Weddings

5 ways to make wedding planning stress-free

©iStockphoto.com/Gene Chutka Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Gene Chutka

Weddings

5 ways to make wedding planning stress-free

The time in-between saying yes to the proposal and your actual wedding day is supposed to be one of the most exciting times in your life. But planning the big event can be stressful if you have several different people -- including your family, his family and friends who think they know better -- offering opinions on or making requests about the big day. Staying in control of the wedding planning without ruffling feathers may seem impossible, but it can be done.

We asked Melissa Andre, a wedding planner and the creative director of Melissa Andre Events, to share her advice for conflict-free wedding planning. She offers five tips on how to avoid ongoing arguments while preparing for your wedding.

1. Hire a wedding planner
Weddings are more of a production than they once were. People are moving away from traditional weddings and are planning more interesting and unique events. Although it may seem easy enough to pick a swatch of fabric for your linen selection out of a sample book, there are other wedding-planning issues you may overlook, says Andre.

For example, you might need to obtain special occasion permits or pull off a detailed itinerary while managing the load-in and load-outs of all of your vendors -- all while being a bride.

"Hire a professional, listen to their advice and let them guide you through the process so that you can focus on enjoying your time as an engaged couple and creating a beautiful event that your guests will remember," Andre advises.

2. Do your research

Andre suggests deciding on a look and feel for the wedding before you begin booking anything, from venue to vendors. She also advises taking things slowly so you don't end up making a decision you'll later regret.

"Don't rush your decisions. Once you have booked a service you will likely lose your deposit if you find something that you love more along the way," she says. "Talk about how you envision the event unfolding before you start going out and making purchases and signing contracts, so that when you meet with vendors you can give them an accurate representation and description of what it is you are looking for."

Page 1 of 2 -- From tracking venue deposits to booking a band, find more tips on how to make wedding planning a breeze on page 2
3. Stay organized
For those who won't be using a wedding planner, Andre offers some suggestions on how to stay on track. Since reputable wedding vendors do dozens (or even hundreds) of weddings each year, it's important for you to keep a close eye on your calendar so you can track when deposits and payments are due. You also shouldn't expect vendors to remind you about upcoming appointments.

"Keep all of your meetings and consultations in your calendar so that you don't miss anything," advises Andre. "Sign, scan and return your contracts on time and keep a wedding planner binder to track your progress."

And whatever you do, don't leave things to the last minute. "It takes the average couple 12 months and over 250 hours to plan a wedding," she says. "There is a lot of information to manage, so organization is absolutely key if you want a stress-free planning process."

4. Limit outside opinions
People tend to see weddings as an opportunity to express their own preferences and tastes, and family dynamics can be the cause of a lot of stress for -- and between -- couples.

"Whether others are concerned with more current issues like mixing faiths at weddings or whether to invite children to the wedding reception -- or they're more interested in voicing their opinions about esthetic choices and menu options -- it's important to be firm about how you feel about them being so vocal with their opinions, especially if they contradict yours," stresses Andre.

A couple should decide on the wedding they really want and make it clear to their family members and friends that they love them and appreciate all of their interest and support, but they're not looking for outside influence.

5. Remember why you're doing the planning in the first place
Arguments between couples surrounding the wedding planning can often be the biggest source of stress. "The entire time that you're engaged should be one of the most exciting times of your lives. You are getting ready to make a grand commitment to one another; it's purely romantic," says Andre. "While planning the wedding is important, the reason why you're doing it is much more important," she says.

Whether it means hiring a wedding planner, having regular date nights where you don't talk about the wedding at all, or even taking a mini vacation midway through the planning process, don't forget to take a break and enjoy one another without discussing the upcoming nuptials.

"There is really nothing worse than orchestrating a wedding rehearsal where the bride and groom can hardly enjoy the process because they're still arguing about who was supposed to confirm the song list with the band," says Andre.

Once you've taken these steps to prevent stress leading up to the wedding, take the time to enjoy the end result. "The day goes by in a blink of an eye, so be sure to really be present for each second of it," says Andre.

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5 ways to make wedding planning stress-free

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