Wedding Stress

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Planning a wedding is an exciting journey filled with anticipation and dreams of the perfect day. However, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety as you navigate various decisions and challenges. From choosing the right venue to managing guest lists and budgets, the list of tasks can seem overwhelming. But fear not—with the right strategies, you can stay calm and focused and enjoy the journey leading up to your big day.

When it comes to how you approach the wedding, I am an advocate for making sure the engagement season is balanced. You need to plan for marriage and a wedding, which means there are event checklists, but you also need to nurture the relationship.

During engagement, the area where I see couples struggle the most is juggling all the lists and life events in a short amount of time or trying to pack too many significant events into one season. I will say a little more about that below.

The American Institute of Stress (Yes, there is such an institute) is a non-profit organization started in 1978. Their primary mission is the study of stress. Good stress and bad stress. They define stress as “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.” Or they offer another popular definition: “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.”[i]

           For too many couples, the proposal is the capstone of a long romantic dating season. And once the engagement begins, the machine of the wedding world begins to churn. And unless you or your fiancé are event planners, the engagement process can be overwhelming. So here is some of my best advice:


1.      Acknowledge Your Feelings

It is essential to recognize and acknowledge your feelings of stress and anxiety. Planning a wedding is a significant life event, and itis natural to experience a range of emotions during this time. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without judgment, and remember that seeking support from your partner, friends, or family is okay.

 2.     Set Realistic Expectations

One of the most significant sources of stress when planning a wedding is often unrealistic expectations. Remember that perfection is unattainable, and it is okay to embrace imperfections. Set realistic goals and priorities based on your budget, timeline, and personal preferences. Focus on what truly matters and avoid unnecessary pressure to meet unrealistic standards.

 3.     Stay Organized

A well-organized approach to wedding planning can significantly reduce stress levels. Create a detailed checklist or timeline outlining all the tasks you need to complete and deadlines you need to meet. Utilize wedding planning apps, spreadsheets, or traditional pen and paper to keep track of essential details such as vendor contacts, payments, and appointments. You can approach each task methodically and avoid last-minute rushes by staying organized. So get a good wedding planner book or wedding planning app.

Photo by Natasha Fernandez

 4.     Practice Self-Care

Amidst the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, do not forget to prioritize self-care. Be available for activities that help you relax and recharge, whether practicing yoga, walking in nature, reading a book, or enjoying a long bath. Get plenty of rest, eat healthily, and stay hydrated to keep your physical and emotional well-being. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential for managing stress effectively. I am a huge advocate for couples' date nights. Maintaining a weekly date night is the best “self-care” and “couple care” that I can recommend.

 5.     Communicate Openly

Effective communication is critical to navigating challenges and resolving conflicts during the wedding planning process. Be open and honest with your partner about your feelings, concerns, and expectations. Regularly check in with each other to ensure you are on the same page and make decisions together as a team. Do not hesitate to seek advice or support from trusted friends and family members when needed.

 6.     Delegate Tasks

You do not have to do it all alone. Delegate tasks to trusted friends, family members, or wedding professionals to lighten your load and reduce stress. Whether assigning specific responsibilities to your bridal party, hiring a wedding planner, or seeking help from professional vendors, do not hesitate to ask for help. Collaboration and teamwork make the wedding planning process more manageable and enjoyable.

 7.     Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your daily routine to manage stress and promote a sense of calmness. Take a few moments each day to practice deep breathing exercises, meditation, or visualization techniques. These simple practices can help you stay grounded, focused, and present amidst the chaos of wedding planning. Consider attending a yoga class or mindfulness workshop to learn more techniques for managing stress.

 8.    Focus on What Truly Matters

Amidst the whirlwind of wedding planning, it is easy to lose sight of what truly matters – your love for each other and your commitment to one another. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed, take a step back and remind yourself of the bigger picture. Focus on the joyous moments and the memories you are creating together. Keep the love and excitement at the forefront of your mind, and let it guide you through the wedding planning journey.

 9.     Do not cram too many milestones into one season.

Save some events for the rest of your life! Do not add too much to your plate during engagement season. I am always amazed when I hear the list of transitions and changes that some couples put themselves through during their engagement. I get it. Engagement is one of the most significant transitions you will ever make. During a season of change, you are open to…change! You are closing one chapter of life and beginning a new book. That said, recognize that you can only handle so much.

One of the resources on the website is called the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. Itis a one-page assessment that can give you an idea of your stress level. If you score 150 points or less, you have a relatively low amount of life change and a low susceptibility to stress-induced health breakdown. If your score is between 150 and 300 points, there is a 50% chance of experiencing health breakdown in the next two years. If your score is 300 points or more, you have an 80% chance of health breakdown in the next two years.

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From the test, marriage is 50 points, taking on a mortgage is 31 points, and changing a living situation is 28 points. A vacation or honeymoon is 18 points. Suppose my math is correct, and you add more categories specific to your situation (changing jobs, graduating, getting a new pet, conflict with family, remodeling a home); engagement will put you well past the 150-point marker. Engagement will not make you sick, but it is stressful; it takes a toll. One of the essential things the American Institute of Stress emphasizes is that good and bad stress is still stress.

So again, do not add stuff that can wait. Just do not do it. If couples do not take this advice, I will see it when they arrive at their wedding rehearsal. If you keep a healthy balance, focus on your relationship and your event, stay within your budget, and avoid trying to fix everything before your wedding day, you will be in a good place the day before your wedding.


Planning a wedding can be a rollercoaster of emotions, but with the right strategies and mindset, you can navigate the difficulties with grace and resilience. By acknowledging your feelings, setting realistic expectations, staying organized, practicing self-care, communicating openly, delegating tasks, and focusing on what truly matters, you can manage stress effectively and enjoy a memorable celebration of love. Remember that your wedding day is just the beginning of a beautiful journey together, and the love and commitment you share with your partner make the day special.

[i] The American Institute of Stress (n.d.). What is Stress? Retrieved April 21, 2023, from

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