Also known as how to stay sane. Just kidding! But, for real I think we all hear how about how stressful wedding planning is. And it definitely can be if you let it. But I have a few pieces of advice that will not only help keep that bridezilla at bay but help remind you to stay true to what you and your partner want out of your wedding.
#1 - Remember why you two are doing this
It sounds obvious I know, but wedding planning so quickly can turn into checklists, vision boards, calendars, and to-dos. So really take some time both upfront and throughout the process to remind yourself why you are getting married in the first place. Maybe come up with a fun mantra with your partner that you repeat to yourself when things get a little out of hand, or you just need a reminder to come back to reality. Personally, ours was “let’s do this thing”. Yes, it’s a quote from Dwight from The Office, but it always made us smile and reminded us how fun a wedding is supposed to be!
#2 - Decide up front how involved you guys want to be
Are you a creative at heart and want people to walk into your wedding and know you created it by hand? Or do you just want your wedding to be an epic party and be surprised as much as your guests? Both of these things (and anything in-between) are a thousand percent okay! But if you are honest with yourself about what you want your level of involvement to be, then you’ll know exactly what you are signing up for and be that much more excited about it.
It helps to think about the other commitments you have going on throughout the wedding planning timeframe too. Do you work full time? Are you raising a family? Just think about where your time is spent and make sure your wedding planning work fits nicely into that. If it doesn’t, that’s usually where the stress creeps in - lack of time.
Deciding your level of involvement will also help you figure out what type of planner you might need! Do you need someone a bit more hands on who can take your vision and bring it to life? Or do you feel like you just need someone to deal with logistics so you can be creative? Your relationship with your planner will be amazing if you agree on these things up front. It helps to set boundaries and be on the same page.
#3 - Come up with a budget
We’ve all heard this before. But has anyone ever heard of a wedding coming in under budget?
A budget is more like a guide in my opinion. Do your research and know what things generally cost in your area. That way, you aren’t surprised when it comes time to tackle each step, because you’ve done your homework upfront. Planning ahead = less stress.
At the end of the day, you are likely to go over. But when that time comes, at least you know what you budgeted and know what you are getting yourself into. That way it’s not a free for all and you aren’t tossing money out the window. Which leads right into pointer number four.
#4 - Decide what is truly important to each of you
This is one of the biggest pieces of advice. Have an honest conversation with your partner about what really matters to each of you. This helps with two things. The first being the budget. If invitations aren’t really important to either of you, and you find yourself creeping over budget in that area, take a second look. If you’ve decided you love flowers and want your wedding to feel like a botanical garden, go for it! You’ll be more okay with going over budget in this area because it’s something you’ve decided is important and worth it.
Secondly, this helps the two of you figure out how to plan together as a couple. If your partner doesn’t care about table settings, and you do, then don’t keep asking their opinion on table settings and getting frustrated when they don’t participate. Have fun creating badass table settings on your own!
If both of you really care about the photographer and want amazing wedding photos, then that’s something you partner on. You talk through options, interview photographers together, and make the final decision as a couple.
If neither of you wants to worry about accommodations for your guests, I’m sure you have a slew of friends or family asking repeatedly how they can help you with wedding planning. Let them! If it’s something you just need done and would love to put your time and energy into something else, outsource that task. You’ll be glad you did.
#5 - Work with vendors you both love
There are so many vendors out there that do amazing work. However, I think that sometimes people forget to make sure you enjoy the process of working with them, not just the final result. Find vendors you enjoy chatting with, that understand your vision, and that communicate in a way that's comfortable for you. These things should all be considered when choosing vendors. It will make the entire process more enjoyable and again, lead to less stress.
Another thing to consider is if the vendors you want have worked together in the past. You might assemble an awesome team you love, but if no one has worked together before, it might lead to unforeseen operational hiccups. And nobody wants that!
#6 - Celebrate and check in along the way
Finished sending out save the dates? Celebrate with a champagne toast!
Finally nailed down the perfect wedding band? Play some music and dance!
Finalized the flowers? Take a walk outside and talk about how beautiful they will be.
Made it halfway through the planning process? Take some time to pick out wedding bands together.
These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. Going back to tip number one, remember why are you doing this and take the time to celebrate with each other along the way. The time planning will go by super fast, so make sure to have fun.
And take some time to check in. Does this celebration still feel like what you and your partner want? Have some things gotten off track? Sure some things might shift and change, but just continue to make sure the wedding is a reflection of you both and how you want to feel on your special day.
#7 - Enjoy it how you want to and take the time to reflect
Another thing you will hear repeatedly about your wedding is “it goes by so fast”. Personally, this is what stressed me out the most. And I’m sad to report that it is true. But there are two things that I think really help.
The first… do you. Are you most looking forward to dancing the night away? Then do that. Do you want to take the time to talk to all the guests and thank them for coming? Then do that. Both are perfectly okay. As a seasoned wedding guest, your guests just want you to have an amazing time. So whatever that means for you… own it.
The second is to take some time with your new husband or wife to soak it all in. Pick some times throughout the day to take a look around. All the people you love are in one place! For you guys! And they are having fun and enjoying everything you put together. Take some deep breaths and just let those memories sink in.
A lot of photographers want some post-ceremony couple shots. Take advantage of this time alone. Talk about how much fun your wedding is and how it all perfectly came together. And if some things went awry, take some time to laugh about it! But most importantly, just take some time to say “I love you” and “we did it”.
So those are my tips. I hope they help! If you have any others, I’d love to hear them!