How to Deal With Wedding Planning Stress and Anxiety

Planning your wedding may be the biggest event you’ll ever organize in your life, and mere thinking of that can be scary. Between doing the many different activities in your wedding to-do list, checking out vendors and inspecting venues for the suitability, even the most organized and calmest brides are bound to feel nervous and under pressure. We’ve got great tips below to keep you calmer.

In Nigeria, brides are usually the ones that naturally want to start planning the wedding, and for some, the mere thought of ‘where do I start planning from’ makes them jittery. Mere looking at the long list of to-dos stirs up panic-butterflies in your stomach and the feeling that the wedding date is getting closer piles up more stress. For those who believe the money will come if they just fix a date, you’re scared that you may not have gathered enough money from friends and family members (who pledged monetary support) in good time to purchase the wedding attire and deposit for the wedding venue and service providers. Some brides are so stressed that they become cranky and are called bridezilla, and you don’t want to get to that.

If any of the above describes how you feel, I want to let you know that you’re not alone. Even the calmest of brides feel some kind of panic and anxiety during wedding planning, so it’s normal. to feel nervous about taking any big step in one’s life. Our mission on this blog is to give you all the tips and resources you require to make you enjoy your journey through wedding planning to the aisle.  Taking steps to deal with your wedding planning stress and anxiety will ensure that you stay calm and stress-free from planning to the aisle. I have written 36 tips below to help you calm your nerves and keep stress and anxiety away during wedding planning. I divided this post into 2 parts (A and B), the second part is for people who are planning a wedding in a short space of time, like in 3 months or less. Read on for the rest of the tips and take action.

PART A: 18 Tips for Keeping Calm When Planning a Wedding

#1. A To-Do List or Checklist will keep you organized

The main cause of panic and anxiety during wedding planning comes from overwhelming with the idea that there are so many things that need to be done. Who wouldn’t get anxiety from seeing piles of things-to-do staring you in the face?  You are not sure where to begin. Mere thinking of the wedding would trigger panic and anxiety. To prevent overwhelm, use a wedding to-do list or checklist. Do not start planning without having a wedding checklist. If you already started without it, it’s not too late to make one or use our ready-made wedding checklist. You can quickly cross off any task you accomplished so that you can easily see that you’re making headway. The sense of seeing (not imagining) your accomplishments eases some stress and anxiety. You can print out a wedding checklist to keep handy and also take a snapshot of some parts of the list on your phone.

#2. Keep your wedding to-do list minimal, as even looking a long list of undone things can trigger anxiety. Don’t allow your checklist to overwhelm you.

#3. Extend the wedding date/ Timeline

Another reason why brides get stress and anxiety during wedding planning is the feeling that their wedding date is close, and they still have many things yet to be done. The pressure of time triggers an occasional panic attack in some people.  If the wedding date is close because you had been procrastinating or you have a short engagement, and planning a wedding in a short space of time, you’ll get panic.  If you find yourself feeling this way because the wedding day is near, consider shifting the date a bit,, and send your guests phone calls, text and email messages to let them know that the wedding has been unavoidably postponed but not canceled and that you would inform them of the new date. Express your regrets.

REAL STORY: I once had a Nigerian man message me telling me that his bride-to-be had just told him that she was feeling nervous and having panic attacks because she feels every day they get closer to the wedding date. She told him that she was so jittery that she could not summon the strength to do any more wedding planning tasks. He (the groom) did not understand why she felt that way and was afraid she was looking for an excuse to walk away from the wedding. They ended up shifting the wedding date and that ended the bride’s panic attacks.

#4. Keep the wedding smaller and simpler to keep the cost down

Planning a smaller wedding is less stressful and costs less than planning a big one. Money is the cause of many people’s wedding stress and anxiety. In Nigeria, some couples first fix a wedding date and guest count without having saved up the money for the wedding. And they keep hoping even close to the wedding date when the money does not arrive. I’ve heard people say ‘if you fix a wedding, somehow the money will come’.  But that did not come true to come. Having that mindset is a risky gamble that puts the couple under pressure and panic attacks. Food and drinks budget accounts for above 40% of most Nigerian weddings because our weddings usually have too many guests. Bear in mind that every guest is a cost (per plate of food and bottle of drink), and instead of worrying how and where to get more money to cater to hundreds of guests, you can choose to have fewer guests.

If you find out that your wedding day is close and you have not yet got enough money to plan it, consider cutting down on the things that add the most to a wedding budget – such as the number of guests to invite. Cutting down the guest count will drastically bring down the amount of money required for food and drinks at the reception. Also, you’ll be able to rent a smaller venue space which costs less.  Doing that will eliminate or reduce the feeling of pressure on you. By the way, weddings with fewer guests are becoming trendy in Nigeria.

  • Keep your wedding simpler than you planned: Trim down things and size to make planning easier and more manageable, and cost smaller.
  • Consider trimming down your guest count: Trying to plan a big wedding (plenty of guests) over a short space of time is more stressful than planning for fewer guests.
  • Keep the menu options minimal:  Trying to provide assorted food options and small-chops is another thing that causes anxiety and stress among Nigerian brides during wedding planning. They want guests to be served 5-swallow food options (egusi soup, vegetable soup, amala and gbegiri, ewedu, ogbono), jollof rice, fried rice, ofada rice with stew, moi-moi, spring rolls, samosa, gizdodo, puff-puff, etc. And, they’re looking for where to find/ borrow extra money to achieve that dream.  Here’s the truth: your guests expect to be served good party jollof rice and meat, cake slices and a bottle of drink. If you add one or two other swallow options, they’ll not mind. But my dear, you’re hurting yourself by trying by force to add every type of food in Nigeria and packing on stress because either you don’t have the funds for them or capable caterers to provide the service. Please, keep the menu options minimal and focus on getting a good caterer instead. One tasty meal option is better than 10 average or bland tasting party food options.
  • Don’t use another couple’s wedding as a standard: In these days of social media and Instagram weddings, and I-must-be-on-BellaNaijaWeddings, many Nigerian brides are using planning their weddings according to other people’s wedding.  Usually, the attempt to meet up with all the monetary requirements for a wedding you saw on the internet causes panic to attack and anxiety on brides and grooms. They borrow or empty their savings to buy the same expensive wedding gown and suit from the same designers tagged on Instagram; purchase the same lace blouse with George wrappers and aso-oke fabrics that were tagged on Instagram; hire the same expensive venue and vendors. In many cases, they do not have the same salary, the same rich parents and rich friends those other people have. They’re doing it all for the ‘gram – blowing millions of Naira on a day’s event (aka wedding) and starting off a marriage-life broke.. My advice is to be true to your pockets and know that you can have a beautiful and memorable wedding celebration on the budget you already have. You just need to realize that these days, people no longer invite too many guests to Nigerian weddings and that cuts costs while ensuring they have the best things for the few guests. So, don’t plan your wedding with Instagram standard. Instead, make your own standard.

#5. Fear of Facing the Crowd

Above, I talked about money and time being some of the major reasons why some people feel stressed and jittery when planning a wedding.  Not everyone likes to be the center of attraction. Another reason is the fear of being in front of so many people. For shy brides, they feel panic whenever the thought crosses their mind that they’ll have to stand in front of so many people and would be watched.  If you freak out at the thought of you standing before a crowd on your wedding day, just numb out the crowd and picture looking at the face of your future husband. Fix your thoughts and focus on only that one person and remember that the guests are not there to shame you but to celebrate you.  Just forget the crowd and imagine you’ll be facing only the one person that truly matters. 

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About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.

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