Isn’t it a teensy bit ironic how the leadup to what’s supposed to be the best day of your life often turns into one of the most stressful times of your life? Wedding planning stress can spark relationship conflict, lead to burnout and anxiety, and add a lot of unnecessary difficulty to your life. Maybe you just shouldn’t get married! Just kidding. But what you should do is keep reading for expert advice on how to make the whole process smooth sailing.
There’s no such thing as too early to start planning
So, your wedding is in 2024, and you think that means you can relax and start planning in a year or two? Think again. Having a lot of time to plan is a major blessing. Remember in school, when you used to leave big assignments for the day before they were due, then stay up all night completing them? Yea, don’t do that with your wedding. Cramming is not a transferable skill. It may have worked alright in school, but it will not work alright with your wedding. Even if the big day is still far away, you can start by planning your budget, rough guest list/amount of attendees, and wedding insurance (Dainton, 2022). The one exception to this rule is that if you’re entering the holiday season or another very busy period, it might be a good idea to leave the wedding planning for later.
Choose your location carefully
Maybe you want a fun and exotic destination wedding, or perhaps you prefer to get married close to where you grew up although you haven’t lived there in a long time. Either way, consider your guest list when choosing a location. If your venue is far from the majority of your guest list, there’s a good chance most of them won’t show up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; it means that you can invite more people with the knowledge that most of them won’t come. (Everyone loves getting a wedding invitation; it is a thoughtful gesture that reinforces someone’s importance in your life). However, if it’s more important to you that most of your guests are able to make it than that you have the wedding in your ideal location, then choose a place that’s close to your guests (Dainton, 2022). If you were really looking forward to a destination wedding but also really want the majority of your guests to be able to attend, consider putting that excitement of going to an exotic place into planning your honeymoon, instead. For example, here are 5 affordable honeymoon destinations you haven’t considered yet!
Budget, baby, budget!
Write down and add up every single expense associated with the wedding. Every. Single. One. Obviously you should calculate the sum of the wedding venue, dress, food, and flowers, but don’t forget about smaller expenses, like makeup, hair, and that fancy deodorant to stop your fiance sweating through his tux. You might be surprised at how much these small expenses add up; set a firm budget to avoid adding more stress by overstretching yourself financially, and stick to it (Dainton, 2022). Also, don’t expect to finish your budget in one sitting. First make a provisional budget, then sleep on it while you give yourself time to remember other wedding expenses that you might not have thought of when you first sat down to make your budget. Keep coming back to it and adding things as you think of them, and give yourself about two weeks for this process.
Don’t assume perfect weather
Even if you plan your wedding for an ideal time of year, mother nature can have some tricks in store. Make sure you have not only a rain plan in place, but also check for things like bugs (is your venue in a place that experiences swarms of black flies every late June? How are you going to mitigate that?) and temperature considerations. A hot outdoor wedding tent might tempt guests to bow out early, as will renting a drafty place for your winter wonderland wedding (The Knot, 2020).
Get a credit card with a rewards program
Have you ever eyed one of those fancy credit cards that gives you a free international round-trip flight ticket or other perks if you make a certain amount of purchases within the first three months? Did you think “but I don’t spend that much in three months” while you were considering it? Well, now’s your time! Check which cards are currently offering promotions for cushy rewards, sign up, put all those expensive wedding purchases on that card, then watch the rewards roll in (The Knot, 2020).
Choose your photographer carefully
In the chaos of planning a wedding, at some point you may find yourself rushing to get things done and check them off the list in time. This can lead to making hiring decisions that might not serve you as well as they could. Don’t make this mistake with your photographer. The photographs are incredibly important because they’re the lens through which you will remember this day for the rest of your life. Do your research with thoughtful consideration, without rushing, until you find a photographer you really like. You might also consider using them for engagement photos, so that you can get to know them in advance and make sure they understand what you want from the photos (Dainton, 2022).
Get the prenup out of the way first
Arranging your prenup is arguably the most important part of your wedding planning process. If you wait until you’re all caught up in last-minute preparation to take care of it, you won’t have the presence of mind needed to devote to it. Your prenup will form a major part of the foundation for your marriage. It will help you set roles and expectations as well as make a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario so that you don’t have to worry about that ‘what-if’. It can also help you to better understand your partner’s priorities as they relate to your marriage. If you’re worried about the cost of a traditional prenup or if you just want to simplify and streamline the process while still giving it the thought and intentionality it needs, try our innovative prenup software. Here’s how HelloPrenup works. If you haven’t had ‘the prenup talk’ yet, here’s how to bring up a prenup without upsetting your partner.
Careful consideration of our wedding planning advice + a little bit of patience will help you get through it without stressing out too much. If it feels difficult some days, re-orient yourself with a mental reminder that this whole thing is the result of the love between you and your partner. Infuse the process with love. Savor it. You’ll only do this once.
Dainton, L. 2022. 15 Top Wedding Planning Tips. Retrieved from: https://www.weddingideasmag.com/15-top-tips-for-perfect-wedding-planning/
The Knot. 2020. 30 Essential Wedding Planning Tips and Tricks. Retrieved from: https://www.theknot.com/content/expert-wedding-planning-tips-and-tricks
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].