Budget spreadsheets. Checklists. Dress fittings. Seating charts. Managing the guest list. Playing referee between the mothers. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, no matter how you slice it. And if you and your partner have been shouldering the burden of this work, then you are probably ready for a little bit of “off” time: a weekend without twenty incoming phone calls, dozens of decisions to make, or emotions (yours or others) to navigate. You need a wellness weekend, friend. And what better way to chill out and tend to some pre-wedding personal care than with your BFF bridal support team by your side?
To help you plan the ultimate wellness retreat with your bridesmaids, we’ve teamed up with Kacey Bradley, a wellness expert and and the founder of lifestyle blog The Drifter Collective, to answer all our questions about why you need a weekend devoted to relaxation with your bridesmaids—and how to do it.
Q: Why should brides (or grooms, for that matter), consider a pre-wedding wellness weekend?
There’s already so much planning on your plate, but there is one additional event you won’t regret adding to your to-do list. As a wellness expert myself, I can attest to the fact that treating your mind and body well can bring overall calmness and increased enjoyment to many aspects of your life. Whether it’s a short meditation session on a Sunday afternoon, a long massage to end the week, or a quick wash and blow out at your favorite salon, treating yourself well can release a significant amount of stress and pressure.
Q: Wait, is this a bachelorette party?
This one’s up to you, really. The bachelorette party is a quintessential part of your experience as a bride, and you’ve probably already imagined where and how you’ll celebrate your last few weeks of singledom. However, not every bride is jazzed on the idea of a booze-filled weekend away. If you find yourself falling into that category, then you could just have your wellness weekend take the place of a traditional bachelorette.
You could also mesh the two into one fun, feel-good weekend. For instance, you could start your bachelorette party with a private group yoga class, then head home for face masks and DIY pedicures. After your beauty treatments, put on some fancy duds and head out for the night to eat a classy meal, clink champagne glasses, and celebrate your married future.
Q: What advice do you have for brides who don’t feel like they can relax?
This is precisely why you should consider adding a wellness weekend to your wedding lineup. There are plenty of signs you’re overdoing it in the planning department. Perhaps you’re spending your lunch breaks dealing with wedding to-dos instead of, you know, eating lunch. Maybe you’re plagued by self-doubt: did you choose the wrong flowers, or should you have gone with a more classic cake or, oh my God, what if you should’ve picked the tulle gown instead? These thoughts show you’re too stressed.
If you feel like you won’t be able to separate from your wedding-planning self, make a vow (pun intended) to leave shop talk at the door of your retreat. Ask your bridesmaids to respect the no-wedding-chatter rule all weekend, too. This departure will serve you so well. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your pre-wedding checklist. Once you arrive, I promise you will find it oh-so-easy to relax.
Q: So, what should a bride and her ladies actually do on a wellness weekend?
Once you hear some of the many ways you and your bridesmaids can relax, I think you’ll be sold. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Mediation: I already mentioned a yoga class as a wellness-weekend option. You could take things even further by bringing your girls along for a meditation class. All the ohms will banish your stress, but that’s not their only benefit. Meditation helps promote self-awareness and mental clarity, which will only improve the wedding-planning process once you get home.
- Hiking: Mother Nature is sometimes the best medicine. During a crazy few months, be sure to sneak out and enjoy what the Earth has to offer. Seriously—climbing a mountain will remind you of what you’re capable of and what’s important. You might not be able to get your first-choice caterer, but you have the privilege to see the planet’s most wondrous landscapes.
- Camping: If there aren’t hiking trails nearby, try your hand at a camping weekend. First, stock up on the supplies you need, like tents and sleeping bags. Depending on your level of skill, you should think about bringing along fire-starter logs, too. No matter what, there must be s’mores—i.e., the greatest form of pre-wedding self-care.
- Cook, Share, Eat: Have all your bridesmaids bring their favorite recipes, then whip up your top picks together. Cooking is therapeutic, especially if you pour everyone a glass of wine and crank up the feel-good music. All the food you make will leave you feeling nourished and accomplished, two feelings that will contribute greatly to your sense of well-being.
- Get Crafty: Flexing your creative muscles will also feel good. Even if your final product isn’t pretty, crafting something is therapeutic. You can make the lessons beneficial in more ways than one: taking a flower-arranging class, for example, will be a cute, creative outlet. You and your wedding party could also use the knowledge to create your own bouquets for the big day.
This is just the beginning when it comes to wellness party ideas. Think about what makes you feel good and figure out a way to turn that hobby into a party theme.
Q: How are brides supposed to find the time to plan yet another activity?
Like I said before, wedding planning should not consume your entire life. However, you still might feel like the process has begun to creep into the time you’d spend pursuing hobbies, seeing friends, working out…all the things that make you feel great. (That might be why you are stressed and why you need this break, by the way.)
If this is how you’re feeling, then you might be overdoing it. Maybe you’re spending too much time on the smallest of details while putting off the critical planning, and as a result you feel like you’ve gotten nothing accomplished. If this is the case, try to prioritize your to-dos and really focus on the top portion of your list. If you can cut down on the overall time you’re putting in to planning, you will have the hours needed to plan a wellness weekend. Ta-da!
Now, if you’re really struggling to add yet another bullet point to your planning checklist, you can pass the wellness planning on to a third party. There are plenty of hotels with retreats and activities designed to de-stress you. Just be prepared to shell out a pretty penny for one of these retreats, since an all-inclusive package tends to cost a lot more than the DIY ideas listed above.
Q: Any other final thoughts on the importance of a pre-wedding wellness weekend?
Let go and feel good. That’s not a question I’m going to answer, it’s an order I am making of you. Yes, your wedding is your responsibility, and you want your big day to be perfect—but you should feel good every step of the way, since this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Press pause, relax, and return to your to-dos with some pep in your step. Before you know it, you’ll be prancing down the aisle and feeling your best when you take those steps.