Planning a wedding can turn even the calmest of friends into an anxious, worked up wreck, but offering a bit of support to your bride-to-be pal can keep her from venturing into bridezilla territory. Whether she's outright unpleasant or just internalizing the stress, there are a few easy ways to help her stay sane. Have a pal who's struggling through the planning process? Follow these tips to keep your friend — and everyone around her — more at ease:
- Lend an understanding ear. Your friend may just need to vent a bit, and although the color of the napkin rings may seem unimportant to you, it's the buildup of all those little details that's likely to put her over the edge. Plus, even if she's talking about the napkin rings, chances are it's not actually about the napkin rings, so be a patient listener and help her through whatever's really bothering her.
- Keep her company. If she feels like she's planning her wedding alone, your friend might get sad or frustrated. Offer to take on a small project, like finding the perfect candle votives. Is she not the delegating type? In that case, volunteer to accompany her on some of the errands. Your presence may be enough to calm her down.
- Practice both positivity and tough love. The best thing you can do for any bride-to-be is to remain optimistic. A cheerful, enthusiastic attitude can do wonders for a stressed-out bride, so try to be her shining light. Can't seem to soothe her negativity? Know when to step in with some tough love and provide some perspective — does she really need to cry over choosing a cursive font?
- Offer your own ideas. Decision-making can become exhausting after a while, so if she asks for your opinion, give it to her. Most people are probably tiptoeing around definitive answers, but she may need help steering out of the gray area. Try creating a Pinterest board of ideas that the bridesmaids can all contribute to or ask the group to use a hashtag and tweet snaps of inspiration to the bride.
- Help her relax. When in doubt, bring on the endorphins. Be her workout buddy and encourage her to sweat out the everyday stresses. Even better? Host a casual DIY spa day — manicures, pedicures, masks, the works — and remind your friend to take care of herself.
The bottom line: Be patient. Throughout the planning process, a bride-to-be juggles a lot of different details, which can bring on a wide range of emotions. One of the best things you can do to help? Maintain a friendship outside of all the wedding plans. Keep up the hobbies you shared together pre-proposal to preserve a sense of normalcy. If you always loved to cook together, sign up for a weekly cooking class — she's sure to welcome the distraction.