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Careful plans, good help can ease wedding stress
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Stress can rob a bride of joy at her own wedding, but good preparation can help her prioritize and focus on what’s important on her big day.
Planning a wedding is a big production, said Carla Stanford, Mississippi State University Extension Service regional health specialist based in Verona. What should be a happy day has the potential to cause mental and emotional anguish if not handled correctly.
“A major worry for the bride is, ‘Am I getting everything done that I should, or am I forgetting details?’” Stanford said. “Money is another cause of concern, as well as finding the time to do all the work that goes into planning a wedding.”
Family situations are also major stressors. Divorced and remarried parents of the bride and groom, as well as family members who do not get along, can tax the mental health of a bride.
“A bride should identify early the things she can control, and when she starts getting upset about the things she can’t control, she should focus her attention on something else,” Stanford said. “Intentionally direct your attention to something you can control and start working on something that will absorb you.”
Some brides think that having a small wedding will relieve stress, but Stanford said even these still have the same basic parts as a large wedding.
“You still have the bride and groom and their families, the photographer, caterer, reception and venue,” she said. “The best thing to do is to get very organized in wedding preparations.”
Stanford suggested all brides get help with this process. A wedding director is responsible for the ceremony itself, while a wedding planner helps the bride through all the details in the months leading up to the big day.
“Make sure you get a good wedding director or planner who has been through many weddings before and is cool-headed,” Stanford said. “Make sure that the person you choose for these roles will take things very seriously and can handle the job gracefully.”
Stanford also recommended all brides get and use a good wedding planning book. This is also a good tool for the mothers of the bride and groom, as long as they work together to build the couple’s special day.
“Mothers, brides, sisters and others in the family need to refuse to compare this wedding to any other,” Stanford said. “Take that off the table on day one. This is not anyone else’s wedding, and we’re not trying to outdo someone else’s wedding. This is this bride’s wedding, and we’re going to concentrate on what she wants, and not on what everyone else wants.”
Karen Benson, Neshoba County Extension director and family and consumer sciences expert, is a minister’s wife who had a son and daughter both marry in the last four years.
She also encouraged brides to be careful planners.
“Everyone needs to understand their role in the wedding,” Benson said. “A wedding is an event with a lot of tasks, but everyone needs to know what they are expected to do.”
She said a wedding planner or a wedding planning guide helps lead the bride through the decisions and tasks leading up to the wedding and during the ceremony itself.
“The wedding days that flow best are the ones that are really planned out to the hour,” she said. “Everyone knows what is happening and just has to follow the script.”
When things don’t go just as planned, Benson encourages brides and grooms to keep things in perspective.
“You have to remember that the wedding ceremony and the reception are two different things,” Benson said. “The wedding ceremony begins the marriage, and the reception is about fun, food and greeting guests. If something doesn’t go as planned in the wedding, it doesn’t have to affect the reception.”
As Stanford said, the main thing about a wedding is the marriage.
“Don’t ever let the wedding be bigger than the marriage,” she said.