Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times in a couple's life. The anticipation and joy is euphoric, but there's a lot more that goes into wedding planning than just saying YES.
There are books and magazines to help you choose your style, dress, décor, and flowers, but making those decisions with financial limits and seemingly endless family requests can become a much larger job than you bargained for.
If you feel more anxious than ecstatic, fear not. You actually can get through the planning process (almost) stress-free.
I know a little bit about stress. Not everyone meets their spouse in front of a national television audience!! But, it is my experience as a wedding dress and jewelry designer that allows me to offer these tips to ensure bridal bliss.
1. Get Inspired
I'm sure as a little girl you dreamt of your big day, maybe you even have a binder of clippings and pictures from decades ago. Now that your wedding day is turning from dream to reality, it's important to get your thoughts and ideas narrowed down.
- Review social media, wedding sites and magazines for ideas.
2. Get Organized
It's great to have a breakdown of the items needed for your wedding -- everything from flowers to transportation to travel. Work out what items each of you would like to tackle. I liked 'The Knot's Ultimate Planner & Organizer Binder' and their 'Book of Wedding Lists' to stay on top of everything.
3. Break up
No, not the two of you; we're talking about breaking up the stressful stuff. Depending on the wedding date you choose, it could be 6-12 months of wedding planning. If your man is over it, stop talking about it for a night and surprise him with a date. It can make all the difference in how the rest of the planning will go. When all is said and we're done, you'll be married. You want to start off on the right foot.
Just like in a relationship, communication is key. There are so many moving parts, and it takes coordination to pull off your extravanganza. Not only do you need to keep your partner in the loop, but it is critical to share your ideas in detail with your planner and vendors. Also, it may mean being vocal about family members' interest in helping, ideas offered and bridesmaids' opinions on dresses. Remember, it is your day; it is OK to politely ask for help if needed or ask for space if needed. Choose a space that will offer a more relaxed environment for making decisions.
5. Be Decisive
Yes, there are a million different directions you can go when choosing colors, flowers, décor, and locations, but, in order to stay relaxed, you will need to be decisive. Don't make decisions based off of what you think other people will like or what you're being pressured to like by friends and family. The most important thing I did throughout wedding planning was to trust my gut instinct. At first, I was torn between colors and ideas, but the moment I let go of any pressure I was able to completely make decisions based off of what I liked. When you go with your gut, there's no doubt.
6. Stay in Budget
It's extremely easy to go beyond the boundaries you set for yourselves while wedding planning. The costs can creep up on you, and before you know it you're over-budget. Make a list in order of importance for items needed for the wedding, and budget accordingly. Talk to vendors and give them your fixed number for an item or service and mandate that they stick to the budget. There are definitely ways to achieve the look you want for less, so don't be afraid to ask vendors for ideas.
7. Leave it to the Experts
Wedding vendors are specialists, so let them do what they do best without micromanaging them. Listen to what they have to say about past experience and ideas. They have seen many weddings, so ask them questions, like the best flower choices for the season. Ask, ask whether they would do anything different with your ideas.
8. Focus on the BIG picture
The main objective of your wedding should be the love and vows you share with your partner, not the hope of being featured in a magazine or wondering whether you picked the perfect shade of pink. Focus on the larger picture and try not to get too caught up in the tiny details. Guests will remember the ceremony and the dance party, so don't stress too much about the things that are being taken care of by vendors or appointed family members.
9. Roll with it
Not everything will go exactly as planned, so if you can accept that NOW, it will make matters much easier to handle when things don't unfold perfectly. For instance, a few days before our wedding my dad was showing me his suit and realized that they forgot to pack his pants for the suit jacket! After a 3-hour trip to find a matching color pair of pants, a self-inflicted car crash with a pole, and an hour of hand-hemming his pants the night before the wedding, it all worked out. Wedding planning should be filled with anticipation more than anxiety.
After all, if you can't enjoy the build-up to the biggest day of your life, what's the point?
Permission to use photos granted by Brandon Kidd Photography.
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Desiree HartsockDesiree Hartsock is the voice behind www.DesireeHartsock.com, the ultimate wedding planning, inspirational, lifestyle blog for every aspect of a woman's life. Her passion for design, weddings and to help others is shown in everything she creates including the dresses she designed for her 'Desiree Hartsock for Maggie Sottero' collection and the bridal jewelry for her 'Desiree for KV Bijou' collection.