How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed | Daniel Levitin
7 Ways to Stay Chill While Planning Your Wedding
Getting married is a BFD: You are fully aware of this fact. Your in-laws have reminded you of it. And your husband- or wife-to-be is likely facing the same after-effects of OMG, WE JUST GOT ENGAGED.
Then comes the planning.
As if the prospect of spending the rest of your life with someone weren't daunting enough, putting together a major event can be seriously stressful. And yet, it's supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Is there any way to keep this as exciting and fabulous as possible? Here are seven wedding stress management tips to help do the trick.
1. Touch base with your spouse-to-be. Having a heart-to-heart with your spouse about what getting married truly means to both of you — not what you think itshouldmean based on, ahem, a particularly pushy in-law's definition — can help you feel grounded at all steps of planning a wedding, cognitive behavioral and couples therapist Chloe Carmichael, Ph.D., tells Cosmopolitan.com.
Get on the same page about how spiritual you both want your wedding day to be, discuss what you'd each like your vows to mean (and if you prefer to write your own), and remember to plan for the marriage, not for the wedding. "Weddings take better shape when you have an awareness of what it's supposed to cement," says Carmichael.
Remember to plan for the marriage, not for the wedding.
Also: Don't be shy about discussing legal issues like prenups. It can feel awkward but it's an important conversation to have, says Carmichael — if not only to ensure both parties are truly on the same page.
2. Be realistic about your budget.Your childhood best friend might have had a blowout destination wedding. But you + your future-spouse may be on a slimmer budget. Stretching your expectations beyond your wallet's reach is bound to make you feel badly about your own wedding's epic-ness. Save yourself from disappointment, Carmichael advises, by discussing financial constraints with your other half sooner than later.
Carve out five or 10 minutes to jot down rough estimates of how much each of you are willing to spend, what elements of the wedding you think should soak up the most cash, and where you're both willing to compromise.
This helps lower the anxiety of worrying you're
overspending — or not spending enough on the things you've agreed matter most.
3. Cut back on comparisons. You'll have a much happier kick-off to marriage if you lessen the pressure to look "perfect." No harm in using someone else's wedding photos to motivate you if you're legitimately interested in shedding a few pounds or toning up prior to slipping on your dress, Carmichael says. But if you try morphing yourself into an impossible standard, can't accept yourself just as you are, or feel inundated by feelings of shame, stop. Just stop. Like, now.
In situations where appearance anxiety is running on high, Carmichael recommends seeking support from your partner. He or she chose you for a reason, remember? And it was probably more than skin-deep. (Isn't the fact that they love you more important than what an estranged aunt thinks or how your glamour shots measure up to your model-friend's Facebook wedding album?)
4. Quit obsessing over minutiae. You may be under the impression thatthe little things matter most. Awesome. But this maxim's originator probably didn't mean the scalloped lace pattern on your ruffled ceramic wedding cake pedestal. Keep the focus on the bigger picture (i.e., how special it is to be getting married) if you find yourself getting bogged down in details, advises Carmichael.
"You can't ever have everything so orchestrated that it feels like choreography," she says. To discern whether you're being a star planner or just driving yourself nuts, she recommends asking, "Do these plans make me feel secure? Or do they make me feel far more anxious?" (You'll know.)
5. Lay down the law with pushy relatives. Some parents feel entitled to dictate the course of their kids' nuptials, especially if they're footing most of the bill. But if their visions clash with your childhood fantasy, you need to speak up. (After all, it's your day.)
They key to getting someone else to back off? "Communicate your needs to them in a manner that makes them feel heard and validated," Carmichael recommends.
This means listening to what they want, repeating back to them what you think they mean (in a warm voice that doesn't sound like it's mocking), and then stating your preferences (as non-aggressively as you can.)
Example:"Thank youso much for all your input on the wedding venue. I understand why this would be really important to you and I think it's a beautiful idea. Ultimately, however, I think [name of spouse] and I are really set on [your fave locale] instead. But I'd love it if you could help me pick out a tablecloth or join me in taste-testing some cakes!"
By giving them another outlet for their need to control, Carmichal says they may not feel as thwarted. Oh, and BTW: These communication tactics will come in handy if disagreements ensue between you and your spouse. You know, after the honeymoon glow wears off and all that.
6. Have allies in the event something goes wrong. Ideally, you and your spouse come from families where the drama is minimal, there aren't any members who refuse to be in the same room together, and everyone loves everyone, #bliss. How common is that really, though? So if you're on edge about, say, your parents erupting into a spat on the dance floor because your wedding's the first place they're seeing one another following an embittered divorced, Carmichael advises designating a few groomsmen and bridesmaids (or a particularly sturdy set of cousins) to stand in as bodyguards, should something go seriously wrong.
Do what you can to physically keep any disruptive individuals away from each other (i.e., don't seat exes next to one another). And, if you can, find a time where you're not overly taxed by work and wedding planning to let a potentially problematic attendee in on your concerns.
Say to them, suggests Carmichael, something like, "I'm not going to disinvite you. But I only want you to come if you can agree to be civil and not make a spectacle of yourself in any way. What can I do to help you feel better or safer so everyone's happy?" (IOW:I respect your needs so long as you respect mine.)
7. Be kind to your bridesmaids. Hey, weddings can be stressful for more than just the bride! Your maid of honor and her underlings could also be feeling some major pre-aisle-walking stress. (Maybe they can't actually afford transportation to and from your lead-up events, plane fare for a wedding, or another dress.)
Taking the perspective of someone else can unhook your mind from obsessing over havingthe perfect wedding,says Carmichael. So take a moment to check in with the gals (or guys) you've invited who matter to you the most. If nothing else, connecting with a good pal about mutual stressors more secure. Regardless of how many steps away you are from the actual aisle.
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