How to Handle Stressful Planning Moments

Maintaining inner peace in the midst of wedding chaos.

How to Handle Stressful Planning Moments

Photo: LaCour

The excitement of a wedding day (a.k.a., preparing for your red carpet moment), can be overwhelming, especially when individual expectations and planning costs continue to escalate the further along you are in the planning process. With the average cost of weddings climbing three to five percent each year, it is no surprise that more couples are turning to their families and savings accounts to help them bankroll their dream day. And as costs increase, so does the pressure to have everything be perfect. Stress is inevitable while planning a wedding, but knowing how to manage your emotional and physical load will allow you to sail through the planning process with a sense of confidence and clarity – and without unleashing your dark side on family and friends. The following are some common stressors that many brides experience, as well as some advice on how to deal with them.

1. Feeling frustrated when discussing the financials with your family and/or fiancé 
Securing an overall spending limit at the very beginning of your planning process with all the financial contributors involved is the best way to avoid conflict. A professional planner can be hired on an hourly basis to help everyone understand and establish realistic projected wedding costs based on the planner’s prior experience. Once a limit is established and agreed upon, you will not have to go back and forth to get approval for every check written or expenditure made. You may even consider opening up a “wedding checking account,” which will allow you to access the agreed upon funds without initiating a new discussion every time a deposit or purchase is needed.

2. Struggling with the cost of all the details you think you need for a dream wedding
Decide on your top five “must haves” for the wedding and devote your energy to making them happen. For most brides this list may include an amazing photographer, entertainment that keeps the party exciting, a dream dress, a personalized ceremony, or a beautiful location for the reception. Once you identify what is truly important to you, you will realize that not everything on your list is essential to making your day special. Stay focused on your top five dream pieces, and let all the other details become icing on the cake as your spending limit allows.

3. Disappointment in wedding attendants who show a lack of enthusiasm and support 
Before asking your close family members or friends to stand up for you at your wedding, share your expectations with them. You should also take some time to think about the level of involvement you are anticipating from them. Be realistic about their level of involvement, so as to not set yourself up for disappointment. You might start off the conversation by sharing how much their friendship means to you, and what it means to be a significant part of your big day. You may be hoping that they will host or manage a bachelorette party, maybe accompany you to some of your planning meetings, or help you select the wedding attire. Whatever the expectation, be sure to communicate it to them before they have the opportunity to give you a “yes” or “no” answer.

4. Feeling overwhelmed by having so much to do in so little time 
Feeling overwhelmed on occasion is natural. If you are feeling overwhelmed regularly, you may want to consider asking for help, whether it be from a good friend or family member or a professional wedding coordinator. There are no awards given out for over extending oneself; if a task feels more like a “mountain” than a “speed bump,” break down each task into steps and prioritize them into a schedule that is manageable with your lifestyle (work, play, rest, and dreams). Keep paperwork (tear sheets, contracts, business cards, notes, etc.) organized in a binder with sectional tabs. If information is orderly, one is more likely to feel in control and at ease. Planning any size event is more manageable when the details are organized. Remember: It all gets done, little by little, through balanced planning. “Sip” in the planning process by doing a little at a time. “Gulping” will most likely make it feel bigger than it has to be.

It is important to know that as this life-altering day approaches, it is normal to feel sad, frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, and nervous at times. Hiring a wedding planner to help you coordinate and organize your wedding is just one way you can remedy a stressful situation. Exercising, sometimes with the help of a personal trainer, is another way to work off the stress and clear your head. Creating more time for the things that reconnect your mind, body, and soul, such as yoga, journaling, or even date nights with your soon-to-be-husband (when wedding details are NOT discussed) are other healthy ways of coping with this new, albeit temporary, state of being. Whichever way you choose, it is important that you take the necessary steps to alleviate stress instead of simply hoping the stress will go away on its own. Managing your wedding planning responsibilities and the stress they can bring are vital to enjoying this extremely unique and priceless time in your life.

Opening photograph by LaCour