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Reducing wedding anxiety

Stress free is the way to be

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Planning your wedding can be one of the most stressful experiences in your life — unless you ever have the unfortunate experience of getting audited by the Internal Revenue Service. That may be slightly worse.

But don’t fret — wedding preparation isn’t as nerve-wracking as the government scrutinizing your finances under a federal microscope (sorry, we’re still traumatized). But, yes, you are going to get stressed out, and screaming into a pillow may become a nightly ritual. But even so, we’ve got your back (much like a comfy pillow!). All you have to do is follow these simple nerve-numbing tips:

1. It’s all about you

Wedding magazines have taken over your coffee table, your inbox is flooded with responses from vendors, and it has been nothing but “wedding, wedding, wedding,” since you set the date. How do you escape this insanity? Reduce tension by taking a “me day.” Once a week, schedule a few hours of down time without your partner, and make sure they do the same. Get a massage, schedule a mani-pedi, go for a long stroll in the park, visit a museum, take a bubble bath – anything to disconnect from the planning frenzy for a few hours. Not only will some “me time” give your busy brain a chance to rest, but it will reenergize you for the next phase of planning.

2. No thanks, we’re good

Isn’t it funny how half of the people you’re inviting to the wedding make their livings as wedding planners? Be forewarned: people will be heaping, well, a heap of unsolicited advice upon you and you will feel like you’re drowning in it. Your cousin Sally may insist (over and over) that you hire her best friend as the florist or your best man Joe may assure you that his buddy is the best DJ in town. Sometimes you will actually receive good advice, but a lot of the times you won’t. The important thing to keep in mind is that it is always well-intentioned advice and as long as you act like you’re a contestant on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and insist that you and your partner have the final answer and neither of you needs to ask the audience, you will be fine.

3. Create a wedding-free zone

Designate your breakfast nook, living room sofa, or bedroom as a safe space in your home where you and your to-be can take refuge from the seemingly endless wedding discussion. By escaping to your safe zone, you and your partner are signaling to each other that you need some time to decompress and that once you turn off your Kindle and get off the sofa, the planning can resume.

4. Repeat after me

Sometimes we’re the only ones who can talk ourselves down from the ledge. Come up with a mantra that you can summon when the stress is getting out of control. Close your eyes and slowly breathe in and out as you repeat, “Everything will be just fine,” “We will find the perfect venue,” or “I can have a Pop Tart after we choose our invitation font,” as many times as it takes to settle your nerves and find your chi.

5. Date night

Date Night allows you both to take a break from the wedding planning chaos and rejuvenate as a couple. Go out for brunch, take in a movie, or just order some take-out and catch up on your favorite show, but don’t discuss any of the wedding arrangements. Put aside all wedding talk and take the time reconnect. … at least until the season finale of “House of Cards” is over or you’re out of pad Thai.

6. Journal the journey

Writers and poets throughout history will attest to the cathartic benefit of jotting down your feelings. Pick out a moleskin and designate it as your “Official wedding journal” and use it to catalog your doubts, anxieties, and wedding planning triumphs. Journaling also allows you to open up about your feelings without feeling self-conscious. Sometimes you just need to vent — you’re not looking for feedback.

7. Take baby steps

Set weekly, monthly, or quarterly goals and write them down. Start off with the goal of choosing the color palette or the venue. Next, decide on the style and wording of the invitations. The next month take the time to research, visit, and choose your florist. You can even take a look at our wedding checklist for tips on when to do what tasks. Breaking up a huge event into small, manageable responsibilities, will not only help you two focus, but will give you peace of mind. And if you get stuck on one item, such as catering, move to the next and then revisit that one later.

8. Let’s make a deal

Settle on a budget and stick to it. Make a blood oath if you have to. Promise that neither of you will push for unnecessary extravagances such as arriving at the wedding via helicopter or horse-drawn carriage if it wasn’t originally planned. If you come across the perfect wedding dress or venue and each is a bit more than you had allotted for, go over the budget together and see if you can make up that difference by saving money on something else.

9. Don’t hate, appreciate

It’s hard to gather 100 people in one place without some sort of melodrama. Get ready for the backlash once your invitations go out. Family feuds, seating arrangements, and your guest list are likely to become topics of conversation broached by inconsiderate guests. You may even be deluged with threats, such as, “I’m not going if he’s going” or emotional blackmail like, “How could you invite her after what she did to me? Don’t you care about my feelings at all?” Have a standard answer ready for any of these such attacks. Something along the lines of, “Everyone I invited means something to me. I really want you to be a part of my special day, but I am not going to change my mind and I am not going to entertain any negativity. I really hope you’re there on the most important day of my life.”

10. Outsource

If you’re getting that stressed out, hire an wedding planner. It’s not a cop out — it’s a timesaver and pressure reducer. If planning your wedding is causing tension between you and your beau, and you have the money, hire someone to do all the research so all you have to do is point and nod. If your budget prevents you from hiring a wedding planner, look into wedding coaches. A bridal or wedding coach will help you create a budget; choose your theme; locate vendors according to your tastes, style, and budget; and provide you with two very important documents — a detailed budget and a timeline. And hiring a wedding coach is not cost-prohibitive. Weddingcoach.ca offers this service via Skype for only $197.

Now that’s money well spent.

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