The Stress Buster

Photo: Danny Kim

Gabrielle Bernstein, motivational speaker and author of May Cause Miracles

How can couples stay calm and happy while planning their weddings?
They need to recognize that their energy is behind every word they say. If you’re telling friends, “Wedding planning sucks and it’s so difficult,” then it will suck and be difficult. If you say, “It’s a creative process,” you’ll bring a positive spin. Be mindful of the words you’re using. Take a deep breath and remind yourself what this is all about.

How can they minimize stresses?
Get the big things off your chest first so you can take time with other details. There is a lot of power in organization. A good attitude helps. Bad attitudes require more energy. Positive energy allows you to accomplish more in an efficient way.

Let’s talk time management.
Have a weekly check-in. Tell your planner and family members that you’ve allocated a particular time once a week to review the plans. When someone sends you five links a day to wedding websites, you’re not giving any of them your full attention.

You’re big on meditation. Can you walk us through the process?
Daily meditation is important for anyone, but especially during a high-stress situation. Take time in the morning—it will set you up to win the rest of the day. The first step is to sit with intention, thinking, “I choose to calm down and relax.” Focus on your breath: Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth for five minutes. Become mindful of what you’re feeling.

Any advice on avoiding family squabbles?
Be clear about what’s non-negotiable, and if something truly is negotiable, be willing to compromise. If your parents are giving you pushback about something, gently say, “We really respect you, but this is something that is very important to us.”

What about lovers’ quarrels?
Don’t talk about the wedding all the time—it shouldn’t be the only conversation you’ll have for the next year. Schedule time to talk about it. If it overwhelms you, it will take control of your relationship. Stay connected and supportive.

We hear you’re engaged—congratulations! Be honest: Are you stressed?
My trauma right now is that the dress I want is no longer available. If there’s a detour in the plan, it’s not necessarily a problem. View it as an opportunity for something new to come in. See your obstacles as opportunities. And when all else fails, I suggest finding a yoga studio.

“Only ask friends who will bring out the best in your wedding to be in your bridal party. When in doubt, only include family members.”
Photo: Illustration by Gillian Blease

The Stress Buster