Tackle Wedding Stress—5 Minutes at a Time

Confession: I hate being late. If I know I won't make it somewhere on time, I feel like the world will crumble. That usually doesn't happen, but with wedding plans, there could be some serious consequences if you don't stay on schedule.

Between living in New York, completing my Masters thesis and the anticipation of seeing my husband in six months, it's easy for me to get bogged down by wedding details. Of course, some things will always be out of our control (my invitations have yet to arrive, even as we approach the two-month mark). However, throughout the planning process, I've learned how to streamline tasks so that I spend my energy getting stuff done (instead of just complaining about it!). 

Here's how to chip away at your to-do list, depending on how much time you have.

Photo Credit: Bill Blakey Photography

If you have 5 minutes:

1. Send an email update.
The other day, I freaked out because I hated the envelopes our printer chose, but I didn't know how to break the news to my vendor. My dad suggested that I send them a straightforward email explaining what the issue is. My vendor ended up being totally fine with it, and was even able to send the invites earlier than we anticipated. I resolved the problem in just five minutes—I wish I had just done it sooner!

2. Delegate.
I’ll only be home in California for less than three weeks before my wedding, which doesn’t give me a lot of time to DIY. I compiled a spreadsheet of the crafts and decorations I love, including sections for materials, cost and website links. I delegated some projects to my (happy and willing) bridesmaids so that each one can make something she wants while I can focus on my thesis. If loved ones offer to help, take them up on the offer by assigning specific tasks that play up their strengths.

Photo Credit: Joshua McCoy Photography

If you have an hour:

1. Do your research.
I have a problem where I’ll become fixated on a particular idea, and then email or call right away before thinking it through. Doing non-committal research beforehand would have saved me a lot of stress and potential buyer’s remorse. Spend an hour looking for possible vendors without sending any  information requests. By just getting a feel for what your town offers, you’ll feel confident once you decide on the perfect florist (or photographer, venue, etc.). Also, don't second-guess yourself after you go through with it! You made the right choice.

2. Break it up.
Split the not-so-fun tasks up into hour-long chunks. If you’re dreading addressing invitations, tell yourself to do just 20 envelopes and response cards. Before you know it, you’ll be finished.

3. Exercise.
It’ll clear your brain and get you on track for that covetable bridal bod. Here's one exercise plan that you can do at home—you'll see results in just four weeks.

4. Browse the web.
Spend an hour on lover.ly searching for venue or decoration ideas. It’ll stir your imagination and get you out of any creative rut. When I was stumped on lighting, I came across the beautiful photos below that captured exactly what I had in mind.


If you have a day:

1. Create a task list with all remaining wedding projects (if you haven't already).
Have you seen this Wedding Countdown Calendar yet? Not only will it encourage you to stay on task throughout the planning process, but you’ll also be able to see all of the hard work you’ve accomplished.

2. Set aside one day for all major planning tasks.
I try to spend only Sundays taking care of heavy-duty wedding stuff so that I’m focused and can peruse without feeling guilty or overwhelmed. Obviously if something comes up, address it—but keeping it to one day a week has helped me stay sane so that I can enjoy my engagement.

Photo Credit: Kristina Dorough Events and Photography

Tell us: How do you beat wedding stress?

— Lisa Turner

lisa and michael

Lisa Turner is a real bride who is navigating the planning process with her friends and family while her groom, Michael Turner, is serving in Afghanistan. Already married last year, the high school sweethearts will have an official reception in January of 2013 in San Diego when he returns to the U.S. The party will take place in a clubhouse near the beach, complete with Mexican and vintage-inspired touches to celebrate their marriage in a fun and very California way.