10 Tips to Make Wedding Planning Less Stressful

Being engaged. It’s magical, amazing, a dream and stress-free right? Maybe for some people, but if you’re engagement season is anything like mine, then those descriptions I gave you do not fit. Let me rewind to November 21st of 2014. It was this night, at The Festival of Trees in Ashland, Kentucky, on the stage I grew up performing theatre on, that my {now} husband proposed to me. This moment was indeed magical. I was surrounded by Christmas Trees, I was given roses and someone sang a song from my favorite Christmas musical, White Christmas to me. That moment is forever engrained into my mind as one of the best moments of my life. I was so excited to begin wedding planning. I just knew that everything was going to be perfect. Little did I know, the months leading up to my wedding were some of the most stressful months I had ever lived. 

Me and my fiancee the night we got engaged <3 

Me and my fiancee the night we got engaged <3 

I think as a wedding photographer, I put more pressure on myself than I should have. I was planning a picture-perfect wedding. Literally. Every decision I made was based on if it would be photo worthy. Not only that, I had EVERYONE (and maybe even their mother) telling me where I needed to get married, when I needed to get married, what I needed to eat at my wedding, and really the list could go on and on. Rather than taking all these opinions and writing them down or even considering them, I let the overwhelmingness of everyone pressuring me overtake everything. So any time I would feel anxious about wedding planning, I would just stop. For months I planned nothing because every time I did, I ended up crying and sick. It was VERY bad. What happened to the fairytale wedding planning experience I had dreamed of my entire life? What happened to planning MY dream wedding?

One of my engagement photos by yours truly! Thanks to the help my friend David! I realized throughout my engagement experience that I care to much about what other people want. I am a people pleaser and because of that, I try to do too many things at once. I try to please every single person I can because I do not want to disappoint anyone. It kills me thinking about disappointing people, especially my parents. So, what did all of my procrastinating and stress result in for my planning and wedding? Well, it left me crying one too many times and 15 pounds lighter (not a bad outcome but still, wrong way to loose the weight).  So, with all this being said, here are 10 tips for a successful and stress-free wedding planning experience from the prospective of a bride and wedding photographer.  1). Take time to let your engagement soak in. You are engaged!! How exciting!! This is a feeling and moment you do not want to forget! So, with that being said, do not wake up the morning after you get engaged and start planning. Take some time to focus on you and your new fiancee without letting wedding planning get in the way. I cannot stress this enough. The engagement period goes by SO fast, so just enjoy it! Once you start wedding planning it is as if your entire thought process is consumed by what to plan next, and it often over shadows the exciting feeling you get when you first get engaged. So, slow down, take a breathe, and enjoy this moment! 2.) After you set your wedding date, book your venue and wedding photographer first. These two things book months in advance, so its vital to make sure you secure these first so you will be able to get married at the place you want, with the photographer you want to capture it all! Once these things are done, if you have several months before your wedding, take some time off from wedding planning. Just like point 1, taking time to enjoy your engagement. Letting it become reality will be the best decision you could make. Not having to worry about everything that needs done will make your engagement period much more enjoyable. 3). Make a To-Do List Create a list of all things you need to do throughout your wedding planning process. From picking out the venue, dress, photographer, to going to buy decorations, write it all down. Along with a to-do-list, create a  time period to accomplish each task and stay with the list and time frame. Organization is one area of my wedding planning that I failed in. I wish that I would have made a list that was specific on things to do on certain days. If I would have had that schedule written out so I could visually see it, I would have probably been more proactive in planning and with less stress. 4.) Accept that some stress is going to occur. This is almost inevitable. You are planning one of the biggest days of your life with loads of people telling you what to do, so stress is bound to happen. This is normal, so if you feel stressed, its okay. BUT, you do not have to give into the stress. Letting stress overtake your entire self will leave you sick and anxious, so managing your feelings is vital. You CAN control your feelings and how you respond to stress. If you begin to feel stressed, find ways to cope. Exercising, coloring, or my personal favorite, having my own mini concert/dance party where I sing my favorite song at the top of my lungs and dance around like I am a world class dancer, will really help you relax and maybe even laugh. :) 5.) Allow others to help you. I understand that as a bride, we want everything to be PERFECT! And the only way we can make sure something is perfect is to do it ourselves right? Listen, letting your friends or family help you will take a huge load of stress off of you. Trust me. If I could go back, I would be more gracious to accept help. Taking on everything overloaded me and added to the stress-o-meter. So, just take a step back and say yes to help. I promise nothing major will happen. You could even make a girl's night for making table favors or DYI decorations! Turn planning into a fun activity because it should be fun! 6.) Accept that you won’t be able to please everyone. It may be hard to accept, but not just in wedding planning, but in life in general, we cannot and will not ALWAYS please everyone. It has taken me quite some time to realize this, and in ways I still struggle with it. This is YOUR wedding. Not your parents, not your friends, but yours. Yes, everyone will give you opinions and it is natural to want to take in what everyone is suggesting, but there is no way that you can do that. It is fine to want to make others happy, but remember, this is YOUR wedding day. Make sure it is what you want. 7.) Have date nights throughout your engagement and wedding planning process. It is easy to be consumed by planning and wanting to spend every minute you have free to plan, but your fiancee is the reason you are getting married, so make sure you set aside some time for him. The engagement period can be stressful, but that stress shouldn’t affect you and your fiancee's relationship. When you go on dates, make it a NO wedding planning date. Do not talk about your wedding plans at all. Just focus on you and your fiancee's love.  8.) When you pick out your wedding dress, STOP looking at other dresses. This is a big one because if you keep looking online at wedding dresses after you already bought one, you will drive yourself crazy questions if the one you bought was really the right dress. Trust me, I did this. I went back and forth on my wedding dress up until the day of my wedding. A few weeks before, I almost bought a different one. So, save yourself some unneeded stress and just love the dress you picked out first and stop looking at anymore. But, if you do question your dress, thats normal. I think a lot of brides at some point throughout their engagement questions this. In addition to this, DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF! I repeat, do not doubt! Doubting is normal, but be confident in your decision making! Do not let Pinterest consume you. It is a great tool for wedding planning, but there are SO many ideas on there, that it is easy to pick an idea, and then turn around a see something else you think you like better. So, be confident when you make decisions and then move on and quit going back and looking for other options because, trust me, you could change your mind a million times up until the day of your wedding and still remain unsatisfied.   

