Career changes, major moves, health matters, familial issues—whether it's a milestone you've been anticipating or a curve ball from out of the blue, life events can (and sometimes do) happen in the months leading up to your wedding day. How can a bride and groom navigate uncharted territory while planning the details of your ceremony and reception? We asked the experts to share their advice for handling the good and bad while you're busy coordinating the most important day of your life.
Sarah White, owner and lead planner of The I Do List, a wedding consulting firm that specializes in virtual planning and design services, dealt with her fair share of life events in the months leading up to her own wedding. "Three years ago, when I was planning my own wedding, it was one of the most stressful times of our lives," says White. "My husband finished grad school, started a new job, we moved across the state to a town we'd never visited, bought our first home, I formed The I Do List, and, as if that wasn't enough, we adopted two adorable (and energetic) puppies! Needless to say, it was a lot."
"When you have all of these life changes going on at once, it's easy to get overwhelmed," White notes. "The advice I give to all my clients is to first, focus on one thing at a time—give your attention to whatever is most important in that moment. Second, get organized. Being well-organized is key to ensuring nothing falls through the cracks."
"And lastly, but most important, don't be afraid to take a step back," White adds. "When you're tried, overwhelmed, and don't know which way is up, hit the pause button for as long as you need. Focus on something that's not wedding-related—have a glass of wine, hang out with your girlfriends, and just get your mind off of everything. Coming back with a clear mind will allow you to focus and make decisions because they're the right decisions, not because you're stressed and want to move on."
Rachael Lamson, a premarital coach and founder of For Keeps, LLC, stresses that clear communication is key. "Prioritize what's important and makes sure you're both on the same page about those priorities," says Lamson. As an exercise, Lamson recommends each partner write out everything they consider to be an important between now and the wedding, whether it's finding a wedding dress, making the guest list, purchasing a new home, and so forth. Then, compare lists to make a master list of your top five or ten priorities together.
"Couples might have to make decisions between something for the wedding or something for the home, if, say, they've recently had to make a big move," says Lamson. "Don't wait until your partner has spent $1,000 on a wedding dress to decide that something like that would be low on the priorities list compared to other must-haves."
The specific life event you're dealing with will dictate your top priorities. "If the couple has just found out they are pregnant, they will want to prioritize the bride's health. If the couple is planning to move before the wedding date, make lists for each week for exactly what needs to be accomplished (and packed) and stick to it," Lamson says. "You might not have time to create a master seating chart for the wedding, because packing is a more immediate priority, but that's okay."
"If you don't choose what gives, then you run the risk that everything might give," Lamson adds. Stay focused on your priorities and allow yourself to be okay with letting some of the smaller things go.