Stressed of Overwhelmed while Wedding Planning? A Few Tips

by Melissa on December 2, 2011

Frequent readers of SuperNoVABride know that I have very strong feelings about wedding-related stress. First, wedding stress is almost entirely self-imposed because planning a wedding is, frankly, not that hard. I even outlined the steps we took to ensure that our wedding was mostly stress-free!

But there were definitely times that I was overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help you handle those overwhelming times

Organize the Information you already Have

Feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information you’ve been collecting or receiving? Try organizing the information you have instead of searching for more information. It will make you feel boatloads better!  Let me provide an example:

Back in August, I had been trying to make arrangements to have my hair and makeup done on my wedding day. There were some hair stylists and makeup artists that I could eliminate right away. Because, nope, sorry, I’m not spending $425 on an up-do. And, no, I’m not spending more on my makeup than I spent for my wedding dress.

But, the differences between the others vendors were very subtle, which made it very difficult to compare them. All were seemingly close in price, but everything had to be examined closely. Some provided both hair and makeup services, while others just provided one of the services, meaning I would have to book two different vendors. Some of the vendors included a trial in their estimate, some charged extra. Some of the places were located farther away and charged a travel fee based on the mileage traveled. Some charged a flat travel fee regardless of the distance. Some charged “kit fees.” Others had a minimum amount of people for which they would travel (and since we weren’t having a bridal party, that could be an issue).  All of a sudden I was feeling really confused and overwhelmed, something I never like.  I kept looking at each of the different estimates and trying to figure out the best deal!

I was loathe to create a spreadsheet comparison, because, frankly, it’s difficult to make a nice neat little spreadsheet when there are so many different variables.  How could I get all my columns to add up all nice and neatly to make sure I was comparing apples to apples?

Finally, I realized I didn’t need some perfectly designed spreadsheet with all sorts of fancy formulas.  I just needed a place where I could view all the pricing information and services for each hair and makeup vendor in one place.  So, I compiled a less-than-perfect document, which I called a snapshot view, of all the hair and makeup places. It made vendor comparisons so much easier just seeing all the information in one place.  I was quickly able to see the fees for each place, how much my cost would be, how much it would be for others getting their makeup done (my sister, my future sister-in-law, and my mom), and how much the total would be.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and trying to make a decision and compare really disparate services and prices, just compile all your information into one place.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly organized.

Step Away from the Computer

Have you ever searched for something endlessly online and not been able to find what you’re looking for? Then you know that it’s a waste of time and truly demoralizing. I can’t even begin to calculate how many hours on end I spent looking for the silliest things online. Some of the worst time wasters? Cake toppers, wedding card boxes, and ring bearer pillows. I could never make up my mind on those items. I would bounce around from Pinterest to Weddingbee Classifieds, to Craigslist classified and various wedding blogs, and then in the end, have nothing to show for it after hours of time wasted. It’s a terrible, unproductive feeling.

Limit searching, for whatever it is, to 30-45 minutes max. If you reach that maximum allotment and still haven’t found what you’re looking for, do something productive instead. Complete a task or two that will have a definite, tangible result. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself, I swear! What are some productive tasks? Try some of these: Save all your wedding contracts to a common folder, or better yet, upload them to Google Docs. Make appointments with some wedding dress stores. Make a shot list for your photographer. Do something, anything, that will have a specific outcome instead of endless researching online.

Step Away from the Computer … Part 2

Have you searched for something online using the term “unique?” Perhaps “unique wedding card boxes” or “unique wedding programs.”

Well, let me save you some time.

Whatever is showing up in those search results, is not unique. At all. I can’t even begin to quantify how many times I searched for “unique wedding program” and those damned fan programs showed up. Hmmm, if they’re in all my search results, they’re not exactly unique anymore are they?

The best ideas I had (which, if I may brag for a moment, included our Save-the-Date Card, our invitations and RSVP card, our Lego Ring Bearer box, and sewing LED lights into the hem of my dress) were the effect of two potential causes: 1) the costs of things. Because, frankly, I’m not paying $80 for some boring little ring bearer pillow. Or 2) just how generic existing options seemed. How is it possible that wedding card boxes can be SO boring?

After countless hours of searching for “unique” ideas online, I stepped away from the computer and opened one of my trusty Moleskine notebooks. And I sketched. And I erased. And I sketched some more. Or sometimes I tried freewriting (see #4).

Lo and behold, MY brain – my very uncreative and anti-crafty brain – took over. And I ended up with some very wonderful ideas. And they didn’t come from the internet!

Try Freewriting

About a year ago, I learned about freewriting in Accidental Genius. It’s a quick read, and I recommend it, but here’s the quick gist. When you’re stuck, or just want to unlock some creativity, just sit down and start WRITING. Pure, unadulterated, misspelled, run-on sentences. Computer or paper and pen, it doesn’t matter. When you run out of things to write, just write gibberish. So, for instance, if you’re stuck and can’t figure out any good ideas for your ceremony, just start writing. You’ll be amazed at what can emerge from your brain after a freewriting session. And how organized things can emerge too!


I’d love to hear in the comments about how others dealt with the more overwhelming moments of wedding planning!

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