Whether your wedding is a year away or you're just a few weeks out, it's not unusual to feel overwhelmed as the big day approaches. Let's face it—wedding planning is incredibly exciting, but it also requires a significant amount of work. Although it can be stressful, you shouldn't feel constantly anxious, frustrated, and totally swamped. "It's important to deal with those feelings before they escalate to a point where you lose the fun and excitement and find that you would rather crawl in a hole!" says Patti Hastings, owner and founder of the wedding and event planning firm P. Hastings Design.
To help yourself relax and relish in what should be nothing short of a joy-filled experience, we asked wedding planners to share their best tips for avoiding bridal burnout.
Set a realistic plan.
"From the moment that rings slides on your finger, the wheels start turning in your mind at incredible speed," says Hastings. You can expect that everyone from family members and friends to complete strangers wants to know every little detail about your wedding before you've even planned them! "By setting a realistic plan, you can manage the 'beast' of wedding planning by whittling away at the details, one moment at a time," Hastings explains. "Creating a monthly timeline will help you stay focused on what is necessary at that time and what can wait."
Maintain as much of your regular routine as possible.
Wedding planning is an all-encompassing experience—it's practically a second full-time job—but don't let it evade your life so completely that you're no longer participating in important aspects of your daily life. "Once the big day is over you will still be a friend, a daughter, and a person with dreams and hobbies, so it will help you get grounded to regularly engage with some of those things to get back to a normal balance and routine," says Paulette Sherman, Psy.D., psychologist, life coach, and author of The Book of Sacred Baths.
There is a fine line between making impulsive choices and procrastinating about those choices altogether, explains Hastings. While it's important to do your research, she urges her clients not to put those decisions off for too long. "That beautiful dress may take months to order and the fabulous venue may be booked by the next time you call," she says. "I refer to this stage as 'setting the dominoes'—once all of the dominoes are in place, you can then flick the first one to fall and start fine tuning the rest of details."
When you're so busy planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget to do the simplest thing of all—take care of yourself! "You are the source of all you are doing, so you need to refuel," says Dr. Sherman. "Make sure to exercise, get massages, take baths, see friends, be in nature—whatever helps you unwind and feel whole and connected again." This, she explains, will help you enjoy the process of planning.
Take some time off from wedding planning.
Unless you're trying to plan a wedding in a month or less, Hastings recommends taking some time away from the process to remember why you're getting married in the first place. "I always advice couples to take a break from the planning process, especially during holidays since this time of year can be stressful enough," she says. "Even when it's not the holiday time, have a special date night that's free of wedding talk, take a trip together, or watch a movie. Take good care of your precious time and when you get back to the planning, you should feel refreshed and ready to roll once again."
Consider hiring a planner.
It never hurts to ask for help when you truly need it. If you're financially able to hire a wedding planner, or at least a day-of coordinator, it might be worthwhile, especially if you're already feeling the stress early on. "Be willing to let go of some things in order to come back to yourself and to enjoy your life and relationship again," adds Dr. Sherman.
Put yourself on Pinterest restriction.
Inspiration for your big day can be helpful, but don't spend every waking second flipping through magazines and searching Pinterest. "Anxiety can set in to the point where you start second guessing the choices you've made or panicked because you never thought to do something else," explains Hastings. "Take a break from Pinterest for a while and focus on what your original plan has been, then ease back into it, if you must."