How to Manage Wedding Stress

I’m writing this post at the end of January, just over 3 months before our wedding. And I have no idea what’s to come in the next few months of planning, but I’m currently lying in bed at 1am, unable to sleep because I’m feeling stressed and anxious. And I’m absolutely DONE with this feeling taking over and spoiling my experience, so I’m going to find a way to deal and manage it!

Every element of wedding planning is a mammoth task, it all takes so much TIME and there’s SO MANY things involved with each element you’re planning. Even something as simple as *wracks brain trying to think of the easiest part of wedding planning so far* the favours, can be turned into a marathon of multiple emails, tastings, design ideas, design approval, deposits, invoices, contract signing, final preparations…all with a smile on your face – because it’s your wedding, of course! Even listing it doesn’t seem to give it the credit it deserves! Whilst it’s very easy to say ‘just ask for help’, it’s really not as simple as that, when you’re the one managing the day. It’s incredibly time consuming and life encompassing, and there’s no way around that (unless you have someone else planning it for you)! I assume that it’ll be much easier to ask for help when the day gets closer and we need help organising and doing, rather than just the booking/planning that I’m doing now.

So, it’s only natural, that whilst you’re trying to plan the wedding you’ve dreamed of since you were a kid, manage your budget and keep everyone happy (along with everything else going on with planning and, you know, WORK and LIFE), you allow your mental health to deteriorate. It’s so easily done, but I really hope I can find a way around this.

The plan: to make a list of things that I think I might help alleviate these feelings. And then make a conscious effort to take my own advice over the next couple of months – I’m one of those people happy to give advice, but terrible at taking my own! I pray it works. Shout out to my incredible Maid of Honour (I know you’re technically a ‘matron’ because you’re married, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it!), who’s been so wise and supportive when I’ve needed her (as always). And a couple of her pointers made this list. I love you girl 💖

1. Make a checklist 📝

I’m a sucker for a checklist anyway, but with SO many things to do, any bride will want one! It’s an overwhelming list, and I find it so easy to see all the things I’m yet to do, panic, and try to do everything as soon as I can! But that’s not realistic, not when half of the things on there won’t/can’t happen till 4 weeks before the big day! But checking things off as you get them done will really help.

2. Formal planning time 📚

Related to point 1…have a list with dates of when you can/need to do things by. It shows that you’re on top of things and that you don’t need to have everything finished just yet! Then step back and distance yourself. Have a date/time each week when you review the list to check your progress…this way, you don’t need to think about it the rest of the time.

3. Make time to spend with a loved one 💕

Ban all wedding talk if you want, or take the opportunity to vent, but set a coffee date with a special person. Someone who you know will distract you/calm you down/let you talk your frustrations out/talk you through problems.

4. Equally, make time for you 😌

Find an activity that you find peaceful and calming, and devote time to that, and that alone – don’t get distracted! Reading in the bath, colouring, yoga – whatever it is, set aside time for you and it, and allow yourself to become completely immersed in ‘chill’.

5. Talk to your venue contact 💒

They do this for a living, it’s second nature. So if you have a question, why are you stressing about not knowing, assuming an answer, or googling it? Ask! You’ll feel better!

6. Write down any problems 📓

My wonderful Maid of Honour once told me (years ago now!) to keep a notepad by my bedside for any of those nights when you have a million things flying round your head. This has proved to be invaluable advice, as the nights are when I seem to struggle most with overthinking. Sometimes even writing a problem down, without necessarily solving it, can make you feel better.

7. Be honest 💬

Talk things out with your fiancé, bridesmaid, parent, sibling or friend, don’t keep it all bottled up. Even just getting things out in the open and off your chest can feel like a weight’s been lifted. They love you, they’ll take the time to listen, and help if they can.

8. Get some fresh air 🍃

Whether you go on a walk by yourself in silence or with your earphones in, fresh air will do you the world of good!

9. Plan a month in advance 📆

This was a piece of advice I saw on a website over summer. The woman had planned her wedding, imagining it was a month earlier…which meant that even the smaller things (that you might forget about, or stress over at the last minute) like service cards, tealights and bathroom basket were taken care of! This left her and her fiance with a calm and stress free few weeks in the run up to the wedding. I can’t remember where I read it, otherwise I would give credit, but organisation Queen over here loves that idea! I hope it works…

10. It’s YOUR DAY make YOUR DECISIONS 👰🤵

SO many people have said this to me. And thankyou, I salute you, because this has turned into a little mantra. There’s so much drama that can go on with a wedding, from family politics to the table runners being the wrong shade of blue. Whilst you will accommodate certain needs and politely take suggestions into consideration, remember it’s YOUR DAY. This is the first page of a brand new book, and the start of the rest of your lives together. For everyone else there, however close you are – it’s just another (very lovely, hopefully!) day. If you know that there’s a certain detail or two that will stress you out for months in advance, or you’ll hate on the day, just don’t do it, simple!

