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Stress Management

Dealing with the people who will stress you out the most during wedding planning

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I don't have to tell you that people planning weddings are stressed out. Between money, time, and general expectations, most engaged couples I know are ready to pull out their hair at one point or another. If you can break down where that stress is coming from, it will be easier to deal with. Here are the top five people who will stress you out, and how to handle them.

5. Wedding Vendors
These people want to make money and will pressure you into getting the more expensive option. Have a budget and stick to it. If you're tempted by what they offer that is more expensive, say firmly, "That's not in my budget, I'll have to go home and see if I can move some things around and get back to you." At home, it will be easier to decide if that extra option is really necessary or just an expensive add-on.

4. Divorced and bickering friends/family members These people stress you out for two reasons. One, you're wondering how they'll behave at your wedding and two, you're scared that's going to be you in ten years with your sweetie. Sit down with them to say "I'm so glad you're coming to my wedding. I hope you can do me a big favor. You and ______ fight so much, and I really want the focus of our wedding to be on love. Do you mind doing everything in your power to be civil just for that one day?" Remember, if they do bicker at your wedding, you'll probably be so caught up in everything else, you won't even notice. Also, take the time now to make sure that won't be you. Talk to your future spouse about pre-wedding counseling, something even the most loving and healthy couples I know say was a fabulous experience.

3. Well meaning opinions of others
Everyone will want to know the details of your wedding and everyone will have an opinion. Listen to what they have to say, but with a grain of salt. Repeat this mantra: They are not the ones getting married, we are. If you listened to what everyone thought, you would have a mishmosh wedding that would not reflect who you are in the slightest. You're not getting married to please them, after all.

2. Your parents
These people stress us out for various reasons our entire lives, why would they stop now? Whether its complaining about money you're spending, wanting to have a hand in everything, making you feel like you'll never live up to their ideals of what a wedding should be, or disapproving of your marriage totally, parents have that special knack to stress us out. Here are some strategies:
Sit down with your parents early in the wedding planning process to find out if they want to give you money for your wedding and how much. Before you go any further, get them to agree on a set number of people they'll be inviting. Talk to them generally about your initial ideas including when/where/style. Then try to avoid the pitfalls. Don't promise your mother something if you haven't talked to your fiance about it first. Don't lose sight of your vision for your wedding - write it on a big sheet of paper taped next to the phone, if necessary. Try to let your parents feel involved by giving them tasks to help you with - including areas you're willing to give up creative control, or tasks such as comparing prices, organizing hotel discounts for guests etc.

1. Each other
It's true, the number one person who will stress you out the most is the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with. This is mostly because weddings are stressful, and they're the person you'll be around most. The most common complaints are "He's not doing anything to help with the wedding" and "she never talks about anything other than the wedding." Avoid this with some simple planning.

Sit down with a wedding planner and divide up the list of tasks into bride's, groom's, and together. Each of you will know that you have creative control for what's on your list, and what you are responsible for. (That doesn't mean you won't discuss the task but you will have agency to get it done.) Post the list in prominent locations in your house(s) and agree to have check-in meetings once a month or so about where you are.

Don't forget to budget! Since money is such an easy thing to fight about, make sure you sit down at the beginning of the process, agree on how much money you're going to spend, and stick to it!

Next, sit down with a calendar. Figure out when you have time to schedule a couple of hours each week to deal with wedding stuff together. Don't worry, those of you who feel like a couple of hours each week is too much. A lot of it will be fun - checking out potential venues, eating cake at tastings, and practicing dance moves. Then, schedule a NO WEDDING night. This is perhaps the most important thing to stop each other from stressing you out. One night a week, neither of you are allowed to mention the word wedding or anything wedding related. This can be a date night, or just a relaxing at home together night to remind you why you're going through all this craziness in the first place!
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