Yay, you're planning a wedding! Whether you're feeling excited or maybe a little anxious, the reality is that 100% stress-free wedding planning isn't completely realistic. As my therapist says, control is an illusion *cue magician illusion music*.
BUT, with these tips to de-stress during wedding planning, we can get you 95% stress-free! We asked our community of Offbeat Wed wedding pros their expert tips on how to have a stress-free wedding planning experience, and WOW there was no shortage of stress-free wedding planning advice.
Here's how to plan a stress-free wedding:
This stress-free wedding advice comes from wedding professionals who want you to have the best wedding planning experience. Honestly, as I was reading their advice, I kept saying to myself, “Oh shit! That's wise as hell!”
Make sure you take notes or print these out and tape them all over your house, 'cause this is pretty tangible stress-free wedding planning advice!
1) Set some expectations before you start planning
A lot of stress comes from couples not communicating before and during planning, so figure out who will do what, and have a check-in time within a couple of weeks. It's not fair for one person to plan everything. Set expectations by calmly explaining that saying, “Whatever you want,” actually makes things harder (not easier).Kathryn Cooper Weddings
2) This motto will help you learn how to plan a stress-free wedding
Everything is made a little simpler if you create a wedding purpose statement. As Priya Parker says in her book The Art of Gathering, your purpose should act as your bouncer. This is a practice I've started implementing with my couples because taking the time to craft a really specific purpose for your celebration will help guide and make all types of decision-making feel less stressful.Emily Berg Weddings
3) Weddings are expensive enough
Remember that invitations are mailed to households and not individual guests. Because practically everything else for a wedding (venues, catering, etc.) is based on the actual number of guests, this is a really common one to overlook.Kelly Heuss, Uniquely Inviting
For example, if you have 100 guests, but most of those are couples, you may only actually need 50 invitations. If you’ve got a lot of families with 3 or 4 people, it might be even less than that.
Weddings are expensive enough. Don’t inadvertently order waaaay more invitations than you need!
4) Step up the sass for a stress-free wedding
Don't listen to the critics: Prep a clap-back. When someone makes unsolicited suggestions about your wedding, simply ask, “Will you be donating the $X,000 required to make that happen?” They'll either leave you alone, or give you the money.Adaobi Kanu, Events in a Crunch
5) Be ok letting go of some potential expectations
Our brilliantly creative minds hold oodles of dreams and desires. Some of them are simply a let-down. I wouldn’t say “lower your expectations,” but come into a whimsical-meets-reality scenario where you are ok to let something go BEFORE your wedding day, and sometimes DURING your wedding day.
6) Pick your priorities for spending
At the end of the day, you have your memories and photos with the love of your life. So don't skimp on photography, or what's going to feel great (great makeup goes a LONG way in professional photos), and the location you want.Kathryn Cooper Weddings
Want to get married in Hawaii, but such-and-such can't come? Get married in Hawaii anyway! Think twice about spending excess money on things like high-end booze, a 4-tier cake, and favors–because chances are people won't even notice (and a lot goes in the trash, no joke). Experienced wedding planners can also make your life 100x better.
7) Go on dates to de-stress during the wedding planning time
Schedule regular (at least monthly) non-wedding-planning time with your partner to do something fun together. These are often called “dates,” and you probably used to go on them regularly before you started this giant, expensive group project. 😉
Make whatever rules will be helpful for you: no money talk, no wedding plans talk, no family drama talk. Take along some conversation cards if you have to! Be intentional about reconnecting and remembering what got you here in the first place: that you think your partner is really the awesomest human you know.Emily Berg Weddings
8) Share your wildest wedding dreams early for a stress-free wedding
Don't feel shy, embarrassed, or think your wedding vision is ridiculous. Vendors can help you figure out how to make that dream come true OR give shine more light on potential hurdles that could help you make a decision sooner rather than later, and remove months of stress.Adaobi Kanu, Events in a Crunch
9) For a stress-free wedding, let go of the stressful stuff
I regularly remind my clients these two things:Emily Berg Weddings
1. Nobody knows about the ideas you had that you ran out of time/money to execute, so unless you'll be genuinely sad on your wedding day without fill-in-the-blank, let it go if it's stressing you out.
2. No matter what happens with all of the plans and the weather and the fill-in-the-blank, the people who love you WILL have a good time, and you're going to be married at the end of the day! Nothing's going to stop that.
10) Learning how to plan a stress-free wedding begins with the invitations
Get started on those invitations earlier than you think. I currently recommend sending invites out 8-10 weeks before your day, which is earlier than it was before Covid. Everything takes longer than it used to and overnight shipping costs more than it used to!Ashleigh Pritchard, CharmCat Creative
Doing a pre-made design? Get those ordered at least 4 months out. Doing full custom? You'll want to aim for more like 8 months out or more. In the end it'll save you money and the stress of last-minute ordering.
11) A huge part of planning a stress-free wedding: delegate clearly
Friends are so excited to help… But they'll be dead weight without clear tasks. Make sure parents and wedding party members have clear tasks on the wedding day.Adaobi Kanu, Events in a Crunch
12) Work with a human for a stress-free wedding experience
We all love shopping online. I love shopping online. For most couples, this is the first (and hopefully last) time you’ll have to order wedding invitations. It can get complicated figuring out what you need, how to word things, and what works and what doesn’t, especially with offbeat weddings. Having somebody with 10 or 15 years of experience that has done hundreds of sets of invitations can really help.Kelly Heuss, Uniquely Inviting
I’m not here to sell you more than what you need. I’m here to get you exactly what you need and want. It really shouldn’t cost you any more than ordering on your own, and sometimes less, but having somebody you can trust will take a lot of stress off your plate. A great example is the invitation I’m printing as I type this. A couple had me customize one of our stock designs. The digital proofs looked great, but you can almost never trust colors on-screen to match actual ink colors. Things just didn’t look right when they started printing. I went in and made some minor adjustments, and now they look amazing. A computer and industrial press can’t and won’t do that for you, and you’d be stuck paying a lot of money for something that doesn’t look like you imagined.
13) Our final piece of stress-free wedding advice
Be honest with yourself. If you're not the kind of marriers who find joy in planning logistics, that's cool! Maybe that means you devote some of your budget towards a wedding professional who can help carry the wedding planning load. If you feel anxious saying vows in front of everyone, there's no shame in that game! Opt for private vows or skip the vows altogether.
Despite what mainstream wedding media presents, there's no “right” way to approach wedding planning. If a particular wedding practice doesn't serve you, we empower you to ditch it for something else! Ultimately, creating a wedding around your values and priorities is how you plan a stress-free wedding.