While weddings are supposed to be joyous events that bring families together, they are also a major source of stress.
Getting things started on time, making sure no detail is missed, ensuring everyone is properly dressed and on their best behavior: these are just some of the hassles and difficulties involved in getting ready for a wedding.
Here are some tips that can help you deal with pre-wedding stress:
1. Remember to say "Aoutho billahi minash Shaytan ir Rajeem" (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytan)
What could be better? Remembering Allah when you're about to blow your stack will Insha Allah (if Allah wills) help you calm down. Repeat it as often as necessary.
2. Establish a system of Shura (consultation)
Who should suggest where the wedding should take place? Who makes the final decisions in the event of a deadlock?
Decide on a system of consultation where ideally everyone has input into how things will be run. Also decide who has the final say. This will reduce tension and stress.
3. Decide wedding groundrules and conditions
How will proper Hijab be maintained at the wedding reception? How will the food be served? How will prayer be accommodated during the event?
These are crucial issues that must be dealt with right from the start. Once they have been discussed and agreed upon, that's one less source of tension and conflict to deal with.
4. Delegate and divide up tasks
Who will take care of the menu and calling the caterers? Who will book the hall?
Don't dump the entire responsibility for the wedding on just one or two people. Get as many responsible people involved as possible. Then let them do their job and don't meddle unless there is a big problem. If this is done properly, people will be more calm and less stressed.
5. Remind yourself that this is the last time you will be together with your family in a long time
Who wants to leave behind memories of fights, tears and hurt feelings?
It's better to leave on a good note instead of a sour one, especially if you are moving to another city or country. This also means making the most of whatever time you have left with your parents and brothers and sisters. If the stress of the wedding is making you snap at parents or siblings, try to use tip number one above, and learn to grin and bear the tension as much as possible.
6. Take everyone away from the scene
Is your home environment developing into an explosion waiting to happen?
If things are getting stressful and hectic at home, see if you can arrange a one or two-day getaway with the family where no one talks about the wedding plans, they just have fun. Insha Allah, everyone will come back more refreshed and hopefully, less stressed. If one day is too long, consider devoting an afternoon or evening away from the pre-wedding scene.
7. Get away yourself
Can't take the whole family away for a few hours, let alone a day?
Then consider taking an afternoon away from everyone. But don't go furiously banging out the door in anger and/or frustration. Make sure to let parents know where you're going so they're not worried. Go to the mosque, library, Islamic center, for a drive, or anywhere Halal that can help you relax and take a break from the stressful environment.
8. Avoid arguing over petty things
How should spoons and forks be set up? What color should tablecloths be at the Walima?
When it comes to weddings, the emotionally tense environment can lead people to make mountains out of molehills. How spoons and forks are placed on tables may never have mattered before, but they may become a hot topic of debate between parents and the bride/groom-to-be.
Try to avoid arguing over petty things. Remember that it's better to have a simpler wedding and that in the end, it's not the minute details of your Walima that will really make your marriage or your relationship with your family members successful.
9. Remember the intention behind the tension
Why is your mother insisting you wear that horrid dress on your wedding day? Why is your father insisting on you getting to the hall on the day of the Walima by taking the most complicated route?
It's not because they're your worst enemies. It's because they love you and want what's the best for you. Reminding yourself of the intention behind the source of conflict will help you realize that while you are getting stressed over the disagreements over certain issues pertaining to the wedding, behind that disagreement there is love and concern. Your family, especially your parents, want what's best for you and that's what motivating them.
On the actual wedding day:
10. Begin by remembering Allah
Did you ever have one of those days when virtually everything seemed to be difficult until the end?
Don't let your wedding day be one of these days. Start off the day right by thanking Allah at Fajr prayer (the prayer before sunrise) for allowing you to make it this far on this journey of life. Follow this up by reciting Quran aloud.
Make this Dua (supplication) after Fajr and Maghrib (the prayer after sunset) prayers: Bismillahillazi la yadurro ma ismihi shaiun fil arde wa la fis samae. WA hoal aliul azeem.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) used to say this Dua at these times. Its translation is: "I begin with Allah's name, with Whose blessings nothing can harm on the earth or in the heavens. He is the the Highest and the Greatest."
11. Go for a walk
This preferably should be in the morning, before others are awake. It will give you time to clear your head and mentally prepare for the day ahead. Follow this up with a deep shower.
12. For extreme stress
If you are really stressed out, say this Dua: Ya hayyio Ya Qayyum, be rehmatika astaghiso. The translation of this is "I beg for Your mercy, Ya Allah, the Living, the Everlasting Manager of the world."
13. Write it all down
Is your mind racing, thinking of all the things you have to do on this day?
Then it's time to empty it responsibly. Make a detailed to do list. This will ensure you have a record of what needs to be done without making you feel more stressed.
14. You are not alone
Are you the only person to ever get married or organize a wedding?
Of course not! Remember that billions of human beings in the past have done this. You are not alone. Take comfort in the fact that those butterflies in your stomach have flown in the insides of generations upon generations of individuals before you.