Posts in the 'wedding stress' Category

Real Bride Elizabeth: The Stress Rears its Head

Up until about a week ago, I was fairly laidback about my wedding. This surprised me, because I tend to be somewhat of an anxious person. I was pretty proud of myself. However, it seemed like once I got in the 3 month range, a little timer went off and all of a sudden I was in panic mode.


This is my “are you kidding me?” face

It all started with our upcoming trip to North Carolina. One of Bryce’s friends is getting married, so I decided to take advantage of being there and get in my hair trial, makeup trial and meet with my photographer to go over details. One little question from my hair stylist about what my timeline was for the day sent me into a tizzy. I know what time the wedding is going to be, but that’s about it. I have NO idea how long it will take for me to get my hair done, what time the photographer is showing up, or any of those others minute details that haven’t crossed my mind.

This prompted me to email every wedding planner in the Greensboro area to inquire about day-of coordination. Bad idea. I had NO idea just having someone come the day of the wedding to make sure everything goes smoothly was so expensive. One planner quoted me $2,350 FOR JUST THE DAY. Nope nope nope.

At lunch, my boss and I sat down and talked about my options. After tossing some ideas around, I reached out to one of my friends from college who had a picture-perfect wedding this past August. She was already going to be invited, but I asked if she would consider coming out and helping decorate and coordinate. She graciously said yes, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel about the entire situation knowing that I will have someone to handle the tiny details the day-of.


Jenny to the rescue!

For my future brides to be, here are some other things that helped me curb my emotions when I feel the stress taking over:

  • Playing with my dog
  • Yoga
  • Looking at cute pictures of animals online
  • Bourbon. Lots of bourbon.

Ladies, what are you doing to combat wedding stress? Do you have any neat little secrets that you’d care to divulge?

Signs of the All-Dreaded “Bride Brain” & What You Can Do To Squash It

Heeeyyyoooo!!! Now that the insanity of the holidays are safely in the rear-view mirror, you’re rockin’ that sparkler and all you newbie Broke-Ass Brides are starting to look ahead to your big day, I think it’s important to sit you down and talk about that horrible monster that is sure to rear its ugly head at some point during your planning process …

BRIDE BRAIN. *cue suspenseful music*

But Christen!, you’re saying, I’m totes rational and there’s no way, ever, EVAR that I’ll succumb to Bride Brain. I got my shizz together and I GOT THIS.

Darling, it’s OK. Bride Brain is nothing to be ashamed of … unless you let it get the best of you. And please, for the sake of your friends, family and your hubz-to-be, don’t let it do that. Otherwise you’ll have a lot of grovelling to do.

How do you know you’re getting conquered by Bride Brain? Well …

- Instead of wearing rose-colored glasses, you’ve started rocking Wedding Color-Scheme Glasses. Everything you see is suddenly twisted into wedding context. Would that rad vintage beer sign work with your Champagne fountain? Is that Creature from the Black Lagoon statue work with your centerpieces?

- You can’t have a conversation without bringing up your wedding … even with the customer service rep from your bank or the gas station attendant.

- You find yourself more stressed over whether you have enough baby’s breath for your bouquet than the fact that your car’s radiator is about to fall out.

- Your last 20 Facebook/Twitter posts are wedding related.

- You live on Pinterest and have pinned 7x more on your wedding board than any other of your boards.

- You now picture your wedding in terms of how good it’ll look on a blog.

- You’re having wedding nightmares … every night. Getting strangled by your veil, your MIL turns into Ursula from “The Little Mermaid,” your groom shows up naked (though that may not be so bad).

Fear not, you rockin’ BABs! This too can be fixed.

First, step away from your computer. That’s right, take that finger off the mouse and and power that bad boy down. WAIT!!! Not YET … finish reading this, first.

Talk to your fella about setting up at least one night per week that has absolutely, positively nothing to do with your impending nuptials. Go catch a ball game! Hit up the mini-golf course. Have some fun and blow off some steam.

Plan a mock-wedding full of the ugliest shizz you would never imagine having at your big day. Poufy sleeves, baby-puke-colored bridesmaid dresses. All the hideousness to your heart’s content. Make a Pinterest board for it, sketch it, whatevs. Just make something that is so far from what you want that you can’t help but bust a gut laughing (or gagging).

