First things first... establishing a stress-free wedding planning experience stems from getting clear on what it is that you want. When you decide it's time to delve deep into planning, sit down with you partner and talk about what it is that you both envision for your big day. If you really have no vision in mind, take some time to get inspired. Flick through wedding magazines, browse blogs online and visit local wedding fairs for a boost of ideas. Secondly, determine your budget. As well as deciding on overall spend, decide what proportion of the budget will be spent on what. Most couples admit that this is the biggest stress of wedding planning so get it out of the way early.
No doubt the biggest proportion of your budget will be devoted to your wedding venue so it's a good idea to start with this. You'll find that booking your venue will ensure it's easier to make other decisions as location may be a deciding factor in which vendors you book.
To ensure a stress-free wedding planning experience it's important to realise that you can't do everything yourself. And, even if you are secretly Wonder Woman, you'll usually find that people are more than willing to lend a helping hand so take it - the extra hands will definitely help in the long run. Call on bridesmaids to get hands-on with assembling favours or any DIY finishing touches. Make a girls' night of it and it definitely won't seem like a chore.
The best vendors in the business often take bookings up to three years in advance so if you have your heart set on someone, snap them up quick to avoid disappointment. When it comes to choosing your wedding photographer, I'd recommend booking X months before your wedding date.
When it comes to planning the biggest day of your life, no doubt you'll be bursting to spill all the details to anyone who will, but in doing so you risk stirring the old adage of 'Too many cooks spoil the broth'. You may find that people tend to have different opinions and advice on what's best. It's a good idea to always remember your vision for your day and stick to it. Remember, you can't please everyone all of the time so try not to get hung up on keeping everyone happy. The earlier you realise this, the more stress you'll save in the long run.
But also, be open minded. It's important to always work within your budget and means. Being realistic about what you can achieve will save heartache in the long-run. Another point here is to be open minded, especially when it comes to something like dress shopping. I'm sure you've heard from countless brides that the dress they choose wasn't what they had in mind initially, so when you attend your bridal appointments, be open to suggestions from the attendant. The same comes to other suppliers too. If say, you find that the flowers you had your heart set on are out of season, there are likely to be similar alternatives available.
This might seem odd but sometimes preparing for all eventualities, including the worst case scenarios can help reduce stress, and when it comes to planning a wedding in Ireland, tackling the issue of bad weather head on is a good place to start. For tips on how to handle cold, wet weather, check out my post here.
If you are afforded with the opportunity to choose your own holidays, consider how much time off you can take off in the run up to the wedding. Having a few days off beforehand will give you the luxury of time for all the finer details which needed smoothed out. This will definitely take the edge off and help ensure a feeling of calm wellbeing.
Wedding planning can take over your life but it's important to set aside a day a week and install a wedding free policy. Use this time to plan a date with your other half so that you don't get bogged down with wedding planning 24/7. The same applies to spending quality time with your family and bridesmaids. Everyone will thank you for it.
Finally, if you ever feel stressed, don't lose sight of the reasons why you are getting married. At the end of the day, if you get to say your "I dos" in front of your family and friends and everyone has a good day, those little hiccups along the way will be but a distant memory.