This year we’ve been on our Healthy Happy Bride crusade, bringing some real talk to your wedding planning and banishing all those pressure-filled stereotypes of a ‘blushing bride’ or a ‘perfect wedding’.
And today’s post is all about anxiety.
Everyone has jitters and stress in the lead up to their wedding, but anxiety or panic, can be crippling.
I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks on and off since I was a teenager, and in the lead up to my wedding last year, I was determined not to let my anxiety rain on my parade and spoil the excitement of the build-up or the day itself.
Now of course, any kind of anxiety or mental health issue is a complex thing, and I don’t mean to simplify it. I made some big strides in self-confidence boosting, being decisive, and choosing positive thoughts last year (that I might go into in another post), but there were also a few small, simple things a did that made a big impact in how I was feeling in the lead-up to our wedding.
If you struggle with anxiety, I hope some (or all) of them will help you too…
1. Manage Expectations
From the outset, we let our parents and friends know what to expect from our wedding. This meant we weren’t worried about disappointing anyone with our choices and we weren’t dealing with conflicts along the way, as so many couples find when planning their weddings.
Often the pressure you feel can be in your own head, but when people aren’t lending their opinions as much, it does make it easier to keep your mind clear and be confident in your decisions.
2. Curb the Guestlist
We only had people we love, and who love us right back, at our wedding.
I can really struggle ahead of social situations with strangers, so having only people we were close to at our wedding, meant I was instantly at ease when I walked up the aisle and felt all that love radiating from our guests (it was pretty special!).
It can be really tricky to limit your numbers, I know there’s a lot of politics involved, and that can be stress-inducing in its own way, but by managing expectations from the start (à la point #1!) we didn’t encounter too many issues.
3. Limit the ‘Look At Me’ Moments
So contrary to what you might think about someone with social-anxiety, I am a massively social person, as is my husband Marko. We love a party, we just don’t need to be the centre of attention at it. We had a short ceremony and gave a short thank you speech, but other than that, we just blended in with our guests – no cake cutting, no first dance, no bouquet toss, no top table.
I totally get couples wanting to be the focal point on their big day, but it wasn’t for us. And by opting out of those big moments, it really helped me keep my anxiety in check on the day.
4. Pare Back the Prep
I’ve mentioned this before as part of my Real Bride Diary, but Marko and I got ready for our wedding on our own. I did go for hair and make-up with the other ladies in my family, but it was just the two of us getting dressed and having some pre-wedding bubbly.
Not only was it so lovely to have some downtime together right before it all kicked off, but it was probably the best decision I made on the anxiety front.
I’ve always been triggered in hectic getting ready situations, from a girls’ night out with everyone vying for a spot at the mirror, to being a bridesmaid when there’s a dozen people in the bridal suite, with hair dryers blowing and lots of chatter.
For me, having that calm time together meant I never felt a second of anxiety in that last hour before our wedding.
5. Get the Formalities Out of the Way
So this one won’t work for everyone, and it wasn’t intentionally planned this way, but it really turned out well for us.
Marko and I wanted our friend Dan to be our officiant, so we did the legal ceremony a couple of days before the wedding. I didn’t expect it to have such a big impact, but having that part out of the way banished a lot of our pre-wedding jitters.
We were already married so we could just relax and enjoy our party. And I wasn’t worried about the groom being a no-show!
6. Get Organised
I was really impressed by our organisational skills in the lead up to our wedding. I’m generally a pretty organised person, but we seriously took it up a notch!
We used Trello to divvy up tasks in the months ahead of our day, and every week we made a list of priorities and ticked them off as we went.
We had a running list of things we could only do the week of the wedding, and set a deadline three weeks before our date to have everything else ready to go.
We printed out our vendor list, our day-of timeline, and our schedule for the week up to the wedding, so our family knew when we’d be free, or when we were doing wedding prep if they wanted to get involved. We also had our wedding website (we used Riley & Grey) live a long time before the wedding, so everyone knew the timeline of the day, and had all the details on transport and accommodation way ahead of time.
Feeling really organised banished the kind of anxiety I get when I’m stressed or overwhelmed. We were confident we had everything covered, and we didn’t have much to do in those last few days other than the set-up. It allowed us to just sit back and enjoy the last few weeks of build-up.
Whether you are prone to anxiety or not – even the most chilled people feel stressed in the last weeks before their wedding, but getting super organised (or hiring a co-ordinator to do the worrying for you!) will really take the weight off.
I hope this has helped some of you out there – I’d love to hear your tips too, please do share them in the comments or on social media!