by: Jeanette Shinn
We might as well get it out in the open. Planning a wedding is not a big job. It is a huge job somewhat akin to staging a Broadway musical, minus the cast of experienced participants. To make matters worse, the more guests that are invited, the more formal the event, the more complex the plans, the bigger the job is. That means stress. Lots of it. There is no way to get around it, but there are ways to neutralize wedding planning stress.
Moreover, since the female mind tends to place more value on the festivities of the day than the male mind does, chances are the groom is not going to take the lead planning the day. This means that the stress of wedding planning is generally felt more acutely by the bride.
Indeed, many brides feel like their groom does not care, thus increasing their stress. Whether or not their perception is true, the reality of the perception is enough to leave most brides pulling their hair out.
The secret to maintaining sanity during the wedding planning process is to maintain a bag of tricks that will allow the bride to minimize the stress, whether by strategically recruiting others to do some of the work or by scheduling events designed specifically to help her unwind before she unravels.
Take a Trip to the Spa: Often brides will plan a trip to the spa with their bridesmaids in the week just before the wedding. That can be good, but it might not be enough. There is nothing that will release stress faster than being pampered while you lay on a warm table immersed in a soothing fragrance and surrounded by relaxing music. Can't afford trips to the spa? Not a problem. A bride with a limited budget can recruit a good friend to help her create her own spa experience with aromatic touches, soft music, and a homemade facial mask or body peel.
Hire a Wedding Planner: A wedding planner who has been around the block a time or two offers something very few brides have... experience. They know people in the business, they know how to deal with wedding professionals, they have handled the problems that inevitably come up with planning a wedding, they have handled drunk relatives, etc. Most of all they know what to expect and what is a problem and what is not so the bride does not have to waste stress over situations that are not really a problem.
Have the Groom Break out the Digital Camera, Camcorder, and Laptop: Guys love their toys... and most guys love anything high tech. So recruit them to set up a wedding website - through which you can have them post wedding registry information, track RSVP's share engagement photo's and videos - even send out invitations, or at least have them use the computer to print the invitations and create address labels. You get the idea. Getting rid of such a huge amount of work in a way that he will embrace gladly will reduce any bride's stress level.
Go Out to Dinner: Take the time to sit and enjoy a good, high quality meal. Eat something healthy. This is as much about good nutrition as it is about a change of pace. Our bodies needs the change of pace that sitting down to a good meal will provide and it also needs nutrition rich foods to help deal with the stress planning a wedding can bring. Going out and having someone wait on us for a change is part of the therapy. Who the bride chooses for company is her decision, as long as it takes her away from wedding planning activities during the meal.
Take a Bath: There is nothing like soaking in a hot tub treated with scented bath salts, while reading a good book by the light of the candles ringing the tub. Add a glass of a favorite sipping drink and watch the stress melt.
Pray / Meditate: One of the main initial benefits of prayer and meditation is that it helps to put everything into perspective. Set against the vast nature of God and creation our problems look rather tiny. When we see the things that are causing our stress in this light it should be easy to let the stress go.
Take in a Chic Flick: Sometimes girls have to be girls. A wise bride will choose some time to send the guys off to be a guy and then grab a girlfriend with whom she can let down her hair and be a girl. Laugh, cry, enjoy.
Go to the Gym: Scientist tell us that working out is a great way to vent stress from our systems. In part, at least, this is because exercise triggers the body to release endorphins - a chemical our bodies put out that is far more potent than morphine. Furthermore, working out has the added benefit of toning our bodies - so we are further along in the process of avoiding stress about fitting into that dress!
Get Active: Anything active that has nothing to do with wedding planning. Learn to wind surf. Go for a hike, ride horses, go for a walk on the beach. This will provide some of the same benefits as going to the gym, but more importantly it will provide the body with a change of pace. The change of pace will not only go a long way to purging the wedding planning stress but it is likely to provide an answer to a question the bride did not even know she was pondering.
Put Together a Wedding Survival Kit for Both the Bride and the Groom: We've all heard the nightmare stories about the bride who flipped out because no one thought to bring extra nail polish remover, or a bobby pin, or a band aid, or stain remover. There are so many little things that could go wrong that could be prevented by compiling or buying a kit with all those incidentals that we all need on occasion and might otherwise require a special trip to the local corner market just when the photographer needs to start the photographs.
Get Away as a Couple: Take time away from the wedding planning to work on the relationship. It is, after all, what the wedding celebration is all about. Unfortunately, wedding planning has a way of driving wedges between couples due to the busy nature of the time period. Reinforcing the love relationship is an efficient way of minimizing the stress since a team is always stronger than the two individuals.
Taking the time to purge the stress is worth the investment though often it seems too much effort. The rewards in sanity, physical health, and most importantly strengthened relationships can only serve to make the celebration better. If it means simplifying some wedding plans due to the time a bride took to neutralize her wedding planning stress, the exchange will be well worth it.