Click here to view a high-res (1.23 MB) version in a new browser window.

Planning a wedding can be a very stressful time. However, it’s also important to take time out to enjoy the process as much as possible. Your wedding is an exciting event in your life and it’s one that you’ll want to remember every detail of. Here are 20 simple wedding planning tips, so you can enjoy the big day with the person you love and are going to spend the rest of your life with.

1. Get Organized

Start by getting organized. Having notes, pictures torn out of wedding magazines, and appointment cards all piled together will not only keep you from truly being in control of the details of your wedding, but will also make you feel frazzled. Get a special binder to put your papers and notes in, and consider downloading a wedding planner app that will help you keep track of bridal appointments, vendor phone calls, and more.

2. Budget

Not having your budget set in stone can be extremely stressful. Sit down and discuss your budget with your spouse-to-be and determine how much you can afford for your wedding. Talk about what the maximum you want to spend on your wedding is, as well as where you want to allocate more of your budget on (such as photography) and where it’s okay to trim spending (such as wedding favors).

3. Plan, Plan, Plan

Many brides who actively plan their weddings will feel like they’re starting to become obsessed with everything to do with their wedding. Don’t let this happen to you! It’s great to plan ahead and try to be prepared for every possibility. Keep your plans written down and revisit them every so often to tweak them when inevitable changes present themselves.

4. Don’t Stress

Stress is your number one enemy when it comes to wedding planning. Realize that not everything is going to go perfectly and there are going to be a few bumps in the road. Try to get through these issues with as little stress as possible and keep moving forward to your ultimate goal.

5. Avoid Guest List Overload

Planning your guest list is one of the biggest challenges of a wedding. Most couples deal with having a huge guest list and wondering if and how they should slim it down. A huge guest list means a lot of extra expenses when it comes to finding a wedding venue large enough to accommodate your large number of guests. You’ll also spend more on food, drinks, and wedding favors. Make your dream guest list and determine if you have the budget to invite that many people to your wedding. If not, start trimming out people you haven’t seen in years or distant relatives that would be unlikely to make it to your wedding anyways. Keep your guest list manageable to avoid guest list overload.

6. Create a Well-Planned Seating Chart

While many brides choose to do open seating at the reception, there are some caveats that come with this type of seating. Often, groups who want to sit together won’t have enough chairs and will end up standing. Instead, opt for a well planned seating chart that allows everyone to have a seat and keeps potential family riffs from occurring.

7. Provide Accurate Driving Directions to Your Wedding Venue

One thing that many brides leave out of planning their wedding — especially in the GPS age — is detailed driving directions to the wedding venue. Remember that GPS devices can sometimes give inaccurate directions, leaving guests, vendors, and even members of your bridal party at unfamiliar locations that are nowhere near where your wedding is actually being held. Give everyone in your wedding party, your vendors, and all your guests detailed directions on how to get to your wedding venue, complete with a map, so everyone knows exactly where your wedding is.

8. Don’t Get Caught Up In “Perfection”

Naturally, a bride wants her wedding day to be perfect. It’s the day she’s been waiting her whole life for, and it’s important that the event goes off without a hitch. However, expecting real perfection is unrealistic, because there will undoubtedly be bumps in the road. Aim to keep mishaps from being apparent to your guests and making it look like your wedding was perfect. Don’t stress over small things like your flowers being one or two shades darker than what you requested, or your wedding cake having a slightly different design. Understand that real perfection isn’t going to be attainable, and instead, strive for pseudo-perfection — a wedding that looks perfect on the outside and all the bumps in the road are handled immediately and remain well hidden.

9. Share Something Personal and Unique With Your Guests

Your guests are attending your wedding because they love you and want to share one of the happiest days of your life with you. Thank them for their gesture by sharing something unique and personal with your guests. Instead of handing out generic favors, like a small bag of Jordan almonds, give them a copy of your favorite engagement picture in a nice frame or a mix CD of songs that are special to you and your spouse and were played at your reception.

