What to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed by Wedding Planning

Battling wedding burnout? Here’s how to get back on track, according to experts.

A black woman laying on a bed journaling in a bedroom with wall art and plants.

COROIMAGE / Getty Images

Once the initial engagement euphoria tapers off, it's completely normal to get overwhelmed by the onslaught of decisions you need to make leading up to your wedding day. It's all too easy to let self-care fall by the wayside during this hectic time, but it's a crucial component to preventing stress from spiraling out of control while you're planning everything from dress sizing to floral arrangements.

Ask yourself the following questions. Has your to-do list taken on a life of its own, to the point where you're paralyzed about what to do next? Do well-intentioned "How are the wedding plans going?" remarks secretly make you want to hyperventilate? Can't remember the last real date you went on with your spouse-to-be? If you answered "yes" to any (or all) of the above, then it might be time to hit the pause button on wedding planning, even if it's just for a week.

Here, wedding experts share sanity-saving tips to help you get back on track and make the process enjoyable again. Trust us, you'll be enthusiastically counting down the days until you hear wedding bells before you know it!

Meet the Expert

1. Check Things Off in Order of Importance to You

“A couple can only do so much before burnout sinks in, so it’s important to prioritize from the beginning and let the little things go," says Fabrice Orlando from Cocoon Events Management Group. He recommends deciding on three top priorities for your wedding day and making a pact not to stress over anything that falls outside of that. If your must-haves list changes throughout the course of your engagement, let your wedding vendors know, and they can adjust accordingly.

"Focus on just one item at a time so you don't experience decision overload. This will prevent you from getting confused by lots of different options and second-guessing yourself," says Jacqueline Hill from Jacqueline Events & Design.

2. Set Realistic Deadlines for Completion

Your wedding won't be planned in a week, so don't set yourself up for failure by procrastinating. Dr. Sherrie Sims Allen, a relationship strategist and certified Myers-Briggs practitioner, suggests that you start the planning process as soon as you set the wedding date, to avoid wedding day anxiety. Part of this process is setting realistic deadlines for your tasks. Create a timeline with all of your major task items and allot yourself extra time in case of unforeseen circumstances. When you accomplish a big task, give yourself a special treat to stay motivated.

Also, if you haven’t already, use one folder to store all of your bridal-related business cards, vendor checklists, contracts, and any other necessary documents. “Once you complete a contract, just make a copy and pop it into your folder so that you know where to access it if needed,” Hill says. That way, you’ll never have to frantically search for an important wedding document in a mountain of disorganized paperwork ever again.

3. Step Away From the Pinterest Board

“If it all starts to feel like too much, then take a breather and go on a self-imposed wedding ban for a few days (or even a week). Don't look at your Pinterest board, wedding emails, or the huge binder of notes and paperwork that you've collected over the past few months,” Orlando says. Instead, use this restorative period to enjoy some downtime with your friends, take long baths, practice yoga, or do whatever else relaxes you. Dr. Sims Allen stresses that taking time to breathe is crucial during these busy times—there are so many meditation and relaxation apps out there, so she recommends picking one that you and your partner both like, and spending some time practicing deep breathing.

4. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping

If you've already tried a number of relaxing activities and still found yourself fixating on the latest wedding conundrum while you're doing downward dog or getting a pedicure, then you might want to take an entirely different approach instead. Consider hitting the gym, doing a workout class, or taking a hike with friends or your partner.

5. Outsource Some of Your Responsibilities

Burnout often means you're not delegating enough, so have a conversation with your fiancé to figure out what you can both take off your plates. "If you feel like you don't have enough time for wedding planning, then see how you can free up other areas of your life. Revisit your household tasks and see if there is any flexibility there, whether it's temporarily hiring a cleaning company or taking advantage of online subscription services to deliver groceries to your home," Orlando says.

6. Reconnect With Your Spouse-To-Be

Plan a fun and low-key outing with your partner, whether it's strolling through the farmer's market, lingering over a cappuccino at a local coffee shop, or taking in an art exhibit. “Sometimes I send my clients some gourmet macarons with a bottle of champagne and tell them to take a night off from planning and reconnect. Make a rule about no wedding talk—and stick to it!" says Kim Sayatovic from Belladeux Event Design. Bonus points if you can take an affordable weekend getaway or staycation together.

7. Ease Back Into the Wedding Prep

Break up bigger projects like putting together the seating chart into smaller, more manageable steps that you can tackle one piece at a time. For example, for the seating chart: step one is to design the chart layout; step two might be to create different colors for each guest category; step three entails writing each person's name on a flag based on his or her color category and placing it on the poster board.

8. Focus on the Fun Parts

Setting aside time for the exciting aspects of wedding planning can reenergize your motivation. "Invite your friends to join you and turn that to-do into a bonding experience. For example, you can plan a champagne brunch after dress shopping. Spending the day with your pals with surely pick your spirits up," Sayatovic says.

9. Call in Professional Reinforcements

If you've tried all of these coping techniques and are still struggling with coordinating your wedding, then you might want to hire an event planner to tackle the more tedious tasks. "You can add a pro planner at any point during the process, even at the last minute. However, it’s better to bring one in after you've signed all of your contracts and have the design in place. That way, they can look over everything for you and bring any problems to your attention before the day of the wedding," Sayatovic says.

10. Remind Yourself Why You’re Getting Married in the First Place

When it all starts to feel like too much, take a moment to write down all of the reasons why you want to spend the rest of your life with your fiancé. Remember that in the end, your wedding isn't about the flowers, music, or food. “It's a celebration of your relationship and the journey you are on together. You're marrying the love of your life. That's what truly matters!" Hill says.

Related Stories