Planning a wedding can take months, and it involves many tasks. If possible, spend a few weeks talking about your wedding with your fiancé and your families before you make firm plans. This will help you decide what you want before you commit to anything.  

Planning a wedding with your fiancé

Your wedding day will be very special for both of you, so both of you should help to plan it. Sharing the planning can also make the decision-making easier. 

  • Divide up the to-do list. Look over the list together and decide who will do what. Place initials and due dates next to items and review the list together regularly. You can make changes to the list later. Set up a shared file for this purpose that both of you can access on your phones or computers.
  • Talk about what's important to each of you to include in your wedding. Let your fiancé's interests guide you on your attempt to get him or her involved. For example, if your fiancé feels strongly about hiring a string quartet in addition to an organist, suggest that she start researching the options.

Involving family members in the planning process

Parents or parents-in-law can provide creative ideas and help with the research and coordination of your wedding. They may also have very different preferences than you do. Try these tips for dealing with sticky situations: 

  • Let your family members participate in the wedding plans. Chances are, your family will want to help in any way possible. Sometimes an overeager family member can turn wedding planning into a power struggle. You don't have to let your family run the show -- just try to give each person a role -- if they want it.
  • Be prepared to compromise. Plan your wedding with your wishes in mind. However, things can get sticky if parents are paying for either some or all of your wedding and have a different vision than you do. You may all have to compromise on some things.
  • Be respectful of your future in-laws. Your future in-laws may have a very different way of doing things. Even if you feel strongly about these differences, it's still important to be respectful of the people who raised the person you are marrying.

Money-saving tips

Weddings can be expensive, so it's important to shop around before hiring anyone -- prices may vary considerably. Here are some ideas: 

  • Consider the cost of alterations when choosing a wedding dress. Don't buy a dress two sizes too large just because it's on sale. You might save money through the sale, but you could lose even more if you pay for excessive alterations.
  • Ask your florist for less expensive options. Your florist might have great suggestions that fit your vision and budget.
  • Make your own centrepieces or pare them down. Get supplies from a craft store and enlist the help of artistic friends and relatives.
  • Print your own invitations and programs. Consider making your own invitations. You can also print your own programs or ask a friend to help.
  • Use your network. Do you have a relative who can make a wedding cake or a friend who is a DJ? Do you know a photographer or a florist? If so, chances are you'll get a discount. And sometimes friends and family offer such services as a wedding gift.
  • Shop around. Be sure to check prices online and in stores. You can buy almost everything you need for your wedding online, from a flower girl's dress to party favours, and you may be able to get great prices.
  • Consider alternatives. You might consider having a Friday wedding or a winter wedding, often much cheaper than a Saturday wedding in the summer. Maybe your setting is so beautiful you won't need many flowers.
  • Ask for discounts. Negotiate with wedding vendors. The worst they can say is "no."

The key to saving money is spending the money you do have on the things that are most important to you. For example, if live music is one element you just can't do without, you could budget for a band by cutting back on centrepieces or a full bar. 

Coping with wedding stress

 Keep things in perspective. Focus on your love for each other. The planning is sure to have its ups and downs. If one of your plans doesn't pan out, ask yourself whether it will really be important to you when you look back at your wedding years from now.

  • Plan each part of your wedding as early as possible. That way, you'll have time to handle anything that doesn't go according to plan.
  • Keep your expectations realistic. There is no such thing as a perfect wedding, and pressuring yourself to create a flawless day will only add to your stress.
  • Take a break. Do something you enjoy -- such as taking a walk, reading a book, or watching a movie -- that will leave you feeling refreshed.
  • Spend time with your fiancé. Make time to do something fun together without working on wedding plans.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Friends and family may have offered to help with the wedding. Take them up on it by asking them to help with specific things.
  • Talk with a supportive friend or relative. Venting can release some of the stress that's been building up.
  • Stay healthy. It's easier to cope with stress when you take care of yourself. Exercise, get plenty of sleep, and eat nutritious meals to maximize your health.

With so many details, it's easy to lose sight of what's really important. Many couples try so hard to please their guests that they overlook themselves. Of course, you want your guests to enjoy the day. They may not remember the food at your reception, the flowers, or the invitations, but what they remember is that they had a great time celebrating with you at your wedding. So try to plan your wedding for you. After all, you and your soon-to-be spouse will be the ones who remember it best. 

© LifeWorks Canada Ltd 2016