Categories
Wedding Planning

How Meditation Can Help You De-Stress While Wedding Planning

When anxieties start to get the best of you, it’s worth taking five minutes to sit quietly, be still, refocus your energy and take several full, long breaths—otherwise known as meditation. “Not only can a meditation practice help you reduce and prevent stress while planning your wedding, it can help you truly savor each moment of your big day,” says Colleen Carey, a yoga instructor and wedding officiant in New York City. “Practicing meditation is practicing presence and awareness—it’s learning to slow down your thoughts, feelings and experience.”

While fun and exciting, planning a day that’s reflective of you and your spouse-to-be has its stressful moments. Pile on expectations of parents, your new in-laws and friends and the stress can go from manageable to overwhelming.

Here are six things practicing meditation can help you do, so you can shape your wedding into the day you’ve always wanted and enjoy the process too.

1. Take a step back.

Organizing your dream guest list is fun, but add in your future mother-in-law’s huge family and the price per head and this happy time can turn stressful. “Meditation can help you take a step back and enjoy the big picture with a bit of detachment,” says Lynne Goldberg, a meditation coach in Toronto and founder of OMG. I Can Meditate! You’ll also be able to deal with others’ perspectives a little easier. After all, getting to know how each other’s families communicate (and realizing your own biases and perspectives) can be helpful as you navigate all of the relationship dynamics you encounter while planning.

2. Make better choices.

It can be hard to think clearly and make decisions that are true to your vision (even if they seem easy!), especially when everyone is adding their two cents. But if you take five minutes a day to meditate, your mind has a chance to settle down. “When you shake a snow globe, all you see are flakes of snow. But when you let it sit for a minute, it clears up and you can see the landscape underneath—the true picture. Much in the same way, meditation gives us a bit more clarity,” Goldberg says.

Clarity also leads the way to creativity. With a clear mind, complicated topics can be met with innovative fixes. “When the time comes to make the often-complex seating arrangements, for example, your brain will light up with all sorts of ingenious solutions,” says Will Schneider, a corporate mindfulness coach in New York City.

3. Remain in the present.

It’s no revelation that planning your wedding is all about the future— everything leads up to that day, which leads up to your life as a married couple. It’s so easy to get caught up in the anticipation of those exciting times in the future that the moments you’re experiencing right here, right now are often forgotten. “We’ve all heard from brides and grooms about how fast the wedding day comes and goes—how quickly all that future planning turns into a memory,” Goldberg says. “Meditating during this time will help you enjoy it as it’s happening.”

4. Have a daily reflection of intent.

An intent, which is a positive principle you set for how you want your surroundings and yourself to be, is a valuable tool when it comes to wedding planning. For example, some intents could be: Approach any challenge with a calm and positive manner, be present and mindful in the decision-making process, and look for the best in others. “What is the attitude and energy you want going into your wedding?” says Tara Brach, a meditation teacher and wedding officiant based in the Washington, DC, area. “Do you want to be openhearted? Mindful? Forgiving? Clear? Focused? At ease? Each morning, take a few moments to reflect on your intention in moving through your wedding planning.”

5. Connect with your other half.

Meditating doesn’t have to be a solo activity—when you both have time, you and your soon-to-be spouse can take a few quiet minutes to recharge. “First, meditate together for 5 to 20 minutes to relax and quiet your minds, and then take turns sharing whatever is challenging, exciting or important to you,” Brach says. “Speak and listen from the heart.” This ensures you’re both being honest and that you’re on the same page throughout the entire process—no matter what situations may arise.

6. Let go of resentment.

When you’re knee-deep in dress fittings and seating charts, it often takes just one word or look from a family member or your fiancé to set you off or make you feel anxious (we’ve all been there!). Meditation can help release any feelings of resentment. “Bring your attention and breath to whatever part of your body feels agitated, angry or vulnerable,” Brach says. “Take a minute to breathe in healing energy, and when you breathe out, release your unpleasant feelings.” And if you’re feeling anxious, quickly inhale and exhale.

 

Ready to begin? Here are our favorite meditation apps to try!

Headspace: Beginners will love Headspace’s 10-minute meditations.

Omvana: Omvana’s meditations can be tailored to your stress levels.

Calm: Calm’s seven-day guided mindfulness meditations have different intents.

Take a Break!: These guided meditations feature music and nature audio.

Categories
Wedding Ideas

Actually The National Average Cost of a Wedding Is $32,641

Well, we have just the information you need to get that conversation going. We just released The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study, and after polling nearly 18,000 couples, we found that the average wedding spend is at a national all-time high—at $32,641! Having your wedding budget talk soon?

The Knot started tracking the average cost of a wedding in 2006, and since then, the national average wedding cost has seriously skyrocketed. In fact, just last year, the average wedding cost for 2014 was at $31,213, a $1,408 difference.