Tackle one big thing at a time. For serious. You don’t play in the NFL, so don’t think you’re capable of taking down more than one linebacker at a time. Make a list of your priorities (Venue, photography, cake, bar, dress … etc) and number them. Then devote a week to the first one, the next week to the second, etc. Limit the list to your top five or ten, and don’t start working on the small deets until each one of these big ones is donezo. Once all the big pieces are in place, the little stuff will either come easy or no longer matter.

Fine yourself every time you mention your wedding plans during an arbitrary convo. Kind of like a swear jar, throw a quarter into a vessel every time you bring up your special day during an irrelevant chat. Gas Station Gus will thank you.

Finally … KEEP CHAMPAGNE IN YOUR FRIDGE. I can’t stress this one enough. It doesn’t need to be a baller-ass bottle of Dom. But make sure you have it on hand for stressy wedding moments. There’s something about those tiny bubbles that will put you in a happy fog and remember the celebratory aspect of this whole deal. Don’t drink? Keep whatever special, treat-yo-self kind of bev you lurve on hand.

With this, I set you free to tackle the wedding road ahead of you. Please, make sure to keep your brain straight and don’t hesitate to freak out in the comments if you need to. We’ll love you regardless.

Now off with you! Go get some other stuff done and don’t even think about picking up that guest list. Go on, BABs, and be the amazeballz chickadees you are!

Welcome, all you newbies! And if you found us through The Listserve, an uber-awesome high-five for you! Woot!



{Real Bride: Carrie} Cha-cha-cha-Changes! (& Dealing With Life’s 3 Biggest Stressors At Once!)

Hey there, BABs! Back in the days when I was debating where we should get married, I mentioned our plan to move to San Diego, California, from Ohio.  Well, I’m happy to announce that we turned that plan into action and…


Our new neighborhood beach!

Honestly, now that I’m here, I’m really glad we decided to have our wedding in Arizona.  Trying to find a place to live, find jobs, and learn our way around a new city has been hard enough without also trying to find an ultra-low-budget wedding venue!

It’s been a tough transition for us.  It took me nearly a month to find a job.  Combine that with the sticker shock of SoCal life compared to the Midwest, and the wedding countdown ticking away, stir vigorously, and you’ve got one stressed-out Carrie.  As always, Zach has been the yin to my yang.  When I’m lying on the bed crying that, “We’re never EVER going to have enough money for a wedding!!!!!!!” he’s sitting there rubbing my back reminding me that, “Everything will be perfect.  Just be patient and it will work out!”  I know he’s right.  However, according to the experts, moving, getting married, and unemployment are three of  life’s biggest stressors!  Thankfully, we are both now working and building that wedding savings account!

How can you be sad with views like this?

I know our situation is easy compared to the problems many other engaged couples are facing.  I’m glad that we were able to make it through this huge life transition together!  Did anyone else move or have a major life change mid-engagement?  What are your tips to help engaged couples cope with wedding/life stress, and come out stronger in the end?

{Win This} Give Yourself A Break From Wedding Stress With 1Hour Break!

Conveniently purse-size!

Wedding stress can take a serious toll on your physical, emotional, and mental reserves. The bills, the coordination, the family conflict–it can bubble up into one big mess of no time for yourself currently and none for the foreseeable future, either! 1Hour Break wants to change that and help you battle the wedding stress monster with their concentrated kava spray!

1Hour Break is a 100% natural, sustainable, fair-trade kava spray that provides relief from stress, anxiety, overwhelming social situations, and sleeplessness; the minty extract is absorbed immediately by your tongue to provide instant relief, giving you the ability to stop stress on demand and while on-the-go! You should start feeling its effects within seconds, which means you can get back to the task at hand without missing a beat!

In addition to our lucky winners this week, 1Hour Break is offering our readers the opportunity to try a bottle for free with the coupon code “BROKEBRIDE” (s&h not included). Discover Hawaii’s secret de-stressing weapon with 1Hour Break!

This week, three lucky BABs will win packs of 1Hour Break (One will win a 12-pack, one a 6-pack, and one a 3-pack)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



{Win This} Let Dr. Rita Ease Your Wedding Woes With The Bride’s Emotional Survival Guide App!

