I’ve been working on an Ask Mindy Q&A blog post and when piecing together the questions I’ve received from readers via DMs and email, I saw a couple questions that were repeated frequently. One revolving around stressful wedding planning so I have a few tips for any bride-to-be’s today!
6 TIPS FOR REDUCING WEDDING PLANNING STRESS
1.HIRE AN AMAZING WEDDING PLANNER
I highly suggest hiring a wedding planner! While this may not be in your budget, you could potentially move funds from other areas into this line item. When we first started planning, I was so set on being able to do it ourselves and for a large chunk, we did before hiring Kelsey! While I felt great on overall theme, stationary, and little details, I realized I needed help laying out the reception space, vendor communications/coordination and day of coordination from someone that has a sharp design eye [ie: not the coordinator that comes with the venue.. their job is very different].
Kelsey from Back Bay Bride was our wedding planner and she was absolutely amazing. Her eye for design, passion and reliableness made her an a vital part of our wedding planning experience. She made S and I so at ease through the year of planning, the weeks leading up and on our actual wedding weekend. I cannot imagine the planning process or weekend without her. If you’re a bride getting married New England, you can check her out here.
Even with how Type A organized S and I both are, the entire process wouldn’t have been as enjoyable without Kelsey removing a large chunk of our potential stress.
While we had a coordinator included for our reception location, just as many venues do, her focus was on ensuring the hotel’s responsibilities were covered like getting the food on the table and that guests were in and out at the right times, not making every corner look polished and on-theme. A wedding planner goes well beyond the coordinator’s role. Knowing that Kelsey put her stamp of approval on every detail as we planned together was a huge stress reliever and I didn’t have to worry about vendors, reception or anything day of. I got to live in the moment, focusing on my groom and guests while being stress free.
I was able to be so stress free and really enjoy the precious moments that FLY by if you are truly present. She handled our overall theme design, vendor communications/coordination [HUGE weight taken off], day of schedule, day of set up and break down of our reception and cocktail hour and SO much more. Also – she kept our reception on time which is super important because you do not want to be handling that. Our photographer had a firm stop time, so we needed to stay on track in order to get all our big moments shot along with some dancing too.
2.KEEP A DETAILED SPREADHSEET
We wouldn’t have survived without an organized spreadsheet that S and I reviewed weekly. Kelsey Back Bay Bride sent us her spreadsheet and we filled it up with all our details.
On the left we had the months listed and under them, line item tasks that needed to be completed like order veil, wrap groomsmen gifts, order Dad’s tux. Make sure each task is very granular and specific. Rather than ‘Complete Bridesmaids gifts” be more granular and break up the tasks like 1.Order bridesmaids bracelets 2.wrap bridesmaids gifts 3.write bridesmaids cards 4. Put gifts in “ready” box. These granular tasks allow you to stay focused, reduces feeling overwhelmed, feels attainable and also allows you to see any blockers and address them quickly.
Next to each task, we listed the responsible party: planner, parents, bridal party, groom and/or bride. This helped me really focus on what I needed to complete. I’m a control freak so without the responsible party I would have just done EVERYTHING. We shared this as a google doc with our planner and parents as well so everyone was on the same page.
Then each week S and I reviewed what we completed and would check it off. If we moved to another month with items that were not completed for the previous, we’d highlight them in yellow so we knew that they were overdue so we could escalate to the responsible person or just accumulate that to the new month.
I do have to say that I’m very lucky to have a fiance that was very, very involved. Like in every detail. This not only made the experience that much more fun, but I fully trusted him with taking on huge tasks and I knew I could totally shut my mind off from thinking about them. He was seriously an A+ groom!!
3.SET DUE DATES IN ADVANCE:
No matter how organized or Type A you are, tasks will fall behind. For our wedding planning spreadsheet, we set all task due dates one month in advance from when we really needed them. For example, if we needed to book our florist 6 months before our date (April), we slotted it for 7 months ahead in March. This way, if a hiccup happened – we weren’t stressed!
4.KEEP A HEALTHY LIFE BALANCE
While I by no means have “life balance” mastered, working towards keeping a healthy balance is so important! It’s easy to have your relationships get consumed with wedding talk, so be conscious of this and set designated times to talk about with your fiance. S and I had a weekly date where we reviewed our completed tasks on our wedding spreadsheet.
We run together outside four+ times a week, so we also would talk through wedding things while running which is one of my favorite memories from last year! It was perfect to talk about wedding topics that were potential stressors while doing a stress releasing activity! So those were our times we talked about wedding things, but aside from that we were conscious to not let it take over every discussion, every weekend or every night we had! I think the same goes here for your family and girlfriends too.
