Your wedding is supposed to be one of the best days of your life. It’s a day to celebrate your love and the start of a bond that lasts a lifetime.
However, for many, the wedding is a major source of stress. Soon-to-be-married couples often find that the big day approaches quicker than they had expected and that they don’t quite have the funds they had hoped for.
There’s no getting around flower arrangements and cake choices. However, you can make the whole process that much easier by slowing down, prioritizing your mental health, and coming to mutually agreeable decisions together.
Weddings are expensive and you’ll incur plenty of unexpected costs. Even a basic wedding package will set you back thousands of dollars and more expensive weddings will cost tens of thousands of dollars.
While you should be willing to spend on your big day, budgeting together can help alleviate your stress and help you feel more in control rather than less. When budgeting considers costs like:
- Clothing for bride/groom;
- Clothing for wedding party;
- Food and drink for guests;
- Venue rental;
- Travel costs;
- Flower arrangement, table decor, and goody bags;
- Wedding planner.
This list of wedding expenses is not comprehensive, but may be a good starting place. Try to forecast as many potential costs as possible before you send out invites.
Many soon-to-be-married couples do not pay their wedding costs upfront. Fortunately, there are plenty of financial options you can explore together as a couple. Start by reaching out to loved ones, as you may find that your family wants to contribute toward your wedding fees and has set aside funds to do so.
You can also consider using a credit card to pay for some wedding expenses. Signup offers can give you some “free” funds to use on much-needed travel miles. Weddings are great for credit-building purchases, too. Dresses and rings are major purchases, and quickly paying back for large expenditures will look great on your credit history.
That said, don’t overborrow and put yourself into more debt than you can afford. Credit cards aren’t meant to be used in lieu of loans. Only borrow what you need and pay off the balance as soon as possible. You don’t want to be worrying about paying back the bank when you should be rehearsing your walk down the aisle.
Speak to your bank about wedding loans early in the process. Even if you don’t need a loan today, your bank can give you financial advice and help you better understand your options. This can relieve stress when your personal funds start to run low, but the DJ and wedding planner still need to be paid.
An effective wedding planning timeline can help the whole process go much more smoothly. Without a timeline, you’re bound to forget about time-sensitive bookings and may end up without a cake, flowers, DJ, or dinner on your big day.
From the moment that you say “yes” to marriage, start trying to lay out a timeline that works for you, your family, and other guests that you have in mind. Give yourself at least a year to plan a wedding, and start by mapping out some “must-haves.”
Start working on venues first, as some event spaces may be fully booked for the time period you have in mind. If you start early, your chances of finding a venue that you both love are much higher.
After your venue is settled, you can start sending out invitations. This will give folks plenty of time to clear their calendars and start making travel plans. Try to get invitations sent out six months before your wedding date, as some guests will need to take time off work to attend.
Next, set a timeline for the smaller details. When, for example, do you want to view wedding attire or choose rings? When do you want to work on securing a DJ or try wedding cake? Setting a timeline for these important details will ensure that nothing gets left to the last moment.
Give yourself some slack time when setting initial timelines. Planning a wedding takes more time than you might imagine. Giving yourself at least a month of slack time will take the pressure off and help you prioritize your mental health leading up to the big day.
You might be on the same wavelength as your partner 99% of the time. However, weddings are important moments in your life and small disagreements can quickly become a big deal. While setting timelines in place, have frequent conversations and discuss your expectations for the event.
Don’t assume that your partner will like the same table decor or flower arrangements as you. Speak openly and clearly with them before making any bookings. Even if they seem content to go along with your plans, you still need to run every decision by them lest they decide they don’t like the wine you chose or the shoes you plan on wearing.
Create a mood board or start a joint Pinterest account together. This will help you show off your ideal aesthetic. Encourage your partner to collaborate—even a five-minute session together on Pinterest can ensure that your ideals are in alignment.
You’re certain to disagree on some elements of your wedding. As close as you may be, no two people are completely alike. However, you don’t need to butt heads while planning your wedding. Instead, try to negotiate your differences and find compromises when possible.
Consider hiring a wedding planner if you find that you have many disagreements about the big day. A wedding planner has a wider vision of your wedding day and can help break the deadlock. Experienced wedding planners can take the stress out of decision-making, too, as they’ve seen it all before and know what goes down well at a wedding.
Enjoying Your Engagement
You’ve probably been dreaming about your wedding day from the moment you say, “yes” to your partner. However, your engagement period is still an important time in your life and should be cherished.
During your engagement, try to take time away from normal responsibilities, like work. Focus on your relationship and plan breaks as part of your wedding planning timeline. Stepping away from the wedding plans is a great way to strengthen your bond and mitigate stress.
Consider spending some time in nature during your breaks. Even short nature breaks can alleviate anxiety and reduce stress. If you find that tensions are running high, take a walk around a local park or sit together by the back door. You don’t have to say anything in particular but should focus on the world around you.
You can be intimate and celebrate with small touches, like stay-in date nights. Cook for each other or treat one another to spa days. These gestures are small ways to show your love and will make your engagement period feel special.
Planning a wedding can be stressful. However, small, stress-relieving behaviors can make a big difference to your mental health and ensure that you have the kind of wedding you have always hoped for.
Consider exercising more regularly during your engagement. Regular exercise is a wonderful stress relief and can help you feel more confident when you walk down the aisle. You don’t need to become a strongman or sign up for CrossFit — brisk walking or yoga is ample exercise to help you manage your stress.
If you find that stress is taking the joy out of your wedding planning, consider enlisting the help of a wedding planner. A wedding planner will take care of the more stressful elements of your wedding, so you can focus on things like aesthetics and the clothes you’d like to wear. Wedding planners can be a real reassurance, too, as they’ll keep you on track and know how to handle wedding-related stressors.
Your wedding is a celebration of your love and a commitment to each other. However, many soon-to-be-married couples quickly realize that the wedding is just as much about other people as it is about the couple themselves. This can be a little frustrating, but with some proactive planning, you can ensure that everyone understands their role during your wedding.
Soon after your engagement, ask the wedding attendants if they’d like to take up the role you have in mind for them. Some folks won’t want to be bridesmaids or groomsmen and are allowed to say “no.” Ask early and with respect for people’s choices — this will tick off a major part of your to-do list and give you some momentum.
Parents and guardians can be a major source of stress for some couples. Communicate with eager parents before the big day arrives and let them know how you’re feeling. Most parents understand the stress you are under and simply want to be of help. Consider giving parents or guardians a symbolic role that helps them feel like part of the whole event.
When you look back at your wedding photos, you want to remember how happy you were on the big day. However, many couples find that the wedding planning process is overwhelmingly stressful. If this is the case, consider working with a wedding planner who can help you establish timelines, take care of minor details, and keep all your guests and attendants on track during your special day.