Monday, June 1, 2009

From a newlywed to all you nearly-weds….

I hope readers everywhere are enjoying WV Weddings! The response has been unprecedented and I am so proud to be a part of such a great publication. Though I’ve read the whole thing cover to cover, I still get a thrill going back through and glancing over beautiful photos and sharing the special days of all those brides who submitted in the Wedding Register. I have to say though, my favorite part of the whole magazine is the fact that all of these breathtaking weddings occurred right here in the state… real WV Weddings for real WV people!

I'm also super excited to introduce myself as a blogger and I hope you'll enjoy keeping following WV Weddings throughout the year. Now as a newlywed, it gives me great pleasure to say that you can indeed plan the event of your life, help or no help, and come out on the other side with fantastic memories and even better stories from your guests. I thought long and hard about what was important for me to address in kicking off my string of blog posts and the most universal aspect of planning a wedding has to be the stress level that this life changing event can bring to the bride, groom, parents, planners and party members. Friendships have been squashed, relationships ruined, all over some trivial happening worsened by stress.

For this post I had the pleasure of consulting with Dr. Bahar Altaha, Assistant Professor at the WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry. I asked her to explain to me exactly what happens to the body and one’s stress level during the planning of a huge life event such as a wedding. Dr Altaha says: “In a stressed state, all neuroregulatory mechanisms undergo functional changes that depress the body’s homeostatic mechanisms”. This basically means that changes in hormone levels within the body can affect mood, sleep habits, appetite and energy level (like we didn’t already know this?!). Compounded with existing anxiety or depression, this stress can in some cases increase vulnerability for infection. So take care of yourself! “Try to avoid too much caffeine like coffee, soda, chocolates or energy drinks,” says Dr. Altaha, “And don’t self medicate. Instead make relaxing a part of your routine and take a daily multivitamin to make sure you’re getting all the correct nutrients”.

And although I considered myself a fairly calm bride, everyone has their moments. I’m positive if asked about my level of “bridezilla” my groomsmen may have something to say about their weekend itinerary. And though my bridesmaids would for the most part say I was pleasant, they might make a joke about my one rule regarding the hairstyles: no curly tendrils. (Come on, is it really too much to ask? They got to wear their own shoes and jewelry!)

Of course, there are certain aspects you can and should make absolute priorities. Dr. Altaha mentions things like deadlines for deposits, backup plans for delayed or canceled flights (if traveling), and staying within budget. But these things can be avoided by proper planning.

It gets me thinking about my own wedding and how a year or so ago I was in your shoes. Planning and stressing. And though how to address envelopes of divorced parents or having to accommodate a food allergy may seem worrisome at the time like a loser high school boyfriend who left you at home and crying on a Friday night after the game, it too will pass. But I do regret freaking out over nothing. And to help you realize before you flip that switch, I’d like to acknowledge three things I wish I didn’t stress about…

1. My train ripping on the way in to the reception.

Face it ladies, it will happen eventually, but don’t ruin your day over it. Just make sure someone brings heavy duty safety pins and go into the night ready to take a 20 minute timeout in the bathroom with your best friends while they bussel you up again.

2. My weight.

Listen brides, your guests are there to see you. They know you. They more than likely love you. And they want to see you at your happiest! Getting healthy during planning is absolutely a great way to combat stress, however crash diets and absurd workout routines that affect your mood are not okay. And I know all about why you want you look your best, believe me. I know you want everyone in the room to look at you as you’re walking down the isle and think that you are the most beautiful bride they’ve ever seen. And let’s just be honest. There are guests who won’t like your dress, your hair, or your colors and they will actually talk about it behind your back. It’s unrealistic to think that it won’t happen. But you’ve got to check your emotional priorities and remember not to waste your thoughts on those people when you should be focusing all of your positive energy on yourself and your husband-to-be. You’re the only two people whose happiness really matters!

3. Other people’s opinions on my decisions.

I’m a people pleaser. And if you’re anything like me then you know you always get a little sad inside when someone isn’t as thrilled as you are about the new paint job in your living room or the unbelievably low price you paid for those shoes. Well let me just say as the decisions get more and more meaningful so will your need to have those decisions in some way in your own mind “approved” by those who are helping you plan. I have three words of advice for these situations… “let… it…go….” You’ll be much happier. Who cares if your mother thinks you should wear your hair up?

In closing I'd like to say "GOOD LUCK" to all you WV Brides out there whose big day is coming up very soon. For the rest of you, keep planning, stay calm, and keep checking back for fun and exciting ideas that can help you purchase the perfect wedding gift for your husband, figure out what to do with your dress after the fact, or even entertain guests when your band takes a break.

As always, feel free to e-mail me or reply with comments on posts or great tips and tricks you're using in planning your own wedding. They could get posted to the blog!

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