One of my engagement photos by yours truly! Thanks to the help my friend David!

I realized throughout my engagement experience that I care to much about what other people want. I am a people pleaser and because of that, I try to do too many things at once. I try to please every single person I can because I do not want to disappoint anyone. It kills me thinking about disappointing people, especially my parents. So, what did all of my procrastinating and stress result in for my planning and wedding? Well, it left me crying one too many times and 15 pounds lighter (not a bad outcome but still, wrong way to loose the weight). 

So, with all this being said, here are 10 tips for a successful and stress-free wedding planning experience from the prospective of a bride and wedding photographer. 

1). Take time to let your engagement soak in.

You are engaged!! How exciting!! This is a feeling and moment you do not want to forget! So, with that being said, do not wake up the morning after you get engaged and start planning. Take some time to focus on you and your new fiancee without letting wedding planning get in the way. I cannot stress this enough. The engagement period goes by SO fast, so just enjoy it! Once you start wedding planning it is as if your entire thought process is consumed by what to plan next, and it often over shadows the exciting feeling you get when you first get engaged. So, slow down, take a breathe, and enjoy this moment!

2.) After you set your wedding date, book your venue and wedding photographer first.

These two things book months in advance, so its vital to make sure you secure these first so you will be able to get married at the place you want, with the photographer you want to capture it all! Once these things are done, if you have several months before your wedding, take some time off from wedding planning. Just like point 1, taking time to enjoy your engagement. Letting it become reality will be the best decision you could make. Not having to worry about everything that needs done will make your engagement period much more enjoyable.

3). Make a To-Do List

Create a list of all things you need to do throughout your wedding planning process. From picking out the venue, dress, photographer, to going to buy decorations, write it all down. Along with a to-do-list, create a  time period to accomplish each task and stay with the list and time frame. Organization is one area of my wedding planning that I failed in. I wish that I would have made a list that was specific on things to do on certain days. If I would have had that schedule written out so I could visually see it, I would have probably been more proactive in planning and with less stress.

4.) Accept that some stress is going to occur.

This is almost inevitable. You are planning one of the biggest days of your life with loads of people telling you what to do, so stress is bound to happen. This is normal, so if you feel stressed, its okay. BUT, you do not have to give into the stress. Letting stress overtake your entire self will leave you sick and anxious, so managing your feelings is vital. You CAN control your feelings and how you respond to stress. If you begin to feel stressed, find ways to cope. Exercising, coloring, or my personal favorite, having my own mini concert/dance party where I sing my favorite song at the top of my lungs and dance around like I am a world class dancer, will really help you relax and maybe even laugh. :)

5.) Allow others to help you.

I understand that as a bride, we want everything to be PERFECT! And the only way we can make sure something is perfect is to do it ourselves right? Listen, letting your friends or family help you will take a huge load of stress off of you. Trust me. If I could go back, I would be more gracious to accept help. Taking on everything overloaded me and added to the stress-o-meter. So, just take a step back and say yes to help. I promise nothing major will happen. You could even make a girl's night for making table favors or DYI decorations! Turn planning into a fun activity because it should be fun!

6.) Accept that you won’t be able to please everyone.

