Marriage is consistently named a top “life stressor” on stress test lists—and I suspect wedding planning accounts for a good deal of the angst.  The closer you get to the wedding day, the more stressed, weary and weak you may feel. You may even feel so stressed that you want to cancel the entire event and simply hide under your bed covers. Alas, don’t dismay—it is perfectly natural to experience stress during the wedding-planning process. How you choose to react to stress is the key to surviving this entire process without becoming Bride-zilla.  I believe you can choose to be dazzling rather than stressed, with a little planning and determination.

For me and my husband, Dave, the roles were a bit reversed. He was the one turning into Groom-zilla. He was losing it. He suddenly became someone I wasn’t even sure I wanted to have dinner with, yet alone marry. Obviously, he doesn’t deal well with stress. Let me warn you, stress is a natural part of this process. Yet even though stress can obscure your joy, it can also be good for you. Stress can make you feel vibrant, joyful, and even motivate you by challenging you. It can be positive. It’s all in your perspective and attitude.

If you are the kind of person who usually sees the glass as half-empty rather than half-full, prepare yourself. This is going to be a tough time for you. Acknowledge it now and start asking for help and put together a plan to reduce stress.

Your stress will not just be emotional; it will be physical too. Planning a wedding is not for the weak. Attempting to accomplish all the necessary and numerous tasks in a specific amount of time, while simultaneously maintaining your career, and meeting all the new social demands that are placed on your time is just plain hard work. And to complicate things even more, now there are two families who want your attention and have opinions about how well you are or are not doing things.

Add to that the fact that with all these distractions and engagements you are probably not eating properly, or worse yet, are attempting to lose two dress sizes before the wedding. Regular exercise? What’s that? And when was the last time you had a good, full night’s sleep? Get ready, because all of this can take its toll on your immune system, too. The last thing you need is to fight a three-week-long cold.

Slow Down and Work Your Plan

It’s time to get control. First realize that the stress from the excessive demands is one of the simplest things to reduce by simply limiting activities. Stop driving all over town—use the Internet and phone to do some of your planning. Stop expecting to find the “perfect” florist at the cheapest price. Choose what is more important—saving $200 or saving your sanity?

Realize too, that some responsibilities can be delegated. This is where a good, organized, and dependable person is worth their weight in gold.  You can hire a wedding consultant (be sure he or she belongs to The Association of Bridal Consultants) or rely on a friend with wedding planning experience. My new book, The Simple Wedding: A Faith-filled Guide to Enjoying a Stress-Free Wedding (GuidepostsBooks), is designed to help brides simplify the planning process.  I recommend reading this book with your mother or a bridesmaid who will help you delegate responsibilities wisely.

It’s also important to differentiate between stress coming from the outside and stress that is self-imposed. For example, if you have not worn a size two dress since you were sixteen, it’s time to give up your dream of wearing a size two wedding gown. It’s also time to accept the reality that you cannot please everyone—which includes the two hundred guests you have invited, your soon-to-be mother-in-law, and your next-door neighbor. And the most important fact to accept: there is no such thing as perfection on this earth. So do not expect your wedding day to be perfect. Something can and will go wrong. And that is okay.