Ask an Expert: How to Handle Wedding Planning Stress

Receiving unsolicited advice from loved ones, staying healthy, managing finances — here’s our guide to navigating all of it.

wedding-planning stress

Wedding planning can be stressful. / Illustration by Chanelle Nibbelink

Wedding planning is supposed to be fun and filled with joy — after all, you’re prepping to marry the one you love! But it can be stressful as you navigate all the little details, whether it’s managing the opinions of family members, keeping your finances on track, or staying healthy through it all. Ariel Stern, clinical director and couples therapist at A Better Life Therapy, Main Line, shares her thoughts on wedding planning stress. And if you want more expert advice, check out our guide to budgeting, size-inclusive wedding attire, and more here.

Remain a United Front

The wedding is your and your partner’s day — not your mother’s or best man’s — and should reflect your relationship. If you’re not big drinkers, keep the alcohol budget low; if music is your thing, splurge on the band. While it’s tempting to take advice from loved ones, don’t forgo your own wishes — that you’ve established together — because of external pressure.

Trust the Process

Planning can last months. Pause to savor joyful moments like menu tastings, and use the budgeting part as an opportunity to learn how to talk about your financial health. Overall, maintain routines that were important to you pre-engagement. Continuing to have a sense of normalcy will remind you both that your life will still be there on the other side of the altar.

Avoid Crash Diets and Extreme Exercise

A “sweating for the wedding” mentality will likely add more stress. Plus, abruptly ending an extreme diet or exercise regimen may trigger post-wedding blues and isn’t healthy. (Head to Be Well for all the resources you need on health and wellness.)

Embrace Premarital Counseling

Studies have shown that couples who attend are more satisfied with their relationship. While it can seem unromantic to talk about potential pitfalls, finding ways to problem-solve together can lead to increased intimacy.

Published as “How Can We Keep Calm?”in the winter/spring 2023 issue of Philadelphia Wedding.