Your wedding day.
It's supposed to be the best day of your life, right? So why all the tears, freakouts, panic attacks and bridezilla-esque temper tantrums the morning of the big day?
Forget the pre-wedding jitters; it's the pre-wedding stress that knocks you off your white satin stilettos. But fear not, brides-to-be. There are ways to ensure you feel the relaxing calm before the wedding storm.
"I think a good thing is to plan ahead so you don't have too many things to do the morning of your wedding day," says Amanda McClendon of Winnie Couture Flagship Bridal Salon. The runaround can stress anyone out, especially a half-starved, plucked, pulled and sucked-in bride.
Bride-to-be Stephanie Bortis already has taken McClendon's advice. "What I'm starting to do right now, which is going to help in the long run, is to delegate," Bortis says. "I think it's a really relaxing technique to take some stuff off my plate and put it onto my friends' and family members' plates because they are all too happy to help. And everyone wants to feel involved, so it makes everybody happy. As we get closer to the date, I will really start making sure that I'm eating well and exercising, which I know seems kind of contrary to relaxing, but I want to make sure I'm feeling my best because it's going to be, from what I hear, a really long day. And I want to be able to enjoy the whole day and be alert, not comatose."
McClendon also suggests getting a day-of wedding planner to help avoid the last-minute rat race. "Get a day-of wedding planner, because that way you're not having to get to your location early to make sure the centerpieces are arranged properly or the flowers have come in," she says. "This way, you don't have to pay for a wedding planner to help you throughout the whole wedding planning, but you can still ensure that the big day is stress-free."
Another way to alleviate pressure on the big day is by surrounding yourself with stress-free and responsible people. "I have been very good at selecting who will be part of my bridal party," Bortis says. "If they're good friends, they have a tempering kind of effect on you. I need that. I realized I needed to pick friends who have the 'we'll make it work' attitude, not the ones who moan and complain. I want to keep it as no-drama as possible."
Pampering is a huge part of preparing for the walk down the aisle. McClendon suggests having a "mimosa and a bubble bath the morning of -- something very calm and relaxing."
Bortis is thinking of taking a more active and social approach. "The day before the wedding, I'd like to have a spa day. Get a mani-pedi with the girls and then that night, hang out at my parents' house, invite my girls over, watch some movies, order some pizzas and just chill out."
But really, it doesn't matter whether you hit the spa, play a game of basketball or spend the morning in mediation; your wedding day should be all about the actual wedding. "I'm going to keep reminding myself that this is just a day. And this is about the marriage and the relationship and the rest of our lives," Bortis says. "I have to keep myself in check because I know myself. I know I can get really hyper and that I sometimes micromanage, so I want to make sure that that doesn't get the best of me. I don't think I will get hyper enough to require a tranquilizer gun -- maybe a tranquilizer pill."
Kelly Moss, a mother of two who has been married for seven years, says that time puts the wedding day in perspective. She advises to "take the morning slow because the evening goes so fast." Moss also says that relaxing is important but that it is equally important to get excited about your wedding. "One thing I got to do was take a peek at the guests coming into my wedding. I know you're not supposed to see anybody, but my church has a hidden stairwell, so I could see everybody and they couldn't see me," Moss says. "And looking at all the people made me feel so giddy. I was so happy and excited. There were butterflies in my stomach. I wasn't nervous. It just really made the moment feel real and right."
Whether you use bubble baths or tranquilizers, relaxing before your wedding is important. But keep in mind that you should relax in ways that will enhance your evening, not diminish it. This is, after all, your wedding day.
"My goal is to make it all a memory," Bortis says. "I'm going to try to make everything a memory without losing my mind."
But if you do lose your mind, don't worry, brides. There's a pill for that.