About seven months ago, I leaped back into my online inspiration boards and budget sheets, dusting off the wedding planning corners of my mind that have since laid dormant since 2014. My sister is getting married in about a month (hooray!), and after noticing that my DIY experience was not a total hot mess, she asked me to step up to take charge a large portion of her wedding planning.
I'm more than happy to do it since there was an event planning part of my soul that mourned the end of our wedding process. I felt the gnawing urge to hot glue something for weeks. But now that I'm back in the groove, a lot of the pre-planning stress is resurfacing for both of us. The brainstorming phase has passed, and we're now in the final stages of ordering escort cards, extra vases, and shepherd's hooks — all the little extras that you forget about until the last minute. There are the tricky logistics, coordinating vendors, and paying the final (usually larger) deposits.
In my own wedding, it often felt like the list wouldn't end, and now my job is to reassure my sister that: yes, the list will end, and yes, you will be able to enjoy the wedding day whether you reach the end of the list or not. If you find yourself in a similar place, this is some advice that kept me moving:
Plan out the day-of
It may sound backwards — planning to avoid planning stress — but for me, I couldn't just throw up my hands, walk away from what needed to be done and call it a day. Instead, it helped immensely to simply redirect that planning energy into something that reminded me of the celebration ahead. And setting a schedule of the wedding day itself reinforced the fact that my fiancé and I still had control of how well we took care of ourselves throughout the experience.
Most importantly, I blocked off alone time for myself the morning of the wedding. As a pretty introverted person, I knew that the wedding would arrive after a week of family interaction. And though I love them very much, I run out of spoons more quickly than others, especially while hosting. I made myself a promise: 8-9 a.m. would have no cell phones, a long walk, and breakfast. I wanted to avoid rolling out of bed and immediately jumping into answering questions. This made a world of difference — I even rethought my vows on this walk. I also loosely arranged the schedule leading up to the ceremony. This way, I never felt that time was flying away from me, and I knew it could all get done without panicking.
Take yourself on a vows date
As a writer, I need some space to hear the voices in my head. But as I mentioned above, it wasn't until the morning of the wedding day that my vows completely came into focus. I hadn't taken the time for myself until the final moment. So if you're choosing to write your own vows and are having some trouble, take yourself on a date — to the movies, a museum, or just for a super-pretty walk. This distance from usual tasks, even for a short time, may just spark the writing portion of your mind. It relieves the pressure and allows you to reflect on the beauty of the whole experience.
Reconnect with your wedding party
Your beloved wedding party often ends up with a load of second-hand stress as well. And even though this doesn't deplete their love for you, it's easy for relationships to become strained during these times. Break up the email chain and find a way to see one another in person if possible. It's doesn't need to be a wedding-related event, just simply a chance to spend time together and check in. For my party and I, this was a nice reminder that we would still all have each other once the wedding planning was out of the way. It was also a great way to shift the focus back to the group.
Set aside quality fiancé time
Before our wedding, we often found ourselves scrambling — we had extra jobs to pay for the wedding, spent tons of time communicating with vendors and family, and were often exhausted by the time we reconvened at the end of the night. Pick a night, even if it's completely out of the blue and requires a schedule shake-up, and go out to a spot that does not relate to wedding planning. If possible, avoid talking logistics. Slow the train down, and remember: all this planning is meant to celebrate your relationship, and taking tome for each other during the process is still—if not more—important.
Plan a post-trip outing
Again, with the extra-planning ideas! But by scheduling something to look forward to post-wedding, even if it's a day trip to a favorite nearby spot or a casual party at your house, you ward off the post-wedding crash. Choosing a fun activity will also give you and your new spouse a reason to extend the celebration that often feels all too fast once it begins. The wedding is only the beginning of a new phase! It's lovely to have an adventure on the horizon after the wedding dress is stashed away.
So if you're months, weeks, or days away, hang on! You're almost there. And remember that some quality time for yourself, your fiancé, and your loved ones is a great way to refocus and brush off any stress that starts to creep up in those final crazy moments.