10 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before You Walk Down the Aisle

Everyone will tell you it's normal to be nervous on your wedding day, but you don't have to let those jitters get the best of you. Here, experts weigh in with their top tips for keeping calm and happy before you say "I do."   

Contributing Writer
Photography by: Trent Bailey Photography

1. Envision the day.

Certified life coach Erik Cline—newly married himself—recommends taking some time with your future spouse before the big day to make a little mental movie of how the wedding will unfold, from the ceremony to cocktail hour to reception. You'll both be better prepared for the real thing, as if it's not a totally new experience.

2. Trust those around you.

You've already delegated tasks big and small to your vendors, family, and friends; now's the time to trust them to come through for you, says Frank Bevacqua, Ph.D. in counseling psychology. "You've given them these responsibilities because you trust them. Exercise this trust and don't worry about what you are now no longer responsible for!" 

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3. Accept imperfections.

Realistically, Bevacqua points out, it's unlikely for an event to go off without a hitch: "Remember that sometimes the best memories can come from things going ridiculously wrong, and none of those things are, or will ever be, more important than your relationship."

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4. Replace negative feelings with positive thoughts.

"Our realities are shaped by our thoughts," explains meditation speaker and author Joy Rains. Worried about the caterer? Second-guessing your decision to get married? Rains encourages replacing anxious thoughts with ones that "focus on love and celebration," such as 'I can't wait to party with all my friends and family!' or 'Honeymooning with my husband is going to be super romantic.'

5. Reminisce about good times you've shared with your partner. 

Stacy Kaiser, licensed psychotherapist and Live Happy editor at large, advises calming nerves and lifting the mood with positive memories: "Think about the day you got engaged, look at photos from your last trip together, remember when you first met." 

6. Take time out.

It's going to be a busy morning, but psychology Ph.D. Joanie B. Connell highly recommends scheduling in an hour to "center yourself" by taking a walk, doing yoga, or meditating. 

7. Hydrate and refuel.

Don't underestimate the importance of drinking plenty of water and eating healthily! "Nutrition and hydration are crucial to giving us the strength to manage our nerves and emotions," says licensed clinical social worker Christine M. Valentin. Your dress is going to look amazing—don't even think about skipping breakfast!

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8. Be present—with all your senses!

As you're getting ready, says psychiatrist Jared Heathman, taste a favorite snack, feel the fabric of your dress, smell the flowers you selected for your bouquet, listen to the excitement of your family and friends, and "soak in the sights as if no pictures will be taken."

9. Share your anxiety.

One of the most profound ways to manage stress is to be honest and open, advises naturopathic medical doctor Sharon Stills. Tell a family member or friend how you are feeling and talk it through—you're likely to get a helpful perspective or a chance to chuckle and release some of the tension you're experiencing.

10. Get physical.

If you're struggling to keep anxious thoughts at bay, author and assistant professor of medicine Kathryn Tristan offers some physical stress-busting remedies. Smile—whether you mean it or not, smiling releases mood-enhancing endorphins. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly to decrease heart rate and blood pressure. Finally, move, wiggle, and stretch to loosen tight muscles and feel refreshed.   


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