How to prioritise when planning a wedding away from home, all while keeping anxiety at bay

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“Are YOU the bride? You are the most relaxed bride I’ve ever seen!”

This was the biggest compliment I’d ever received and one of the proudest moments of my entire life.

You see, as someone who has anxiety and depression, life can easily get stressful and overwhelming. Especially when it comes to getting married!

A wedding is basically one huge, long anxiety attack that lasts for months as you plan and prepare. While what worked for me might not work for you, I hope that some of my story and tips can help your wedding planning and wedding day be less stress inducing for you.

I’m going to tell you how I managed to stay calm and have the greatest wedding I could have asked for.
— Jaq Wardle

My name is Jaq, and I have had depression and anxiety since…. High school basically. I wasn’t formally diagnosed until I was in my 20’s, and since diagnosis I have been on and off medications, as well as seeing counselors and therapists. Currently I am managing my depression and anxiety with a combination of medicines and lifestyle management tactics. When I was engaged and planning my wedding I was not doing either of these. And I was in grad school, which is a whole other story when it comes to anxiety.

The Details

I attended school in Tennessee, where I currently live. But my entire family lives in Utah. It was decided that we would get married in Utah instead of asking everyone to travel here. Especially for my Grandpa who was over 80 at the time.

Culturally in Utah (and I’m sure this is the case pretty much everywhere) there are some pretty set expectations when it comes to a wedding. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we don’t do big wedding ceremonies. Instead we have a small private ceremony in the temple, with family and a few close friends who are able to attend the temple. Instead of a huge event with officiants and ring bearers and all that, all we have to celebrate with everyone is the reception.

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Since this is the case, there is a lot of pressure and expectation around the reception. Everyone comes to receptions, and everyone will tell those who didn’t come what it was like.

While not exactly a destination wedding, it was similar since I was in another state, and time zone, and unable to go to venues and talk to vendors in person.  I couldn’t see table cloths, or taste cakes, or anything like that.

Now, take a deep breath. I’m going to tell you how I managed to stay calm and have the greatest wedding I could have asked for.

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How I Did It

Once we were engaged, I took some time to really think through the whole process of the wedding and reception. Being across the country, I felt that the most important thing I could do was to get a good wedding planner (or in my case my mom) and trust them with all the details.

My job was to pick 2 or 3 things that were the most important to ME. I didn’t consider what anyone else would think or want.

Remember, it is YOUR wedding not anyone else’s. My three things will be different from your three things, and that is ok. We’re all unique people with unique outlooks, priorities and tastes.

My three items that I wanted to focus on were the photographer (and photos), eating at least one piece of cake, and that at the end of the day we were married. Other items you could pick include the dress, the dinner items, the officiant and/or vows, your bridal party, and the venue.

When you pick these three items, you need to be sure you pick things that are within your control, and be willing to give up control of everything else. Things that are not within your control are the weather, who attends, the behaviors and actions of others, what flowers are in season, etc.

No matter what happens, it is the PERFECT DAY. Because it’s going to be unique to you and only you, it’s YOUR perfect wedding.
— Jaq Wardle

I’m not sure about you guys but I like lists. They help me remain focused which on turn reduces anxiety for me. So, here is a summary of what I did in list form.

  • Get a great wedding planner

  • Make a list of things that are important to you

  • Cross off anything that is not in your control

  • From the remaining items, pick 3 to focus on

  • Take a deep breath and let everything else go

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Finally, one last piece of advice that was given to me was this: No matter what happens the wedding is perfect.  Be sure to have a great attitude and remember that this is the best day of your life. No matter what happens, it is the PERFECT DAY. Because it’s going to be unique to you and only you, it’s YOUR perfect wedding. You might be the only person you know who’s wedding involved rain and alpacas trampling up the muddy aisle to eat your flower arrangements, embrace that!