Pre-wedding jitters refers to a feeling of being ‘on edge’ before your wedding. It might begin days, weeks, or months before you get married. You might use a different term to describe it, such as pre-wedding nerves, anxiety, panic or stress. Whatever you call it, rest assured that it’s normal!
Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life, and chances are you’ve spent a year or more planning it. It’s only natural to be a little nervous about what’s to come. Anyone can experience pre-wedding jitters, whether you’re the bride or the groom, and whether you’re planning a huge affair or an intimate ceremony.
Though pre-wedding jitters are nothing to worry about, they can be unpleasant. In this guide, we’ll talk about why it’s normal to feel this way before your wedding. We’ll also share 8 valuable tips for tackling your nerves, and feeling calm before your big day.
Is It Normal to Have Anxiety Before Your Wedding?
Almost everyone in the world goes through some form of anxiety or stress before their wedding day. This is usually down to wedding planning.
You might be worried that something specific will go wrong, such as your decorations not arriving on time, stumbling over your words during the ceremony, or making a fool out of yourself during the first dance. But most likely, rather than a specific worry, you just have a general feeling of anxiety or nerves.
This is completely ordinary, and it’s what we call pre-wedding jitters. But it’s important to know the difference between normal wedding anxiety, and genuine cold feet. They might sound similar, but they are different things.
Pre-wedding jitters are nerves surrounding the wedding, not the marriage. If you are worried about the wedding and you just want to ‘get it over with’, but you still want to be married to your partner, you’ve likely got pre-wedding jitters.
If, however, you are worried about actually becoming a wife (or husband), and you’re wondering whether you should go through with the marriage, you may have cold feet. This is definitely something you should talk to your partner about.
How to Calm Your Nerves Before Your Wedding
If you’re suffering from pre-wedding jitters, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our 8 top tips for reducing stress, nerves and worry in the lead up to the biggest day of your life.
1. Create a Relaxing Sleep Routine
Getting several hours of good quality sleep every night is one of the most important factors for maintaining good mental health (just ask any parents of newborns, and they’ll confirm this for you). This applies every day, not just in the lead up to your wedding. But having a healthy sleep routine can remove much of the stress and pre-wedding jitters.
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Create a consistent sleeping and waking routine, and stick to it every day, including weekends. Use earplugs and eye-masks if necessary to help shut out noise and light.
2. Stay Away from Social Media
Social media isn’t always a bad thing. However, if you’re experiencing pre-wedding jitters, it can definitely make things worse.
On social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, we’re presented only with the sides of others that they want us to see. We end up comparing our lives to others’ and thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.
Sites like Pinterest, while they can be helpful for wedding inspiration, can also quickly become an obsession and a source of worry (“my wedding won’t look as perfect as theirs”). Take breaks from social media (and screens in general) as often as you can in the lead up to your big day.
Studies show that regular exercise can be extremely beneficial for reducing stress, anxiety, and even depression. You don’t need to dedicate much time to it. Even 30 minutes of exercise per day is better than nothing!
Anything that causes your heart to beat faster than usual counts as exercise. If you don’t have a gym membership, you can still exercise! Bike rides, walking or running amongst nature (such as in a forest or on the beach) can be extremely relaxing. You could also try yoga, or tai chi to help relax your mind and take focus away from your wedding.
4. Practise Relaxation Techniques
There are many relaxation techniques that can help calm pre-wedding jitters. For example:
• Taking a warm bath (ideally, do this before bedtime, as part of your nightly routine)
• Progressive muscle relaxation (tensing and then relaxing each of your muscles, one by one)
• Visualisation or guided imagery (closing your eyes and imagining a peaceful scene)
• Deep breathing exercises (there are some good tutorials to follow on YouTube)
You can also use a mindfulness technique called the 5-4-3-2-1 method. This is great for keeping you grounded in the present, rather than worrying about your upcoming wedding. Focus on five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
5. Use Herbal Remedies
Nature is full of brilliant plants that can work wonders for tackling pre-wedding nerves. Take full advantage of these relaxing remedies and you’ll soon feel yourself calming down. Some great suggestions include:
• Chamomile tea. Chamomile has long been demonstrated as effective at reducing anxiety. Ginger tea and peppermint tea can also help.
• Lavender. You don’t even need to ingest it – simply sniffing a lavender-scented candle, or using a lavender bath soak, can help you relax.
• Valerian. This is a mild, natural sedative that is great at relieving stress and helping you feel sleepy. It comes in tea or tablet form.
• Bach’s rescue remedy. This is an all-natural herbal concoction that is purported to reduce anxiety and worry.
• Lemon balm. This is great at reducing nerves and jitters in small doses.
Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal remedies, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have pre-existing health conditions, or you are on medication.
6. Seek Support from Others
When you’re struggling with negative thoughts, anxiety, or worries, it can be extremely beneficial to discuss these feelings with someone that you trust. It never does anybody any good to keep their feelings bottled up inside.
Explain your feelings to your partner, or a close friend or relative, such as your maid of honour or your mum. They’ll be happy to listen to you and support you through this stressful time. You can also ask married friends and relatives what they did to calm down before their own wedding.
It may also be beneficial to talk to a therapist or doctor, especially if your nerves are severely affecting your health, or stopping you from sleeping.
7. Take Time Off from Wedding Planning
Too much wedding planning (or focusing too much on any one topic) will drive anybody a little crazy. If you’re spending every waking moment thinking about, discussing and organising your big day, you’re bound to start suffering from nerves or anxiety because of it.
Try to take a good chunk of time off, every single day. A few hours in the evening, for example, when you’re forbidden from thinking about your wedding at all. Take this time to have a breather and do something relaxing, such as working on a hobby. And aim to take at least one full day off of wedding planning per week.
8. Focus on the Future
Although it might seem hard in the moment, it’s really important to stay focused on what matters: the future. What matters is that you’ll soon be married to the love of your life. Though it may not feel like it, your wedding really will be over in a flash, and these pre-wedding jitters will soon be nothing more than a memory. Try to concentrate on that in moments of panic. You will be OK!
Of course, if you’re having any specific worries about the future – particularly about your marriage – it’s crucial that you discuss these with your fiancé(e). Marriage is a serious business, and it’s best to get any issues ironed out before you take that step.