10 steps you can take to lessen pre-wedding stress

By Mary T. Carty, Contributing writer
Bridal Registry

Time is ticking; so much to do, so little time.

The number of details involved in planning a wedding probably totals in the hundreds, and may even top 1,000 considering some of the essential items listed in wedding planning books.

Among those include such things as confirming date and time reservation of the church; attending marriage preparation classes; choosing Scripture readings for the wedding Mass, clothing for the bride, groom and wedding party; altar servers; gift carriers, reservation of reception space; guest list; menu decisions; floral choices; photographer and/or videographer; music for church and the reception; invitations, attire, transportation; making honeymoon plans; preparing the newspaper announcement of engagement and wedding; selecting the rings.

The list goes on and on.

As the day draws near and the last-minute, seemingly never-ending, long list hovers, this may be a time to pull out a pen and paper and draft a time-and-task plan. Here’s a 10-step, 10-hour pre-wedding plan to take the scores of tasks and concerns and create a solid reference check list by allotting at least one hour for each task:

  • Make a task and worry list. Reach for a pen and paper write all the concerns, worries and tasks related to the wedding. The list may be a bit overwhelming, but can serve as a helpful reference for keeping track of what needs to be done. Set it aside, take a break and move on to the next step.
  • Categorize. Spend an hour transferring those tasks into specific categories. Set aside.
  • Time estimates. Look at each of the tasks that need to be taken care of and write in an estimated time factor. Set the list aside.
  • Prioritize. Go through the list and identify the priorities and number them in order from “urgent” to “not so important.” Set the list aside.

Choose three top time priority items. Identify three tasks that need to be done in the next week and break them up into small, manageable goals. Look at your calendar and at the time estimate for the tasks. Enter in the task and time on your calendar.

  • Choose the task you dread most and get it done. Identify the task you are fearful of, and break it down into manageable steps that allow you to stay focused and complete it.
  • Choose three quick task items. Look at remaining list and schedule in quick tasks, such as calling the florist to make an appointment to discuss floral arrangements or going to the post office to pick up the stamps for the invitations.
  • Reach out to others and ask for help. Planning a wedding is a monumental task and too much of a responsibility for one or two people. There are friends, family, clergy and other resources available to provide help and support. All it takes is the courage to say, “I need some help. Would you help me?”

Spend an hour making a list of people that can and will help you, and match them up with the tasks that need to be done.

The process of working though the remaining tasks can now be done by continuing to prioritize. Use the list and a calendar throughout the time before the wedding, still using one hour as a reference.

  • Last, but not least, pull out pen and paper again to create a “worry” list. On the left side of the page note those worries. Opposite that on the right side of the page, note responses or solutions. This process helps to identify what, if anything, can be done to actively take care of a task, and then let go of the worry related to things out of one’s control.

Some examples of questions or concerns and possible responses might include:

  • “What if it rains?” I can’t control the rain but can set up precautions, like having umbrellas available and making Plan B alternatives in case there may be major changes, like considering a tent for an outside wedding.
  • “What if the photos don’t come out?” Ask the photographer or a friend to provide back-up images, just in case.
  • “Why haven’t people responded to invitations yet?” Acceptance and patience can help. The reality is that people are busy and may need to take time to make a decision. If the date is near for a final count for the reception, phone calls could be made for confirmation.

Taking the time to stay organized and focusing on what is truly in your control in the days leading up the wedding can provide a positive sense of excitement and confidence in your plans so when the day comes, you can relax and celebrate the gifts of love, faith and joy, while beginning the beautiful journey of marriage.

Mary T. Carty is a New Orleans-based writer-photographer and author of “The PMAT: The Perfect Marriage Aptitude Test” (Glitterati Incorporated, 2009).

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