...Without losing your cool

Planning a wedding is supposed to be one of the most exciting times in life, yet many brides end up frazzled. And who can blame them? Between corralling wedding parties, struggling with seating plans, keeping the in-laws-to-be happy and attempting to focus on the gorgeous dress, perfect hair and glowing skin, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and then read this: Here’s how to stay zen while planning your big day.

1. Stay on track

“Create a to-do list,” suggests Toronto-based wedding planner Rebecca Chan of Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events (rebeccachan.ca). “In the months leading up to the wedding day, there will be a lot to do! Sit down early on to create a list for down the road, so you have an idea of what you should accomplish for any given month.” To help you keep this streamlined, buy a wedding planning booklet/calendar or download an online interactive tool.

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2. Be budget smart

Don’t let arguments about money mar your wedding planning days. Be realistic about your budget, and set it early. “Work with a wedding planner or with experienced friends who can help you create a preliminary budget,” says Chan. Budgets always change once you start booking vendors, she says, but having an initial plan will guard against unexpected surprises.

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3. Say Om

According to Yoga Journal’s “Yoga in America” study, regular yoga practice can help you feel and look younger and is known to relieve stress. If you feel you can’t fit a regular yoga class into your already packed schedule, there’s an app for that, of course. Practise yoga wherever you are with the Authentic Yoga With Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles App, available for only $1.99 on iTunes (developed by Signal Patterns).

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4. Stay true to yourselves   

Your mother wants you to wear her dress. Your mother-in-law wants you to invite all her cousins. Your father-in-law wants you to have your reception at his friend’s club. “As a newly engaged couple, everyone will have suggestions and expectations for you, including friends and family,” says Chan. Don’t cave to the pressure! “Remember that this day is about you, and the wedding should reflect you both,” says Chan.

5. Pretend you’re still dating

You’ll only ever be engaged to each other once. “Enjoy date nights with your fiancé,” says Chan. “Make sure to carve out quality time spent without wedding talk.” And don’t make these evenings together another anxiety point. You don’t need hard-to-get reservations at the hottest restaurant in town—just a nice bottle of wine and your favourite Netflix show will do! Or do something fun and silly, like bowling or trampoline jumping.

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6. Outsource

Delegating important tasks to wedding party members simply isn’t fair and might mean more anxiety as friendships start to suffer. Instead, hire a wedding planner. “An experienced planner will help you find the perfect venue, source vendors within your budget and ensure a smooth wedding day,” says Chan. There are some brides who love planning and, if that’s the case, that’s great! “But you still might want to hire a coordinator,” says Chan. Even the most organized of brides should be able to ditch the clipboard on her big day.

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7. Eat right

Being on an I-must-fit-into-the-dress diet doesn’t mean it’s okay to sacrifice good nutrition. A poor diet can cause stress to feel more intense and will not help you look your best. Work foods that are proven to help relieve stress into your balanced, health-focused pre-wedding diet, including cottage cheese and fruit, almonds, blueberries, asparagus, oranges, sweet potatoes, spinach, salmon and avocados.

8. Create a haven

The rest of your home or apartment can be Wedding Planning Central, but turn your bedroom into a relaxing retreat. Use soothing scents like lavender, jasmine, chamomile and basil. Keep a journal at your bedside for jotting down thoughts and ideas that come to you as you’re falling asleep rather than jumping up and turning that laptop back on. You can also use the journal to record your memories and feelings. Getting them out of your head before you turn in is a good way to ensure they don’t keep you up at night!    

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