Editor’s note: To accompany Dr Biali’s tips, we have been given permission to show you some of the recent contest entries from The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers. We hope you agree that these are fantastic photographs, and we are very grateful to be able to use them here. The details and websites of each photographer can be found in the picture captions.
Although you’re probably not going to sleep deeply the night before your wedding, if you follow these tips you’ll be more likely to wake up feeling rested, will look more radiant and will be much better equipped to handle the stresses and joys of your big day.
Though you’ll be tempted to raise a glass with everyone else, you’d be much wiser to skip it. Not only will alcohol prevent you from reaching deep sleep, it also dehydrates your skin and makes you more bloated the next day. Need I say more?
Schedule your pre-wedding dinner as early as possible
The earlier the social part of your evening winds down, the earlier you will be able to wind down and get to sleep. If your friends and family want to celebrate until the wee hours, let them. Plan ahead for when you want to get to bed and slip away when you need to.
Relax with your husband-to-be
I stayed alone in a hotel room the night before my big day. After the rehearsal dinner, my now-husband walked me to my room. I offered to give him a back rub and we chatted quietly with the lights turned down low. It was a wonderful way to connect and calm our nerves.
Get some exercise early in the day
A brisk walk or workout will relieve pre-wedding stress, help you sleep better at night and will also make your skin more beautiful.
If you must have a coffee, have it early in the day. Caffeine can amplify your wedding jitters and may make it hard for you to fall asleep.
Refuse to discuss wedding details after a certain hour
On my pre-wedding night, someone sent me a text late in the evening to discuss last minute details for the reception. I chose not to respond until the following day and successfully avoided the related stress and tension.
Turn the lights down low
Bright lights signal to the brain that it’s still daytime, and suppress the release of melatonin (a brain hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep). Have your pre-wedding dinner in a dimly lit restaurant if you can, and keep the lights low in your room as you get ready for bed. Avoid or dim the screens on your electronics, too.
Have a hot bath
Put on some relaxing music and run a bath for yourself, even if you only soak for a few minutes. The warm temperature will help your body relax and prepare for sleep.
Schedule yourself wisely
Get the majority of your errands and tasks done a couple of days before your wedding. Leave plenty of time between appointments or gatherings on your pre-wedding day, so that you’re not rushing. Give yourself enough time to slowly get ready on your wedding day. A relaxed pace keeps stress hormone levels calm and makes it easier for you to sleep.
Practice guided relaxation or meditation
Try a breathing meditation or guided relaxation exercise when you go to bed, particularly if you find your mind racing or feel tense. Try doing this daily in the week leading up to the wedding, so you’ve got the technique down and can do it easily.
More than anything, remember to breathe and enjoy every moment. It will all be over before you know it!