Courtesy of Jupiter ImagesBy Colleen Moody
Take a cue from someone who has already walked down the aisle. These brides share the stress tips they wish they had known when prepping for their own "I do."
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Tip #1: Don't Fret Over Fine Details
"Little details are totally irrelevant after the fact," says Charlotte Milling from Olympia, Washington. "Curling ribbon, wrapping tulle, and folding napkins will never be as satisfying as spending an hour decompressing. You will reflect more on how you felt on your wedding day than on how closely your final product matched your mental image, so don't shortchange your body.'
Another realization Charlotte came to was that she was calling the shots! "I found if I wanted to do something, people would indulge me because I was the bride. So when I decided I wanted to go for a run between the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, both of our families and bridal party did our own Rehearsal Day 5K. My maid of honor even trained for it! It gave us all a moment to step back from the chaos, engage in something fun, and bond in a way that wouldn't have been possible at the wedding alone. It is one of my fondest memories from the entire weekend!"
Tip #2: Sweat to Stress Less
Catherine Charon from Richmond, Virginia, also used exercise to channel her nerves. "I trained for my first half-marathon in the months leading up to my wedding. Any time I got worried about details or conflicts I went out for a run. It was a great way to clear my head and by the time I got back I felt like I could handle anything. Plus, I was in the best shape of my life when I walked down the aisle 20 days after the race (and I finished in 2:01!)."
Tip #3: Let People Help You
Type A brides take note. "I am a major control freak and didn't want anyone to help -- I was afraid if I gave up power it wouldn't be my wedding anymore," confesses Karinda Hersman from Stevensville, Montana. "I wish I had let my mom and maid of honor help out so I wasn't doing everything by myself. They weren't trying to take over, they just wanted to enjoy the process with me. And don't worry when something goes wrong, because it will. At the end of the day, you will be married to the love of your life, and isn't that the ultimate goal?"
Related: 10 Sanity Savers to Be a Better Bridesmaid
Tip #4: Designate a Fireman
Even if the entire planning process is smooth sailing, there can always be a glitch at the last minute. "I had decided early on that I would not get stressed about my wedding," says Corri Lewellen from Jefferson City, Missouri. "I made it until two days before when the bakery called to say they couldn't make the cake I had ordered and paid for. I stayed calm, picked a different style, and moved on. The morning of my wedding, the bakery called my cell phone to tell me they wouldn't be able to deliver the cake to the reception site. I was upset but hate confrontation, so I found someone with a van who could go pick it up. Problem solved? Not in the least. Just before I am getting ready to walk down the aisle (literally), the delivery guy I just hired calls to say the bakery won't release the cake to him because he doesn't have a receipt. Now completely distressed, my mom grabbed the phone, had a heated discussion with the bakery, and handled the situation."
"Looking back, I wish I had designated someone to handle those calls and put out those fires. If you don't have a wedding coordinator, assign your mom, maid of honor, or someone else who can calmly and firmly handle last-minute flare-ups."
Tip #5: Make a Fit Kit
Before you embark on creating your dream wedding, remember that your usual schedule may get jostled around a bit. "Since I planned my entire wedding, I wasn't able to work out as much as I used to or stick to a regular eating schedule with all the meetings, phone calls, and bridal showers," says Ashley Fleming from Bloomington, Indiana. "Always carry your gym bag with extra clothes in your car in case you have 30 minutes to work out in between meetings, lunch, calls, etc. You never know when you might have few free minutes and if you are prepared you can work out anywhere. Same with your diet -- always carry healthy snacks in your purse. I sliced apples and carried Justin's Nut Butter Organic Honey Peanut Butter packets for on-the-go snacks I could eat when hunger hit."
Related: The Best (and Worst) Foods to Eat on Your Wedding Day
Tip #6: Know When to Save
To avoid money woes, make a list of things you are willing to bargain on and what you want to splurge on before you start planning. "I was really stressed about sticking to a budget for my wedding," says Michelle Petrillo of Florham Park, New Jersey. "I saved so much money by ordering my flowers from my local supermarket instead of a florist. No one could believe my gorgeous centerpieces came from Shop Rite!"
Tip #7: Be True to You
"Be yourself!" says Presley Salmon of North Augusta, South Carolina. "Do your own makeup, wear a dress you are comfortable in, and practice dancing in your wedding shoes. If they don't feel right, get another pair. Nothing is more beautiful than a bride who is having fun."
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Courtesy of Jupiter ImagesBy Colleen Moody