N Johnston Photography

The main reason why we get overwhelmed in any situation is that there is too much on our plate. We over-promise and over-commit our time and energy to too many people, projects, and events. This can be especially true during the holidays and while planning such an important event as your wedding! We feel it is our obligation to be stressed out. We feel we are doing something wrong if we don't have a never-ending to-do list. It can be hard not to get lost in the keeping-up-with-the-Jones' mentality. If you are feeling like it is all too much, I encourage you to pause and take a step back.

Ask yourself “Why am I doing it?”

The best advice I received from a dear friend who is like a mom/cool aunt/honest girlfriend (aren't those the best?) while my now husband and I were planning our wedding was: “If it isn't necessary, say “no”. Now, being a people-pleaser and a true “yes” person, this was very uncomfortable and scary for me. In hindsight, I am so grateful for it. To give you a little background, my husband and I decided to do a very non-traditional celebration. Our guest list was 40 people. We rented a property of 4 homes in the Catskill mountains over 4 days. We bused our friends and family from NYC and spent the weekend playing games, cooking, and enjoying the surroundings. We set up a big tent in the back yard and had a long “rehearsal” dinner full of speeches, laughter, singing, tears, and a serious dance party, that rivaled the actual reception. We decided to spend money on what was most important to us, like awesome food from our favorite restaurants and handmade recycled quilts for our guests. The point of the story is, this didn't “look” like most weddings. It was different from what our friends did, and different from what our family may have envisioned. And it was missing most of the components that blogs and magazines focus on. Every time we thought we “needed” something we asked ourselves “why?”. If it fit our vision and our priorities, then we would work it in. If it didn't, then we moved on. Simplify As a bride-to-be, it is important you take whatever time you have and prioritize it. If your wedding isn't until the Spring, I encourage you to hold off on any planning until after the holidays. Try to be present and enjoy being engaged! Enjoy all that the holidays mean to you and your fiance, and your soon to be in-laws. Take time to speak with your fiance about traditions that are important to you, and what traditions you would like to have as a new family. Focus on the bigger and intangible aspects of your union. Anything that doesn't require your immediate attention (be honest with yourself) can wait. You are building the foundation of your life together, and that is the most important thing to remember. If the big day is fast approaching, and/or the holidays create more than you can handle, I encourage you to see where you can create more space. The first step towards change is the willingness to make it happen. This can be the greatest obstacle. But I can attest that the real magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Practice saying “no”. Take a look at the reasons behind your purchases. Pause before saying “yes”. Is your heart in it it? Why are you doing it? Is there an solution that you haven't considered? Taking control over your decisions is incredibly liberating. Knowing the purpose and motivation behind your actions is empowering. It is so easy to get lost in the noise. It is easy to spend hours obsessing over candle holders. But your time, money, relationships, and well-being are far more important. So simplify. Ask yourself what is truly necessary and what isn't. Ask yourself why you are doing it. And trust yourself enough to know what is best. Your friends and family love you for who you are, not for the superficial stuff. Take some time now to define what matters most. The holidays are the perfect reminder to get back to what we value and what we hold as sacred. Use this to your advantage. Own this important and temporary time in your life to take control as the bride-to-be. And don't be afraid to say “no” or “I'll get back to you”. It will benefit you and your future husband for years to come. [hr] Jennifer Jakes is a Certified Health Coach who is on a mission to support people in living their best life. Through simple recipes, daily motivation, and 6-month programs she helps people achieve their wellness goals. J.J. loves to run, cook, bike, make homemade face masks, be in nature, laugh, play, dance, and find balance as a yogi. She is a student of the world and is always ready for the next book or adventure. Please join her at, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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