Wedding planning stress getting the best of you? Every bride and groom-to-be deserves to take a break sometimes. So we rounded up some of our favorite activities for when wedding planning gets the best of you.
"Wedding planning often creates stress for many as the big day approaches—from balancing your own expectations with familial and friends, expenses and costs, relying and trusting on others, and just making a major life change can create overwhelming feelings," says mental health expert Megan Logan. "One of the most important components to battling wedding planning stress is to allow others to help! It's also important to set boundaries, clearly communicate, and practice self-care."
Meet the Expert
Megan Logan, MSW, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of counseling experience. She is the author of the Self-Love Workbook For Women: Release Self-Doubt, Build Self-Compassion, and Embrace Who You Are.
No matter how exciting wedding planning is, the task can definitely take its toll—making time off a must every once in a while. Close your laptop and start that book you've been waiting to read or put self-care first for once. And, yes, you can afford some time off, no matter when the wedding day is.
Here are 25 alternatives that are guaranteed to lessen wedding planning stress when times get tough.
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 the big day technically doesn't count as wedding planning, so splurge on a Pure Barre or Soul Cycle package. Certain workout spots might even offer bride-to-be packages or discounts.
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 that wedding to-do list. "Finding ways to ground yourself by yoga or spending time in nature can help self-soothing and refill your cup with energy," adds Logan.
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—an effect Logan attributes to the creativity in expressing your feelings through different channels. Even if you can't draw worth a damn, there are so many ways to let that creative side shine. Compile a collage of photos, 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 DIY projects for the 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 those kinks and grooves. You can even invite your partner for a romantic pre-wedding couple's massage. Besides, doesn't everyone (to-be-wed or not) need a little me-time and relaxation?
7. Sign up for a cooking class.
Again, this activity can turn into a fun couple's 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 the breathing, make yourself comfortable, and reap the rewarding meditation benefits. "I often recommend practicing mindfulness and learning to be in the moment while suspending judgment," says Logan. "Often putting meaning on situations and events contributes to emotional hijaking." Smartphone apps like Calm and OMG. I Can Meditate! can lend a helping hand to any meditation skeptics.
9. Start a journal.
Journaling provides a private space for you to write all that stress out of your system. While it might sound juvenile, like a middle schooler keeping a diary, you'll be amazed at how wonderful it feels to put thoughts to paper. It helps release stress and frustrations, as Logan would put it. Or, use this as a platform to set time aside to pen sweet love notes and express your gratitude for your future husband or wife.
Branch out of your comfort zone to make a difference in the 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 will make you feel much more fulfilled than crossing off wedding planning criteria.
11. Put on your dancing shoes.
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 those 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 the precious, go-to wedding folder. Plus, Logan notes that cleaning up your space provides both a distraction and sense of control when so many other things may seem completely out of your control.
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 combining closets with your future spouse. Doing so 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. Just make sure you're not blowing the wedding budget on a huge shopping spree. Logan advises exercising some caution to ensure you're not shopping compulsively. "Any distraction can become an addiction," she warns.
15. Disconnect from technology.
Facebook and Instagram feeds might be heavily overpopulated with wedding-related posts so take some time each day to turn your phone off and unplug from the rest of the world. This will also keep you from falling down the dreaded wedding comparison trap. "Refocusing on your values and things that are ultimately important to you can help shift you from minutia of details to the bigger perspective and what ultimately matters: two people celebrating their love and commitment," says Logan. "Perfection in a wedding doesn't have to happen to have happiness and a magical day."
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're considering, 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 those newfound skills to good use.
17. Take a quick road trip.
With wedding planning pushed to the side, you still might not have that much free time within your busy schedule. But, opt for something relaxing 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.
While making any music selections for the first dance, reception, etc., isn't exactly taking a break from wedding planning, scoping out some new playlists for potential options is. If you're at a loss for popular jams, check out our roundup of the most romantic songs of all time. You won't be disappointed. Besides, Logan says listening to music "can express feelings, distract, soothe, and improve mood." Sign us up!
19. Prioritize your beauty regimen.
Every bride (and groom!) wants glowing skin and gorgeous hair as they walk down the aisle, so use this break to focus on a beauty routine. Spend a few extra minutes moisturizing your skin, exfoliating dead skin cells away, and checking your makeup bag for expired products. De-stressing and taking a break from wedding plans can also do wonders for your complexion alone.
20. Make plans with friends and family.
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 the kitchen floor the past few weeks? Little tasks like this can quickly add up on the 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 the reception). 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 partner 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. Cheap beer and a hot dog or two are 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 the fam.
25. Daydream about the big day.
Just because you're taking a break from wedding planning 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!