It's completely normal to have some level of anxiety in the hours, days, weeks, or even months leading up to your wedding.
You might think that you should be calm and happy and just generally not anxious during the wedding planning process, but at some point, you'll likely feel at least a little bit anxious or stressed out.
If you're experiencing pre-wedding anxiety, there are a number of things that you can do to combat the effects. INSIDER recruited experts to share what you can do when you feel that pre-wedding anxiety start to creep in - or even avoid it as much as you can.
Give yourself a few "wedding-free" days.
It's natural that when you have something big going on in your life, you spend a lot of time thinking and talking about it, but going all-in on the wedding and not leaving any time for anything else likely isn't going to be all that great for you. You need time for a break.
"I always recommend that couples should have at least one "wedding-free" day every two weeks," wedding planner Karishma Manwani told INSIDER. "On this day, no one talks or asks them about their wedding. A day when they can either spend time with family or friends or even go on a nice date night together and talk about everything but their wedding. This is so important! Some of my couples who live together also have a 'wedding-free zone' in their house, a space where no one speaks or thinks about anything wedding related."
Find a wedding planner or coordinator that you completely trust.
One way to prevent some of that pre-wedding anxiety is to make sure that those with whom you're working are people that you trust completely to handle things on your behalf, think of things that you wouldn't, and steer you in the right direction.
"The secret is a constant presence and a clear communication during the planning: thanks to it, the wedding planner is able to listen the doubts and to ease the fears of the couples, ensuring them about everything they're worried about," wedding planner Serena Ranieri told INSIDER. "A wedding planner's role is exactly this: being a contact point for the bride and the groom for all the necessities they may have and monitoring the entire process to be sure that everything goes smoothly, in order to make the couple feel stress-free."
A wedding planner, coordinator, or general right-hand person that you truly trust can ease a lot of stress. Having one that you don't trust, on the other hand, could potentially just make things worse.
Make sure you go over the plan for the day in advance.
Wedding days are full of emotion, so it's natural for there to sometimes be tension and anxiety mixed in with all of that excitement. If you're not sure exactly how the day will go, that can lead to some additional, unnecessary anxiety.
"A few days before the wedding, I recapitulate everything with the couple, explain all the details, show the timeline including the smallest details and info so they can feel everything is indeed taken care [of]," wedding planner Rui Mota Pinto told INSIDER.
Knowing how things are going to go will help you feel more at ease.
Own your feelings and acknowledge that you're experiencing some anxiety.
"First things first: honour what you are feeling stop trying to push it away, or it's going to stay," Emily Roberts, MA, LPC, a psychotherapist and author of "Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are," told INSIDER. "When you recognise what's causing the feelings - it could be everything you can then do something about it. Recognise that your body is trying to tell you something, you're not listening."
It can sometimes be difficult to even acknowledge to yourself that you're feeling this way, but it's the first step toward helping yourself manage it. Roberts suggested doing what you can to "reconnect with your body" rather than throwing yourself into distractions. Distracting yourself from the problem will just put off the issue to later, not eliminate it entirely.
Make sure that you have someone to talk to.
Though you certainly can talk to your wedding planner or a therapist about how you're feeling, what's most important is that you have someone around who will listen. Wedding planning can require navigating many different personalities, preferences, and more, and that too can cause stress and anxiety.
"A big part of my job is to be a sounding board and listening ear to my brides to help ease their minds. Some brides need me more along the way and want me to be part of all decisions. I've found that just listening and giving simple advice and guidance helps these brides tremendously. They just want to make sure they aren't forgetting anything! I think that's the biggest fear. Some brides are more relaxed along the way, but may show anxiety at the rehearsal. Almost every single bride has anxiety at the rehearsal," Chelsea Kennedy, a wedding planner and owner of Chelsea Kennedy Events, told INSIDER.
"I often talk brides through family issues, dress alteration problems, honeymoon packing, really anything they feel overwhelmed about. I'm a neutral party that can help the bride problem solve."
Focus on planning your marriage, rather than just your wedding.
"When you're married, you tend to fight about kids, sex, money and housework; when planning the wedding, you tend to fight about money, family/in-laws and labour," Dr. Jess O'Reilly, Astroglide's resident sexologist, told INSIDER. "The fights are similar with family subbed in for kids (in many cases). One of the big mistakes we make is assuming that the tension will dissipate after the wedding and the opposite is true. If you're feeling resentment about money, family or division of labour during the wedding planning, these issues will likely intensify with time if you don't work to resolve them now."
Working on what your marriage might look like after the wedding doesn't have to wait until… after the wedding. Working on your relationship during the wedding planning process can help you reframe what this is actually all about.
Spend time journaling, reflecting, or anything else that helps you decompress.
If you know what sorts of things can help you decompress, ease your stress, and nip your anxiety in the bud, make sure that you make time to do those things when you're working through pre-wedding anxiety.
"Ask yourself, how can I feel differently, what can I do to feel more in control over some aspect of my life? How can I see things differently? Free write for a minute or breathe (five seconds in through your nose, hold for five, breathe out your mouth for five) do this for three to five minutes and if your mind wanders or focuses on the stress, let it and bring it back to the counting or your breath - I like guided meditations to distract me - then I can come back to problem solving," Roberts said.
These sorts of things can make a big difference.
Spend time being affectionate.
Sometimes, when you're planning your wedding or generally feeling anxious or overwhelmed, it can be easy to let affection and your connection fall through the cracks on accident.
"Cuddling and other forms of physical affection are important in most relationships, because physical affection is one of the ways we express love, desire and commitment. In Canada, we tend to reserve most forms physical touch for those we love and many of us are touch-deprived," O'Reilly said. "Obviously cuddling is more important to some people - especially those who perceive physical affection as the ultimate form of loving expression. What's most important is communicating your needs to your partner and learning to understand their own. Some of us express our love with our words and others do so through physical touch."
Regardless of how you show affection or how they receive it, making time to make that a continual priority even while wedding planning can help combat some of that stress and anxiety.
Put down your phone.
When you're busy (or even just due to habit), you may tend to look at your phone more than you otherwise would. But if your phone isn't helping your anxiety, it might be a good idea to put it down and
"I recommend for them to take some time together without internet or phones, just to enjoy, to calm down and to reinforce the emotional connection," Mota Pinto said.
Focus on the two of you, not everything else that's going on.
It's easy to get bogged down in the details that come along with planning any big event, and a wedding is no exception. But doing your best to step back from that and focus on the two of you and your relationship can be a good way to spend time before your wedding.
"You might go to counseling or simply spend time together not talking about the wedding," O'Reilly said. "Go take a course (perhaps study the language of the country you'll visit on your honeymoon), go to a health spa, take a tour of your own city or take an unpaid day off work. As our emotional and intellectual resources are diverted to planning (and transition), we have less time to invest in ourselves and in our relationships. And if you're planning a wedding, you're likely experiencing tension with other involved parties (your parents, your partner's parents, your wedding party members), so your patience may be depleted; don't expend all of your energy on others or allow your tension from other relationships to get misdirected at your partner."
Ultimately, it might not be easy to completely and entirely avoid any pre-wedding anxiety, but figuring out how best you can manage it will help you make it through the process without an overabundance of stress or anxiety. "The issue is to find a way to control the anxiety, to make it positive instead of allowing it to be uncontrolled and ruin the day because of too much stress, or too much expectations caused by anxiety," Mota Pinto said. "The secret is not to find a way to "kill it" because I think it is not possible to do a wedding without all the emotional side. The secret is to harmonize the anxiety with the emotion and expectations."