6. Keep a sense of humor
When my MIA brother finally arrived at the church, I broke the tension by joking, "Glad you could make it. Thanks for coming!" Besides keeping the mood light, laughter "eases muscle tension," says Hannibal, Missouri humorist Karyn Buxman, author of This Won't Hurt a Bit (LeMoyne Press). "If you can let yourself laugh, you won't have a raging tension headache before the party even starts." How to make everyone behave ►
7. Don't borrow trouble
"Studies have shown that almost half the things that people get stressed about simply might happen," says Buxman. If you find yourself consumed with what-ifs (as in, "What if I trip walking down the aisle?"), try Buxman's exaggeration exercise: Ask yourself how the situation could be worse. For example, "What if I trip and fall down, and my dress flies over my head?" Or even better, "What if I trip, fall down, my dress flies over my head and everyone sees that I'm wearing blue, day-of-the-week, bikini underwear?" You'll soon realize that the original — and unlikely — premise wasn't so bad after all. 20 epiphanies brides have during the planning process ►
8. Take a big-day time-out
Be sure to escape the pre-wedding chaos. Pamper yourself with a massage, a workout or a leisurely breakfast before getting dressed. A sane start to the day will go a long way toward helping you keep your cool once the action begins. If you're stressing out mid-festivities, try this anxiety-busting mental vacation suggested by Sybil Evans, a conflict coach and author of Hot Buttons: How to Resolve Conflict and Cool Everyone Down (Cliff Street/HarperCollins): Picture yourself and your new husband on your honeymoon, having a candlelit dinner at a table overlooking the pounding surf. Ahhhhh, that's better. 10 more ways to keep your sanity ►
9. Don't obsess over small imperfections
When Katy and Chris Halliday, of Hyattsville, Maryland, married last summer, everything was going perfectly — until the garter toss. When the bandleader made the announcement, Katy realized she'd forgotten to wear one! Instead of freaking out about a missed photo op, Katy simply threw up her hands and said, "Hey, I couldn't think of everything!" Everyone laughed and the party continued. The moral: You're the day's ringleader. Everyone takes cues from you. You can either make bloopers worse by overreacting or play it gracefully. Quick solutions for the most common wedding-day mishaps ►
10. Surround yourself with positive people
Let's face it: You know exactly who puts you at ease and who sets your nerves on edge. Your wedding day isn't the time to hang out with a sour-faced aunt or critical pal. Spend time with those who make you smile. Before you dress, have coffee with an upbeat friend. And don't forget about your groom! A few private moments between the ceremony and reception can quickly recharge your energy and soothe your frazzled nerves. 25 little reasons to appreciate your best friends ►
A final thought: Regardless of the flowers, music or food, the result is the same — you'll be marrying the man you love. That said, you can bet that when my sister gets married, our brother will be on a tight leash!
Buy the Book: Order Hot Buttons: How to Resolve Conflict and Cool Everyone Down by Sybil Evans (Cliff Street/HarperCollins) from Amazon.com.