Even the most organized bride-to-be has been known to succumb to the stress of it all at some point during the planning process. While you may not be able to avoid it altogether, there are some ways that can help you mitigate the stress of planning a wedding.
There may be a lot of people (parents, friends, future in-laws, your downstairs neighbor in Apartment C) who have an opinion on your wedding, so it’s important for you and your man to get clear on your vision as soon as possible in the planning process. Know what you want and don’t want before internalizing others’ opinions. Destination or hometown wedding? Church or beach ceremony? Barn or fancy hotel? Summer or winter? Make sure you and your fiancé come to an agreement about the vision. You want to be a united front in case you have particularly opinionated family members who see this as the opportunity to plan their own wedding vicariously through you.
Once you have your vision, you need to figure out what resources you have to fund it. If you are receiving financial assistance from parents, it’s important to know up front what the terms are or if there are strings attached. For instance, some parents may feel that since they are contributing that they have a right to dictate how the money is spent while others may give you the complete freedom to make decisions as you see fit.
One of the most stressful aspects of planning a wedding is the fear of going over budget. Make sure you and your fiancé agree from the very beginning on the amount you are willing to spend on the wedding and make a commitment to stick to it. Aim to spend less than your budget and leave a little extra for contingency. Record how the overall number breaks down into each aspect of the wedding. There are loads of options out there on the web for lists that you can use to generate a budget or online tracking tool. Allocate a portion of your total wedding fund to every little item you can think of, even the postage for the save the date cards. Then, as you book vendors and make purchases, record what you actually spent. This will help you to know what you have left.
Whether you use Google Calendar, Outlook, or an old-fashioned wall or desk calendar, mark month to month what decisions need to be made by what date. Use a sample to-do wedding list from one of the many online wedding sites as a guide so that you don’t forget important items to be planned.
Get a binder with tabbed dividers and put clear sleeves and some blank notebook paper in it. You can put all of your swatches, magazine inspiration pages, as well as vendor contracts all in one place. Plus you are prepared to take notes when you visit a vendor. The more control you can maintain over the planning process the less stressed you will be.
You do not have to single handedly plan your wedding by yourself! Yes, there are a lot of creative decisions that you want to make on your own and you should be sure to maintain control over those things. However, your fiancé and you are a team and this wedding planning process is a great way to practice working together towards a common goal. He may or may not be interested in the wedding planning, but he is capable of helping out. Look at your to-do list together and decide together what he will be responsible for. Make sure he understands what the due dates and specific outcome are for each of his tasks.
Do the same with parents, close family members, or your bridesmaids. Choose those you trust most and enlist them to help you with aspects of the planning that you don’t need to be directly involved with.
Wedding planning can be stressful, but life can be stressful. How the two of you approach the planning is indicative of how you will approach your marriage. Be kind and respectful to one another, listen to each others' ideas, put yourself in his shoes, and take time away from wedding planning to spend some alone time together. Whether you go away for a spa day or take a hike in the woods near your backyard, be sure to take some time away for yourselves before the big day.
How are you coping with or mitigating the stressful aspects of your wedding planning? Share your knowledge in the comments below.