There's an app for that.

The journey toward your wedding day has begun. With a simple “yes”, you set into motion one of the most emotionally charged and psychologically challenging of all society’s rituals. Marriage, like birth and death, eclipses the routine of our daily lives through its sheer drama, symbolism, and importance. Expectations and sensitivities run high; your relationship is thrust into the public spotlight. Add to this the complications of planning such an extravaganza, and the effect can be overwhelming. It’s not surprising that more than half of all engaged couples experience very real pre-wedding stress that puts their relationship to the test.


 Dr. Rita Bigel-Casher, psychologist and author, is here to help you through the wedding rollercoaster of emotion with her iPhone app: The Bride’s Emotional Survival Guide. “Many women empathize when I compare the road to love and marriage to a ride on a merry-go-round. One moment you can be on top of the world, while the next you are on the way back down again. Just like the carousel, our romantic lives provide endless opportunities for excitement and joy. And one day, when horse and rider are in perfect sync, you and your true love grab the shiny brass ring and make a pact to marry.”
Guided by her thirty years’ experience, Dr. Rita has packed her app full of tips, tests, and helpful tools, focusing on the emotional hot spots that can flare up as a couple plans their nuptials: family pressures, money, differing religions and traditions, nerves, fear, second thoughts, and divided loyalties. The Bride’s Emotional Survival Guide can help  you work through all of these issues so you can move past the conflict and stress and focus on the joy of marrying the love of your life.

This week, three lucky BABs will win a copy of The Bride’s Guide to Emotional Survival app!  You’re not alone: Dr Rita can help.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Budget For Stress Relief

No matter how much you plan and prep, the last few weeks before your wedding are going to be a stressful time.  You have to hound the RSVP stragglers, confront the dizzying logic puzzle of the seating chart, brace yourself for final-balance payments, all while surfing epic waves of emotion. Stress is inevitable. So you need to budget time and money for stress relief.  Here’s my chillaxation game plan:


[Photo from lululemon’s Flickr photostream]

When a Groupon for two months of Bikram yoga popped up two months before my wedding, I felt like I’d won the stress-relief lottery.  Yoga gets hyped to a preposterous degree as a the ticket to a healthy body, a peaceful mind, and a rockin’ bod.  I’ll be honest: I’m not a True Believer.  I have to suppress chuckles when the instructor tells me that the Cantankerous Goose posture or whatever will balance my endocrine system. That said?  I can’t deny that yoga makes me feel better.  And from a time-management perspective, you can’t beat the efficiency of combining exercise and meditation.

Now, let’s face it, yoga is pretty bougie and class prices reflect that.  The $40 I spent on my two-month pass felt like a lot of money to me, and that was allegedly an 87% discount (I just wasted a few minutes staring at my studio’s complicated price schedule trying to suss out that math, but then I realized I should be reserving all math brain energy to sort out why we have eight more guests accounted for than meals in our wedding spreadsheet). But if you can find a deal or a good donation-based studio, or even if you are able to set aside some money for a few full-price classes, do it.  For one thing: having an instructor correct you and suggest modifications is incredibly valuable.  Secondly, there really is something extra special about hot yoga.  Sweating buckets recharges your body’s batteries for some reason.  And maybe your air-conditioner-free apartment feels like a hot yoga studio, but the conditions aren’t optimized the way they would be at a class.  Finally? Laughter is a great stress relief too, and at any yoga studio you will hear some hilariously pretentious gems about energy and flushing out toxins and such nonsense.

Don’t fret if you can’t afford that, though.  All you really need is a mat (I stubbornly attempted to practice yoga on my carpet for months before discovering that yoga mats stop you from slipping.  Yoga is way more fun when you don’t land on your butt every few minutes) and an internet connection. YouTube “yoga” and you’ll find an embarrassment of educational riches.


I know it sounds like I’m drinking the yoga-freak Kool Aid (which I’m guessing is coconut water), but stress has a way of collecting in your muscles.  Getting a massage is not just about getting that imaginary metal spike in your neck to take a hike, it’s about getting emotional tension out as well.  So I will be getting a massage the week of my wedding, to loosen up, to let go of some emotions, and to get away from everything for an hour. If you can, set aside the time and money for this.  If you can’t afford it, beg and bribe your partner into giving you a massage.  Of course, some fiances, (COUGH Collin COUGH) are lazy massage-givers who think an entire back rub can be accomplished in three minutes, but maybe you are one of the lucky ones marrying a certified masseuse.


