With wedding plans comes lots of joy and excitement, but this can also be a time of anxiety and stress for many brides.
If you’re newly engaged now, you probably have a huge to-do list in front of you. There’s no doubt even the simplest weddings can come with lots of decisions, planning, and budgeting challenges.
We’re here to help you make the most of your engagement with our guide to things brides need!
Tools for self care
If you feel overwhelmed by all the planning, don’t fret! There’s a reason why people make careers as wedding planners—it’s enough work to make up one person’s job! Maybe you’re not the planning type, or maybe you have a lot on your plate already with your job, friends, and keeping up with your partner. Here are our top tips for avoiding or offsetting stress during your engagement:
- Journal. List out everything that’s weighing on your mind related to wedding planning to avoid bottling up stress. Getting your thoughts down on paper will also help you escape that feeling that you might be forgetting something before the wedding (more on this later, keep reading!).
- Have a life outside of wedding planning. Don’t let every minute of every day get consumed by wedding planning. Make sure you take time to spend time with your partner, friends, and family. Try to unplug every now and then to give yourself a break.
- Make time for yourself. It’s no wonder you get stressed out if you never have a minute to yourself! Spend some time every day doing something nice for yourself. We recommend healthy activities like meditating, yoga, exercise, or treating yourself to a nice bath or facial mask, if you’re into that sort of thing. There are tons of free self care programs and apps available to download on our smart phone - no need to shell out!
- Enlist help. You don’t have to do everything alone! Let your future spouse know what’s on your to-do list, and try to split up the tasks evenly. Don’t be afraid to ask your bridesmaids or maid of honor for help, either.
A wedding planning checklist
There are many techniques and resources available (online and elsewhere) to help you plan your special day. Invest in a cute planner and some fun pens and get ready for lots of lists. We recommend Kennedy Blue’s 12 Week Checklist for starters! Here are a few basic tips to help you get your wedding checklist in order:
- Start planning early. As soon as you’ve gotten engaged, talk to your partner about when, where, and how your wedding will happen. Be sure to keep the conversation two-sided—make sure your partner knows what’s important to you, and engage your partner to find out what’s important to them.
- List out everything you can think of. Physically write out every item you think you’ll need for your wedding. Everything from catering to rings to favors to the signs you’ll put up pointing guests toward the venue. Be sure to share this list with your bridesmaids to try and brainstorm anything you may have overlooked. Pinterest and Google are great resources for brainstorming checklist ideas, but don’t be afraid to ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or anyone else in your life who has been through a wedding and knows what to expect!
- Try to ballpark budgets and timelines for each task. If you got engaged in January and your wedding isn’t until next March, you can break down your wedding planning list into more manageable pieces by month. For example, you should probably think about your venue sooner than later, but you don’t necessarily need to purchase your wedding bands right away. Give yourself some peace of mind by filtering out what’s not urgent right now. Also, budgeting early will help you avoid surprises down the road.
- Figure out your guest list ASAP. Or, if you don’t have the exact guest list now, try to figure out how many guests you can afford to invite. Many things, from the venue to the catering cost to the amount of favors you buy, will depend on how many guests you have. This is an important detail to cap early on!
A “fun budget”
One of the best ways to stave off wedding planning stress? Have FUN! There’s no question that weddings are a costly affair. However, set aside a few bucks to de-stress throughout the planning process. Here are a few ways to make the most of your engagement:
- Party up! You may have a few parties leading up to your wedding (bridal shower, bachelorette party, engagement celebration, etc.). Let your hair down and relax during these events! You don’t get many chances to have your family, friends, and loved ones all in the same place. Don’t let the planning stop you from enjoying these pre-wedding celebrations! Pro tip: Don’t go crazy on the alcohol—try to unwind without overdoing it!
- Treat yourself. Nothing helps you relax like treating yourself to a soothing face mask or manicure. You don’t have to break the bank to feel pampered (check out our list of affordable beauty products for brides). Getting your skin prepped a few weeks in advance will help you glow on your big day, as well as de-stress in the weeks leading up to the wedding.
- Plan date nights. Just because you and your partner are no longer *technically* dating, that’s no reason to stop going on dates! One of the best ways to keep the romance alive is to keep having fun together. Find fun ways to connect during this busy time.
- Flip the script. Try to look at the things you have to do in a positive light. Have fun trying on dresses with your bridesmaids! Go on a tasting spree when you’re picking meals for the reception! When you start looking at your wedding planning as something you get to do (versus something you have to do), it’s amazing how much more fun it can be.
A clear communication plan
It’s hard to pin-point everything a bride needs to get ready for a wedding. A few additional tips to ensure you don’t miss any of the big-ticket items on your wedding day:
- Communicate clearly with the people involved in your wedding. Make sure you clearly communicate with the people involved in your ceremony and reception. This is everyone from your officiant to your vendors to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Set clear expectations with each person on what time you expect them to arrive, give clear addresses and directions, and make sure any pricing is set with vendors prior to the big day.
- Ask questions during your rehearsal. The rehearsal is a great time to run through any bumps in the ceremony. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or give feedback if you feel like part of the ceremony isn’t going the way you’d like.
- Give yourself time the day before the wedding. Try to give yourself some prep time the day before the wedding to get everything you need lined up. This way, you won’t feel stressed out the day of.
- Call ahead to confirm any appointments. Did you make a hair appointment months in advance of your wedding? Call the salon a few days before the appointment just to confirm, just in case you find you need to head off any schedule changes.
Your big day
Getting ready for a wedding comes with its own challenges, but if you’re super prepared, you’ll be cool as a cucumber on the big day. Take the right steps when you’re newly engaged, and you’ll feel like a true bride-to-be as you move through the wedding planning process.
The biggest thing to remember is: you’re only engaged once, so enjoy it and try to have fun!
Do you have wedding planning tips to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!