volunteer a couple times a month to connect with others for a cause you care about. By maintaining these strong social connections, you’ll easily remember that the wedding is an important day, but it’s still only one day out of the rest your very fulfilling future. This helps maintain perspective and avoid stress.
When you encounter challenges on the road to the wedding, it can be easy to forget how much you’ve accomplished so far. After all, you’ve already achieved something very difficult: you found an incredible person who shares your dreams for the future! That’s a rare find. Be sure to celebrate this time in your life.
Take time to journal about your happy feelings. Write a letter to your future spouse about all the things you adore about him/her. Buy yourself or your partner some flowers. Frame a photo of the moment you got engaged. Pop open some champagne for a toast. Life is worth celebrating, and this is a particularly special time. Don’t run it over with budget spreadsheets and guest lists!
Envision Your Team
Before digging into vendor research, grab a cup of hot tea or coffee, some colored pencils and a notebook. Journal and sketch a vision for the type of emotional support you want to have on the journey toward your wedding day. Your wedding planner, photographers, videographers, florists, entertainers and venue teams are more than just service providers - they are people who will surround you with love and support on your wedding day.
Think about the support you get from your very best friends. Some are talented at telling you the truth you need to hear, even when you may not want to hear it. Others are great listeners who offer a soft place to land on a bad day. And some of your friends inspire you to try new things and discover untapped parts of your creativity! Once you’re in tune with the kinds of things you value in a support team, your clear vision will make it so much easier to identify the right wedding vendor team, even when you feel buried by research.
Tracy Enoch is a worldwide destination wedding photographer based in Dallas, Texas. Having photographed weddings in Italy, California, Austria, Colorado and beyond, Tracy provides a high-end boutique experience with a focus on clean, classic imagery in natural environments.
Contact her to discuss your wedding photography needs!