Wedding planning stress getting the best of you? With a new year upon us, we challenge you to add another resolution to your list this January—taking a break from all things wedding planning. This might seem blasphemous, coming from a bridal magazine and all, but trust us. Taking a month off can help eliminate any and all pre-wedding worries (NOT add to them) in ways you won't believe until you try.
Eliminating any wedding plans for an entire month gives you a much-needed break to focus on yourself, and you'll feel completely refreshed (maybe even a little more excited) when you pick back up in February. And, yes, you can afford a month of time off, no matter when your wedding day is. To take your mind of the "W" word entirely this month, occupy yourself with any of these 30 alternatives that are guaranteed to lessen your wedding planning stress and put YOU first. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for this (and no cheating!).
1. Start a new book.
Always complaining about having no time to read? With wedding planning pushed to the side, you have all the time in the world! Brush the dust off your Kindle and download that romance novel you've been meaning to start since 2012.
2. Try a new workout class.
Squeezing in a few extra workouts before your big day technically doesn't count as wedding planning, so splurge on a Pure Barre or Soul Cycle package this month. Or, lace up your gloves and mix things up with a kickboxing lesson at your gym. Certain workout spots might even offer discounts for the beginning of the year, so there's no time like the present to sweat it out. New year, new (fitter) you.
3. Pick up yoga.
Say "om" and spend an hour each day working your way up to yogi status. Whether you start your morning with downward dog or head to a hot yoga class after work, your mind and body will forget all about your wedding to-do list.
4. Watch your favorite comedies.
There's no better way to de-stress than with a good laugh. Whether you're a Tina Fey fanatic or a Ben Stiller stickler, cozy up on the couch and queue up your favorite funny flicks. We also recommend adding popcorn and a glass of wine (or several) into the mix for the ultimate stress-free movie night.
5. Get your arts and crafts on.
Channeling your inner Picasso can be quite therapeutic. Even if you can't draw worth a damn, there are so many ways to let your creative side shine. You can compile a collage of photos of you and your fiancé, attempt to knit a small scarf, or sign up for a paint and sip class for the best of both worlds: art and wine. Tackling a new art project can take your mind off wedding planning completely, and you might surprise yourself with a newfound talent. But there's one condition: do NOT craft any decor or DIY projects for your wedding.
6. Treat yourself to a massage.
Nothing can calm an overwhelmed bride-to-be better than a massage. It's worth every penny for the opportunity to relax while a professional works out all your kinks and grooves. You can even invite your significant other for a romantic pre-wedding couples massage.
7. Sign up for a cooking class.
Again, this activity can turn into a fun couples outing, or you can broaden your cooking horizons with a few girlfriends (or your bridesmaids to help them get to know each other). Whether you consider yourself a novice chef or the next Ina Garten, it's always exciting to try your hand at a few new recipes.
Work on your mental health by kicking off each day with a peaceful morning meditation. Center your mind, slow your breathing, make yourself comfortable, and reap the rewarding meditation benefits. Smartphone apps like "Calm" and "OMG I Can Meditate" can lend a calm, helping hand to any meditation skeptics.
9. Start a journal.
Journaling provides a private space for you to write your stress out of your system. It might sound juvenile, like a middle schooler keeping a diary, but you'll be amazed at how wonderful it feels to put your thoughts to paper. Or, use this as a platform to set time aside to pen sweet love notes and express your gratitude for your future groom.
Start the new year on a philanthropic note, and branch out of your comfort zone to make a difference in your community. If you've recently moved to a new locale with your future spouse, helping out at a local charity a few times a week is the perfect way to meet new people and occupy your time with a feel-good task. Supporting the less fortunate this month will make you feel much more fulfilled than crossing off wedding planning criteria.
11. Put on your dancing shoes.
This month, keep your romance alive and bust out some new dance moves with your significant other. Pick out a type of social dance, like the salsa, and give some lessons a whirl. Having two left feet is no excuse to skip out on this bonding exercise that's bound to generate a good laugh. Taking a dance class can also make you both feel more comfortable and on-beat during your first dance at the wedding.
12. Organize your home.
Before you can truly make major headway on your wedding plans, make sure you take some other personal organization matters into account first. A neat, clean home means you have one less thing on your plate as the big day approaches, and you'll never have to worry about misplacing your precious go-to wedding folder.
