A wedding day can get pretty stressful, but only if you allow it to stress you. Here are some mindful exercises you can start to do months before the wedding to prepare your mind and soul. By preparing your mind and soul for the occasion, it will help you stay focused on the most important thing, and there is only ONE - your significant other.
I got my Yoga certification in India, and was a Yoga and meditation instructor for years, before I embarked into doing Wedding Photography. In the months leading to my own wedding, I had a weekly class teaching meditation, and I found that doing regular meditation really helped me, not only in my everyday life, but to also savour my wedding day. So I hope you find these meditation exercises useful.
Preparation for all mediation exercises
If you are new to meditation, remove the preconception that meditation is sitting with legs crossed chanting 'ooommmss'', thought that is a form, you can do meditation anywhere and everywhere. Meditation is the act of being mindful and present in the moment.
In general to start off your meditation, try to find your breathing rhythm, close you eyes and focus on your breath. Visualise air particles going in through your nose, travelling down your wind pipe, into your lungs and reverse. Focus on your breath for 5 to 10 breaths.
Finishing your meditation - bring your awareness back to the breath for 5 to 10 breaths and with the last few breaths focusing on your surroundings, the sounds, smells, temperature and open your eyes.
Letting go of Ego
A wedding is the union between two people. TWO people, not ONE. You might have been dreaming about this day your whole life and maybe you have been the imagining the colours of your flowers, the decor and the venue years in advance, maybe even before you met your significant other. This is what we call the EGO. Ego is the expectation of something, and the perseverance to make it happen, and it can become toxic at times and put unnecessarily stress on the wedding planning.
In this meditation exercise we are going to let go of your EGO and create a white canvas so that the two of you can paint your ideal vision together. You can even do this together.
Start with mindful breathing,
Now imagine the wedding day you have always dreamed of, imagine all the elements you've been dreaming of, the flowers, the guests, the dress, the ceremony etc...
[You can imagine / visualise - or you can draw] If you are doing this meditation together, then it's a great time to share your vision.
Now bring your attention back to your breath, after the 5th breath, with each exhalation you are going to start letting go of one element at a time, with each exhalation, imagine a rubber and consciously start to erase that element from your canvas. With each exhalations allowing more room in this white canvas of yours. with each exhalation, say to yourself 'I let go'
Until you are left with a blank white space, a blank canvas ready for the two of you to paint. A brand new painting, ready to be enhanced by the talented vendors you're going to find.
On each inhale, say to yourself 'I'm open' ' I'm open' truly mean it 'I'm open'
Bring the attention back to breath for 10 to 20 breaths and end the meditation. Now go and paint your beautiful wedding together.
Prepare for everything to go wrong
A lot of stress on a wedding day is generated from the expectation that the day will go smoothly and it will be ultimate perfect day. This is a myth! In physics, its called the Anthropic principle, where at the fundamental atomic everything moves towards chaos. This concept might seem daunting, but is somehow liberating. On a Philosophical level, it is liberating because it forces you to understand how unrealistic it is to hold on to the idea of 'perfection'. Perfection might be achieved for a millisecond, but the sate is ever changing.
So as an exercise, find 15 to 30min, sit down or lay comfortable on your bed and start with mindful breathing. Start to go through every single element of your day and one by one imagine that they've gone wrong.
Imagine a scenario where the florist is stuck in traffic, imagine yourself on the wedding day hearing this news. Now you are going to take 5 deep breaths and you're going to say
' it's ok because flowers are not important, I'm getting married to (your fiancée name) and that's whats important'
' I trust in my vendor, and they will do whatever it takes to help me today' (read XX blog post)
'If my florist can't make it... (think of a plan b)'
'If plan b doesn't work, I'm ok with it because I'm getting married to (your fiancée name) and that's whats important'
Now continue with any other elements of the day. Limit these to only 5.
This is not to overwhelm you with a sense of dread and increase anxiety. But to allow you to build anxiety in a controlled head space, where you will consciously learn how to calm that anxiety down.
I have to stress that you are going to do this exercise in a controlled environment, you are only going to dedicate one day and only 30mins (don't allow for you to do this in more than 2 session max and don't let it seep into your daily life). The aim of the meditation is to prepare your subconscious to learn how to handle that situation in advance and that you are ok with it. The exercise will also help you to try and find solutions in advance, or create plan B. All emergency situations should be preempted ahead of time. A good way to also relive stress off of you is to hire a wedding planner. Their job will be to literally manage these eventualities for you.
Meditation to Reduce Wedding Stress
A great book for you to read, and reading yes is a form of meditation is 'Don't sweat the small stuff, & it's all small stuff' by Richard Carlson. This book is utterly amazing and it's been revolutionary for me and how I approach life's problems. I won't delve too much into it, all I can say is go read it or download the audiobook and listen to it whilst you are going about your business.
Meditation for the evening before the Wedding day for a good night sleep
Stay away from alcohol, as this can have detrimental effects on the following morning.
Run yourself a bath, and pamper yourself to some scented candles and soothing music. In your bath allow yourself to relax, start with the breathing exercise.
Now say to yourself ' I am reeeee - laxx - ed ' really elongate the 'relaxed'
' My mind is reeeee - laxx - ed '
' My body is reeeee - laxx - ed '
' My spirit is reeeee - laxx - ed '
Now allow room for joy and happiness to fill you up, allow yourself to be open to the universe and all it's bounty.
After you have finished with your bath, drop a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue and put it in your pillow case to enhance a good night sleep.
Meditation for the Morning of the Wedding day
Read this mindful exercise the night before the wedding and try to remember to mindfully focus on these elements when you wake up the next morning.
Wake up and take a couple of deep breaths. Start to notice the sounds around you, notice the smells, the temperature. Be in the present and say 'I'm so grateful for this day'
Meditation during the Wedding day
24 hours will go by really quickly, and if you are not mindful every second will fleet so quickly.
One thing you can do to savour the moment, is during your meal. Allow yourself to really focus on the taste of the food. Being present with each mouth full. Appreciating the special gift that is your loved ones being there in the same room as you.
I hope these exercises have been helpful, and if you have any questions, do drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org I'm always happy to help.