Planning a wedding doesn't have to bring emotional, financial stress

Experts say marriage is one of life's greatest causes of stress, exceeded only by events like death of a close family member, divorce and personal injury or illness. And most everyone involved with planning a wedding feels the pressure at some point.

Sterling Shumway, Ph.D., of Texas Tech Medical Center's Department of Neuropsychiatry, says managing yourself by sticking to daily routines is the first step in controlling stress.

"Eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising and spiritually enriching activities are very important," he said. "Yet because of the time demands of planning a wedding, these basic activities often are the first things to be abandoned. We need to make sure that we continue with the regular routines of life."

Managing your reaction to events is the second step in controlling stress, according to Shumway. He emphasizes the importance of expecting the unexpected. "If you are prepared for these surprises, it will minimize over-reacting and prevent the problem from eating up more of your precious coping resources than it should."

He notes that friends and family, despite their best efforts to help with wedding plans, can often create more stress. "Family members may be concerned with feelings of loss, financial issues, societal expectations and time constraints," he said. "We need to include them in the planning process, but we also need to take some time out for ourselves and for our significant other.

"Our family and friends affect our level of stress and our level of stress affects them," he continued. "It is important to be able to say 'no' when it is appropriate."

Shumway noted that managing the amount of stress is the final step in keeping things smooth when planning a wedding. "We need to think about managing our time and finances better," he said. "Develop a plan of action, take smaller bites, manage money and other resources more realistically and avoid excessive debt.

"Remember, you can either manage it now or pay for it later."


CONTACT: Julie Toland, Texas Tech Medical Center, 806-743-2160

Register for reporter access to contact details