“Goo” is a term my friends use to describe lovey-doveyness.  We usually use it in a teasing but secretly envious way.  What I’ve found in these recent stress-tastic weeks is that goo is the cure for wedding angst. Whenever I feel like my brain might melt or my heart might explode because of the latest planning drama, I shift my thoughts to how much I love Collin.  His smile and the way he mumbles “I love you” to me in his sleep and the way he gets so excited to eat the fancy dinner he’s cooking he does a little hip-shaking dance in front of the stove.  And then I feel tremendously better.  Partially because it’s relaxing and fun to be unashamedly in love, but also because it reminds me why I’m planning a wedding in the first place. At the end of all this, I get to be married to Collin! And that is so awesome, it deserves a big celebration like this wedding. Stress that is undoubtedly worth it is somehow not so stressful.

What are your pre-wedding stress-busting tactics?


{From The Trenches} Wedding Week!

I’m about 48 hours away from my wedding. Forty-eight. Listen, hey! Listen. Stop cooing at me. No, no talk about being glowy and happy, and no asking me if I’m OK, or how I’m holding up, or if there’s anything anyone can help me with. Shushy, shushy and listen. I have like, two seconds, and I’m only saying this once.

Wedding Week trumps everything else as far as Pushing The Limits. (It helps nothing that I’m so PMS-y that I’m PRAYING for my period, just so my hormones will pull themselves together, and the little things– like my phone correcting a misspelled word– will stop feeling like personal attacks worthy of total-meltdowns.)

I swore… SWORE… that I would remain calm and cool and collected. I swore this mostly because I’m a control freak, and it was the most convincing way to stop people from forcing help upon me. I swore that The Groom and I would not argue (because we don’t in Real Life, so why would we in Wedding World?). I vowed to stay patient and kind and gracious and, above all else, grateful.

The Groom & I – Under Normal Circumstances.
All images courtesy of Jayd Gardina Photography.

That was Saturday. Sunday I woke up and realized that my Mommy was on her way down to help with Wedding Week and something tweaked inside me, something other than the lady-hormones. But I was forcing myself to keep it together. I was gritting teeth and managing how snappy I got with my father-in-law and The Groom. I didn’t cry when I saw my mom, even though I sort of felt like it might be a good time for a hard sob. But then crying seemed like a lot of work. So I stuck with suppression and denial, because I’m good with those. I can do those in my sleep.

Monday morning, however, I awoke to discover that I had magically transformed into a dragon, and spent most of the day just barely keeping the casualty count low. It was only occasionally and only incidentally that I lit things on fire and sent villagers scattering. But Monday night, I finally hit a wall and had a terse conversation with The Groom about communication disconnects and — and I could really slap myself for this — about My Feelings. If Real Life came with a Takesies-Backsies feature, I’d use it. Even if that was my ONLY take-back from my whole life, I’d let all the other things I regret stick. I’d change the tone of my voice, and the words I chose that night to communicate the problems I had identified and wanted to solve. I was short, and rude, and harsh. I was not being the kind of bride who turned into the sort of wife The Groom deserves. (I can’t stress this enough: As soon as you realize you’ve been wrong, go apologize. Suck it up, swallow your pride, forget the reasons why you thought what you thought. If you hurt Your Groom’s feelings… and you know you were in the wrong… even if he’s still upset with you, even if you know he’ll brush it off, or tell you it’s nothing… go apologize. You’ll be amazed at what that simple practice will do for your marriage in the long-term.)

To be honest, I thought it’d be harder to procure photos of me generally being a pain in The Groom’s behind. Turns out, I do it on a regular basis, and don’t mind witnesses documenting it!

I realized that, for all their beauty… Weddings can really bring out the ugly in people. Even people who have sworn to keep it calm and carry on. Which brings us to today, 36 hours into my attitude check. Here I am, live from the trenches of wedding week, willing to tell all you rosy-cheeked beauties out there the truth about what it feels like when you’re this close to The Wedding.

