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10 Secrets to a Successful Stress-Free Wedding

Your wedding is supposed to be the most important day in a your life, and yet for many, just getting there in one piece is harder than fitting stilettos on an elephant. Why is it so difficult? The biggest problem is stress and how the interplay of all the different participants at your wedding adds or subtract from that stress. Here are some wedding ideas to have a truly successful and happy wedding.

Scientists use the term HOMEOSTASIS (homeo = the same; stasis = standing) to define the physiological limits within which the body functions efficiently and comfortably. Stress disturbs homeostasis by creating a state of imbalance. The Lord knows how easily some people can cause us imbalance. Well, the secret of all of this is that, if we know how difficult it is to change ourselves, we must then take for granted that we are not going to be able to change others, especially between now and the wedding date. So what can we do to make or create STASISHOMEO "the ability to maintain the same mental condition we enjoy now on the day of your wedding" (LOL)?

The all time stress-o-meter gives the following scores to different stress events in our lives:

Event Stress Score

Death of spouse 100

Divorce 73

Marital separation 65

Jail term 63

Death of a close relative 63

Personal injury or illness 53

Marriage / partnership commitment 50

Loss of job 47

Retirement 45

Illness in family 44

Sexual problems 39

Childbirth 39

Change in finances 38

Death of a close friend 37

Change of job 36

Taking out a mortgage or loan 31

Mortgage foreclosure 30

Increased responsibilities 29

Offspring leaves home 29

Fight with in-laws 29

I don't know girls, but I think that a fight with the boss rates right up there with marriage.

The first thing we must do is to be able to recognize stress in others and ourselves. Stress management involves four main tasks:

ü Recognize and understand the signs of stress.

ü Identify and understand the sources of stress.

ü Learn to manage controllable sources of stress.

ü Learn to support yourself and cope with stress reactions to

situations beyond your control.

Signs of Stress

Over-stress reactions include a wide range of symptoms: stomach aches, headaches, sleep problems, poor concentration, moodiness, irritability, and racing thoughts. It's important to recognize that these are all signs of stress overload, probably not signs of a more serious condition.

Now that you know all this good stuff, does it help? No! We need some tools and strategies to help you have a Successful Wedding.

1. A great stress reducer is getting in shape for the wedding.

Let's face it; you are going to have a second full time job. Planning and organizing a wedding is a time-consuming and energy zapping experience, not to mention the marathon parties, the family get togethers, and all that glorious shopping. Don't forget, all the marathon parties, food, drinks, cake, drinks, dinners. Did I mention drinks? This sends your body and nervous system for a loop.

What's the best thing to do? Go for a walk. That's right, a nice calm, stress relieving, pound reducing walk. Or if you are so inclined, go to the gym and work out. Aspiring brides and grooms who want to get fit for their perfect day are latching onto a fitness trend where gyms, personal trainers and spas all promise weight loss, toning and a healthy glow in "bridal boot camps." The more energy you use, the more stress you rid yourself of (and it helps to tone your legs and build your cardiovascular system so that you can dance all night long at your reception!)

It is also very important to be eating right and taking time to rest both of which can vastly improve energy levels. Start drinking more water instead of caffeine and sugar-loaded liquids. Reduce salt intake. Caffeine, sugar and salt, cause chemical reactions to your nervous system by making you jumpy, nervous and high-strung, so make sure you watch your consumption of these items. Salt, or sodium, also helps your body retain water, causing that bloating, puffed-up feeling.

2. Secondly, couples have to realize they shouldn't expect "perfection". Expect a "terrific" day and set reasonable expectations.

This actually is considered the number one stress factor - desperately seeking perfection. You must remember what your main goal is, and that is to get married to the one you love the most in the entire world. Setting expectations that are too high will create stress and lead to frustration, and then more stress.

There will be stress, you can count on it. Why? Because there are not only a lot of decisions to be made but also many details to be worked out, and others may want, or try to influence you. Such pressure is not bad or wrong; it just requires that you and your fiancé be aware of what is really happening. Try to respond to issues and avoid reacting to things. It will make a big difference.

Remember, things will go wrong; you are dealing with people and lots of variables. Don't sweat the small stuff; the key is that if something does go wrong only you will know about it. The best way to make sure that things don't go wrong is to plan carefully, track faithfully, and confirm diligently.

