It’s an unfortunate reality that wedding planning is beyond stressful. In fact, according to a recent Zola study, 96 percent of recently engaged or newlywed couples admitted their wedding planning was incredibly draining. If you’re one of those couples who has considered eloping to Vegas in the midst of choosing your ceremony florals, we have good news: There are plenty of wedding stress-busting resources that are way more within reach than you may realize.

Mental health pros Lisa Perez, LCSW, and Christina Pierpaoli, MA, and PhD student in clinical psychology, fill us in on how to manage (unrealistic) expectations and how to ignore the pressure to make your wedding the best day of your life. Keep scrolling for all of their tips.

1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. You might hear this all the time, but it couldn’t be truer when it comes to wedding planning. “Take a good close look at yourself as an individual person and what pressures and expectations you place on yourself daily — even before you were a bride- or groom-to-be,” says Perez. “Do you tend to be regularly critical toward yourself for your appearance? Do you have a tendency to want to overly please and appease others for fear of judgment or rejection? Do you have a hard time being flexible once you set a plan in your mind for how things should go? All of these internal anxieties can rear their ugly heads out if we are not careful and leak into making something that is supposed to be planning a fun celebration awfully distressing and unpleasant.” Once you’ve done an internal check-in, make it a habit to talk to your soon-to-be spouse to be about these feelings that come out regularly during the planning process so you can reassure one another and keep an open line of communication. It’ll start you on the right path to practice for marriage too.

2. Start from scratch. If you are someone who has fantasized about your wedding day long before meeting your current S.O., you’ll want to let go of that dream (or at least most of it!). “The image you’ve had in your head is highly likely to be unrealistic or unattainable and possible based off of a 10-year-old’s psyche and experience of the world and relationships,” says Perez. “To come up with a better plan, it might be a good idea for you and your partner to both write out some of these thoughts describing how you imagined things might look on your wedding day, or how you thought you might feel. This will allow space to have more balanced and healthy expectations and allow you to take steps to manage those expectations.”

3. Practice assertiveness with others. Once you’ve gotten rid of (most of) your childhood fairytale wedding fantasies, your true dream wedding vision will become less sensitive to the suggestions and criticisms of others — and believe us when we say that many will arise from different people! “Learning how to respectfully share your feelings, articulate problems and offer solutions when well-intentioned others overstep can ensure that your needs get met without violating their feelings,” says Pierpaoli. “Assertive statements have four components: (1) a feeling, (2) the problem, (3) the consequence and (4) solution. For example, you could say ‘I so appreciate your willingness to help, but we have already decided on a photographer that we feel excited about! We’d love some guidance on finding a good florist, can you please recommend one of those instead?’ This way, people will walk away feeling respected and appreciated when you do.”

4. Set time to plan and not plan. “Our bodies and brains prefer routine because it frees our brains of thinking,” says Pierpaoli. “Consider consistently protecting the same one or two days of the week (around the same time, for about the same amount of time each time) to knock out planning together.” Even more importantly, Pierpaoli suggests you schedule time away from planning, like a fun but consistent date night where you prohibit wedding talk, to give you two lovebirds a break from the planning process.

5. Remember that this too shall pass. We’re sure that this has been said countless times before (or at least should be) that your wedding is just one day. It will be over within 12 hours or so, and you still have the rest of your life with your one and only. “The concept and skill of mindfulness is a hot topic in the counseling world right now and can apply to this idea,” said Perez. “Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. Take some time to check in with yourself at different times during your planning process so you don’t miss special moments of this part or step in your journey.”

What part of wedding planning stresses you out? What are you doing to manage it? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)