We’ve all seen it. The normally calm, laid-back and casual friend who, in the run-up to her wedding, transforms into a jittery, demanding, stressed-out mess. The dreaded Bridezilla is in the building!

If you have no wish to look in the mirror on the morning of your own Big Day and see an unrecognizable Bridezilla stranger, we offer the following words of advice:

1. Avoiding last-minute panic attacks comes from being super-organized. Knowing that you have all your bases covered leads to a sense of calm, a ‘yep, I’m ok’ kind of feeling. Lists are your friend – whether on Post Its stuck to a chosen wall or pinboard, or in a binder with clearly delineated subjects, or best of all, in an online flowchart or spreadsheet. Some online organizers will track your budget (always a source of a possible 10 on the Stressometer) and let you keep track of what you are spending.

2. Trust your planner. We’ll say that again – trust your planner! You did your homework to find an experienced planner you like (Sea to Sky Celebrations, natch!) and now you can sit back and trust us to do a job at which we are experts. Of course and by all means check in if something is truly nagging at you, but resist the temptation to unleash a daily stream of emails, texts and phone calls. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. It’s what we do.

3. Keep a journal! It is well proven that writing down your worries helps to dissipate anxiety. Releasing those feelings onto paper and then reading them back to yourself, somehow makes them much smaller and less important. You can leave them there on the page and walk away.

4. Look after yourself. But be yourself too. Do whatever you would usually do at anxious or stressful times. When things become overwhelming, do something – anything – totally unrelated to your wedding. Here’s a list of suggestions that we really like:

  • Go for a walk. Or a run. Indulge in a session of slow, gentle stretching.
  • Play with the dog, walk the dog, cuddle your cat (nothing better than a purring kitty to lower your blood-pressure).
  • Nature has great healing power – go outside, to a beach, a mountain, a peaceful lake or river, a tranquil urban park…sit quietly for a while and soak in the peace.
  • Seek out a sunset.
  • Book a massage, a soothing spa treatment, a pedicure.
  • Set aside time to read a favourite book in a quiet spot, away from phones and laptops.
  • Watch a funny movie with a big bowl of popcorn to hand.
  • Meet a friend or friends for coffee or a drink but make it clear the wedding will not be up for discussion!
  • Take a fun dance class, learn tap or hiphop!

5. Don’t abandon your groom or partner. In the final exciting run-up it’s all too easy for the poor other-half to be (and feel) neglected. Schedule some together time, even if it’s just a walk in the park.

6. Learn that magic word ‘NO’ when the demands on your time and attention become too much. Trust us, everyone will have an opinion on your plans, from your mother to your bridesmaids and best friends, work colleagues and curious acquaintances. Learn to keep mum on the details of your day (“you’re having WHAT flowers in your bouquet? Really?”) and practice the art of gracefully skating past intrusive, albeit well-intentioned, queries. “We haven’t really decided quite yet” is a useful gambit. It’s kind of like revealing your chosen name for your first-born – trust us, don’t do it.

7. Don’t try to be Superwoman. You will feel pulled in a dozen directions at what is a deeply emotional time. Don’t hide your feelings or pretend to be Little Miss Sunshine when visited with self-doubt or anxiety. But do find a safe and healthy way to release those very natural emotions; talk to a trusted friend or relative, someone who you know will listen calmly and not judge. You don’t necessarily want a solution, just a sympathetic listening ear.

8. Keep the pre-wedding festivities simple lest you find yourself stressing about a rehearsal dinner that suddenly takes on epic proportions. Better yet, pass along the organizing to your MOH, mom, MIL or a trusted friend. Or the Best Man.

9. SLEEP! Easy to say we know, when those nagging anxieties are nipping at the edge of your dreams, but there are plenty of well-documented methods of achieving a peaceful night’s sleep. Try them all if you have to, just don’t deprive yourself of precious rest.

10. EAT! In our timechart for our couples, we always include a specific time for the bride and wedding party to eat something. A nourishing breakfast is essential, even if you can only stomach a smoothie, followed by light snacks scattered throughout the day. Be sure to stay well hydrated too (champagne doesn’t count. Well, not till later) keep a water bottle with you and sip regularly.

Above all else, remember to embrace this marvellous and magical time of your life. Wallow in it even. Read soppy romantic books and poetry to your heart’s content, watch romantic movies (Notting Hill! When Harry met Sally! Pride and Prejudice!) Conjure up an image of yourself at your wedding and let yourself fall in love with that vision. It’s yours. Banish the ghost of Bridezilla and own it.