11. Take a breath, try and find a solution 💪

Whether your brain’s in a muddle over the seating plan for the third hour, the vendor you really wanted to use can’t supply a specific item you had your heart set on, or you can’t have the band/DJ you wanted – it’ll be okay. Naturally, when it’s your wedding, every task becomes personal because you invest so much in it. Every element is just one building block in the tower that is ‘your big day’. And sometimes, something will happen that will shake the tower, or a brick will be removed, and you’ll feel like you’re absolutely powerless to keep it all together. Take a moment, take a breath…find a solution. Work out HOW you’re going to deal with that problem guest, talk to family, source other vendors, get on Pinterest and fall in love with a new decor idea, ask for recommendations from whoever let you down, knowing they’ll recommend similar products/services to their own. I promise, that as soon as you find a solution to the problem, your stress and anxiety will melt away.

12. Acceptance 💖

Nobody can control everything. You can only do what you can and then ride out the rest. Focus time on accepting that what will be, will be, and be disciplined when your mind tries to tell you that you need to control everything. You don’t! Things will fall into place.

If you reached this point, well done and THANKYOU for sticking with it. This is probably the longest post I’ve ever written, and I had no intention of it turning into an essay…but it’s something I felt passionately about sharing. It’s something I’m sure every bride and/or couple will struggle with, and if I can help in any way, it’s worth the rambling!

Much love,

Lynette x

Derren Brown’s ‘Miracle’ Helped My Anxiety

In the last few months/years, you can’t deny that there’s been much more media coverage for mental health. Which is amazing. I would never claim to be an expert, nor would I claim to be a big sufferer (it’s never been bad enough to warrant a trip to the GP), but I do get anxiety, from time to time. I didn’t realise until a year or so ago, that virtually everyone I know has been, or is, affected by anxiety in some way. Which, whilst I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, it’s quite a nice, sobering thought – to know that other people UNDERSTAND how you feel.

I don’t want to go on about it at all, because, full disclosure, I really don’t know an awful lot about it. I just know, that certain situations (or the prospect of certain situations) can really get to me. And this post isn’t going to be an earth shattering, internet breaking look at the way we live our lives, or facts and assumptions about mental health. It’s just something I’ve realised. That I’m going to leave right here.

The other night, Ed and I had just finished watching something on Netflix, and a trailer automatically started playing once the credits had started rolling: it was for Derren Brown’s ‘Miracle’. It looked pretty kick ass, so we went straight ahead and popped it on.

Now we all know what Derren Brown does, so I don’t need to give too much away. But he opens the show with quite a poignant suggestion about the way we live our lives – and when I say poignant, I mean (arguably) life altering. Who’d have thought that within a minute of the show starting, Ed and I would have pressed pause, looked at each in awe and had a two minute discussion about what’d just been said. THAT’S the kind of show it is.

Anyway, many wonderful and magical things happen during the show which I won’t spoil, but what I WILL tell you is that half of it has left me with the utmost respect for his brilliance, and the other half believing in magic. It’s at the end of the show when he starts to wrap things up and takes a moment to reflect, that something really hit me – it was quite a light bulb moment.

If you don’t want spoilers, look away now.

He’d said earlier in the show (and came back to it at the end) and I quote:

 

“We tend to dwell on our past and we think that somehow defines who we are. But our pasts are just stories we tell ourselves in the present…

 

…if this were the start of a film and it said ‘Based on a true story’, you would know that the events that were going to happen in that film weren’t real events exactly as they happened…you’d be naturally skeptical…

 

…we forget to apply the same natural skepticism to the most important stories we have, the ones we tell ourselves every day about who we are. We can choose to change those stories.”

 

And THAT has really resonated for me. The wealth of my anxiety comes from
– Having had a bad experience (of something) in the past
– Dwelling on it (and probably making the event worse in my head)
– Allowing that to influence my views on it in the present.
This ultimately leads me to panicking about having to repeat the same activity in the future.

I’ll give you an example.

A few years ago I was on a bus, and felt really ill. I can’t tell you whether the two were mutually exclusive or not, but now, I don’t want to get on a bus. For fear of feeling ill. Because my learned response to that situation (having told myself a certain story for all these years, as Mr Brown said), is that I WILL feel ill again. Daft right? And I know it is. 

I’m much better these days at dealing with little moments of anxiety, therefore feel a bit more confident to attempt to combat them. For example, last summer before I had my car, I got the bus down to Mum and Dad’s. It’s only a 5 minute drive, but that was a big deal for me. And a stepping stone to getting better at it. But a couple of years ago anxiety really did pull on the reigns of living a ‘normal’ life. 

And (going back to ‘Miracle’) something about the way he explained this – the idea of telling ourselves a story – really hit home. It may sound silly, but within that minute or so of explanation, I though ‘Holy s**t, this is so me. Hang on, this is actually going to help’. And now, I feel like I have ‘IT’S JUST A STORY’ ingrained on my cranium. 

I didn’t expect that sitting down to watch a Derren Brown show would make me re-evaluate my life and the way I deal with certain situations – but it did. And don’t I wish I’d watched it a few years ago!

The show is brilliant regardless of the message, and I’m not going to say ‘OMG YOU MUST GO AND WATCH THIS NOW!’…but it really is something special

And I leave you with a gorgeous quote from the start of the show that we loved;

“LIFE SHOULD BE MORE LIKE A PIECE OF MUSIC,
AND YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DANCING.”

 

Lynette x