Getting engaged is one of the most exciting milestones in a person’s life, but it can also mark the start of a very stressful period of time: wedding planning. However, planning your wedding doesn’t have to be stressful.
Here are some tips to help you plan your wedding, so that you and your fiance can enjoy your engagement as much as possible.
Do: Start early.
On average, couples are engaged for a year before they get married. This is plenty of time to plan, but it is easy to fall into a ‘honeymoon period’ before you even begin planning the wedding. Whether you want a lengthy engagement or would prefer a rush to the aisle, starting early is a must to make things go as smoothly as possible.
To avoid rushing a month before you say your vows, get started early, and make a timeline with concrete goals to help you stay focused. Start with big picture goals, such as, sending out your invitations, and booking your venue (for a spring or summer wedding, you may have to book up to a year in advance). After setting your timeline, break your major goals into smaller tasks (for sending out invitations this might include: finalizing your guest list, designing the invitation, printing, and mailing).
Building a timeline and breaking your major planning goals into smaller tasks will help you stay on track and enjoy your engagement. But remember: even the best plans need to be adjusted from time to time. If you hit a roadblock, ask yourself what you have to do before you could address it—this may involve further dividing your tasks into smaller goals.
Do: Stick to your budget.
Weddings can be expensive, and it is easy to let your budget creep up as you plan—but this doesn’t have to be the case! Sit down with your fiance and make a list of Must-Haves (things you can’t live without), Would-Be-Nice-To-Haves (things you would really like, but don’t need), and If-At-All-Possibles (things you could live without, but would make your day extra special).
Once you divide your needs into these categories, start pricing your Must-Have list. If you are already over budget, you may have to reevaluate your Must-Haves, but if you are under budget, start pulling from your other two categories. Keep in mind that, until your bills have been finalized, your costs are only estimates (so leave some wiggle room as you plan to avoid headaches later!).
Dividing you and your fiance’s needs into these categories will not only simplify planning, but will help you stick to your budget. But remember: you have to cover all of your major needs with your Must-Have list—this means, that although professional, hand-painted invitations are an If-At-All-Possible, some sort of invitation has to be in your Must-Haves.
Do: Stay calm.
There are a lot of important considerations when planning your wedding. Do you want an indoor or outdoor venue? Do you want a buffet or a sit-down dinner at your reception? Should you hire a DJ or a band? Will you want to have a photo booth, and speaking of photos, what photographer should you hire, and will ambient or intelligent lighting make a difference in your pictures?
You are bound to have a million questions swirling around your head, but it is important to stay focused, and remember that this time is meant to be enjoyed. If you start to stress out too much about one aspect of planning, it might be best to switch your focus to another task. Everything will work out, even if it seems like there is far too much to do when you are first starting to plan.
Do: Ask for Help.
This might seem obvious, but as you plan, you might find yourself taking on more tasks than you can manage by yourself. Remember that your friends and family are there to share in this special time with you, and to help you and your fiance. So ask for help if you need it!
If you are feeling guilty about asking for help, try to set up time for you and your loved ones to work on wedding-related projects together. You can turn these tasks into mini celebrations in and of themselves.
But remember: don’t let other people’s ideas overwhelm your vision. It is great to get feedback from people who care about you, but in the end, the wedding is about the two people who are saying ‘I Do.’