Every bride feels nervous on their big day - that’s normal – but butterflies in your stomach and a racing heart should be associated with a happy excitement – no bride wants to feel paralysed with nerves or so stressed that the ceremony is just an unpleasant blur.

Ensuring a bride feels calm and relaxed on their wedding day actually starts at the planning stage so as far back as when you choose the date and are selecting the venue. The main thing to remember is that the bride chooses a day which is her own; if you don’t want a large wedding then don’t have one, it will only make you feel uncomfortable and worried when the day comes.

Most brides feel relaxed and comfortable if they are happy with the venue and have some sort of emotional connection to it so choose wisely and don’t get carried away with the excitement and glamour of a large castle if actually you would really prefer something cosier and more intimate. Your venue needs to reflect you and your values as a couple and then you will feel comfortable in that space.

Here are some other tips which will ensure your big day goes smoothly and guarantee a happy and relaxed bride.

  • If the big arrival is something you live in fear of then pick a venue where you can stay the night before the wedding and avoid the grand entrance completely
  • Remember that long journeys can be subject to delays and remote locations can have weather issues and these are not just confined to the winter months, flash flooding following summer storms can delay or even halt your journey and that’s not good for bridal nerves
  • Create an itinerary for the morning of the wedding and the days beforehand - a lot of stress is caused by the sheer avalanche of things to do and worrying that something is not organised properly or things might go wrong. Good organisation equals control and will help reduce nerves and if you are not naturally very well organised then hire a wedding planner or assign the job to a trusted friend or family member
  • Get an early night before the big day although that can be easier said than done. Indulge yourself with some pampering spa treatments and some herbal tea, particularly important if you are staying away at the venue the night before the wedding as however comfortable, you will be in unfamiliar surroundings so make them your own with some special comforts from home. Use scented candles and your favourite soothing music
  • Organise a lovely healthy breakfast, all day breakfasts are all well and good and you need to keep up your resources but fried or fatty food can make you feel queasy or sick when the nerves kick in later on. Some brides say they feel too nervous to eat even when they wake up but an empty stomach will only make you feel worse. Choose light and nutritious foods like scrambled egg with toast and orange juice or fresh fruit, yoghurt and granola
  • Plan the morning of your big day and don’t overload the schedule with hairdressers and make-up artists – this can just up end up making the bride feel flustered. There is always a lot to do on the morning but allocate tasks to other people and try and keep your personal space quiet and calm with just a few close friends or family members
  • Even with the best planning in the world, there can be last minute hitches so nominate someone to deal with those inevitable questions, queries and problems – this could be a family member, your wedding planner or a trusted friend
  • Ditch the electronic gadgets and just ensure the peace and serenity of your location. Practice mindfulness or meditation, listen to music with which you have an emotional connection
  • Don’t leave anything to chance so have a hair and make-up rehearsal so you know exactly what the look will be on the day and, more importantly, how long it will take to achieve it. Aim to be ready an hour before the ceremony starts that way, if key people are delayed then it won’t affect your timetable unduly and this will keep the wedding nerves at bay

What is a 'First Look' session and why may it be helpful?

A ‘First Look’ session is when the bride and groom spend some private time together before the ceremony with their photographer. This can be a beautiful, romantic and very intimate time, with an opportunity for great images particularly if you take yourself away to a more remote location at the venue where there are no other guests. These pictures always have a different frisson and mood to the post ceremony pictures and can make a very special and treasured collection for the years to come – it is also a great way to overcome those nerves when the groom first sees the bride in such a public setting and is ideal for a very nervous bride.

What should you do if you seriously suffer from nerves or have been diagnosed with anxiety and regularly experience panic attacks?

The two key things for brides in this situation are to get help well before the wedding; a therapist can teach you coping techniques but you need to allow enough time to embed these and practise using them before the big day. The other big influencer is exercise and exercise which gets your cardiovascular system working hard. It might sound a bit strange to go running or swimming or have an aerobic workout just a few hours before you say, ‘I do’, but this can be one of the best stress relievers. Anything that gets your heart rate going will have a hugely positive influence on your mental and emotional outlook.