10 Common Wedding-Stress Triggers—and How to Deal with Them
Planners offer their best advice on beating pre-wedding anxiety.
Your wedding will be one of the greatest days of your life, but—we'll just say it—planning the main event isn't necessarily easy. After all, there's a reason why no one fantasizes about creating seating charts or writing thank-you cards when daydreaming about their big day. Though it's important to recognize the realities of planning, it's just as necessary to note that the final product is always worth all the hard work and stress. Plus, you aren't alone in this process—no matter the couple or event style, everyone feels wedding planning anxieties from the same sometimes-unavoidable sources. To help you cope with it all, we tapped a few of our favorite planners for their best stress management advice.
One of the main stresses couple's face post-engagement is pleasing their families. Both parties have their own styles, budgets, guest lists, tastes, and so many other conflicting opinions on how your big day should come together. Planner Jove Meyer suggests that, while you can't control others, you can control how you react to them. "I encourage couples to try their best to understand the priorities of [each] family, while also making their priorities known, as it is their wedding," he explained. Meyer encourages couples to be upfront about their expectations from the start by giving each family parameters to follow, and then taking it from there.
Of course, that isn't the only stressor couples face—which is why we've prepared more tips for you, ahead. The pros will help you manage multiple personalities and opinions, stay on track, and achieve the wedding you've always envisioned.
"Not only are conversations about money difficult, but a wedding budget can feel like a big mystery," says Allison Jackson of Pineapple Productions. Even with a planner guiding you, costs often come as a surprise, she says. It's important to come to terms with the fact that very few couples can have every big-day element they want. Jackson's solution: Set a budget and educate yourself about the specific market where your wedding is taking place. "Take time to understand why certain things—like flowers or a high-quality photographer or lighting, for example—cost what they do," she explained. Follow this advice, and you'll set yourself up to have more reasonable expectations.
Finalizing a guest list may be the most stressful part of wedding planning. You, your fiancé, and both sets of parents often have opinions about who should (and shouldn't!) be invited on the big day. Cutting a guest can feel painful, but it's unrealistic to think that your budget and venue can accommodate everyone. Jackson believes that the surprise of the negotiation involved is what makes the process so difficult—and suggests meeting this challenge head on at the beginning of the process. "Good communication is key," Jackson insists. "Even when feeling emotional or stressed, do everything you can to remain respectful and to hear out everyone's thoughts and feelings." Her golden rule: Treating everyone how you'd want to be treated can help prevent unnecessary arguments.
Juggling multiple vendors can feel like an impossible challenge. So many people bring your celebration to life, so it's important to stay organized and work ahead as much as possible. Planner Jesse Tombs suggests creating a detailed production schedule and timeline. Send the breakdown to your vendors at least two weeks before your event and ask for feedback and updates.
In addition, Meyer believes it's crucial to stay open and honest with vendors about any of your preexisting concerns. Making lists of possible fears, stressors, and potential drama that you think could occur on your day, and passing them out to each team, will help prevent any day-of meltdowns.
Wanting to be in the best shape of your life come your wedding is a common and admirable goal, but it can lead to unhealthy habits. If you aren't taking care of your body properly, you're not going to be able enjoy your wedding day to the fullest. Meyer believes in setting realistic fitness goals while prioritizing body positivity and self-love: "Starving yourself to fit into your dress is a terrible idea as your 'hanger' will come out, mostly to those closest to you, and it will not be cute!" Don't be too hard on yourself—enjoy the celebration dinners and Champagne, while doing your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Center of Attention
"One thing I hear from a lot of my brides is that they don't want to feel like the center of attention," says wedding planner Jenna Lam. Spotlight moments, like giving a toast or having your first dance, can be daunting for some. She believes practice and communication, along with not taking yourself too seriously, are the keys to working through the nerves. Don't be afraid to ask for help, either. If you feel it would benefit you and your fiancé to take a dance class or public speaking lesson, go for it—you'll achieve a level of confidence that will alleviate some of your anxieties.
Choosing your wedding party can stir up a lot of emotions. Although this should be a fun process, it's hard not to feel the regret of hurting other people's feelings. Having a large friend group can make things complicated, especially when you have siblings and other family members who need to be included. Meyer advises his clients to make a list of everyone they feel super close with. "See where that lands number wise and decide if that feels right. Maybe it's easier to not have a wedding party, and just have a squad to get ready with you. No favorites equal no hurt feelings, equals less or no stress!" he says.
Most pre-wedding anxiety tends to come to a head on the morning of the big day. "The excitement often creates an undercurrent of nervous energy for everyone involved," says Jackson. When emotions run high, it's crucial everyone has the time and space to process what they are feeling. Jackson recommends scheduling in extra time while getting ready, which prevents a pressure build-up in case things don't run according to plan. "I have found that slowing things down allows everyone to feel more present, more in control, more relaxed, and therefore less stressed," she explains.
Yes, a large amount of time and money goes into every wedding detail, but there's a good chance that something won't go according to plan on the day of—when those blips happen, it's important to remember what the occasion is really about. Meyer also stresses that it's crucial to trust the vendor team you've hired. Jackson adds that keeping a sense of humor is just as important (this attitude will help you remember not to sweat the small stuff!).
Even when the wedding is over, your job isn't done. Sending out thank-you notes in a timely manner can be intimidating—especially when you know that every guest and vendor must receive one. To make the process smoother, Meyer suggests writing these cards as gifts come in: "Once you get a gift or a card, write your thank you note that same week—be militant about it."
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