You will freak out, and it’s OK.
It's OK to feel overwhelmed.
Getting engaged is an amazing feeling, but once the initial thrill of the "I SAID YES" Facebook likes wears off, planning a wedding can feel pretty overwhelming.
There's a huge amount of pressure for everything to go perfectly, and if you're anxious you'll probably feel that pressure even more intensely.
When I started planning my wedding I felt as enthusiastic as anyone else. But very soon afterwards I started to feel stressed and had that familiar "Argh, I have no idea what I'm doing" feeling, made worse by the fact I felt guilty for not feeling happier.
Think of how complicated just getting to work on time can be if you're anxious or depressed. You're bound to feel stressed about such a major life event, but it does not mean you're a terrible bride. Be kind to yourself, and try not to feel bad.
There's nothing wrong with having a long engagement.
You might feel pressure to set a date immediately, or throw yourself into the deep end looking for venues and making a Pinterest board full of bouquet ideas.
In fact, you probably will want to do those things, but it's equally important to give yourself plenty of time to plan. Think of how much you can manage to do when you don't feel great, and factor that in. You might not always feel super keen to do wedding stuff, and that's OK if you have time.
Even with a year and a half of lead-in time, I ended up scrambling around in a panic for most of the final eight months. A lot of service providers need a lot of notice, and every day seemed to involve a new (stressful) decision.
Chat to your partner, reflect on what it is you both want, but more importantly how much you feel you can realistically deal with. Be a good friend to yourself, and don't put yourself under any extra stress or pressure if you can avoid it.
Say a big "yes" to those offers of help.
If you see deadlines looming but freeze up and find yourself unable to meet them, don't suffer in silence. Turn to a friend and say: "Remember when you asked if there was anything you could do to help? The answer is a thousand times yes."
The closer my wedding got, the more freaked out I felt. I was really excited, but became so overwhelmed by my to-do list I practically ground to a halt. I didn't want to worry my partner, so just lived with the knowledge I wasn’t doing vital things.
Around the same time I met up with a friend who is a) super organised and b) had experienced some of the same anxiety and depression that I had. She started making calls for me – to a florist, a hairdresser, and a make-up artist. She's a hero.
When it comes to weddings, other people genuinely want to be there for you. Call them and you'll instantly feel better. And if you're reading this thinking "Hang on, my anxious friend is getting married", give them a call and ask how you can help.
You really don't need those mason jars full of glitter.
In the era of Pinterest, Etsy, Folksy, and endless lists of adorable handmade DIY place card ideas, the pressure has never been greater to include loads of quirky elements. Unfortunately this can be really stressful.
The general rule for anxious brides is that you should take every opportunity to reduce the pressure you're under. But that's easier said than done, as you'll also worry about how you'll feel if your wedding isn't "perfect" (whatever that means).
I constantly made more work for myself. Buy invitations? Nope. I decided to make them, despite once glue-gunning myself to an art workbench at school. It took months of stress and the end result looked like it was made by a 5-year-old.
Try to prioritise the fine touches and detail; it all adds up and before you know it you’re facing an impossible to-do list. It's perfectly OK to have ordinary place cards or a straightforward table plan. You'll still have an amazing day and won't have wasted weeks crying into a pot of calligraphy ink.