How to Have a Stress Free Wedding Planning Experience
Real Raleigh Bride and Seasoned Bridesmaid, Elizabeth Hennigan Shares Wedding Planning Advice
We’ve all had our 27 Dresses year.
You know, that time in your life when all of your friends decide to get engaged in less than six months? If you have yet to experience the joy of a marathon wedding season, get ready. Your time will come.
My 27 Dresses year is happening as we speak. Not only have I been in four weddings in less than four months, I am also a bride. Anyone else need a glass of wine reading that last sentence? Welcome to my world.
When your best friend says “yes” to saying “I do,” remember, as her bridesmaid, that means you are saying “I do, too.” (Translation: you are also saying yes to the time commitment, monetary commitment and emotional commitment).
Don’t get me wrong. Marathon wedding season is wonderful. You’ll be astounded by how many sweet emotions can flood you all at once. But if you don’t take proper care of yourself, your negative emotions (stress, anxiety, frustration) will get the best of you.
You might find yourself feeling stretched too thin or wondering when you last took a day for yourself. You’ll find yourself taking care of everyone else but yourself. And guess what? If you don’t learn to say no for the sake of your sanity, you’ll lose the capacity to take care others all together.
8 Tips from a Real Raleigh Bride on Planning a Stress Free Wedding
So when it comes to staying calm during wedding season, whether you are the bride or in the bridal party, take this advice from a real bride (I have been in your shoes!)
1. Get a good night’s sleep consistently during the wedding planning months
Without a solid eight hours of shut-eye, most of us are good for nothing. Not to mention, lack of sleep only increases stress levels. Losing sleep makes us more reactive to stressful situations. Meaning you are more likely to lose it when the bride sends you the bill for a $300 bridesmaid dress.
Sleep deprivation puts you at risk for more than just increased stress. Lack of sleep has been proven to cause loss of alertness, impaired memory, and may even have an effect on your appearance. That’s right, your determination to pull wedding all-nighters might be the reason you’re snapping at your soon-to-be-spouse, forgetting to call the florist, and your makeup artist is pulling out the big guns to cover those dark under-eye circles.
2. Put it to paper
If you are like me, your lists have lists. Regardless of whether my list-writing obsession is because I am OCD or it’s the only way to keep everything straight, getting your thoughts down on paper is a great way to calm your anxieties. No one likes having 1,567 to-dos bouncing around in your head.
3. Call Your Mom
Maybe you are a verbal processor, maybe not. But sometimes writing your thoughts isn’t enough—you need to call in your confidant. That’s what moms are for, right? Maybe it’s your sister or your best friend.
If you reach the tipping point with that one vendor or, god-forbid, your future in-laws, call your person and get it off your chest. I’m not saying bash you-know-who to your heart’s content, but talking it out will help you let go and move on. Little disputes are nothing to lose sleep over.
Just avoid offloading to more than one person. The last thing you want to do is start drama.
4. When You’re Wedding Planning, don’t forget about your fiancé!
You know, that person you are about to marry! Even though you are being pulled 100 different directions, don’t forget to prioritize your relationship, especially if you are engaged.
Engagement is such an important time. This relationship should be at the top of your list. Even if you are not engaged, don’t kick your significant other to the curb. Your friends may need your attention, but not at the expense of your relationship. Make them feel like more than your plus-one (because they are the one).
5. In addition to your wedding budget, make a real life budget
When you are in a thousand weddings (and planning your own) money is tight. I get that. There are so many gifts to give and deposits to put down!
That’s why it’s important you make a budget and stick to it. Sometimes that means painting your own nails, and that’s okay!
Just because money is tight doesn’t make it right to be stingy. Saying yes to being a bridesmaid means giving your time and money. Be practical and realistic with your finances, but never have a bad attitude. When you give, give generously.
6. Say “Yes” to Saying No
From June 1st through January 19th, I know exactly what was planned every single weekend. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Between bachelorette weekends (x4), wedding showers (x4), wedding weekends (x4) and my own wedding planning appointments, I have been booked solid. And you know what I’ve learned? It is okay to say no.
If you become too stressed or busy to deal with whatever comes out of left field, delegate the task to someone else or simply apologize and move on. You can’t make everyone happy and it is healthy to turn down commitments when they become chores.
7. When You’re Wedding Planning, Exercise Serves More than One Purpose
Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins which improve your mood and help you sleep. More sleep equals less stress!
8. Give each of your friends the attention they deserve
Although you are in a ton of weddings, each of your brides only gets married once. It’s so important you make them feel celebrated and loved! They need you during this season. It’s the reason they asked you to stand by their side. So even if it’s the fifth wedding on your list, party like it’s the only wedding you have ever been too!
Maintaining a healthy wedding-life balance is not something you have to do every day, but it serves you well for a season. You want to be filled with joyful memories, not remembrances of stress and anxiety. Don’t forget to prioritize the ones you love, but not at the cost of your own sanity.
In the grand scheme of things, weddings come and go in the blink of an eye. Make sure you are taking care of yourself so you can have a stress free wedding planning experience, and enjoy this time to the fullest!
Elizabeth, seasoned Maid of Honor and current bride-to-be, works in digital marketing at Mattress Advisor and writes on the side. When she isn’t attending a bachelorette party or bridal shower, she loves creating awesome content in Raleigh, NC.
A Note from SB&G:
Big thanks to Elizabeth for sharing these sweet tips. And readers, if you were wondering, all of the photos in this post are from the actual weddings that Elizabeth has been in this year! We can’t wait to see her actual wedding day photos!