Planning a wedding is stressful. No doubt about it. Even the most serene brides-to-be, the ones who remain calm and cool through anything, can get pushed to their limits and snap sometimes. Perhaps it's a mother with way too many opinions, a difficult bridesmaid pouting through every fitting, a florist with attitude, or a budget that's growing way out of control ... not to mention your everyday stressful work life piling the tension on you.
Whatever sends you over the edge, threatening to brand you with the dreaded B-word (either Bridezilla or the other one), your best move is to just walk away from Wedding World once in a while. Escape your wedding. Take off the Bride-To-Be badge and just decompress in the way that works best for you. We have some ideas for you here, and we hope that you'll save your sanity by planning several of them -- written in ink -- in your schedule:
1. Plan a date night with your fiancé -- no wedding talk allowed. Make it romantic, and remind yourselves that all this wedding craziness is going on because you're madly in love.
2. Go to a day spa and get the works -- manicure, pedicure, massage, foot massage, shea butter conditioning hair treatment...something soothing and indulgent. Some brides request gift certificates to day spas for their birthday or holiday gifts in the months prior to the wedding, just so they're prepared for essential de-stressing days.
3. Don't skip Girls' Night Out just because you're busy. Again, make it a rule that no wedding talk is allowed, and laugh and dance with your friends just like you always have. Social time is crucial to keeping your sanity.
4. Laugh it up. Laughter creates feel-good hormones, so either rent the funniest flicks of all time, or join your friends and fiancé for a night at the comedy club.
5. Spend time with your pet. Health magazines and sites often report that just petting a dog can create relaxation hormones, so take some time to cuddle with your pet, or go to a friend's place to "borrow" her dog for an hour or two.
6. Get plenty of exercise. When you're busy, your fitness routine could suffer. But don't skip those yoga classes or evening walks just because you have a lot on your To-Do list. Making time to work out keeps you on an even keel, relaxes the mind, and gives you more energy to handle that To-Do list well.
7. Have lots of sex. Again, feel-good hormones. So make this a top priority, for your own well-being and your partner's as well.
8. Get out into nature. Escape the ringing cell phone, the evening news, the hum of your office computer, and all the annoying people in your life by going for a walk at the beach or in the woods, by a lake, or in the park. Breathe in that fresh, clean air and notice the upturn of the bright green leaves on the trees. Listen to the waves crashing and think about something bigger than yourself and your wedding. It's a terrific way to escape.
9. Go to a playground. On a weekend morning, just stop by the town park and watch the kids playing on the jungle gym, or the little six year-olds learning to play soccer on the field. Listen to their laughter and the delight they take in the day.
10. Call your nieces and nephews. They love the attention, and you'll love the funny things they say. (As in, "I'm going to go out and catch some raisins" instead of "catch some rays.")
11. Visit with relatives. Just stop in for tea with your grandmother or your great-aunt and talk about what's up with them.
12. Go to an aquarium. Sure, it may be "touristy" in your area, but you'll escape the world above when you're sitting mesmerized by the synchronized movements of that glittering school of fish.
13. Go swimming. At night. Just the two of you.
14. Book an overnight stay at a bed and breakfast or hotel as a surprise to your fiancé. A little mini-vacation, even if it's just up the road, can be a terrific escape -- order up room service, enjoy that in-room whirlpool bath, watch a movie in bed, or lay out by the pool ordering tropical drinks. You can pretend you're in Maui already.
15. Make massages a weekly ritual with your fiancé. Invest in some great scented oils or lotions, and take turns giving and receiving back, foot, even hand massages.
16. Just go for a drive through the upscale neighborhoods in your area. Check out the landscaping, the new construction, the four-car garages...and dream of the future you will have together.
17. Read a great book. Find something funny or intriguing. Nothing wedding-oriented, nothing self-help, nothing stressful in any way. Then either curl up in bed, by the fireplace, or in a hammock to "check out" for a few hours.
18. Attend a cultural event, like a street festival, a concert, a play, a dance performance, a jazz club night. Some events are free, so check the newspaper for a list of events going on in your area. www.festivals.com is another great resource for unique goings-on that can take you away from it all.
19. Make time for play. It could be a snowball fight together, a board game evening, mini-golf or creative use of that Hershey's chocolate syrup bottle in your cabinet.
20. Keep a gratitude journal. The best way to escape what's going wrong with your wedding plans is to make yourself think about, appreciate and write down what's going right. And then look back to it often when you need a little boost.