How To Plan A Wedding Without Losing Your Soul And Your Sanity

In the midst of wedding planning? These tips are crucial to save on stress.

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Wedding planning can be stressful as hell, and it's inevitable that — at some point or another — you'll end up fighting with your friends and family. Why? It has nothing to do with picking and choosing wedding vendors. In the end, one DJ is the same as another. And it has even less to do with time.

With most couples getting a hang of how to plan a wedding at least one year in advance, it's easy to space out all the items on your wedding planning to-do list so that you don't break down into a weeping pile of taffeta and confetti. But the last thing you need is a toxic family or frequent fighting.


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Because the number one cause of arguments during wedding planning are with the ones you love (and who presumably love you). Thanks a lot, friends and family. Below are five huge tips for planning a wedding with your loved ones, why they're such a big deal, and how you can handle them without losing your ever-loving mind.

1. Put on limit on how many people your family can invite.



If you can make it through this, you can make it through anything, including the painful labor you'll eventually have to suffer through if you decide to have children with your future husband. Yes. The pain is comparable. What's the big deal?

Consider this: for every name you add to your guest list, you also have to add an additional $150+ to the cost of your reception venue, to cover the cost of their meal. Not only that, but each additional guest means another person you have to greet during your reception, which takes precious time away from eating, dancing and catching up with other guests. Is it any wonder that some of us try to distance ourselves from our not-so-close friends in the year leading up to the wedding so we don't feel obligated to invite them? (C'mon, you know you've done it.)

On top of possibly losing friends, you may end up alienating family members as well. Your mother will want to invite an entire table's worth of her best friends. Your mother-in-law will want to invite her second and third (and twenty-fifth) cousins. You will agonize over whether or not to allow children under the age of 12.

There will be tears and recriminations, causing you to secretly book a wedding venue with a small guest limit so that you can then dramatically announce: Sorry guys! You can each only invite 50 people! How you like them apples?


Our advice? Yes. Book that small venue. Give each person a limit on how many people they can invite. And remind them that this is your day, and that you want to celebrate with the people you love most in the world. 

2. Keep the venue small that is moderately priced and conveniently located.

The wedding venue may also end up causing a bit of stress, especially for your father, who has to pay for it. (This is assuming that your parents are traditionalists, and insist on paying for the bulk of the wedding themselves.)

You want a venue that's magical. Your father wants a venue that doesn't require him to take out a second mortgage. Your mother wants a venue that's nicer than the venue her friends' daughters used, so she can look good.


Our advice? Resist the urge to go all bridezilla on your parents. In the grand scheme of things, a wedding venue is nowhere near as important as the people you surround yourself with, and the marriage you're embarking on. Pick a place that's moderately priced, and that's conveniently located to as many guests as possible.

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3. Decide, as a couple, whether or not you want a religious ceremony.



If you're an interfaith couple, planning can get complicated, especially if your parents are devout. If you're not religious, but your parents are, opinions can start flying.

When you announce that you're not being married in the church, and that a female celebrant will be performing your ceremony, your mother will cry, and then force you to go to pre-cana anyway, during which the attending priest will denounce you for not being married in the church (he will also express his disapproval at the fact that you're already living together). Your mother-in-law will threaten to skip the wedding entirely. Gosh, wedding planning is fun!

Our advice? Discuss what you want as a couple, first, and then present a united front to your parents. This is the beginning of the rest of your life, and you need to be on the same team. And we don't suggest going against your own religious beliefs, but it could be beneficial to add religious bits to the ceremony, as a gesture of love and goodwill for your family.

4. Don't expect too much from your bridal party.

Does anyone really want to be a part of the bridal party? Apparently yes, despite both the time and money involved. (Maniacs.) My cousin had so many people in her wedding party (a former sorority girl, she included everyone whose wedding she had previously been a part of) that they only fit on the altar by forming a large circle around her and her husband-to-be. In her case, it was mainly a matter of reciprocity.


But one also has to worry about insulting friends who would feel slighted at not being included... friends who thought they were closer to you than you obviously consider them to be. Not only that, but you'll also feel obligated to include the brothers- and sisters-in-law, even if, generally, you don't get along with them.

And even when you choose the members of your wedding party, the fun doesn't stop. There are plenty of stories out there of bridesmaids-gone-bad.

Our advice? Stay small, or eschew the wedding party entirely. And when you do start planning shopping trips and parties with your wedding party, remember: your wedding is not the center of their universe, and it's unfair of you to ask them to spend significant amounts of both time and money on it, time and money they may not have (or may rather spend on shoes).

5. Go dress shopping with your mom only.



The dress shopping. An experience your mother has dreamed of sharing with you since before you were even conceived. Unfortunately, wedding dress shopping with your mom will be no different than any other shopping experience with your mom, aside from the fact that the stakes (and the bill) will be higher.

You will want a dress your mom considers to be slutty. Your mom will want you to want a dress that you consider to be matronly. You will want a dress your mom considers to be too expensive. Your mom will want to continue shopping for dresses long after you have found the dress of your dreams.

She will cry, overcome by emotion at how beautiful you look. You will cry because you wish this damn wedding was over with already. In the end, the only consolation is that you will end up looking hotter than you have ever looked before.


Our advice? Go to every single wedding boutique your mother desires to take you to. She's losing her little girl. Let her have this. And because you'll have eventually visited approximately 5 trillion dress shops in all, you're sure to find a dress you both love. Also, don't invite your wedding party. They have too many opinions.

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Steph Auteri is a freelance writer and editor. She's overshared about her sex life in Playgirl, Time Out New York, American Curves, New York Press, Nerve, and other publications. Feel free to stalk her on Twitter.