How to Plan a Wedding… and Stay Sane

Your upcoming wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life…so why are you so stressed out? Um, lots of reasons. Even putting aside the issue of $$$$ (How does everything–flowers, cake, DJ, you name it–magically become five times more expensive when you put the word “wedding” in front of it?) the amount of work and potential hassles involved in planning a wedding can cause strain in even the happiest and most connected of couples. Here are a few tips to help you make it through.

Take things step by step

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Whether you just got engaged or are in the down-and-dirty planning stages, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the choices and checklists. Breathe deeply, and focus on one thing at a time. Some decisions (choosing a venue, for example) will naturally come first, and they will determine a lot of other things. Start with the basics, and go from there.

Don’t try to do everything yourself

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You don’t have to go it alone. Try to get your partner involved from the beginning of the planning process–if he/she isn’t already–and if you can afford it, hire a wedding planner you trust to help you through the process. Think about what you can to delegate to family members or friends, and remember it’s okay to ask for help.

Be open to compromise, but remember that you can’t please everyone

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As much as we love them, family and friends can sometimes make things worse–much worse–by adding their own demands, expectations, unsolicited advice and drama. Things can get particularly sticky when parents are contributing to the cost of a wedding. If both sets of parents are paying for some or all of your big day, that doesn’t mean they have complete control over it, but you may want to involve them in the planning process so they don’t feel just like a name on the checks. Set clear ground rules up front, and when people get difficult, remind them nicely (but firmly) that the day is not all about them, but about you and your partner.

Stop pursuing perfection

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Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to live up to some Hollywood vision of what your big day should look like. No wedding will be perfect, no matter how much planning goes into it. And no matter what our wedding-crazy culture tells you, the future happiness of your marriage does not–repeat, does not–depend on how flawless your wedding is.

Listen to input from family and friends, but follow your instincts

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It doesn’t make you Bridezilla (or her lesser-known counterpart, Groomzilla) to stick to your guns about things that are important to you. Whether it’s to your mother-in-law, your wedding planner or that pushy caterer who thinks your big day won’t be complete without gold-leaf white-chocolate swan centerpieces–speak up, and remember it’s YOUR wedding.

There’s more to you (both) than this wedding

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Working through issues together is way better practice for marriage than basking in wedding-day bliss. On the other hand, not every minute you spend together should be about the wedding. Don’t forget about your relationship. Try to stay connected with your future spouse with quality time spent talking about anything but the wedding, even if it’s while sharing takeout on the couch in your sweats (also good practice for marriage).

Take care of yourself

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Just like you need to take time off from wedding planning to tend to your relationship, you also need to press the pause button to tend to YOU. Exercise, meditation, journaling and venting to a trusted friend over a glass (or several) of wine are all approved self-care activities for the stressed-out bride or groom. Get a massage, facial or manicure-pedicure, or just run yourself a bubble bath. And for Pete’s sake, close the laptop and get some sleep. Everything will look better in the morning.

All images courtesy of iStock.

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