It may be hard to accept, but not just in wedding planning, but in life in general, we cannot and will not ALWAYS please everyone. It has taken me quite some time to realize this, and in ways I still struggle with it. This is YOUR wedding. Not your parents, not your friends, but yours. Yes, everyone will give you opinions and it is natural to want to take in what everyone is suggesting, but there is no way that you can do that. It is fine to want to make others happy, but remember, this is YOUR wedding day. Make sure it is what you want.

7.) Have date nights throughout your engagement and wedding planning process.

It is easy to be consumed by planning and wanting to spend every minute you have free to plan, but your fiancee is the reason you are getting married, so make sure you set aside some time for him. The engagement period can be stressful, but that stress shouldn’t affect you and your fiancee's relationship. When you go on dates, make it a NO wedding planning date. Do not talk about your wedding plans at all. Just focus on you and your fiancee's love. 

8.) When you pick out your wedding dress, STOP looking at other dresses.

This is a big one because if you keep looking online at wedding dresses after you already bought one, you will drive yourself crazy questions if the one you bought was really the right dress. Trust me, I did this. I went back and forth on my wedding dress up until the day of my wedding. A few weeks before, I almost bought a different one. So, save yourself some unneeded stress and just love the dress you picked out first and stop looking at anymore. But, if you do question your dress, thats normal. I think a lot of brides at some point throughout their engagement questions this. In addition to this, DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF! I repeat, do not doubt! Doubting is normal, but be confident in your decision making! Do not let Pinterest consume you. It is a great tool for wedding planning, but there are SO many ideas on there, that it is easy to pick an idea, and then turn around a see something else you think you like better. So, be confident when you make decisions and then move on and quit going back and looking for other options because, trust me, you could change your mind a million times up until the day of your wedding and still remain unsatisfied. 

 

Me and my wedding dress!! This photo was taken by the very talented Julie Paisley Photography! 

Me and my wedding dress!! This photo was taken by the very talented Julie Paisley Photography! 

9.) Listen to What Others Have to Say.

This kind of goes back to accepting help from others, but also accept advice. I know advice isn’t always what we want to hear, especially when we are trying to plan our perfect wedding ourselves. BUT, your family and some of your friends have been through the wedding planning process before, so they know what you are experiencing first hand. I am not telling you to let others tell you what to do regarding your wedding, but simply listen to what your peers have to say. Wedding planning may be new territory for you. You may have never planned a wedding before, so taking advice from others who have planned a wedding WILL be helpful, I promise. By accepting others advice, you will be able to sit down and then decipher what you agree with and what you don’t agree with. Just because someone gives you a specific piece of advice does not mean you have to take it, but I can guarantee that the advice you are being given, (at least parts of it), will be beneficial to you and will lessen your stress along the way. I wish I would have taken more advice from my mother and sisters during my planning process, but I was too stubborn to. As I am writing this blog, many of the points that I am writing about ended up being advice my sisters told me but I did not fully accept. So, trust me, listen to advice with an open heart because what you are being told may be very valuable to you. 

10.) Your Happiness Does Not Lie Within Your Wedding

Okay. So this is a big one. As a former bride, I understand the desire to have a picture perfect wedding. This is a moment many of us has dreamed about since we were little. Are you ready for the cold hard truth? Your happiness does not lie within your wedding. You heard me correctly. So often, we as brides, get consumed with our wedding planning and how we want to make sure our wedding is everything we had ever imagined. From details to the dresses, our wedding day MUST be perfect. The truth is, the high expectations of wanting a perfect wedding day will cause you to have more stress than you need. Now, I’m not saying that it is wrong to want to perfect wedding, but your actual wedding itself is not the most important thing. The most important thing about your wedding is that you are marrying your love, your best friend. I think we get wrapped up in the whirlwind of planning that we forget why we are getting married in the first place. It isn’t to host a great party or buy pretty dresses or shoes. It is so you can pledge your love to the one whom your soul loves. That is what makes a wedding perfect. On my wedding day, it rained, which led to high humidity and a heat advisory during my outdoor ceremony. We had issues with the music and my husband had our wedding party walk in an entire song early. But, you know what? Despite all of those little moments of non-perfectness, I look back on my wedding day with great joy, because I got to marry Tyler! No wedding day disaster could have taken away from the love I felt radiating from my now husband, and from my family that was there witnessing my marriage starting. So, remember, your happiness isn’t from your wedding day itself; it is from the love and union of you and your fiancee. 

Photo of my wedding taken by my dear friend, and amazing photographer, Julie Paisley Photography {www.juliepaisely.com}

Photo of my wedding taken by my dear friend, and amazing photographer, Julie Paisley Photography {www.juliepaisely.com}

I hope these tips help you while you are planning your wedding! Much love!

Kelli, xoxo :)