Top 5 wedding-planning tips

Wedding season is in high gear for all those girls who got an engagement ring for Christmas.  If you are in this situation, you may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the enormity of planning one of the most important days of your life.  Here a few hints to help you relax and regain perspective.

Remember the wedding is about you.  Too often, moms, aunts and grandmas get so excited about your wedding even the most well-meaning relatives may become heavy-handed with their “advice” (demands). Worse yet, some relatives try to live vicariously through your event, because they wish they could have done things differently on their wedding day.  Remember throughout the planning process this day is about you and your fiancé. This is not to say you can’t consider the suggestions of others.  It just means that when you look back on pictures 40 years from now, you want your celebration to be a reflection of you and your spouse, not your great-aunt’s peculiar tastes.  With moms you have to be more delicate, because they love you more than anyone and they may be paying for it.  Be as diplomatic as you can, but be assertive.  Moms are an understanding bunch, but some moms will be as pushy as you let them be.  Reclaim your day if you have to.

Personality vs. Pose photography.  Think of the last wedding album you saw.  What was your takeaway?  If it was like most wedding albums, you probably thought it was BORE-ing.  We all know how difficult it can be to get the beauty of something to translate to photographs.  A picture is never going to capture the intricate detailing of your dress or the glamour of the bridesmaids’ shoes.  Photographs can, however, capture your personality and mood.  So when you shop for a photographer, don’t assume that a very expensive photographer is that much better than a less expensive one.  When previewing portfolios, you want to look for photographers who were able to take beautiful posed pictures, but perhaps more importantly, personality-rich candid photos.  You may even consider a close friend who is good with a camera.  Because they know you, then may be able to catch moments and moods that a stranger may miss.

Venue.  Many would-be brides select a reception venue based on popularity. It’s a good idea to check out places that regularly host receptions, but here again, don’t be afraid to get creative.  When planning a wedding, some get side-tracked with planning the “perfect” day as opposed to a “memorable” day.  You aren’t going to have a perfect day, so let go of that notion right now.  But you can have a memorable day.  Where did you go for your first date?  What are your shared interests?  You might even consider turning this over to a trusted friend or at least letting someone assist you with this.  Diminish your stress by relinquishing control and delegating wherever and whenever possible.

Honeymoon.  If you and your future spouse are trying to save up for a down payment on a house or just scared about how you are going to pay for your wedding, think about simplifying the honeymoon.  You will be spending your entire lives together.  You have lots of time to plan elaborate vacations.  If getting the time off of work or spending a large amount on a honeymoon is stressful, then pare down to a couple of nights in a nice bridal suite.  Give yourself time to save up for the vacation you really want to go on.  There is no law mandating an immediate and expensive getaway.

Remember that weddings have become an enormous money maker for many industries, so if you feel like you are getting gouged every time you turn around, it’s because you are.  For decades now brides have been made to feel like their wedding will be sub-par or tacky if they don’t stick to the conventional (and expensive) format.  This is your day.  Spend extra money on the things that really matter to you and consider creative and unconventional solutions for the things you don’t have a strong opinion about.

Kat, is a frequent contributor to the Ask an Expert blog.