The nervous jitters of the wedding day may keep some butterflies fluttering in your stomach and distract you, even if you have prepared for this day in many ways. This is natural. It's all new to you and you feel a little nervous; okay, maybe you feel a lot nervous. But you don't want to feel too nervous. Nor do you want to be detached or numbed of all feelings. Try to embrace it all.
It is important to recognize that on this very significant day, in this amazing moment in time, every emotion of the entire wedding journey may surface... and that's okay.
"I tell all brides I work with that, on their wedding day, they should expect and prepare for feeling all the emotions that came up during their engagements," says Allison Moir-Smith, a psychotherapist who helps brides through engagement stress and author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life. "If a bride anticipates that her wedding day will be full of many emotions -- the joyful and the difficult -- she'll be better prepared to deal with them."
The trick is, you don't want nervousness to overpower your experience. Some brides get nervous and overwrought about their nervousness! Here are some simple ways to treat yourself to natural, calming relief and remedies in the days before the wedding and on your wedding day.
1. Go to sleep with a warm bath, awaken to a cleansing shower. Before you go to bed on "W Day" Eve, take a warm, relaxing bath using a scented candle or aromatherapy oil and wonderful music to help you unwind and reflect on the journey you have been on. Some brides find the only peace and privacy before the big day is in the bathtub or shower.
2. Do a little Yoga when you rise. Yoga is the gentle stretching exercise that hails from the Hindu tradition and centers the body and mind. "A few minutes of conscious breathing and stretching can help release the jitters," says Barbara Kizner, Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor. She suggests trying these postures:
A. Simple "Sun Breath." Stand with feet hip-width apart. Just inhale with your arms up, and exhale putting your arms down. Repeat this several times to help center you, to clear your mind and give you a little stretch. Use the inhalation as an opportunity to breath in relaxation. Use the exhale to release -- with a sigh -- fears, anxiety and tension. Allow your heart to expand with joy and excitement
B. A "Swan Dive." It's perfect for loosening up on your wedding day, says Kizner.
• Stand with your feet hip-width apart, firmly connecting to the earth.
• Tuck your tailbone in just a touch and bring a gentle squeeze to your thighs.
• Acknowledge how your legs are strong and supportive.
• Be sure your shoulders are relaxed, away from the ears.
• Be sure your chest is gently lifted up to the sky, keeping your heart center open and receptive.
• Inhale your arms slowly overhead, breathing through your nostrils.
• Once you've come to the top of the breath wiggle up out of the waist and exhale through your mouth.
• Bring your arms down slowly, with resistance.
• As if you were gracefully diving down begin to fold your body.
• Keeping your knees soft allow your belly to rest on your thighs.
• Stay there for 3 breaths and notice that nice stretch and release to the lower back. It brings very small gentle movements to your neck and head, loosing up any tension that might have settled in the shoulders.
• Try sighing, it could feel great. With each sigh, release tension, anxiety, fear.
• Slowly roll your body back up to standing position, allowing your neck and head and head to come up last.
• Repeat 2 more times.
• Think of the Swan, so graceful, and always going with the flow. Also, swans mate for life!
3. Center Yourself. Before you get dressed, take one last look at yourself in the mirror. Feel your feet firm on the ground and put your hands right under your belly. The Japanese call that part of the body the "Hara," which means center. Then take a moment to once again feel your feet connected to the earth below, as if you are a tree. Know the leaves may sway in the wind but your trunk will stay upright and strong.
4. Eat light, but eat something. Although in some religious traditions the couple fasts -- symbolizing a fresh start -- consider a light meal before the ceremony. Eat foods that will give you strength and keep your blood sugar balanced. Stay away from excessive caffeine, sugar and overeating - which can all make you shaky. I once had a catering manager get a piece of salmon from the kitchen for a bride who was about the faint before the wedding from skipping meals -- and skipping some breaths too.
5. Stay Organized. It is important to curtail chaos by having a game plan and time line for the day's events and sticking with it as closely as possible. This should include everything from the time you awaken, shower and stretch ... to getting to the chapel on time ... to events in between and at the reception. "Brides tend to be on the planet Zippety Doo-Dah," says New York-based and internationally known makeup artist and hairstylist, Filis Forman, who often serves as a beauty coordinator for brides on their wedding day. "If a bride keeps very organized she will be so much calmer coordinating her day."
6. Anchor yourself in the love all around you. Focus on the positive side of the wedding day and the happiness and joy of the moment. Realize that everyone at your wedding is there to support you; that it is a day when you can do no wrong; everything you say and do, every tear you cry, will be adorable to those who've come to celebrate. Trust and lean into the love you share with your mate, and all the love in that room.