Don't Stress

By Cindy Cafferty

December 19, 2008 5 min read


Navigate the difficult waters of wedding and premarital planning

Cindy Cafferty

Creators News Service

You've got a million things on your plate and tons of people to deal with: Family, friends, food, fittings, d├ęcor, dresses and, of course, your partner, the soul mate you're about to exchange vows with.

Weddings and premarital planning have long been notorious culprits in driving brides to the edge. However, with the right tools, you can outsmart these culprits, maintain your composure and look good doing it.

"Whatever the focus of the stress, whether it's economic or getting married, the issue is to be in charge of your feelings. Stress isn't created by activity, it's created by helplessness," said Pat Pearson, author of "STOP SELF-SABOTAGE! Get Out of Your Own Way to Earn More Money, Improve Your Relationships, and Find the Success You Deserve" ($17, McGraw-Hill).

Pearson, also a licensed social worker, said it's important to navigate the stressful waters of wedding planning and circumvent those situations that leave many brides feeling shipwrecked. In the case of a wedding, it's the destination -- the joy of celebrating your union with loved ones and the happiness of the marriage to follow -- that should be the primary focus.

"The real issue," explained Pearson, "is that people are not there to look at your flowers ... it's about sharing your love."

To avoid the emotional pitfalls, Pearson offered the following advice:

* Shift your focus. Focusing on the problems creates more problems, and in turn they create stress. Concentrating on the solution or outcome keeps things in perspective and shifts your focus from the negative to the positive.

* Don't be afraid to delegate. Ask people to help you. Assign tasks to friends, keeping in mind they're there to help alleviate your stress.

* Give yourself a "drop-dead" time. Plan to have everything finished 24 to 48 hours prior to the ceremony and use the remaining time to visit with friends, think about the honeymoon or spend time with your sweetie.

* Engage in self-support by creating an emotional safety net for yourself and recruiting the support of friends. If you have a crazy relative that might compromise the day or acrimonious guests that aren't willing to play nice, you have a right to not invite them. If you do, recruit a willing friend to monitor them.

Nobody's perfect, and stress may get the better of you once in a while, but it doesn't have to show. There are simple ways to take a beauty timeout that even the busiest bride can indulge in.

"Keep in mind that stress ups cortisol levels, which can cause you to break out," said Andrea Lavinthal, co-author of "Cosmo's Sexiest Beauty Secrets: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Gorgeous" ($20, Hearst) and online beauty editor for "Three months before the wedding, start using an anti-acne regime that contains salicylic acid. It exfoliates, helps with acne and is tolerated by most skins."

It's important to be aware of timing when it comes to beauty techniques.

"Do not book a massage or facial the day before or day of your wedding. Do not try any new treatments in the week or two leading up to your wedding," Lavinthal said.

A massage should be booked no later than a week before your wedding and a facial no later than a week and a half -- the last thing you want on your wedding day is a surprise reaction to a beauty treatment.

If you can't get to a salon, there are no worries. "There are tons of things you can do for yourself at home that save time and don't force you to lie in a room for an hour while you're trying to plan," Lavinthal said.

Some of her favorite tips include 15-minute at-home spa treatments such as exfoliating or hydrating masks and 30-second scalp massages in the shower while you're shampooing your hair -- it increases circulation and is soothing. When applying body lotion, rub it into the skin in circular motions, which also increases circulation and soothes aching joints. In the bathtub, treat yourself to Watsu therapy by rubbing your feet under water to soothe nerves.

Lavinthal reminded brides that sometimes it's more about reinvigorating than relaxing. When tedium sets in, perk up by switching the warm water in the shower to cool for 30 seconds. It increases circulation and perks you up.

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