Transitions by Amanda Marcus, MS~MFT

Planning a wedding should be a joyous and exciting time in one’s life, filled with tremendous love and excitement. Often absent from all the millions of planning checklists, however, are the stresses and frustrations that come with organizing your monumental day. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, as almost every bride-to-be, here are ten tips to help you cope with all that’s going on.

1. Exercise – Whether you like it or not, we all know how great it is. Studies show that exercise not only improves our mood and focus, it reverses the detrimental effects of stress by releasing boosts of “soothing” brain chemicals that help us decom- press. If you need any more convincing, exercise also improves body image, builds self-esteem and enriches sexuality, all of which make for fabulous accessories on your wedding day (and, of course, wedding night)!

2. Listen to Music – “I’ve Got A Feeling” (and so do the Black Eyed Peas) that listening to music will not only make you feel good, but also it will put a smile on your face! Have a scroll through your iPod and find songs that make you want to get up and dance! Bonus: Don’t forget to write them down to give to your DJ or band – I can guarantee that if the songs give you ‘that feeling’, they’ll give your guests that feeling too!

3. Take Deep Breaths – Taking deep breaths releases toxins from our bodies and helps clear those uneasy feelings and relieve emotional stress. Plus, it’s not a bad thing to practice; when it’s time to embark down that aisle, those deep breaths will ensure you make it to the alter standing!

4. Cook – What’s the sense of registering if you don’t know how to use your new baster or lame (which, for all you non-chefs like myself, a lame is a double-sided blade used to slash the tops of bread loaves in artisan baking)? Find a recipe that whets your whistle and cook up an impromptu meal for you and your husband-to-be. Not only will he be surprised, he’ll also be pleased to know that all those registery scanning skills were put to good use.

5. Delegate – As brides, we take on a lot and, at times, it’s simply too much. Phone a friend or family member. It’s healthy to vent, but healthier to delegate, and you’ll still have control without feeling overwhelmed.

6. Have One To-Do List – Who doesn’t love a to-do list? Crossing things off a list can provide such a huge sense of gratification. However, multiple to-do lists can have the opposite effect and make all the planning seem extremely overwhelming. Condense all those lists onto one page and create one master wedding to-do list. Also, don’t forget to add all those lists you’ve got going in your head! Creating one list will help get you, and everyone else around you, organized and on track so you can relax and enjoy your wedding day.

7. Pamper Yourself – Pick your poison (manicure or pedicure, bubble bath, a new pair of shoes, etc.) and just allow yourself to indulge in those few moments. This is your “me” time, and by giving back to yourself in appreciation for all the blood, sweat and many (many) tears, your body will most definitely thank you.

8. Keep a Gratitude List – Writing a daily gratitude list gives you brief moments to think about what makes you happy and to forget about the not-so-great things that are going on. It helps bring focus to what’s most important, what fills your own cup to make it half full and not half-empty, and forces a shift in your perspective each and every day. There’s no better time to start than right now. Bonus: A gratitude list is also a good place to start in helping you write your own vows!

9. Take a Break – Yes, you can take a break! And by break, I mean no wedding talk whatsoever, at least one day each week. You and your fiancé’s happiness does not hinge on your wedding day alone. It’s an important day, but getting there with your relationship strong and intact is all you truly need when it’s time to say, “I do.”

10. Stay in the Moment – As I watched the Royal Wedding, aside from the dress, celebrity sightings and magnificent hats, I took notice of how present Kate was. With all that was going on, Kate was truly living in and taking in the moment. Like it or not, we live in a world focused around the “what’s next”, shifting our attention from the “right now”. A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime affair. Stop and allow yourself to absorb each moment along this exciting wedding day journey, because as those who have gone before always share, it all goes by way too quickly.


Amanda Marcus (soon to be Cruse) has her MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, and is a current MFT Intern passionate in the area of life transitions that impact individual, as well as couple, and family dynamics. She currently resides in Redondo Beach, CA with her fiancé Roy, and can be found sharing advice on her blog Hug and Kiss. For more information, visit