NEW YORK, N.Y. – Weddings are festive, but they’re often mega-stressful for bride and groom. Multiply that by about a million and it’s a wonder Meghan Markle is still upright as her May 19 royal nuptials crawl ever closer.
Her prince, Harry, was born into “The Firm,” but Markle is a newbie, so how does a high-profile bride like herself manage all that wedding pressure?
She can approach her big day like the commoner she remains for the moment and seize some time for herself while she still can.
Los Angeles psychologist Antonia Hall suggests brides block out 10- to 15-minute increments of “me time” to just be alone, meditate or take some cleansing breaths.
“The expectations of a perfect day can lead to some pretty intense stress in prep for and during the actual wedding day,” she said. “What are your self-soothing go-tos? Take a bubble bath, listen to your favourite music or get some time outdoors.”
And don’t abandon those endorphin-generating activities when you need them the most.
“Keep up your exercise routine. Whatever your favourite form of exercise is, keep it in your schedule. Those endorphins will help keep you de-stressed and moving through any challenges with greater ease,” Hall said.
Bryce Gruber, editor of the wedding site BridalPulse.com, noted Markle has said in the past that she loves practicing yoga and using clean-eating techniques.
“My bet is on her using slow breathing from her yoga practice to manage her wedding day stress,” she said. “Slow breathing is actually taking off as a popular form of anxiety control. We’ve seen a lot of brides share positive feedback seeing as it’s free, doable anywhere and easy to master.”
Eliminating toxins is also important, Gruber said, including toxic people.
“From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Meghan is doing her best to distance herself from toxic things and people,” she said.
Not to stray too far out of the royal lane, Gruber said cannabis is catching on in a major way for anxiety relief.
“Regular brides are using CBD oil-enhanced products to take the edge off their stress. The products are mostly legal if they’re THC-free,” she said. “CBD oils are known to have anxiety-killing, love-enhancing and sleep-aiding compounds that could be helpful for stress-ridden, overtired brides.”
Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert in New York said lowering expectations on the wedding day may be the ultimate answer.
“Though society and culture dictate that this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, that notion sets the bar way too high and in doing so creates pressure,” he said. “By lowering your expectations and aiming for a happy day, you’ll help to avoid turning into the bride or groom from hell.”
Dawne Kort is an emergency medicine physician in New York. The physical toll of wedding stress is real, she said.
“Brides need to realize that the stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation and emotions can wreak havoc on the immune system, causing illness, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, acne, intestinal issues, thyroid abnormalities and much more,” Kort said.
Staying hydrated is an easy way to foster overall wellness. So is staying organized and relying on the village it takes to pull off a wedding. Another pitfall, Kort said, comes at the hands of a bride’s glam squad.
“While getting makeup done by a professional might be the trendy thing to do, it can be fraught with potential health risks,” she said. “It’s impossible to know if a new cosmetic product will affect your skin. The last thing you want on your wedding day is a breakout or allergic reaction. Proceed with caution when having makeup done professionally and try to stick with products that you are familiar with and have used before.”
In part, at least, the royal wedding is in the hands of seasoned pros, but does Markle have one of her very own?
“Whether that’s your wedding planner, mother or best friend, designate someone you trust to handle any fires so that you can simply enjoy the day, hopefully none the wiser. On your wedding day, ignorance is truly bliss,” said Brittny Drye, editor in chief of the wedding blog and digital publication Loveincmag.com.
Sometimes the best stress reliever is to know when you’re defeated, Drye said.
“When you have so many balls in the air, the odds of something going wrong is high, and there is only so much you can do about it. Once you give in to that very likely possibility, it can take a weight of stress off your shoulders because, at the end of the day, the only thing that truly matters is that you get to marry the love of your life.”