You may find yourself ready to bite people’s heads off. I encourage you to refrain as best you can. (Brains taste icky.)

First of all, it’s a phenomenon of nature, but all my nails seem to be more brittle than they’ve ever been before, in my life. I’m fairly sure that I’m not much clumsier than normal. And I haven’t taken up any new hobbies that one would expect to be particularly treacherous for my hands, like gymnastics or dog-grooming or salt-mining. And yet, there are my fingernails, jagged and brittle and gasping at the tail end of their death-rattles. They are the first Casualty of war Wedding.

Also, Everything Feels Personal. That could, largely, be due to the raging PMS. But let’s be really honest here, when you’re this close to The Wedding, everything feels personal because everything IS personal. At least for the bride. I know I have only two modes: Collected and Disaster. There is no in-between, and I know as soon as diaper-commercials and country-songs start bringing tears to my eyes that PMS is closing the gap between the two camps. Toss a wedding in there and you’re basically trying to elevate an anvil with a house of cards. I have found only two things effective: 1. Letting it out when I have to, & 2. Talking myself back from the ledge when I can.

I found something to focus on, something that just… sobered me. Something that helped me cut through the fuzz and the fluff and the noise and the static and the frosting (what? Yeah, that’s right, frosting) and acting as a platform for me. A place I could go to to regain perspective. I’d recite the thought to myself, a mantra, if you will, until I could steady my breathing and drop my heart rate and decide on a sane course of action.

But nothing is bullet-proof. So if there were times when I couldn’t get it together, I excused myself to the bathroom and I let myself cry. I did this partially because I’m a crier, and with the PMS, I knew there was no point in fighting it. It just makes me worse and turns me this awful color purple and wastes everyone’s time. I also did it because I know that if I let myself have a small cry, I feel better right away, and can rebound and get back on track faster than I can if I fight it.

Sometimes the best way around is just… through.

When you’re overwhelmed, let yourself have it. Let your body tell you what it needs. Cry if you need to. Call a girlfriend and scream. (Just, yell TO her, not AT her.) Really process what you feel, and why you feel that way. Ask yourself how it could be different or better, and then think about what you can control to bring you to that end. It makes the crying productive, if you can use it to focus on your endgame.

Which brings me to my biggest Wedding Week Truth: My mantra is my most brilliant realization. It hit me sometime in the early hours of Tuesday that there are two things happening for me on Friday.

I am getting married. And I am having a wedding. And those two truths are different.

It’s easy to confuse one into the other, because they look a lot alike. One is normally assumed to be the cause, and one the effect, but not the way you’d think. I think a lot of bridal unhappiness stems from the in-articulation that the wedding is an effect of the marriage.

What I mean is, Getting Married is the end-game; having a wedding is just bonus.

The only thing that really matters about Friday is that I get to stand up with James and pinkie-promise to love and respect him as my best friend and confidant and partner in crime, every day, until happily ever after, the end. Making that promise has absolutely nothing to do with the wedding. Making that promise involves the two of us being ready and willing and resolute and committed to keeping that promise each morning when we wake up and each night when we go to bed. No centerpieces required.

Getting Married is our Because.

Having a Wedding is just the effect. It’s what we’re doing after Getting Married. It’s a lot more work for something that’s, by comparison, a touch superfluous. To love The Groom forever, to be a strong and faithful and supportive wife to him… All I need is to Get Married. Anything else really is just bonus. (Or… an excruciating exercise in pleasing our families. Jury is out.)

It’s the frosting. The Wedding is the frosting.

Realizing that the marriage and the celebration can be looked at as separate things… It brought order back into my world. Birds sang. The sun shone. My mother’s voice stopped sounding like nails on a chalkboard. The question that had been railing me was answered. I knew why I was jumping through hoops and tolerating stress and making all these compromises. Because my marriage to this man is going to be the most amazing thing I ever create.

(And coming from the girl who made hundreds of origami flowers, that’s something.)

That’s the beauty of Wedding Week. You have to sift through the rest of it, and play chicken against the clock… But when you get this close, you can see the beautiful divide between The Marriage and The Wedding. And your priorities sing through, clear as day. And then Your Groom will smile at you, and you’ll realize that it really is all worth it. All the agony and the isolation and the blisters and the broken nails and the nervous twitch you have when someone says “hot glue.”

