"Wedding prep really takes a toll, from all the errands and choices to actually agreeing on stuff with my fiancé who's really engaged in the planning of our big day," says Vivi, 28, who's been engaged for a year. There are lots of ways to pamper yourself when you need a break— massages, a mani/pedi, maybe a skincare counter shopping spree. But what engaged girl has the time or money to take the edge off that way all the time? (Not us!) Here's how real brides-to-be take care of themselves during this rollercoaster time.
1. Enjoy the company of your best girlfriends.
"The day before the wedding rehearsal when our families started arriving, we assembled the ladies for some DIY favor projects— it was a great way to relax with the girls and visit with everyone before the wedding madness began. A lot of brides opt to get their nails done with their bridesmaids the day before their wedding, but I got mine done a couple days before so I could relax and enjoy the pampering. Then when it came time for the girls to get theirs done the day of our rehearsal, I was able to sit right in the middle of them and chat, rather than yell across the room trying to talk with everyone. It was perfect!" — Kristen, married 7 months ago
2. Talk it out.
"Therapy therapy therapy! I was so overwhelmed and beating myself up about whether or not my wedding would be perfect, whether or not I was worthy, whether or not my family would approve of the ceremony, that I was driving everybody around me— and myself— absolutely crazy. Just a little bit of time to work on my emotional well-being every day for the weeks before the ceremony made a world of difference in my happiness, and, I believe my marriage. Now I tell all my girlfriends that I think might be a bridezilla — consider a bit of therapy!" —Jess, getting married this month
3. Make bath time fancy.
"I take a hot bath with lavender bath oil and a few drops of eucalyptus oil, plus soothing music and dim lights. I never appreciated how much lavender relaxes me. Plus my fiancé joins in the bath with me, sometimes! It's a great way to relax and bond after a stressful day with all the planning and sorting out and the worst part— the budgeting, ugh. Even after some intense tete-a-tete regarding wedding deets, we calm down and relax before bed." —Vivi, getting married in July
4. Get away from it all.
"My job is stressful and I tend to get addicted to stress. In preparation for my wedding, I knew I needed to get out of the cycle of stress and bad-health habits that stress caused. In order to try to break my terrible habits, I actually went a little nuts— I did a 10-day silent meditation course. The retreat was totally silent, I was out of touch from the world and learned to meditate by actively practicing meditation for more than 10 hours each day! It was really intense and an incredibly life-changing event. I am now trying to maintain my practice by meditating for 30 minutes to 1 hour per day! I know I will meditate the week of and the morning of my wedding too! It's been hugely helpful." *—Brooke, 32, getting married in April *
5. Celebrate someone else.
"A really great stress reliever was going to another friend's wedding one week before our own. We had a great time celebrating someone else's love and happiness and taking a break from obsessing about our own big day." —Kari, getting married in May