Posted on January 15, 2014 by

3 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Minimize Wedding Planning Stress

Wow, congratulations on your engagement!  I bet you can’t wait jump in and start planning the Big Day!

wedding planning checklist

“Have you met my friend, Decision Fatigue?”

You will start out with the big decisions—venues! dates! photographers! colors! bands! florists!—and then fall into the smaller decisions like menu planning, procession order, DIY centerpieces or professional centerpieces, tall centerpieces or short centerpieces, multiple centerpieces or one centerpiece per table, one height centerpiece or varying height centerpi—wow there are a lot of ways you can go with this one.  Let me just check Pinterest for a minute to see what other people are doing.

pinterest centerpieces mason jars

Apparently, Mason jars are just as important to your wedding as your gown.

Actually, no, sorry, no Pinterest!  You too, bride, no Pinterest!  Where was I?  This is when the fun begins. Do you go with the venue you love, but wait 5 years for their next availability or do you go with the hall you only like and get married while you’re still young enough to have kids?  Do you ask your fiance’s redhead sister to be in your wedding party like she’s expecting you to or do you leave her out so your bridesmaids can wear your favorite color orange?  With each decision you deliberate over, it becomes harder for you to make another decision.  This may not seem like the worst thing in the world, but decisions are taxing on your brain.  This is why so many women have meltdowns before their wedding.  The truth is, most brides are about 2-3 non-negotiable issues away from becoming a soul-crushing, relationship-wrecking bridezilla.  Don’t let this happen to you.

1. Decide early on whose happiness is most important to you

This can easily be summed up with the following graphic:

None of those princesses have mothers. So, you can be a princess for the day or you can keep your relationship with your mother. 
credit: Alanna Cavanagh, Disney

Everyone you tell about your engagement will have an opinion.  Some opinions fall on the more nuisance than harm side of the scale like “Why would you want to get married in August?  It’s so humid then.  You should get married in October.” While other comments are more invasive: “you can’t get married at The Best Hall Ever, I got married there so everyone in the family associates that venue with me.”  The best way to handle everyone’s opinions is to rank them by happiness importance. Obviously, your fiance’s happiness is most important to you.  If it’s not, you shouldn’t be engaged.

Once you know whose happiness is important and whose is more or less irrelevant, it should be easier to filter what people tell you into the listen-to-pile and the ignore-pile.  This will help you easily ignore your aunt when she tells you that you can’t get married on December 20th, 2015 because she plans on taking her kids to Disneyworld that week.

2. Delegate and Trust

Stop making all the decisions.  It may seem like a good idea now since only you know exactly how you want everything to look at your wedding, but it’s not.  It’s a terrible idea.  (a) You will run out of steam and start making terrible decisions, (b) you just accepted a life partner into your life, so take advantage of that, and (c) no successful CEO has ever been quoted as saying he fired his entire company because he was making all the decisions himself anyway and look at what a success he is.

Except for this one. Fortune 500–here she comes!

You have a wonderful new partner in your life.  You are doubling the number of mothers and adding on new siblings.  You have a great group of friends so close, they are in your wedding party.  Start delegating!  Just because you’re getting help doesn’t mean that you’re not making the final decision.  You can put your maid of honor in charge of flowers.  Tell her what you like (blue, wild, etc.) and let her sift through Pinterest, Instagram, and wedding magazines and bring you three choices she thinks you’ll like.  Choosing the best of three is much better on your brain than choosing the best of everything the entire world has to offer.  Find out if your fiancé has strong feelings about something (mine wanted an outdoor ceremony) and put him in charge of working that out.  If your mother has a knack for decorating, let her come up with a couple décor ideas and choose the one you like best.

3. Be Happy

Taking a look at the Google Ngram viewer, there is a direct inverse correlation between the significance of the words “wedding” and “happiness.” Can you guess which direction we’re moving in?

You got it.

Here’s what I wish someone had told me when I was engaged: All those beautiful pictures you see in bridal magazines (my engagement was pre-Pinterest) are close ups of one detail.  As long as everything is pulled together, the details are not what you will remember.  You’ll probably remember one great thing (my great memory is walking down the aisle smiling uncontrollably at my husband who was smiling the same back at me), remember one regret (why did I think it was necessary to add an adorable DIY touch for the centerpieces? There were 40 tables at my wedding.  I spent the week of my wedding doing arts and crafts for no reason), and basically the rest of your memories are based off your wedding album.  Which on average has 25 pictures.  Let’s count them off: 1. you, 2. your fiancé, 3. you and your fiancé, 4. you and your parents, 5. your fiancé and his parents.  We’re at 20% of your album and we haven’t even started the ceremony yet. How many pictures of the flowers, centerpieces, table numbers, place cards, chair backs, first course, main course, cake, dessert, etc. do you think you’ll include in there?  One.  There will be one still shot and it will be of one thing.

Everything looks nice but you need to establish boundaries for yourself and prioritize if you don’t want your engagement to gain control of you.  It’s just another stage in the wonderful relationship you have, don’t miss this time together.

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3 Responses to 3 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Minimize Wedding Planning Stress

  1. Julie says:

    Not a bad idea…I just can’t give over control of my wedding though!!

  2. Brenna says:

    I agree! I will have a long engagement (3 years actually!) just so I can handle planning everything myself and enjoy it. My mother will be there to help me decide if I get stuck on flower options or something else my fiance doesn’t really have an opinion on.

  3. Samantha says:

    Here’s what I wish someone had told me when I was planning MY wedding: your relationship is for the rest of your life, your wedding is ONE NIGHT, don’t let it overshadow what’s important.