Before you say that $32,641 sounds like far too much or too little, keep in mind that this is an average. So depending on your zip code (New York City’s spend is $82,299, while South Dakota’s is $18,890), that number may be higher or lower.

Another interesting fact—the guest spend has gone up, but the number of guests is down. The average number of wedding guests in 2015 was 139, down from 149 in 2009, and the cost per wedding guest is up to $237, up from $194 in 2009. Spending is also on the rise when it comes to all reception categories, including catering costs, cake, music, flowers, photography, entertainment and more in 2015. Since 2009, custom guest entertainment that reflects couples’ personalities has more than tripled, from 11 percent to 36 percent, and that includes cigar rolling stations, wine and liquor tastings, and live dance performers.

Here’s the spend broken down across the country:

The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study

 

And here’s exactly how couples are allotting their budgets:

The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study

Categories
Flower Girl Dresses Wedding Dresses

Leah Still Designs Her Own Flower Girl Dress For Her Father’s Wedding

Leah Still Designs Her Own Flower Girl Dress For Her Father's Wedding

If Leah Still’s flower girl dress ends up looking a lot as a pink version of Elsa’s gown from Disney’s Frozen, don’t be surprised. It’s her favorite movie, Elsa is her favorite character and well, she just loves pink.

“I want my dress to look like this,” the spunky five-year-old told PEOPLE as she held up a sketch at a recent consultation with designer Hayley Paige at her New York City headquarters.

“Lots and lots of glitter!” she giggles, then adds with a shrug. “I’m a glitter girl.”

Keep up with your favorite celebs in the pages of PEOPLE Magazine by subscribing currently. Not only is her father, Devon Still, getting his dream wedding, Leah is getting to design her dream flower girl dress with Paige. Her father couldn’t be happier.

Leah Still Designs Her Own Flower Girl Dress For Her Father's Wedding

“I knew pink was going to be involved,” he says with a smile. “She loves princess stuff.”

It’s hard to tell that the spunky, self-described “girly-girl” sitting in a boutique Manhattan bridal shop designing her own tiny, sparkling hot-pink flower girl frock was battling life-threatening stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer just weeks ago – but doting dad Devon Still says that’s just his daughter’s personality, resilient and consistently positive.

“She’s just had the best attitude of fight and then move forward with life,” Devon, 26, tells PEOPLE of his daughter. “And look where we are now. I’m getting married to my love and Leah gets to be a part of this wedding. We overcame tragedy and are becoming a family. It’s like a fairy tale.”

Leah Still Designs Her Own Flower Girl Dress For Her Father's Wedding

About two years ago, the recently signed Houston Texans defensive tackle and his fiancé Asha Joyce put their wedding plans on hold after Leah was diagnosed with the deadly disease. Doctors gave her a 50-50 chance of survival.

Her diagnosis made headlines across the world in September 2014 after the Cincinnati Bengals cut Devon from their roster but offered him a position on the practice squad so he could keep his health insurance to help pay for Leah’s cancer treatments.

Devon publically documented his daughter’s two-year battle on social media, and officially announced that she “beat cancer,” in January.

The couple, who will be married in spring 2016, was selected by TheKnot.com, as the recipients of this year’s Dream Wedding.

The site is helping Devon and Joyce put on their special day – including coordinating with Leah to make her a custom-designed flower girl dress. The site is also helping the couple carry out another dream – raising money for other families facing pediatric cancers – by setting up a charity registry for those in need.

Starting March 16, America is invited to vote on each detail of the day – from Joyce’s dress to the flowers and the honeymoon.

Leah’s dress, nonetheless, is not up for discussion. Everyone wanted to make sure Leah got exactly what she wanted for the big day.

“I’m excited for the wedding,” Leah says while coloring in dress sketches with a blush-tinted crayon. “I’ve never been to one!”

It’s clear she truly is Daddy’s little girl.

“I love you dad,” she whispers as she colors.

Devon says it brought him great joy to see his daughter working with Paige to create the dress, reminding him that every moment he sees his daughter happy is “precious.”

Leah Still Designs Her Own Flower Girl Dress For Her Father's Wedding

“When you sit back and look at everything and hover above, it’s important to remember to cherish every moment you have with your child,” he says. “My daughter was almost taken away from me, and I’ve learned that you can’t waste time.

“I only get 24 hours in a day to spend with Leah and my goal is to see her smile as much as I can,” he says. “We hang out and have fun and are silly.”

The daddy-daughter duo, who plan to “wing it” for their dance but have a special (surprise!) duet performance planned, have learned the importance of counting on family and love during difficult times.

Leah Still Designs Her Own Flower Girl Dress For Her Father's Wedding

“We aren’t quite at our happy ending right now, but we are getting there, and this journey has brought us so much closer,” says Devon of Leah. “We’ve been through so much in the past two years and things are finally starting to turn around. Hopefully people see that you can go from the lowest of lows and with strength and the right attitude can reach a beautiful high.”