Planning a wedding is so much fun, but it can be really stressful, too – especially for those of us who struggle with anxiety. Read on for my top tips for keeping sane and reducing stress + anxiety while planning your wedding so you can more fully enjoy this precious time in your life.
Now that I’m done with the wedding planning season of my life (it was exciting, but I’m also glad it’s over), I want to share some advice with current (or future) anxious brides-to-be. I was definitely worried when I began planning my wedding about how my anxiety would play out over the course of my time being engaged. I definitely had moments of panic, for sure, but for the most part I was really deliberate in reducing stress and anxiety around it however I could. I wanted to enjoy this time in my life, not look back and just remember how anxious I was about every little thing.
So, here are my top tips to help you stay sane while planning your wedding!
Plan a longer engagement if you can
I know not everyone can have a longer engagement for various reasons, but if you struggle with anxiety and you are able to plan a longer one, I would highly recommend it. Our engagement was 21 months (so almost two years). Yes, there were times when it felt like the wedding was really far away and I wished it could be sooner, but overall I wouldn’t change a thing.
A long engagement first and foremost allowed us a lot of time to plan, so it never felt rushed. Things often take more time than you think they do when planning a wedding, so it was great to be able to start things early and have a lot of buffer room in case something took longer than expected.
We also were able to reach out to vendors and venues really early, so we got our pick of vendors and we were able to take our time researching them. I know I would have been a lot more anxious if we were rushing to pick vendors and then some of them weren’t available. Having more time allowed us to slow down and be really deliberate with our choices. But even if you’re having a shorter or more normal engagement length, start as early as you can – especially on the big items like venue and vendors. It will save you a lot of potential stress!
Hire help (again, if you can)
I know not everyone is able to hire a wedding coordinator or planner, but if you are able to, it’s worth every penny. A lot of planners (if not most) have tiered pricing so you can choose a package that’s right for you. Steve and I wanted to still plan most of our wedding but just needed some help with certain aspects like narrowing down vendors and looking over vendor contracts, and ultimately we just wanted advice from someone who has more experience planning weddings than we do. So, one of the first things we did was hire an amazing wedding planner (if you’re in the Southern California area, I highly highly recommend our planner, Feathered Arrow Events)!
And yes, there are TONS of articles online that will help you plan your wedding, but that’s the problem – there is just SO much advice out there that is can be completely overwhelming. In the early stages of the planning process I felt like it was another full-time job just looking through vendors and advice articles, and I did not have time for that. So we hired a wedding planner to help us (not to plan our entire wedding for us) and I instantly felt so much less stressed. Sometimes it really pays to hire professionals who know what they’re doing! We completely trusted our wedding planner so I had such peace of mind about the planning process and the day of.
We were also able to hire amazing vendors who we trusted to do their jobs well. If you don’t trust your vendors and you try to control every single detail of your wedding, you will be much more anxious than if you just believe that you hired each vendor for a reason and trust them to execute your overall vision. Allowing the vendors to do what they do best also allowed me to release a lot of anxiety around the planning process because I could let go of worrying about every single detail.
Keep up your regular routine and self-care practices
This one is so so important! Obviously there will be times where you have more to do for your wedding than you normally would, but try as much as you can not to let your self-care practices and regular routine go completely out the window. Yes, it will take some time to meditate or journal or exercise, but you will be so much calmer and much better able to plan your wedding sanely when you prioritize self-care.
For us, it really helped that we had such a long engagement so it never felt like there were times when all I was doing was wedding planning in my spare time (besides maybe the last month or so). But even if you’re on a shorter timeline, try not to sacrifice your self-care as best you can. Even if it’s just thirty minutes a day, it will help tremendously in lowering your overall anxiety.
Don’t worry about what other people think and remember the bigger picture
For me, one of the most stressful aspects of planning my wedding was worrying about what other people were going to think. Of my dress, of the venue, of every detail. The truth is that most guests aren’t even going to notice or care about the details, but also remember that everyone is there because they love you and they are celebrating you. Your wedding should be a reflection of you, not what you want other people to think of you.
This was a really tough one for me that took months of internal work. When we think of weddings we think of others’ judging us and our choices, and I would be up at night worrying about that sometimes. I know my taste isn’t everyone’s taste, and I agonized over all the things people could be judging me for. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that I got to marry the love of my life in front of my family and friends. I knew things would go wrong, because things always do, but none of that mattered in the end. The whole day is such a blur anyway – and at the end of the day, you’ll be married and that’s what matters most.
Make lists and get organized
Making lists always helps me feel more on top of any big project I’m tackling, and it was no different when it came to wedding planning. I created my own monthly to do list from lists online (there are a million) and a timeline from our planner. I then made sure that Steve and I were sitting down at least weekly to go over our to-do list and tackle various tasks.
We didn’t start these weekly meetings until a while in, since there wasn’t as much to do in the beginning with our long timeline. But I wish we had started them sooner because they were a HUGE help in making sure things got done and that we weren’t falling behind. Feeling like you’ve got an eye on everything will greatly reduce your anxiety that things won’t get done!
Also, delegating tasks to those who are willing to help is a thrifty way of outsourcing some of your wedding tasks. I was hesitant to do this at first because I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone, but a lot of people genuinely want to help and be a part of your big day! So let them if they offer!
Steve and I (well Steve did, he’s the Excel wizard) created a lot of amazing spreadsheets that helped us keep track of where we were at with our vendors (ie had we scheduled a phone call? Gotten an estimate? Signed a contract? There is a lot to keep track of!) and where we were with our budget + payments as well. There will be a ton of different payment due dates so make sure you have those written down! The Excel sheets we created were a HUGE lifesaver.
While I hope these tips help you if you’re planning your wedding, remember that in the end it’s going to be such an amazing day that you’ll cherish forever. When I’m overwhelmed or start noticing anxious thoughts, I let that feeling of joy guide me and center me as much as possible. I know there’s a lot to do and a lot of worry that can come with such an important day in your life, but I promise you, you’ve got this!