There are about a million things to do to get ready for your wedding. Don’t worry, you’re going to get the really important ones done. Probably the unimportant ones too. But how you feel in the process is anyone’s guess.

The thing is, feeling stressed about wedding planning has some negative effects, besides just having to feel stressed at that moment. But, while some stress is inevitable, it doesn’t have to rob you of other things that matter to you, are good for you, and that you’ll be glad you did.

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Set up goals and milestones, then go to sleep.

You need to sleep. Lots of couples pull near-allnighters trying to fit everything in. But it has some real negative fallout in the way of your ability to remain positive and excited, and to do the less exciting parts of planning. Without clear goals and milestones, you’re embarking on a long and ambiguously ending journey.

You’ll get home from work and start working aimlessly on wedding tasks, and before you know it you’ll be in a sleep deficit and feel like you’re drowning in responsibilities. Goals and milestones, when small enough, make almost any task feel manageable. On the other hand, losing sleep is one of the biggest ways to feel out of control and super stressed out.

Instead of stressing out, spend one night setting a ton of itty-bitty goals and milestones and go to sleep without getting started on any of them. Starting the very next day, try using a free Trello board to keep track of all your tasks and responsibilities in little bite sized pieces.

Keep up with your little tasks and milestones, and don’t trade sleep for any of them!

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Reading a book about the first year of marriage

After your wedding day, life has a way or rushing back in. Soon after they’re married, many couples have a sudden realization that planning a wedding is distinctly different than being part of a marriage. Lots of people are somewhat blindsided by the experience, but it’s totally predictable.

The stress felt from planning a wedding can usurp the sense of free-time necessary to sit and digest something you’re reading. So most couples don’t do it. It really feels like there’s no time. Maybe they’re not getting enough sleep.

Of course, no one knows just what your marriage will be like. No one knows the truth of your life. But, if you’re open to other’s wisdom, others may hold part of your truth, if you’re willing to consider their insights.

Before spending time on meeting your goals and milestones for your wedding day, try each day to spend 15-30 minutes reading from a book about married life. Even if you can barely give thought to it, preparing yourself for the joys and challenges of being married will prove itself useful.

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Meeting small milestones, then getting drinks with your sister.

If you’re a procrastinator, you’re probably saving up a lot of stress for the last two months before your wedding. It might be what you’re used to, but it’s not a good idea. There are things you’d rather do now than work on the unromantic details of a wedding. But, if you’ve broken your goals and milestones up into tiny pieces, you should have enough time each day to meet some of them and binge watch Friends on Netflix.

But, better yet, this brief wedding planning phase in your life will not be here forever.  After a you meet a few small goals, take the rest of the time and spend it with your sister, your brother, father, mother aunt–whoever is important to you. This is a unique time in your life, and you may regret not sharing it with the people who love you the most.

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Looking through Mom’s wedding album.

Even if you’re doing a great job making small goals and milestones, there remains the question of whether everything actually will unfold the way you plan on your wedding day. There’s no sense in stressing out about that–but most people still do.

When you’re feeling that way, try looking through your parent’s wedding album, or a close friend’s parent’s wedding album. Remember that time passes and the meaning of things change to us–what feels massively important today, later may be just a very special starting point of something vastly more important to you.

The wedding album is symbolic. The point is to remember that the first frame of the movie is not the same as the movie itself.

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Just enjoying your fiancee’s company.

Wedding planning is likely to start to feel like a hobby. It’s easy to lose the larger context of what you’re doing in the moment, and imagine that you have always been this interested in floral centerpieces. It’s even more intense when both parts of the couple are highly involved in planning and suddenly it seems as if your relationship is revolving around your mutual interest in planning an awesome party.

The point is you can lose yourselves in the whole process. The little achievements and setbacks can do some funny things to your head and your motivation. How else would Farmville have made so much money?

Try setting some no wedding talk time together. Dinner time, or on a date. Set some time where you talk about the things that matter to your day to day life with each other. Not just to the planning necessities of this part of your life.