None of it will endure in the same fashion as your love for one another.

That’s what you see, when you’re forty eight hours away from your wedding. You see your first glimpse of Forever.

And I promise you. Once you make it there, you’ll never look back.


{Confession} The Wedding is Winning.

I wrote once before about how hard it can be, Having a Wedding. I want to say this right up front: I’m 9 days away from my wedding, and it is completely womping me.


That’s just it. That’s the word, the verb, the action, the connotation, for how my wedding and I are interacting. Have you ever babysat a toddler? And the whole night it screamed to be held and coddled and paid-attention-to? But then every so often, out of NOWHERE, it punched you in the face with its meaty little toddler-fist? … Like that. My wedding and I have a relationship like THAT.

And I think that’s pretty normal. In fact, I’d wager that there are women out there who have been married for months who, every now and then, have someone ask them about something completely unrelated to their wedding, but a verbal cue kicks up alllllllll that residual exhaustion. And suddenly their left eye has that pre-nuptial twitch again, and their urge to hurl flowers at innocent passers-by is almost as overwhelming as the urge to huddle beneath their desk, whimpering in frightened defeat.

My point– and I have one, I think– is that in the epic battle of Mallory vs. The Wedding, The Wedding is totally winning. I haven’t been this exhausted or anxiety-riddled or efficient since the last 48 hours before I submitted my thesis for its final review. I haven’t slept as little or coherently communicated about as much, literally, in years. My brain is a color-codes Filofax of dates, times, errands, to-do’s, to-make’s, to-avoid’s, timelines and deadlines. (I also just started my dream job, which has been amazing in more ways than I can describe, but it has me running point on project management for an entire TV Network digital media department.)

I’ve found that I can do one OR the other, but not My Wedding and My Job at the same time. And let’s not even talk about the barren, derelict wastelands of MoxieMissives and 11Eleven11, which haven’t been updated since 2010.

Which brings me to My Other Point: My wedding insists on touching EVERYTHING. Like the petulant toddler of the earlier anecdote, it has its little fingers in all my cookie jars. I can’t have a conversation with The Groom without The Wedding butting in. I can’t walk into my bedroom, or get into the car, or go inside the house without The Wedding popping up, confronting me with everything that has to get done.

And it’s not in an overwhelming way, which I found surprised me. I expected to feel completely hopeless and bogged down and like there was simply no way for both The Wedding and I to make it down the aisle in one piece. It’s not like that at all. We’re co-existing peacefully, juggling a million glass balls back and forth, The Wedding and I. But… Here’s the kicker. That juggling act is sucking the life out of me, and The Wedding never gets tired of it. As long as I don’t lose focus, we’re both OK. But there’s all this frustration right below the surface, waiting for the smallest of imbalances, biding its time for the debut of its fury as it watches the show.

It’s like constantly being reminded that there’s high-maintenance guest staying in your house, using all your towels and demanding all your conversation and making you feel bad if you devote any time to anything else while it’s in town.

And that, my dears, is how I’m holding it all together. I keep reminding myself that The End Is Near. Hallelujah. And I mean that. This wedding is going to be beautiful. It’s going to be the perfect culmination of creativity and love. And I know, in retrospect, I will look back on the day and decide that all the head-to-desk action I’m getting now was well worth my transformation from Miss Mallory into Mrs. TheGroom. But in the meantime, I’m pacing through my cluttered life, muttering to myself about how the day The Wedding packs its bags and hits the road CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH.

And isn’t that how we all feel when we’re babysitting a misbehaved toddler? Or hosting a guest who demands all our time? When we’re juggling as much as we can carry? When we’re working right AT capacity, teetering over the edge? We always pray silently to ourselves as we scope out the exit strategy, then look back and minimize it in our mind. “I had everything with Little Johnny under control,” you tell yourself and your friends, quickly glossing over the part where he lit your hair on fire.

The Wedding can have this round. Because in a week and a half, I’m going to rock this wedding’s world with all the love and laughter and perfection I cram into its limited lifespan. My wedding won’t even see me coming. I’m going to nail it from left field, and I’m bringing all my friends and family and the love of my life along for the ride. I am going to celebrate that day so hard that The Wedding won’t have a chance to resist. It’s just going to have to give me my way, go with the flow, concede to the awesome force that is a validated, empowered, well-loved woman sweeping in and victoriously reclaiming her life.

