Amid the whirlwind of those seemingly endless last-minute preparations, take time to relax and reflect on what matters most: friends, family, and of course, fun! Whether it’s a moment of Zen by your lonesome or happy hour with the girls, every bride needs a few strategies to step out of the spotlight and enjoy the moment.
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1. Load up your Spotify with a “Wedding Countdown” playlist to keep you energized and positive. Think of this as your emotional pacifier — it’s basically impossible to be in a bad mood while lip-syncing to “Call Me Maybe.” If all else fails, break out the heavy artillery: ABBA and old-school Britney Spears.
2. Set aside five minutes every day for some “lite yoga.” Minneapolis-based yoga instructor Catherine Justice recommends the following visualization exercise: sit cross-legged on the floor with your back against a wall in a cool, quiet room. Send out kind thoughts to someone you love deeply, someone you’re having conflict or emotional difficulty with — and yourself. “Your wedding is exciting, but it’s also stressful,” Catherine says. “While you’re trying to accommodate everyone else’s needs, remember to also take care of yourself.”
3. “Wine down" with your BFFs. Hit the local wine shop and stock up on vino with whimsical labels. Suggestions: True Love Riesling, Bliss Chardonnay, or Princess Moscato. (If you’re feeling feisty, try Wit’s End Shiraz!)
4. Designate a cell phone wrangler for the day of the wedding. Guests who are stuck at the airport or lost en route to the ceremony site should be able to ask someone for assistance — but that someone should not be you. “Guests don’t want to bother the bride while she’s getting her hair done, but they might not have anyone else’s number,” says California-based wedding planner Melody Walker. “Ask your wedding planner or one of your bridesmaids to field last-minute texts and calls.” You need to stay focused and calm (and so does your hairstylist!).
5. Ask your loved ones to share stories of their wedding disasters. Bride tripped halfway down the aisle? Flower girl brawled with the ring bearer? Everyone has a tale to tell, because something tends to go wrong at nearly every wedding. Listening to these anecdotes helps you keep your sense of humor and reminds you that these little mishaps make the memories you’ll share with your grandchildren someday.
6. Agree on a "safe word" for family gatherings. Make a plan with your groom before the guests arrive. Then, if you’re cornered by his crazy Uncle Gus and subjected to a political rant, you can simply turn to your beloved, murmur “licorice,” and wait for his extraction team to come to your rescue.
7. Go back through your e-mails and texts and re-read the messages you and your fiancé sent to each other when you started dating. Remember why you fell in love and dream about the future. And while you’re at it, send him a little love note to remind him that you’re thrilled to be his bride.
8. Don't go nuts — eat them! “Plan to have some protein available in the bridal party’s dressing room,” suggests Walker. She recommends prepping for your walk down the aisle with light snacks that are healthful, filling and nonstaining, such as string cheese and raw almonds or cashews.
9. Make arrangements to spend the night before the wedding at a hotel near your venue. This gives you a chance to have some much-needed alone time on the morning before the ceremony. A little bit of solitude will make the upcoming celebration that much sweeter.
10. Hop into a bubble bath with a book. The warm water will soothe the aches after all those hours in high heels, and a novel offers a mental mini-vacation. Read a few chapters and save the rest for the plane ride to your honeymoon destination.
Beth Kendrick is the author of The Week Before the Wedding (New American Library) and eight other novels, including Nearlyweds, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. Visit BethKendrick.com.