Wedding season is upon us and with that a host of issues is brought up that can wreak havoc on what is supposed to be a wonderful day. Throughout the year, many soon-to-be married couples consult me for avoiding pre-wedding stress and anxiety. Often this stress can come very close to breaking up the engagement and open up family issues to the point where people go radio silent on each other. I have yet to meet anyone who tells me that their wedding planning was easy and without incident. In fact, for most people it is quite the opposite. So accept the notion that stress and anxiety are normal and learn how to keep your cool without breaking up your relationship and family.
Here's what to do:
1. Lower your standards.
Though society and culture dictate that this is supposed to be "the happiest day of your life," that notion sets the bar way too high and in doing so creates pressure. By lowering your expectations and aiming for a happy day, you'll help to avoid turning into the bride or groom from Hell.
2. Stick with your decisions and plans and don't be swayed by the opinions of others.
Keep in mind that this is your special day, not theirs. Just because Mom wants you to have the grand wedding she never had is no reason to do so. Plan the wedding first and foremost to satisfy your needs.
3. Set goals and make definitive plans to reach them.
Ask for help from your friends and relatives and don't be afraid to delegate.
4. Create a budget with your future spouse and family and stick with it.
Don't be tempted by salespeople. This is a highly-charged emotional time in your life and wedding vendors know that and often use it to their advantage.
5. Anticipate relatives or friends who might not get along.
Talk to them ahead of time and ask them to set aside their differences for the day and focus on your wedding instead of their issues.
6. Adjust your thinking.
Rather than dwelling on "what ifs," think from a position of strength. For example, "I have a checklist of everything that needs to happen and am well organized" is far better than, "What if the flowers don't arrive?" or "What if I'm late?"
7. Remember, with all life changes, even positive ones, anxiety and stress are normal.
To help alleviate stress gain some perspective. Take time to do things, both alone and with your fiance, that are entirely unrelated to the wedding planning. As you plan your wedding and carry out your big celebration, keep in mind, the day itself isn't as important as the meaning of it: a celebration of the love that exists between you and your soon-to-be spouse.