Practical advice for calming your nerves.
Organization Is Your Friend
Even if you’re the type who’s never made a list in your life―and you’re proud of it―now is the time to change that. There will be hundreds of details to pin down, and trying to keep track of them all will seriously fray your nerves. “It may seem like a daunting task to monitor it all, but there are some wonderful online organizers that include timetables, budget spreadsheets, and the like,” says Yifat Oren, an L.A.-based wedding and special events planner. (For a good starting point, try the Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist.)
Stay Within Your Comfort Zone
Many stressed brides schedule “relaxing” activities that are out of their usual routines. “Don’t reinvent the wheel here,” says Julie Pryor, an event coordinator and owner of Pryor Events in Los Angeles. “Do whatever relaxes you ordinarily: whether it’s meditating, getting a massage, or hanging out with your best friend. But if you’re not a person who’s into yoga, the day before the wedding isn’t the time for some elaborate yoga class.”
Don’t Try to Wear Too Many Hats
Your role in the wedding is to be the bride―not the caterer, the florist, or the bandleader. “Interview your vendors carefully, get references―from people you know, if possible―and once you’ve hired them, let them do their job,” advises Oren. “Communicate clearly via e-mails and keep records of your arrangements, but trust that they will deliver what you’re paying them for without micromanaging.”
Exercise Rehearsal Dinner Restraint
Hosting back-to-back blowouts is twice the headache: “You shouldn’t be planning the equivalent of two weddings,” says Pryor. “Keep the rehearsal dinner very simple and different from the actual event―just cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, or a barbecue.” (Better yet: Let the groom and his clan handle the whole event.) And as tempting as it may be to stay out late catching up with out-of-towners, set yourself a curfew and stick to it. “Nothing good happens after midnight, and you’ll pay for it the next day,” says Karena Bullock Bailey, a wedding and special events planner in NYC. “Grab a couple of bridesmaids and exit gracefully―you don’t have to say goodbye to everyone.”
Designate a Wedding-Day Contact
Give someone the authority to make last-minute decisions and insulate you from snafus. If the chandelier plummets into the wedding cake ten minutes before the reception, you’re the last person who should be hearing about it. “Pick someone who you trust completely and empower her to make decisions in your stead, whether it’s a problem with the caterer or rearranging seating for a guest who’s a no-show,” says Anna Post, author of Do I Have to Wear White? Emily Post Answers America’s Top Wedding Questions ($12, amazon.com).
“Not eating on your wedding day is the worst thing you can do for your nerves,” says Bailey. Yes, it’s natural to be focused on how you’re going to look in your dress, but face it: At this point in the game, what you put in your mouth isn’t gonna make or break your silhouette. “As soon as you wake up, have a reasonable breakfast with protein and some carbs―because once you’re wound up and nauseous, it’s too late,” advises Bailey. Continue noshing throughout the day and into the reception; having a nourished, well-tuned body will help your psyche follow suit.