TWELVE TIPS FOR STRESS-FREE WEDDING PLANNING // TUCSON WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Today, we are going to be talking about my top twelve tips for a stress-free wedding planning experience. It’s no secret that planning a wedding, even a small, simple one, can be the source of stress, drama, exhaustion, anxiety and strained relationships and it’s really such a bummer because it’s a special time in your life that should be filled with positive emotions! So, I’m going to share with you a few tips for making the experience as fun & stress-free as possible!
1. Start early and create a schedule
One of the biggest self-inflicted causes of wedding planning stress is having a lot to do in a short period of time. In order to avoid this, I highly recommend starting as early as possible and having a longer engagement! Planning a wedding over the course of eighteen months is a lot easier than planning one in six months. While there is nothing wrong with a six months engagement, it’s important to know that you will have a lot more work to do in order to get everything in place in time for the wedding. It’s also important to create a schedule with milestones you want to achieve. Set dates you want to ask your bridesmaids, to book a caterer, to order invitations by, etc. Having deadlines in the calendar will help to keep you on track and avoid a last-minute rush to get everything done.
2. Hire a wedding planner, or at least a day-of coordinator
While I know that a wedding planner is not in everyone’s budget, and that’s completely okay, I highly recommend hiring one if it is an option for you. Wedding planners are the easiest way to reduce your stress levels because they take a ton of pressure off of you when it comes to navigating the world of weddings. Brides and grooms generally have tons of questions related to weddings that they can’t find answers to and having a planner helps to explain those questions and guide you through the confusing process. There are so many little things that often go forgotten in wedding planning and a planner can help keep track of those and find solutions upfront, rather than at the end.
3. Begin with a budget and stick to it
Budgeting of any kind is not usually fun but one of the biggest stressors for weddings is finances! When you begin the wedding process, start by creating a budget with your partner! Add together your personal contributions, any family contributions and any savings you plan to accrue over the course of planning. Once you have that number, estimate what percentage you’ll want to spend of different aspects of the wedding and be strict with yourself! Going over budget can cause conflict and be financially strenuous so even if it means cutting out something you really wanted, it will save you stress down the road.
4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
It’s important to keep in mind that wedding planning is TIME CONSUMING. It takes hours and hours of research, phone calls, meetings, emails, errands and more and that is all time that you and your partner will need to work into your schedule. When deciding on your wedding plans, make sure to account for how much time you will actually be able to spend planning. If you are a full time student who also works 40+ hours a week and your partner works two jobs plus a side business, planning a giant wedding extravaganza might be difficult to build into your schedules and you might benefit for opting for something smaller and simpler. But if you are in a season of life where you have time to spare, you can probably afford to spend more time on the wedding. While money is obvious a big limiting factor for weddings, remember that your time is too.
5. Assign roles and respect each other’s desires & interests
A big problem that I see couples, particularly brides, facing frequently is that they feel like their partner is not interested in the wedding planning process and they feel alone. This can make one partner feel like the other doesn’t care about the wedding or getting married when generally, that’s not the case at all! When you’re beginning to plan the wedding, sit down with your partner and discuss what aspects are most important to them and assign responsibilities based on that. If one partner cares more about food & music, assign them to find a caterer & DJ. If one partner cares more about the decor and the seating arrangements, have them plan the tablescapes and the seating chart. If your partner doesn’t have an opinion on which centerpiece you choose, don’t fault them. It’s important to understand that we all value different aspects of the wedding and won’t always have strong opinions about every detail and that’s doesn’t mean they don’t care about the wedding or getting married.
6. Set boundaries with overbearing family members
If you have any family members that have strong opinions about certain aspects of the wedding, whether it is the guest list, the venue, the food, the seating chart, the dress you chose, whatever, it’s important to set boundaries with them about the wedding. Strong, controlling opinions from family can be stress-inducing and cause conflict within the couple. When you have a family member that begins to be overbearing and controlling when it comes to the wedding, I recommend having an open conversation about boundaries, reminding them that it’s your wedding and your decision, and that you and your partner will talk to them when you need their help or opinions. If having a conversation like this isn't something they would be open to hearing or something that you are comfortable having, start by avoiding talking about the wedding at all with them, or assign them small chores so that they feel involved without taking over your experience.