10. Accept That You Can’t Please Everyone

A lot of people are going to have something to say regarding your wedding, especially your parents, in-laws, and siblings. You won’t be able to please everyone, and this is something you’ll need to accept as you move through the different stages of planning your wedding. Recognize that your wedding is about you and your spouse-to-be, and that above all, your choices should reflect your needs, desires, and unique personalities as opposed to what other people think is appropriate for your nuptials.

11. Take One Thing at a Time

One of the most important things to remember when planning your wedding is that you can only do one thing at a time. Wedding planning can be overwhelming and there may seem to be dozens of things that you must handle all at once. It’s common for brides to do part of one task and move on to the next task in a hurry, potentially leaving many things only halfway done. Instead, focus on one task and do everything you can to complete it at that time so it can be checked off your list. Then, move on to the next thing.

12. Make Wedding Appointments Fun

There are many exciting things coming up for you as you plan your wedding, including bridal fittings, cake tastings, and venue visits. These appointments can be a lot of fun if you let them, because they help you visualize your wedding coming together piece by piece. Invite your friends and make a good time out of trying different cake flavors or viewing different ceremony locations.

13. Keep It Simple

It cannot be said enough how easy it is to get overwhelmed during the wedding planning process. When there’s so much to do, it can seem impossible to get everything done. Try to keep things as simple as possible and eliminate things that aren’t an absolute necessity, so you can focus on what is important.

14. Finish Your To-Do List Early

As a busy bride, you’ll undoubtedly have a long list of things to do before your wedding. Don’t be afraid to finish your to-do list early, so you can focus on the joy and happiness of your big day. For example, get your nails done a couple days before your wedding instead of the day of your wedding, and even consider having your bachelor and bachelorette parties a week before.

15. Set Aside Weekly Time to Plan

Planning a wedding takes time, and trying to fit a little bit of planning in here and there between other commitments like work can leave you frazzled. Make an appointment with yourself every week just to sit down and plan your wedding. Whether you spend your time looking at wedding dresses to find the perfect one or booking appointments for cake tastings, you’ll be able to better keep a handle on everything by visiting your wedding plans at least once a week. As your wedding day gets closer, you can set aside time to plan more frequently, such as a few times a week.

16. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Brides can’t do everything on their own, and there’s no reason why you should expect yourself to. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members for help with wedding tasks that you don’t absolutely have to do yourself. For example, can you delegate making wedding favors to your bridal party? Can your mother-in-law set up the centerpieces on the reception tables before the wedding? Delegation is key to keeping your stress level down and still getting everything done in time for your nuptials.

17. Be Flexible and Fair

One of the most important things to remember when planning your wedding is to be flexible and fair. You will most likely not be able have everything exactly the way you want it, so be sure to have a backup plan and be flexible enough to resort to alternative plans if the situation calls for it. Be fair to your vendors, family, and friends with your expectations and accept their best.

18. Don’t Go Overboard With Flowers

Flowers are an essential part of your wedding, but it’s easy to go overboard. Not only can overdoing it on the flowers take away from the overall visual of your wedding, they can blow your wedding out of budget. Keep flowers to a reasonable level and consider “recycling” some of your ceremony flowers and also use them to decorate your reception.

19. Get a Good Photographer

One thing that you want to spend enough money on is a good photographer that you trust and you know will get the kind of pictures you want to remember your big day by. Interview numerous photographers and look at lots of portfolios and wedding pictures. Make copies of the types of shots you like and give them to your photographer to recapture.

20. Have a Wedding Registry

No wedding is complete without a registry. You may think that registering for gifts is presumptuous, but most people who come to your wedding will want to give you a gift. Make it less of a guessing game by setting up a good registry with lots of items in all different price ranges. People can buy some of the lesser expensive items, or several people can team up to purchase a larger, more expensive item. Make sure your wedding registry is full of items that you’ll actually need as opposed to frivolous items that you won’t know what to do with, like a crystal gravy boat.
Planning for your wedding can be a stressful time, but it’s important to remember that you can only do so much. Keep the critical things at the forefront of your mind and delegate the things you don’t absolutely have to do to family and friends who are willing to help. Above all, take a deep breath and remember that this is a time for you to enjoy and get excited about!