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Get a Grip: Sanity Check!

By Margaret Littman, CTW Features Published: January 21, 2010

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Wedding planning means a lot of tasks and a lot of stress. But it doesn’t mean you’re going to go crazy. Here’s some advice to help you stay grounded during the premarital process.

It is an insane time. You’re planning for one of the biggest days of your life, probably trying to DIY on lots of the wedding day details to keep expenses down. Plus, you’re putting in demanding hours at work, or, in some cases, conducting a full-blown job search, not to mention dealing with all of your friends’ and family members’ various nuptial demands.

Yes, the months leading up to a wedding are always going to be among the most stressful in a woman’s life. That’s why we have pulled together these 10 stress-busters specially made for brides. Read on and relax.

1. Set a Budget and Stick To It
It may seem like obvious advice, but experts say it also is one of the pieces that might have the most impact on your stress level. Don’t try on a $4,000 dress if your budget is $1,500, warns Barbara Coolidge Tibbetts, author of “I Want My Mother’s Dress to Match the Napkins: Funny Stories and Serious Advice For Looking Your Best At Your Child’s Wedding” (CreateSpace, 2009).

If you fall in love with that $4,000 dress you’ll either go over budget to get it, or feel like what you “settle for” in your price range is inferior. There are good, solid options for everything, from invitations to venues, in every budget.

2. Consider Counseling
It is not just for problem couples. In fact, many states offer discounts on marriage licenses for couples who have gone through certified premarital counseling. Wedding-planning stress often illuminates what tressors might crop up in later in a marriage, says Alisha C. Walker, one of “The Married Coaches” ( who offers couples counseling in Atlanta. For example, working through your expectations for saving and spending on your wedding now will reduce your immediate stress level, as well as help solidify your relationship for other big potential stressors down the road, such as buying your first house.

3. Cut Out the Diet Talk
There’s no surer path to stress-induced misery than buying a dress that is too small, hoping you’ll fit into it y the big day. Author Tibbetts, who also owns the T. Carolyn dress shop for mothers of the bride in Dallas, ays it takes a loss of 15 pounds to drop one dress size. This doesn’t mean you should abandon efforts to eat right and exercise. Both of those things can help reduce stress during the planning process. And, if you lose a few pounds in the process, great.

4. Start Slowly
Eisner thinks the “wedding distress disorder” many brides-to-be experience is because “people move too quickly into mode.” You don’t have to buy a newsstands’ worth of bridal magazines the day of your engagement and start the planning immediately. Enjoy your engagement time and think about the marriage and life you are building, not just the party.


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