13. Declutter your closet.
If you're preparing to move in with your fiancé, now's the perfect time to consolidate closet space. Donate or sell anything you haven't worn in the past few years before you combine closets with your future spouse. A premature spring clean will make you feel like a brand new person (who's ready to plan an entire wedding).
14. Shop it out.
Retail therapy makes the best therapy, but within good reason. You do deserve to treat yourself to a new dress or two for any upcoming bridal showers or parties (especially with post-holiday sale deals). Just make sure you're not blowing your wedding budget on a huge shopping spree.
15. Disconnect from technology.
Considering engagement season is currently in full swing, your Facebook and Instagram feeds are probably heavily overpopulated with wedding-related posts. Your phone and social media can be constant temptations to hop back on the wedding planning bandwagon so, as hard as it may seem, take some time each day to turn your phone off and unplug from the rest of the world.
16. Meal prep.
In search of more ways to help look your best in your wedding dress or tailored suit? On top of the extra workout classes you can add on this month, set time aside once a week to prepare healthy meals for the upcoming days. Bonus points if you participated in the aforementioned cooking class and put your newfound skills to good use.
17. Take a quick road trip.
With wedding planning pushed to the side for 30 days, you still might not have that much free time within your busy schedule. But, kick off the new year on a relaxed note and hit the road with your sweetheart. Whether you venture an hour away to scope out some cool vintage stores or hop on a plane for a romantic weekend getaway, some carefree one-on-one time is just what the wedding doctors ordered during this month off.
18. Broaden your musical horizons.
We forbid you from making any music selections for your first dance, reception, etc., this month, but we do give you permission to scope out some new playlists for potential options. If you're at a loss for some popular jams, check out our roundup of the best love songs of 2017. You won't be disappointed.
19. Prioritize your beauty regimen.
Every bride (and groom!) wants glowing skin and gorgeous hair as she walks down the aisle, so use this month as an opportunity to focus on your beauty routine. Spend a few extra minutes moisturizing your skin daily, exfoliating dead skin cells away, and checking your makeup bag for any expired products. De-stressing and taking a break from wedding plans can also do wonders for your complexion alone. However, keep in mind you shouldn't experiment with too many new beauty products or major hair alterations prior to your wedding in case you have a negative reaction.
20. Make plans with friends and family.
To avoid coming off as a completely self-absorbed soon-to-be bride, stay social and schedule lunch or drinks after work with your bridesmaids or nearby family members. Take it one step further and reach out to your future mother- or father-in-law for some bonding time. Just make sure all wedding planning talk gets left at the door.
21. Manage any other to-do lists.
Been putting off sending a short email response to your aunt or taking a Swiffer to your kitchen floor the past few weeks? Little tasks like this can quickly add up on your to-do list, making you feel unnecessarily overwhelmed. Tackle these small projects and more before they start to build up again.
22. Attend a wine tasting.
It never hurts to add to your vino knowledge base, and you could even find a new red or white favorite to add to your collection (or serve at your reception—but don't decide until February!). You might need all the liquid courage you can get once you officially re-hunker down and take charge of wedding strategizing.
23. Go to a sporting event.
Even if anything athletics-related isn't your cup of tea, treat your significant other to a date night that involves getting out of the house and into an arena. Scope out an upcoming hockey or basketball game and score some tickets for the both of you. Cheap beer and a hot dog or two is always a kitschy fun time that we can get behind, even if you don't know team stats.
24. Foster an animal.
Practice your parenting skills and hang out with a cool new pet by signing up to be an animal foster. A cuddly cat or dog makes the perfect pre-wedding companion, and could potentially become a permanent member of your fam.
25. Daydream about the big day.
We admit, it'll probably be torturous to prohibit yourself from making any wedding-related plans for a month. But, just because you can't plan doesn't mean you're not allowed to happily fantasize about the big day. And, let's be honest, it's just too exciting not to think about constantly. Yes, you can doze off at your desk, envisioning gorgeous table linens, exquisite floral arrangements, marrying the person of your dreams, and everything else you have to look forward to. But don't put those thoughts to action just yet!