7 Steps to a Stress-Free Wedding that Won’t Break the Bank

1) Assemble your team. If you’re the bride, you’ll often do the majority of the planning, so make sure that you have the support of your partner and your attendents to help you accomplish all your goals. While your attendants shouldn’t have to do all the work, they are there to make sure things happen as smoothly as possible and offer their support and advice when needed.

2) Budget. A wedding that puts you or your soon-to-be-spouse into debt isn’t going to cement your nuptial bliss, that’s for sure. Unless Mom or Dad is willing to pitch in, stick with what your wallets can easily afford. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise your wedding dreams: saving ahead of time and prioritizing your expenses can easily put those dreams within your reach.

3) Prioritize. What’s number one on your list of must-haves? The dress, the rings, or the venue? Or something else? By keeping your splurges restricted to what’s important, you’ll make your big day much more affordable.

4) Quality over quantity. Unless you come from a really big family, trimming your guest list is probably the most significant factor in reducing your expenses. Do you really want your mom’s coworkers getting in your hair while you’re cutting the cake? Keeping your wedding as intimate as possible – whether that’s 20 people or 100 – is key.

5) Shop around. Just as you’re not likely to find “the dress” in the first bridal boutique you visit, the first caterer, DJ, or photographer you happen upon is not necessarily the right one. Make sure you call around and compare prices before you book any wedding staff or venue, so that you can ensure that the price you’re paying is right.

6) Plan ahead. You should plan on booking your wedding and reception venues a year in advance, both to make sure that you’ve got your date secured and to make sure you’ve fulfilled all the requirements. In many churches, you may be required to participate in prenuptual counseling or classes, so it’s best to make sure you’ve got everything squared away before your big day! Your caterer and photographer should also be booked at least six months in advance. Make sure that you have sufficient time for dress fittings for the bride and her attendants, too. (If you are ordering a dress, it may take several weeks to arrive.)

If you’re having a destination wedding, you’ll also want to send out wedding invitations two to three months in advance, to give all of your guests ample opportunity to purchase plane tickets and make hotel reservations. (In some cases, two to three months may not be enough notice for the latter – you may want to secure rooms ahead of time.)

7) Relax! If you’ve followed these instructions, your wedding day should be delightful and as stress-free as possible. Just in case, appoint someone in your family, or a close friend who is not a member of the wedding party, to handle any problems that may come up during the day. This way, you’ll be able to focus entirely on your special day and the one you love.

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