You hear it all the time: wedding planning is stressful. And it can be. Things end up over budget, vendors don’t return your emails, and you end up fighting with your fiancé. But that isn’t how you want to remember wedding planning, and it’s not how I want you to remember when you think back to the time leading up to one of the happiest days of your life.
So what do you do to make sure you remember the best parts of planning, like the day you found the perfect dress, or when you danced around the living room when your floral quote came in under budget, or when your family and friends all wanted to do everything they could to make your day special and to be part of it?
1. Know the kind of bride you want to be.
You may want to be in charge of everything from the wedding to the bachelorette party, or you may want to let other people help you in any way they can. Neither approach is right or wrong, but be honest with yourself about what role you want to play and how much control you want to have. If you want to be the one deciding every last detail, then let the people helping you know that. Be kind and be truthful. It doesn’t make you a bridezilla to want control, as long as you treat everyone helping you with love and respect. And if you want help, ask for it! Family and friends are more than happy to help out, because they love you and they want to be a part of the planning. But be appreciative and be ready to give up some control. As long as you are true to yourself and understand the kind of bride you are and the kind of bride you hope to be, wedding planning will go much more smoothly, and you will be able to look back on planning your wedding without regret.
2. Pad your budget.
The word budget always makes people cringe, and worrying about the budget is one of the worst parts of wedding planning. It is what causes the most fights and the most disappointment. So my suggestion to you is to pad each section of your budget, just a bit, so that when you start receiving official quotes, you won’t have to worry so much when one thing ends up over budget, because you know you have space elsewhere to balance it out. And each time the quote comes in under budget will be an opportunity for celebration.
3. Be ready to have a few fights, and let it go once it’s over.
No one likes to fight, especially when you are about to commit to another person for the rest of your life. Fights during the wedding planning process are even scarier than the arguments you had while you were dating, because the stakes feel so much higher. But take a breath and know that you are not the only couple to fight how much renting chairs costs or whether or not you should hire a wedding planner. There are so many details involved in planning your wedding and emotions run high, so disagreements are pretty inevitable, but they are not the end of the world and they do not mean doom for your relationship. It’s normal to fight! Instead of freaking out that the person you’re with doesn’t appreciate the importance of a table setting, use each and every argument as practice on handling disagreements in your future marriage. Because you are getting married. You will deal with stress together for the rest of your lives, and the obstacles that come up for you throughout your marriage will be even more important than those you encounter while planning your wedding.
4. Create a priority list.
For perfectionists like me, this one might be the hardest thing on this list, but it will help you so much as you go through the wedding planning process. Take inventory of what you really, truly care about, what you are willing to splurge on and where you can save, what you are willing to compromise on and what is vital to your vision. And trust me, as your wedding inches closer and closer, things you thought mattered won’t anymore, because whether or not the invitations have gold foil or the guests have charger plates, you are getting married. You’re getting married!
5. Work with vendors you love.
One of the best feelings is when you meet with a vendor, you sit across the table from them, you talk for over an hour, and at the end of the meeting, you absolutely love them. Great vendors make you feel special, they make you feel like you will be taken care of, they are accommodating, they connect with you on a personal level, and they truly care. When an issue comes up and you call them, almost in tears from frustration, they will be there for you, and they will do everything in their power to make it right. When you visit the venue four, five, six times, they will greet you will a smile every single time, walk you through the details again, and answer all your questions. When you have no idea how to make the vision in your head a reality, they will brainstorm with you, make thoughtful suggestions, and assure you again and again that every little detail will be handled. Those are the kinds of people you want working with you on your wedding day. They will take your stress away, and on your wedding day, they will do whatever they can to make everything perfect.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
This doesn’t mean ignore the details, because as overwhelming as it can sometimes be, the details make the wedding day way less stressful. I mean to let the little things go, like the rude phone call you have with the rental company, or the fact that your save the dates got mailed a month late, or the passive aggressive comment your great aunt made about having an outdoor ceremony. None of that matters. What matters are the happy parts: your mom crying when she sees you in a white dress for the first time, your bridesmaids all gathered around your computer oohing and aahing over dresses, the way you feel as you drive to your engagement photo session holding hands over the console. Remember those times, and let the bad things go. And once you do, you’ll be able to look back on planning your wedding and recall only the joy, the anticipation, and the excitement of that time.