Some time has passed since you became a fiancé and decided to walk the wedding planning path. During that time you’ve probably looked at 50 shades of [insert your wedding colors here], drooled over every real wedding photo on Instagram, and tasted more cake samples than you care to share.

And you’ve loved the journey and can’t wait to walk the aisle, but there’s this icky feeling settling into your stomach and rummaging through your head. It’s not that you’re getting cold feet or that you’re not excited about the big day. It’s just that there’s this general feeling of anxiety and gloom hanging over you. Maybe you go to bed late because you’re stressed out or you procrastinate because you’re worn out from making decisions.

“Shouldn’t I feel more blissed out than this?” you wonder. “What’s wrong with me?”

Nothing is wrong with you! In fact, many future brides and grooms feel anxious, stressed, and frustrated before their wedding day. Contrary to the highlight reels you may see on social media, wedding planning and the engagement period isn’t always happy and beautiful and easy.

If you’re feeling pre-wedding anxiety, don’t push it down or hide it away. Instead, embrace it, face it, and clear it out so that you can make room for joy. Here are some things you can do to help you manage the stress and bust through anxiety before the big day.

Related: Why Wedding Coordinators Are Important

engagement photo shoot with couple embracing as the bride to be laughs over the groom to be's shoulder at Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, Texas. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Turn the what if frown upside down.

This is as simple as smiling, but rarely thought of.

It’s quite easy to worry about everything during your engagement and ask all those negative what if questions: What if the linens don’t get here in time? What if my dress doesn’t fit? What if a vendor backs out the last minute? What if I trip on the way to the altar?

Instead of asking negative questions, try turning them into positives: What if everything goes smoothly? What if we nail our first dance performance? What if it all turns out better than I could have ever imagined?

Doesn’t that feel better?

Take a wedding break.

Give your inner wedding planner some firm boundaries with mandatory no-wedding times. Instead of getting home from work and taking the rest of the evening to wedding plan, break your evening into blocks of planning time and me time. Set aside an hour or two to do wedding stuff, then leave the rest of the evening open for anything not related to your big day. Maybe that means you and your fiancé binge watch Netflix or maybe you take some solo time to read.

Bride in a white dress with her back towards the camera hold her arms out behind her with a shawl held in both hands. The wind blows the shawl and her hair back towards the camera. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Don’t let your down time stress you out.

When it’s time for you to relax and enjoy some no-wedding moments, allow yourself to actually relax. Your inner planner might stomp her feet and say mean things like, “You’re so lazy. Nothing will ever get accomplished. How can you take time to relax when the wedding is only a month away?”

If this happens, say, “Thank you for your input, but things will be just fine,” and go about your non-wedding business. And believe it! In fact, things will probably turn out better if you allow yourself some down time. Stress and overwhelm will only lead to burnout and that can manifest in many ways: sickness, headaches, depression, anxiety - basically a whole bunch of rotten apples.

Down time is necessary, so let yourself enjoy it.

Pare down your priorities.

What this really means is, only work on the stuff that really matters to you. The less decisions you have to make, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel. If you don’t care about the reception playlist, have someone else write out some suggestions or do a Spotify search for wedding playlists. Same goes for anything else that’s not that important to you. Keep those things simple and save your energy for things that you care deeply about, like your outfit, color palette, or wedding theme.  

Lower your standards.

This isn’t about settling for less; it’s more about staying flexible, going with the flow, being open to other possibilities.

If you’ve been dreaming of the perfect wedding for ages or have consumed one too many styled shoots on your go-to wedding blogs, you may have created an unreasonable expectation for yourself. And if you don’t reach those high standards you’ve built, you’ll feel like a failure.

Jennifer Louden describes the positivity of lowering your standards in such a beautiful way. She says, “Lowering your standards means removing the deadly weight of perfectionism, of standards so impossibly high you never meet them or, if you do, you raise the bar and keep going. No rest, no recognition, and forget celebration or satisfaction. Lowering your standards is remembering that to be human means to be flawed. It is to learn to grow down into the truer shape of your real life, not the glossy fantasy life you keep thinking will arrive… someday. Nor is it to live a stunted life of less than true, less than what you desire. Lowering your standards fosters progress in a human-scaled, mindful way. ‘This is what I can do right now and I’m doing it.’”

Engagement photo shoot with couple embracing while facing each other on a dock overlooking a lake. The bride to be in a red dress, kicks her left leg back as the she smiles at her partner. while at Laguna Gloria in Austin, Texas. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Find something that lets you leave it all behind.

For some, it’s “going to the mat” in the early morning hours and starting the day with yoga. For others, it’s 10 minutes of meditation. And for others, it’s letting loose on the dance floor.

All of these activities help people to focus on the task at hand and live in the moment. Try incorporating one of these practices (which can be fun and relaxing) into your daily routine or find something else that helps you relax into the moment, like gardening, cooking, or painting.

You won’t always be in positive, happy la-la land mode during your engagement. Anxiety might creep in here and there - that’s just life. BUT, it can be relieved when you allow yourself the freedom to enjoy non-wedding moments, keep things simple, and give yourself the gift of “good enough”.

Related: Simple Self-Care Ideas for Brides

Looking to decrease your wedding anxiety by hiring a wedding coordinator, a photographer, or another helpful vendor? I've got some ideas! Contact me using the link below.

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