Wedding planning can send you into a stressful spiral, especially when you're juggling many tasks and making big decisions. If you feel like it's all becoming too much, here are the aspects of your big day that our experts want you to focus on. Even better, we bet you haven't heard this advice from anyone just yet.
Find a balance between beauty and function
While heaters and restrooms aren't exactly glamorous expenses, they ensure your guests are comfortable, so they are important, say the wedding planners of GATHER events. "If your guests are cold or have to wait long in the restroom lines, it won't matter how incredible the flowers were," they say. "When your guests have their basic needs taken care of, [you] can focus on the most important part of the day: Celebrating your love."
Remember why you're getting married
It may sound silly or obvious, but planning your wedding is a special and emotional time, say Sara Fried of Fete Nashville. "This is a great time to model how strong your marriage will be." That means compromising with each other and staying united when making decisions that involve friends and family, Fried adds. It's also alright to let give up some control. If your parents are paying for the wedding and your mother wants to be very involved, give her some items she can obsess about—like choosing the napkins, the linens, or the china. "Definitely let her tell you everything she's been wanting to tell you about registering since you were a little girl," Fried says. "You don't have to take her advice, but you still can listen."
Understand and accept the costs of certain items
"Some items on the budget are going to be completely frustrating to deal with," Fried says. "It's inevitable." But these items, like lighting, are important to consider in order to host a smooth and successful event. "Who wants to spend major bucks on lighting?" Fried asks. "You do. Listen to your planner and know this is a worthwhile cost and truly is the biggest bang for your buck in terms of transforming a room into what you are dreaming about."
Another big ticket item is your bridesmaids' dresses. You may have something in mind that is gorgeous and will fit in perfectly with your theme, but if your bridesmaids are paying for their own dresses, you'll need to consider their budgetary restrictions, Fried says. After all, you hope that they'll pay you the same consideration when it's their turn to tie the knot.
The last is cake. "[Couples think] it's just eggs, flour, and sugar, right?" Fried says. "They taste amazing, and are works of art, but they are expensive." While it's certainly an item many couples don't anticipate having to shell out big for, she tells us straight that it's a neccessary expense. "Sorry, don't skimp on the cake. I've had clients use bakers who did not specialize in wedding cakes, and let's just say there were cakes mimicking the leaning tower of Pisa before the cake-cutting photo op!"
Decide up front whether or not to have kids at your wedding
This one is tough for many brides and grooms. Your MOH just had a baby and you want her little one to be able to attend, but your third cousin wants to bring her gaggle of kids, too. According to Fried, you can't pick and choose. "You have to decide one rule for everyone: Kids or no kids," she says. "It's just not worth the aftermath."
You don't have to do what others expect of you
You may set up your wedding however you want, and it's perfectly fine not to do what your mother, mother-in-law, or anyone else expects of you, say the planners at GATHER. You can opt for food trucks with elevated cuisine, plan a more intimate processional with just parents, or let the bridesmaids choose the dresses they want. "Trust that when your family sees everything come together on wedding day, they will see it's a perfect celebration of who you are," they say. "And they will love it!"