Everyone will tell you that planning your wedding is a very special time. What most people won’t tell you is how this can turn into a stressful time if you’re not careful. To avoid the unnecessary stress of wedding planning and to make it a fun and enjoyable memory, it requires some preparation as well as keeping things in perspective.

Having helped thousands of brides plan the weddings of their dreams, we’ve learned a few things about wedding planning stress and how to reduce it. Here are 7 expert tips to get you headed in the right direction.

1. Start planning early.

Of course, give yourself some time to first celebrate the engagement! But soon after, you should begin by answering the biggest questions such as the city you want to get married in and possible dates for your big day. This will affect your venue options and budget (if choosing a peak season date). It will also help determine the rest of your wedding planning timeline. Starting early ensures that these to-do’s don’t stack up and hit you all at once. It spaces out your decisions, giving you time to fully think through every option and avoid the unnecessary stress of rushed planning.

2. Get organized.

As soon as you start planning, get organized! Create a wedding binder to store all of those brochures and contracts you’ll receive from vendors. Also utilize wedding websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire that offer free tools, timelines and templates to meet all of your organizational needs. And don’t forget to create an account on Pinterest which will help you organize inspirational ideas that you’ll want to be able to easily refer to when talking to your wedding vendors. Organization is key for reducing wedding planning stress. You’ll feel on top of the details and in control of your to-do’s.

3. Set boundaries for the time you spend wedding planning.

When you’re in the midst of wedding planning, it’s easy to let this responsibility consume all of your free time. But in doing so you’ll miss out on enjoying your engagement with your soon-to-be-spouse. Maintain a balance of work and play by setting boundaries for the time you spend wedding planning.  Limit this to only certain days of the week or a set time frame. Once that time is up, close up shop and choose a fun and relaxing activity to do with your fiancé.

4. Work with professionals.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice for reducing wedding planning stress is to work with professionals. When planning your big day, you will naturally have a lot of questions to answer and details to decide upon. You need wedding vendors who are reliable and responsive. Otherwise, following-up with them or fixing their mistakes will be one more thing you have to worry about. Working with professional vendors is an investment that will pay you back ten-fold throughout your wedding planning process.

5. Take care of yourself.

The time between the day you get engaged and the day you say “I do,” should be a special memory, not a stressful one. It’s so important to carve out time for pampering and relaxation to help you refocus on what really matters. All of your time and energy that went into wedding planning may produce the celebration of your dreams, but if it’s at the sacrifice of your physical and emotional health you won’t be able to fully enjoy it. Make time for regular exercise, relaxation and time spent with your loved ones.

6. Keep it all in perspective.

The purpose of a wedding is not just to throw a killer party (though, it’s certainly an added bonus if you do!), rather it’s to commit to spending the rest of your life with your soul mate. During the most stressful moments of your wedding planning process, remember this! Right it on the inside of your wedding binder if you have to. Planning your big day together should strengthen, not strain, your relationship. Keep your stress in perspective and remember that something like the color of your napkins or size of your guest list isn’t worth picking a fight over.

7. Remember to be grateful.

You aren’t the only one who is excited for your wedding. Your family and friends are also there to support your marriage and help you prepare for this special day. As you call on them to help you plan and execute your to-do’s, remember to show appreciation for their help. Give thanks often and show enthusiasm for their contributions. They’re helping because they love you; show them how much you love them in return.

What aspect of wedding planned has stressed you out the most and what are your tips for overcoming it? Share your experience by commenting below!

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