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It’s true, planning your wedding can seem like a full-time job; and nobody’s expectations are higher than your own. Of course, you want everything to be perfect, but not if it comes at the cost of a sizable shift on the stress-o-meter.

It’s not possible to eradicate all stress from the wedding planning process – but by taking a few steps you can ensure that stress is minimised or at least shared around so that your attempt to make your wedding dreams become a wedding reality doesn’t turn into a stress-filled nightmare. Our top tips should help you go a long way towards taking the stress out of the wedding planning process.

1. Have realistic wedding expectations

Once the initial excitement of the proposal has died down you are then faced with making your dreams become a reality. We all want the best but that doesn’t mean we all get what we want. If you set out with inflated expectations then you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Be realistic with what you can achieve within your budget and that way you won’t end up turning into a bridezilla. Nothing is perfect, after all.

2. Make a wedding budget and stick to it

The majority of wedding stress comes from the financial aspects of a wedding. Let’s make one thing clear, weddings are not cheap. Do your research before setting your budget but once you have set it, stick to it. You should allow a small contingency in your budget to cover unforeseen events, as being unprepared will send your stress levels rocketing. Around 5-10 per cent of your budget should be set aside for contingency. But don’t be tempted to dip into this fund to secure those killer shoes or tiara.

3. Make a wedding list and timeline

Start with your wedding date and work back from this. If you are not sure exactly what you need to plan and when, there are a host of wedding planning tools available on our website for your convenience. These will tell you what needs to be achieved and how far in advance. Trying to retain everything in your head is guaranteed to ignite a meltdown and you will inevitably miss out something vital.

4. PIY wedding – Pay it yourself

If possible, pay for your wedding yourself. While it’s nice to get some financial assistance from family members you may regret it down the line. The saying, ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ never rings more true than with weddings, as whoever puts money in wants more than a big say in things. It’s better to have a wedding that you can afford that you are in sole charge of. If you are strapped for cash, only accept money from family members if it comes without strings attached. After all, it’s your day, not theirs.

5. Go on recommendations from other brides

There’s nothing worse than wondering if a wedding service provider is going to be up to scratch. Worrying whether the caterers are going to fit the bill is not going to settle your already nervous stomach. Eliminate all the risk involved, from finding a decent venue to a reliable photographer, by going on recommendation. Speak to family and friends to see if you can find providers who come highly recommended. This can save you a massive amount of worry.

6. Share the wedding planning load

Unless you are a complete wedding control freak, it is possible to delegate to your trusted deputies – your bridesmaids, mother and husband-to-be! Choose tasks that you don’t mind letting go as you’ll only dwell on how well someone else is managing. Not only will this lighten your load, it may get the particularly annoying or pushy ones out of your hair for the time being!

7. Make your wedding smaller

A big wedding inevitably means big stress. The simple answer therefore would be to opt for a smaller wedding. Not only will there be a cost saving but your stress levels will diminish. A smaller wedding might just be exactly what you want – it will be more intimate and you might actually get around greeting all your guests. It’s true that there may be some stress involved trying to cut back the guest list, but you can minimise this by ensuring that you do the choosing without interference, especially from parents. No, mum, second cousin Jenny is not invited.

8. Hire a wedding planner

If you consider that the task of organising your own wedding is just too time consuming and stressful, then consider hiring a wedding planner. It’s true that finding the right planner can be stressful in itself, so go on recommendation or at least ask to see a portfolio of weddings they have planned. Yes, a planner comes at a financial cost, but it should hopefully prove money well spent – and with their contacts they might just be able to save you money. Remember, having a wedding planner isn’t just for those aiming to have a lavish and costly affair – there are plenty of independent wedding consultants who can work wonders with a small budget.

9. Break with wedding tradition

While wedding traditions can be a nice touch they can also be costly and occasionally stress-filled additions. Who says you have to arrive in a chauffeur driven limo or that you need to have a four tiered wedding cake? By cutting out some of the traditional elements you can simplify the day and reduce the potential for stress. We’re not saying ditch tradition altogether, so keep the ones that mean something to you.

10. Get out of here and get wed elsewhere

If the wedding stress is all getting too much for you then you need to escape! If a massive wedding is likely to prove too much then maybe eloping is perhaps not the worst idea after all. Just you, your groom and maybe a friend or two as witnesses might be all it takes and you can leave all the stress behind. Inevitably there may be some tension after the wedding when you return to tell stunned family members, but you can worry about that after you are married! As an alternative to eloping you could have your wedding out of town or even in another country. This will also help cull guest numbers without actually offending anyone.

A final word on wedding stress

The key to minimising your wedding stress lies in doing what is right for you. Match your wedding to your own expectations and not everybody else’s. Simplify plans and remember that the focus is on two people being married on the day – everyone else is there to witness it, enjoy it, but not to overly influence it. Remember, your wedding is your day, so don’t worry about everyone else, and everything will fall into place.

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