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How not to be a bridezilla – cut the stress
April 27th, 2011
08:15 AM ET

How not to be a bridezilla – cut the stress

It's estimated that 2 billion people will watch Kate Middleton walk down the aisle when she weds Prince William  on Friday in London. Now that's pressure. But unlike many brides-to-be, Middleton has had a lot of professional help and probably hasn't had to sweat the tiny details.

However, most future brides are not future princesses. And weddings and all the hassles that go with them, can be overwhelming.

"There are just so many little details that people begin to focus on," says Dr. Gregory Jones, a clinical psychologist with District Psychotherapy Associates in Washington, D.C. "Many people don't understand how difficult it is, until they are in the middle of it. Weddings can take a life of their own."

Olesha Haskett met her fiancé, Alie Basma, at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. She was 17. Now at age 25, they've decided to get hitched and have chosen a destination wedding in Jamaica. Haskett is a pretty cool customer, but even she says the stress can get to her.

"I've had my moments," says Haskett, " I won't deny that. But it's been mostly because of other people. My fiancé is my voice of reason. He says, let it go. Let it go."

Haskett credits her groom, her family and her wedding planner, Lerkia Lee-Tidball, managing editor of Savvy Soirees in Laurel, Maryland, for taking away most of the stress. And experts say that's important, because with invitations, reservations and libations, weddings can get hectic. So it helps to pass on some of the responsibility.

"Stress is natural. It happens," says Tidball. "But when you have that support system to be there as a buffer, it makes life so much easier for both the bride and the groom"

And it's that stress and that pressure that can turn blushing brides  into  fire-breathing bridezillas.

"It can build up and really get to people, " notes Jones. "Those who really get stressed out may not be able to cope with it well and it comes out in yelling, getting upset."

To the point where blood pressures rise, words are said, feelings are hurt and a day of bliss becomes a day from hell.

"It's important to focus on what you want, maybe lower your expectations about the wedding and try not to make the perfect day. Take some of the pressure off," Jones recommends.

Both Tidball and Jones, who is in the middle of planning his own wedding, suggest a couple of tips to take away wedding stress.

First off, brides and grooms should stay healthy. Jones says a good diet and eating well can make all the difference in the way you feel.

And look for time to take a breath.

"Focus on self-care, soothing relaxing activities, that take your mind off of the event for a little while," says Jones.

Try to keep fit, Tidball says. "We love our Spanx, but we still want our brides to feel comfortable in that dress."

And you know all those friends and relatives you have? Use them! Delegate chores to loved ones. Most of the time you'll find they are happy to help.

Tidball also says timetables - a working calendar - are a must. "You need to have a game plan, and stick to that plan," stresses Tidball.

And make use of the Internet. Jones and his partner have their own wedding website that lists dates, times, gift ideas, reception details. It's all in one place for guests' convenience.

"Technology will help you eliminate a lot of the anxiety and stress and make it so much easier to communicate with everybody and keep it organized, " Jones notes.

And most important: Keep to a budget so things don't get out of hand. That's something Haskett and her future husband have tried to do, as they juggle an overseas wedding.

Tidball says keeping stress at bay is her job. "We help at different levels. We take off the pressure, because bridezillas are no fun."


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.