self care: wedding planning style (part one)

On your wedding day, you want to enjoy yourself. You want it to be a fun, magical day celebrating the love between you and your partner, a day you remember forever and look back on fondly in the decades to come.

What you don’t want is to be a frazzled, stressy mess.

The wedding planning process should be simple. While favors can be fun and making your registry is a great date outing, planning a wedding can easily go from fun to freak-out, but it doesn’t have to. Wedding planning is known as a stressful, drama-filled time that usually has couples wondering “why didn’t we just elope??” It shouldn’t be like that.

If you want to truly enjoy the wedding planning process, from Day One to the Big Day, you can. First, follow these steps:

deep breaths

When stress — or, worse, anxiety — begins to set in, your first line of action should always be a few deep breaths. Slowly inhale as deeply as you comfortably can, possibly while counting to four. Hold for about five seconds. Release slowly through the mouth, possibly while counting to seven. Repeat at least three times.

While you’re doing this, focus your mind on nothing but your breathing. Your wedding party, mother, and future in-laws can wait two minutes for you to collect yourself.


There’s a reason maids of honor, best men, and the rest of your wedding party exist. Their original and most important task is to witness the vows and sign the wedding license after the ceremony. Today, the modern wedding has grown into a much bigger production, and the wedding party’s responsibilities have grown with it.

If your number one priority at this wedding is great photography or a perfect cake, then yes, you can be point person for those vendors. But anything you can hand off to someone else, do. If a groomsman works in audio equipment and is willing to choose the DJ, let him. If you trust your maid of honor to handle scheduling and getting payment to the seamstress or tailor for alterations, let her (if you don’t trust her, why is she your maid of honor?)

Don’t forget about your family, either. The sad truth is that parents or siblings may not be as supportive of your marriage as you want, or they may not be around or a part of your life. But if your mom or brother is volunteering to help out, let them take on whatever tasks you’re comfortable sharing. Parents especially are often eager to be a part of their child’s special day.

Photo courtesy of @noah_ife on

don’t murder anyone

This one is a joke, but I’m only half-kidding. The biggest stressor in wedding planning is usually the people. Your future mother-in-law might be insisting to pay for a 250-person formal gala hosted in a five-star hotel, but you and your boo are way more into a low-key beach party. Maybe the college BFF you trusted has started false, malicious rumors that your fiance is cheating on you.

Whoever the thorn in your side is, don’t let them get to you. Cut them politely but firmly out of your planning process (and, in the “BFF”-type scenarios, off the guest list). If they won’t listen to you, or if talking to them upsets you too much, go back to my last tip (delegate) and ask someone else to mediate. Minimize their influence on you and your plans as much as possible, and use the rest of my self-care list to manage any remaining stress they stir up.

remember your priorities

Sometimes it’s just your own to-do list getting to you. Sometimes things go wrong. Maybe you waited too long to book your baker, and now they’re unavailable on your date. Maybe the photographer has a family emergency and transfers her contract with you to someone else whom she vouches for, but you’ve never met.

These things happen. They can’t be avoided, but they can be handled. Just remember why you’re facing these challenges and going through this process: you love your partner and want to celebrate your relationship. If you keep your focus on that single, most important truth, you’ll realize that the flavor of the cake or color of your flowers really won’t matter in the end. All that matters is that you’re in love, and you’ve having a fun party with the people who support you.

next time: the self care basics

These are the starting points for managing stress during the wedding planning process. On Thursday, I’ll share my list of self care basics that any couple can and should maintain while wedding planning, regardless of their timeline or stress level. See you then!

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