So The Wedding can win for now. This is just one battle, the neglected websites and forgotten blog posts and the missed deadlines. It’s just temporary, this exhaustion and the strained effort it takes to keep from letting small unravelings morph into irreparable breakdowns. The Wedding can viscously destroy my manicures and split my ends and plop huge bags under my eyes.

It can womp me all it wants.

Because next Friday, I’m riding in with my flag flying high, both guns blazing, and I am stomping my wedding into a deliriously happy, joyously jubilant, deliciously decadent pulp. I am going to wedding The Wedding out.

And when I emerge victorious, the wife of the most marvelous man I’ve ever met, I will look back on today, and this blog post, and I’ll smile with satisfaction.

Then I’ll go take a nap.

Because, ohmygod. I’ve earned it.


Avoiding Harried Hostess Syndrome

Hosting a party for the Big Game last weekend brought into harsh relief one my biggest anxieties about my wedding: that I will come down with an acute case of  Harried Hostess Syndrome.


Harried Hostess Syndrome, also known as “Can I Get You Anything?”itis, is a condition wherein a hostess of a party becomes maniacally obsessed with the well-being of her guests.  Symptoms include high anxiety about no one having a good time and increasingly desperate efforts to correct this perceived guest-dissatisfaction.  Effects range from buying three times more food than is necessary to plying guests with alcohol to the point that an entire fleet of cabs must be summoned at the party’s end. In the most severe cases of Harried Hostess Syndrome, there is a high risk of conga lines and other mandatory-participation group dances.

I had a frightening bout of HHS when I threw my party last Sunday, even though it was just 20 people in my living room watching a football game.  I need to start working now on strategies to combat coming down with HHS on my wedding day if I’m going to be able to relax enough to enjoy it.  I certainly don’t want to turn to my guests halfway through the ceremony and say, “Is everyone doing all right? Is the temperature comfortable for everyone? Does anyone need their drink topped off?”

But I know it will be hard to psych myself into believing I am a guest of honor instead of the host at my wedding.  Even though in the invitation-wording-as-secret-code-for-who-is-paying sense of hosting, Collin and I are the hosts “along with our families,”  I feel the mostest-hostess because so much of the wedding will be the product of my planning, my decisions, my efforts.  I’m the one who chose our venue, so if our guests hate being there, it is my fault.  I’m the one who decided “no flowers, no cake, no favors,” so if our guests miss those things, I’m the one to blame.

So how do I escape this neurotic mental trap so I can fully enjoy my wedding?  Here’s the strategy I’ve come up with:

1. Deflect. No matter how much of my own time, stress, and money I’ve put into my wedding, when the day comes, I’m going to imagine it as a party thrown for me and Collin.  I’ll be sincerely, profoundly, and outwardly grateful to his parents, our families, our friends, our vendors, everyone who is making the day come together through their efforts.  This will distract me from worrying about how everything I set up is working out, with the added bonus of making me a gracious bride!

2. Deny.  Words are powerful.  I’m going to trick my brain into feeling like a happy, relaxed guest instead of a Harried Hostess by telling my guests, “I’m so happy you could share this day with us,” instead of “Thank you so much for coming.”  That’s hostess talk and I’ll have none of that!

3. Delegate.  Members of my Bridal Hootenanny (that’s like a bridal party, but bigger and more unwieldy), I’m putting you on notice: it is your job, not mine, to make sure people are having fun.  This will primarily involve filling the dance floor whenever it thins out, so be sure to limber up during the cocktail hour.

4. Dance. If I’m having enough fun, I’ll be too distracted to worry that anyone else maybe isn’t.  More importantly, I believe that my happiness will infect the crowd and make our wedding a good time for all.  And the best way I know how to stop worrying and be happy is shake a tail feather.

So that’s my four-part strategy for avoiding the burden of Harried Hostess Syndrome at my wedding: deflect hosting respect, deny hosting status, delegate hosting duties, and dance my ass off.

Anyone else worried about feeling like a stressed-out hostess at her own wedding? Do you have any other ideas for how to shake off the symptoms of Harried Hostess Syndrome?