*The week before the wedding call all your vendors and check the date, time and location with them to verify the correct details. Give a list of their phone numbers to someone in case any of them don't show up on the day.*

3. Picture your wedding the way you want it, visualize all of your details clearly in your mind, and stay focused on what you want.

Couples are constantly re-defining weddings. They seem to place more importance on their wedding being a celebration of individual love than on fussiness, formalities or old-fashioned, outdated etiquette. They are celebrating who they are, right now.

Remember, if you fail to dream, you will live your nightmare, so figure out what it is you want and go for it. With this mental image, you can list down all the details, and one by one, when you have either completed them or delegated them to someone you trust to make sure that they get done the way you want them to be done, you can check them off. Having this list is a huge stress buster and it helps you sleep at night. Another secret for a good night's sleep is to have a notebook beside your bed, and every time you wake up thinking that there is something you think you missed, write it down.

4. Time is always another stressful factor.

Another great stress reducer and wedding success maker is time management. Couples who begin planning early and pace themselves should be able to avoid last minute chaos. The old saying, "An hour late and a dollar short" could never be more applicable than for a wedding. Give yourself as much time as possible to dream about your wedding, write down all your goals (things you need to do), budget for each area, and give yourself time for a breather. Below you will find a basic wedding planner with guidelines as to what you might need to do and when it would be appropriate to get done.

Speaking of a breather, while planning your wedding you may have found that it has essentially taken over your life. You need to reclaim your life, even if it is only for a day or for a few hours, and take some time to yourself. Make time to connect with your partner and spend positive time together.

What is it you used to do before all of this planning? Do you like to read? Do you enjoy gardening? How about going for walks? Whatever it is that you may have let slip or sacrificed for the greater good, you need to take that time to yourself and your loved one and enjoy the relaxation that comes with doing something that you enjoy.

Learning to delegate is vital, especially the day of the wedding. Put someone else in charge of paying the vendors, moving the guest book from the ceremony to the reception site, double-checking with the caterers, or any other small task. Read through your list and assign everything! Hey, it's your day - enjoy it!!!

5. Relationships themselves, between the bride and groom, can be stressful and can become even more stressful prior to the marriage.

Back on the stress-o-meter, we see that getting married in itself is a very stressful change in a person's life. When we further add to that: late nights, changes in eating habits, changes in drinking habits, fear of all kinds (failure, things going wrong, anxiety attacks, tripping down the aisle, etc), we see that things can get out of perspective with the one we love.

As the old song says, "You always hurt the one you Love", and there are other relationships other than the one with your fiancé': those between the bride and her family, her sisters, her bridesmaids, the groom and his friends and family. The "relationships" I'm speaking of, are everywhere and not limited to the relationship between the bride and groom.

Take some time to reconnect with your closest friends. Try not to talk too much about your planning, but realize that it is a part of your life right now and your friends probably are interested. However, they also want you to be interested in their lives, so don't forget to ask them questions and turn the attention towards them, too.

To get away from centering on ourselves, we need to do something for someone else. You will be surprised how good (and relaxed) you will feel by making someone else feel good. Cook a friend dinner, serve a meal at your local soup kitchen, baby-sit for a couple who could use a break, take your niece or nephew out for an ice cream cone...there are so many things you can do for so many people - give it a try and see how good you feel!

Another really important aspect to remember is that there are always some people (relatives or friends) who know how to "push your buttons". When you are feeling very stressed... be sure to stay away from or at least limit your time with these people. I know it's hard, but force yourself to - it will pay dividends in the long run.

Speaking about being hard - JUST SAY NO! Now is not the time to be a people-pleaser. There may be many people around you who want to have their say about how your wedding should be arranged. Nevertheless, this is your day, and while you will want to accommodate others' views, much stress can be avoided if you start as you mean to go on, clearly asserting your wishes and plans wherever possible, and not encouraging suggestions that you know will eventually be turned down. Being honest is the best policy all round.

That point brings me to the topic of arguing. Where weddings are concerned, the emotionally tense environment can lead people to make mountains out of molehills. How spoons and forks are placed on tables may never have mattered before, but they may become a hot topic of debate between parents and the bride/groom-to-be.

Try to avoid arguing over petty things. Remember that it's better to have a simpler wedding and that in the end; it's not the minute details of your wedding that will really make your marriage or your relationship with your family members successful.