How to Avoid Wedding Planning Stress

Photo of bride sitting on the floor in a wedding dress, stressed by all her wedding planning. There are wedding dresses hanging on racks all around her and darkness at the edge of the image.
Engagement is such a joyful season — until it's not. Don't let wedding planning stress steal the sweetness of this season from you.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

After saying yes to marrying Noah, elation flooded my heart — I had just agreed to spend a lifetime with my best friend. The dreams and possibilities for our future seemed endless. Hours after we got engaged, I realized that my yes also meant planning a wedding and I immediately felt the stress and weight of that burden. 

What kind of wedding would we have? Would it be as glorious as the wedding I’d dreamed of for years? How would we pay for it? When would it happen? Who would come — would they enjoy it? How in the world would we figure out the planning details on top of our jobs and preparing for our future together?

Maybe you’re a genius, organized planner and excited to plan your wedding day. Or maybe you have the means to hire a wedding planner to do the work. But if you don’t have a wedding planner and feel daunted by the all the details like I was, then here are a few pointers that will hopefully alleviate your wedding planning stress.

Remember Why You’re Planning a Wedding

As a future bride, of course, you want your wedding to be perfect — every table centerpiece flawless, flowers arranged in effortless beauty and technology running smoothly.

However, if you give all your attention to the external features of the event, it’s easy to forget the most significant reason for the day. Keeping your eyes on the true purpose of your wedding day is critical in the planning process.

Remembering the ‘why’ of your wedding will help keep your priorities in line as you plan.

The guests aren’t coming to inspect every detail — they’re coming to celebrate your marriage. The ultimate goal is not to throw a fancy party for the fun of it. Instead, the purpose is to celebrate you and your fiancé uniting as one.

Focusing on this will help prevent you from micro-focusing too long on small details. The wedding planning stress of choosing tableware or picking out the best side dish will fade as you keep your eyes on what matters most.

And when you look back on your wedding day in 30 years, the first thing that will come to mind won’t be the table decorations or flavor of cupcakes — it’ll be the sweet moments and loved ones surrounding you. While the details and decor hold value to make your special day stunning, the commitment and union with the love of your life is the most beautiful part of all.

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Focus on One Task at a Time

While I was wedding planning, sometimes I would open my computer, view my checklist, become overwhelmed at the size of it, and check out from stress. Because of my stress, procrastination looked tempting. 

What helped reduce the pressure was the realization that I could only complete one thing at a time.

You can easily look at your to-do list and panic at the number of tasks, but we all know that’s not the best way. Prioritize the “essential” list of actions and focus on one at a time. It’s going to feel overwhelming to book your food vendor and choose the kind of florals you want at once. 

So divide and schedule target dates for when you want to finish certain tasks. Challenge yourself and let the excitement of the marriage ahead motivate you.

Delegate Tasks to Helping Hands

Remember that your family and friends love you. They would probably much rather help you than see you break down from the stress of wedding planning.

For example, I handed over the task of entering the RSVP list on our wedding website to my close friend, Sarah. This may have been a small task in the grand scheme of planning, but it took one of many things off my plate.

As the duties are checked off, celebrate! Each task completed is like another section of a puzzle done — the more you complete, the clearer the picture of your wedding day becomes. Rejoice at each scheduled vendor and every little decision. Perhaps a reward for each completed job will help motivate you and make the process more enjoyable.

Take Breaks from Wedding Planning Stress and Care for Yourself

In the middle of planning what will be perhaps the greatest event in your life, be sure to step back from the to-do list to decompress and rest. Making space and time for self-care will energize you to continue planning.

Research has shown that brief pauses from work can significantly improve the ability to focus. In this study by the University of Illinois, “brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.” 

So breathe. Journal your thoughts and feelings. What are you hoping for? What might worry you at the moment? Make your favorite hot drink. Treat yourself to the spa.

In addition, surround yourself with people who encourage you about your wedding day.

Meet up with a friend at a local coffee shop. Talk to a sibling or parent about any concerns about the upcoming day. Visualize your wedding and all the joy that will come with it, and express your thoughts to them. And feel free to talk about something other than the stress of planning your wedding!

Listen here, future bride: Every detail will be sorted out eventually. The tasks before you can be divided, conquered, and ready for the big day. Most importantly, you will be united with the man you love.

Just take one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be stepping onto the altar saying, “I do.”

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