How to manage stress in the lead up to your wedding
There is no getting away from it, planning a wedding can give rise to challenges of all shapes and sizes which, for many brides-to-be, can result in feelings of stress. Decision making, people pleasing, juggling online wedding planning with an already busy life, the list goes on…
Georgina’s wedding day | Credit: Ashley Paton Photography
By Georgina Lucy, Bridal Coach
When I was planning my wedding it was really important to me that I loved every single second. I love planning and, as cheesy as it sounds, the chance to design a day which symbolised us as a couple, and gave those we love a day of fun, felt like an absolute privilege. During my engagement I only had one highly stressful meltdown moment and I’ll come to that later…
I genuinely feel so sad when I hear of brides feeling stressed and frazzled – no bride should be robbed of such an exciting time. That said, whether or not you let stress strike during the lead up to your wedding is totally up to you.
You are now probably thinking things like, but how can I stop suppliers letting me down, or the fact I don’t have enough time to create the wedding of my dreams? Of course things can happen which are outside of your control but it’s your choice how you respond to the feelings of stress that arise.
My secret weapon…
There are many stress-busting tips such as making time to exercise and prioritise self-care. These things are important, but there is something else which helped me so much and I’m going to introduce it to you in the hope that it helps your wedding planning experience be a calm and happy one.
So what’s the secret weapon? Mindfulness. It’s all about being conscious of the present moment and being aware of what’s going on in our minds. When planning a wedding, our brains are packed full of thoughts, ideas, judgements and to-do lists, not to mention all the non-wedding related stuff too. It’s hardly surprising things get overwhelming is it?
This is where mindfulness meditation, or even just mindful breathing exercises, which really are one in the same thing if you ask me, can make a massive difference to your wellbeing. Stress is a response to our perception of what is happening. We may not be able to do anything about the supplier who has let us down, or the wedding related family politics, but we can change our perceptions of these things and practising mindfulness helps us do that.
How to do a mindfulness meditation
You may think you need to sit cross legged on the floor chanting ‘ooommm’ – you don’t. I mean, you can, but you really don’t have to. The main thing is that you use your breath as an anchor to the present moment.
- Close your eyes if you wish and breathe deeply through your nose for a count of 5
- Hold the breath for a count of 4
- Exhale through the mouth for a count of 6
- Really notice the physical sensations in your body, for example how the cold air feels going into your nose, and out your mouth
I was doing this exact mindfulness exercise as I was about to walk down the aisle with my dad on my wedding day. I was doing it to slow my heart rate and stay calm but also to really hook myself into the present moment. I can honestly say I was totally in the moment during my wedding ceremony. No worries about what’s happening next or what people think of my dress. I was soaking up every second and an exercise such as this is a great way to get you into that headspace.
Like with anything, prevention is better than cure so if you can introduce mindfulness into your routine in the lead up to your wedding, and keep at it, I promise you, you will change your relationship with stress. You will also then have this fantastic tool in your back pocket ready to whip out if things do get too much.
On the whole I was a chilled out bride, but as mentioned above I did have one meltdown moment. It was two days before the big day and we were having a tipi wedding. We had some challenges during the tipi set-up and had to call the suppliers to come back the next day to sort things out. This all meant we fell behind schedule and things really got on top of me. That night I felt really anxious getting into bed and tossed and turned for hours. I wasn’t thinking rationally so didn’t think to do a mindfulness exercise for some time, but when I did come to my senses, I did a meditation.
I know that when your mind is so stressed and out of control trying to simply focus on your breathing can be tough. The aim isn’t to empty your mind but to let the thoughts pass, like watching clouds pass by in the sky. You are not judging your thoughts; you’re just letting them pass. Achieving this stillness allowed me to finally get to sleep and gave me the clarity I so desperately needed to kick myself back into positive action the next day and guess what, it all ended up absolutely fine. It always would have been fine but I was so close to letting the stress get the better of me. Please don’t let that happen to you. Remember, how you experience the lead up to your big day is in your control and I really hope you soak up and enjoy every second.
Georgina Lucy offers one-on-one and group coaching for brides-to-be, encouraging the wedding planning process to be less about stress, nerves and people pleasing, and more about empowering brides to arrive at decisions that feel right for them. To find out more visit georginalucy.com and follow on Instagram and Facebook on @georginalucycoach. Georgina is currently offering a free 30 minute bridal coaching taster so get in touch to book your session.
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