7. Ensure that your wedding party is dedicated and supportive.
When it comes to weddings, a toxic wedding party is always a recipe for disaster. I’ve mentioned this before but when you are deciding who you’d like to be in your wedding party, it’s really important to choose people that will make the process easier and better for you, not harder. You shouldn’t ever feel obligated to have someone in your wedding party, whether it’s family, in-laws, someone that had you in their wedding party or an old friend. Whatever the case may be, just choose people who you can trust to support you and won’t cause drama. Whether that leaves you with two people or ten, you are better off sticking with only the people that will be there for you no matter what.
8. Have open conversations about money and spending with all parties involved.
Accepting money from family for the wedding can be a touchy subject because it can create strained relationships regarding decision-making and spending. When anyone offers to contribute money to your wedding, whether it is a parent or an in-law or a grandparent, have an open conversation upfront with them if they would like to be involved in the decision making on how that money is spent. A few good questions to ask are “Is there anything in particular that you would like or not like this money to go towards?” “Would you like us to talk to you about our decisions before we spend this money?” “Do you have any expectations or preferences for the wedding with this contribution?”. As an example, if you parents contribute $5000 to your wedding fund but they mention that they want you to have a wedding in a church, and having a church wedding isn’t something that you two want, you can decide whether to accept the money or not, knowing what expectations are attached to it. Money can definitely be a sticky issue so discussing it openly upfront is the best way to keep things amicable.
9. Schedule regular date nights with your fiancé where you don’t discuss the wedding
Because wedding planning is such a big endeavor, it can oftentimes take over your relationship and you can find that every conversation you have with your partner is about wedding things. While this can be fun and exciting, it’s important to keep the foundation of your relationship solid and remember to have fun and enjoy each other outside of the wedding planning experience. I recommend scheduling regular date nights, at home or out, where you don’t discuss the wedding at all. These are a great way to stay connected at such a crazy time in your lives.
10. Don’t rely on just DIY
While DIYing lots of aspects of your wedding is a great money-saver, it can also be incredibly stressful and time-consuming. If you choose to DIY aspects of your wedding, do so in moderation. Don’t plan to DIY the most elaborate reception decor and your wedding arbor and all of your bouquets and your hairpiece and your bridesmaids gifts and your invitation lettering and.... Every single DIY project you decide to do is an undertaking and will take up your time so remember that it’s okay if you don’t hand-make the perfect centerpieces for every single one of your tables. Not every detail of the weddings needs to be intricate and perfect, it’s okay to skip some things when you realize you don’t have the time to do them.
11. Hire a reliable and trustworthy team to support you through the process
Your vendor team is here to make the wedding planning process as easy and stress-free as possible! When you are looking for vendors, whether it be a photographer, videographer, baker, florist, planner, DJ, or officiant, prioritize trust and reliability over everything. Even if you love someone’s work or their price, make sure they are going to be reliable and not an additional source of stress or conflict. I highly recommend going through their online reviews and seeing what others have to say, following along with their social media to see how they interact with clients and making sure that they maintain efficient communication with you once you inquire. That doesn’t mean they have to answer every email within minutes but you shouldn’t be waiting days and days to hear back from them.
12. Remember what it’s all about
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to remember what all of this craziness is about: you and your partner joining your lives together. When things get hectic and busy and stressful, remember to keep your eye on the prize. None of the crazy decorations, the perfectly planned schedule, the seating chart, the playlist really matter at the end of the day. Focus on you and your partner and your love and everything will be just fine!
Okay, those are my twelve tips for staying stress-free as you plan your wedding! I hope this helps as you navigate this crazy and difficult process and makes it as easy and FUN as possible. Because really, this process should be fun! If you have any questions about this topic, or ideas for a future video, let me know in the comments! And if you want to show some extra love, share this post with all of your engaged friends! See you soon!