And with that, still make time to work out, have other interest, invest in hobbies, meet new people and travel new places. It’s easy to skip a work out to meet with a vendor or put hobbies to the back burner due to on-site visits, but these other areas and interests are just as important for a healthy, balanced and ultimately stress free life!
5. STAY ALIGNED FINANCIALLY
We learned in our marriage preparation class that finances are couples #1 argument trigger and relationship strainer. Everyone is raised with different money values and I am so very lucky that S and I were raised with the same habits and values.
As a couple, we take our finances very seriously for ourselves and future family and are on the same page. In turn, that was reflected with our wedding budget. When an item came up that was out of budget, we found a different way to make it work! You can easily move money from one wedding area, to another wedding item to make a dream project work or just find a more affordable option.
For example, S and I funded the decor and photography for our wedding, so when I realized glass chargers were going to cost 5X our budget, I didn’t just bite the bullet. I researched up and down to find gold chargers of great quality that were in budget (like literally.. I scavenged this store from top to bottom with employees to get all 180!).
For table numbers, I fell in love with marble coasters with gold calligraphy set on little gold easels, but they were 3X our budget off Etsy so instead I DIYed them! I ordered tiles from a warehouse, watched calligraphy videos and made them myself which actually brought us in under budget for our table numbers! You
Since finances and money can be an easy stress trigger for couples and families, ensuring that you’re constantly aligned on your budget, not over spending and vetting contracts with each other before committing are all key! In my opinions, this not only includes your fiance, but also anyone else contributing financially as well. We pulled in our parents very frequently since they generously played a very large factor in our wedding day finances.
6.SET YOUR FIRM END DATE A WEEK AHEAD
To really soak everything in, S and I both took the week leading up to our wedding off from work. We were getting married a few hours away and since it was technically a destination wedding in a beautiful coastal city, lots of family and friends made an extended vacation out of it. S and I were able to spend the beginning of the week relaxing and soaking up time together in Maine just the two of us and then later in the week, we spent time with loved ones and friends that traveled in!
I’m so happy that we “accidentally” learned this tip. Since we were on vacation 4+hours away from our home the week leading up to the wedding, we had to have every little detail packaged up, stamped with approval and ready to go for the wedding day. This ended up being a huge blessing in disguise! I’ve heard horror stories of brides staying up the week leading up to their wedding with last minute DIY things or tasks they thought were going to be simply to complete, but ended up being daunting which easily could have been us [since this was our life the week prior!].
I highly suggest setting your “100% complete NOTHING left to do and everything packed up into boxes as if you are leaving out the door for your wedding” date be a week prior to your wedding. That way you can truly relax with your precious fiance and soak everything up the week of!
I hope these six tips for reducing wedding planning stress were helpful! Honestly, overall just stay organized and on track budget wise. What is your biggest tip? Xo Mindy
PS – Click here for other wedding related blog posts!
Mindy these are such wonderful tips! I am going to remember this post and send it to friends as they get engaged (I feel like I’m in a stage of life right now where a lot of friends are soon to be engaged- haha!)
Weddings seem like so much fun but also a lot of work for only one day! I’m going to keep these tips in my back pocket for when i tie the knot!
Wedding planning seems so stressful. These are really great tips.
What great tips! I can imagine planning a wedding would be very stressful!
What great tips, Mindy! I eloped, so wedding planning is totally new to me 🙂 Staying on budget would be so important…I love watching TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” and I’m always amazed at how many of the brides will go WAY over budget in no time. Thanks so much for sharing!!!
These are great tips! my husband and I actually eloped but I’m always excited for others planning their weddings 🙂
Such great tips! I’m wedding planning now but thankfully haven’t been too stressed. I think that has a lot to do with being engaged for such a long time haha! More time to plan = less stress for me!
These are such great tips! I love your invitations 🙂
-xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com
I wish I’d had more than 3 weeks to plan my wedding but thankfully i had the help of a lot of friends and family to pull it off! I wish I’d had your list 8 years ago!
These are such helpful tips! When I was planning my wedding I was a first year medical intern at the hospital, which meant I had no time. Organization was key to getting it all done!
These are great tips! As much as eeddi are fun, they can be so stressful! Thanks f sharing!
Ash | Theashtreejournal.com
I am so sorry for the typos my phone is going crazy! 😩
Great tips! I am not getting married any time soon but I’ll keep them in mind for if I ever do.
I so could have used this while I was planning! There were many stressful times!