All you need to be truly relaxed, and feel like a queen for a day, is to behave like a bit of a Girl Guide in the build-up to the main event ... that means be prepared.
In the months leading up to your wedding
Unless you can afford to hire a wedding planner – and even that can create tension – you're going to feel some degree of stress during the planning stages. Expect it, and it won't surprise you. In fact, a little stress can help keep you on track. Here are some tricks for keeping wedding stress in check.
Stick to your budget. You don't want your wedding to put you too deep in debt.
Make lots of lists – contact numbers, things to do, ideas – and keep all your notes in one file you can easily refer to.
Draw up a schedule with realistic deadlines, and stick to them. Leave nothing until the last minute.
Delegate and ask for help; your fiancé can also take on some of the responsibilities. Assign important duties to friends or family members you know you can rely on.
Don't try to make everyone happy. It's your wedding, so don't compromise on anything that's important to you. Saying 'no' isn't necessarily aggressive.
Take care of your health. Eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep will keep you energised and help you manage stress.
Consider premarital counselling. You need to prepare yourself for being married – not just for the actual wedding.
Remember why you're getting married and don't neglect your relationship. It's easy to get carried away with all the preparations, so make time for each other. Go on dates, have non-wedding conversations, talk about your future and share your excitement.
The week before
By this stage, all arrangements should be finalised. Give your service providers one last call to iron out any glitches and remind them of the date, time and place. Once that's done, you can start slowing down and spoiling yourself.
If you and your fiancé live together, you might want to move out this week. Being on your own will give you a chance to reflect on the upcoming event and how you're feeling. You'll also get to look forward to reuniting as husband and wife.
Indulge and pamper yourself, and get lots of sleep (another good reason to move out).
Take time to relax and regain your focus. Try breathing exercises, walking and listening to music.
Spending a fun day or evening with girlfriends will help you unwind and take your mind off things.
If you need last-minute reassurance that everything is coming together, visit the wedding venue the day before.
Take it easy the night before. A glass of wine might help you to relax, but don't overindulge. You'll also need a good night's sleep.
On the day
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready. While you're getting ready, only have people you're really comfortable with around you. And if you'd rather be alone, that's fine too.
Eat as usual and have a light snack just before the ceremony, even if you think you're feeling too nervous. Because you'll feel a lot worse if you pass out during the proceedings. Remember, it's going to be a while before you get to sit down and eat at your reception, and lots of champagne will reach your stomach before any food does.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day – all the excitement can leave you parched.
Ask your bridesmaid to keep an emergency kit with her. It should include tissues, make-up, painkillers, a needle and thread, sticking plasters, deodorant and breath mints.
Keep things in perspective. Is it really such a crisis if the flower girl picks her nose in church, or if your father fluffs his speech? Try to see the funny side of things – what may seem to be disasters on the day, will make great stories later.
Finally, let the wedding happen and soak up the joy that is yours on this special day. And don't let it all pass you by in a blur; take a few moments between the laughing, dancing, eating and drinking to observe and appreciate. It's not every day you get to be a princess...
How did you deal with wedding stress? Share your tips and advice below.