Med thumb modern bride and groom

I’m getting married this Saturday. That means that from that moment on, I’ll be part of a pair, a package deal. From what I’ve heard, being married is sort of like a drugstore buy-one-get-one special — but way more legally binding and doesn't require scanning that little Rite Aid tab on my key chain to cash it in.

Does that make sense? It might not. Because as someone who’s been dealing with the ins and outs of vendor contracts for the past eight months (Oh, your initial estimate was for three musicians and not five? Wonderful), as well as all the fun challenge of getting 120 guests, from near and far, to show up at a mountain inn at the same time on the same day, I’m a little sleep-deprived. 

It's hardly surprising that I, and my wonderful bride-to-be, are exhausted. In fact, it's expected. They tell you it’s going to be stressful and you don’t believe them because you’re not like everyone else and you can handle it. And then all of a sudden, the surly Frenchman preparing your cake puts fondant on top when it was made clear during the initial conversation that the cake would have no fodant, thank you very much. And then before you know it, the fondant debacle opens the floodgates about food because WHAT ABOUT OUR GLUTEN-FREE GUESTS?

Understanding that you’re going to be exhausted and stressed is the first step of management.

What I’m saying is that all soon-to-be-wed couples will ultimately crack while they're planning a wedding. But, hey, on the bright side, I now know what fondant is, so hooray for strengthening my pastry vocabulary.

As some cartoon soldiers used to tell me on Saturday morning, knowing is half the battle. And understanding that you’re going to be exhausted and stressed is the first step of management. So as we get closer to saying I Do, and inevitably face other inconveniences that come hiccupping down the tracks, we’ve decided to manage our stress by paying particular attention to our sleep. And we’re taking some cues from marathon trainers.

Sounds strange, right? But hear me out: All couples worry about sleep before the big day. But you have to think about your wedding as though it's a race for which you’ve been training. In a sense, it is.  

Earlier this year, I spoke to nine-time ironman champ Meredith Kessler, who echoed what a lot of top athletes say: It’s not the sleep the night before the big race that’s the most important because anticipation offsets any plans you might have. What matters is the sleep during the week leading up to the race. It's worth making a point to go to bed early three or even four days before the day-of because those are the night of rest that will matter. 

A small study from earlier this year backs up this thinking. The study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, showed that runners who sleep poorly the night before a race won’t feel the effects as badly if they’ve scored several, consecutive nights of solid sack-time in the week leading up to it. 

So me and my bride will be turning in around 10 every night this week. Fingers crossed that we stick to that, as it should help us deal with the stresses of the big day with clear heads. But if not, hey, we’ll handle it together. I’ve heard that’s what makes this whole marriage thing work out.