ANY bride will tell you that preparing for a wedding can be incredibly stressful, but women in Gloucestershire are turning to hypnotism to make tying the knot a more relaxing affair.
Hypnotist Alexandra Harper is delving into the subconscious minds of brides to ease their anxieties about everything going smoothly on the big day.
Trained by hypnotists Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler, Alexandra has been practising since 2007, but particularly helping wives-to-be is a new venture.
Alexandra said: "I have helped three brides so far. One was a lady who wanted to quit smoking before her wedding. She came to me in March and had stopped smoking by her wedding in August. I also helped her feel more confident about how she was going to look on the day and fitting into her dress.
"By hypnotising her, I was able to talk to her subconscious and re-frame the way she thought about herself and her appearance."
She told budding brides about the help she can provide at a wedding fair at Cheltenham Park Hotel this weekend. Her tips for a stress-free wedding include: "Plan the things you have control over, but do not worry about the things you can't control, like naughty relatives.
"Spend time making sure you have chosen the right dress and shoes – they have to look good and be comfortable enough to wear all day. Plan for success and not for failure. Believe that the day will be positive."
Alexandra, from Gloucester, recently overcame breast cancer, and she believes positive thinking helped.
She said: "One of the reasons I got through cancer and recovered as quickly as I did is because I believed wholeheartedly in believing in myself. Now I want to make anxious brides believe in themselves too."ALEXANDRA'S STORY:
IF anybody knows about the intense pressure of organising a wedding, it's Alexandra, as last year she got married just three weeks after getting engaged while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.
She said: "I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer on March 18 and I proposed to Robert the next day.
"Due to the circumstances, we decided to get married on April 15 so we had just three weeks to plan the wedding.
"My hair would fall out so I had it cut short for the wedding and it looked lovely on the day.
"But all my hair started to fall out on the wedding night so my husband had to shave my head for me. He has been so devoted to me and has been my rock."
Alexandra got the all-clear in April this year.