Planning A Wedding That’s As Stress-Free As Possible

How can I put this gently? 

If you want a stress-free wedding experience, getting married at the court house in your favorite blue jeans is your best bet.

Even if you choose this route, know that I was on the verge of tears after spending 30 minutes trying to find a parking spot downtown that didn’t say “owned by a lawyer, violators will be towed”, while trying to obtain my marriage license from the courthouse.

Wedding week nerves may or may not have played a role in my frazzled, overly sensitive mood that day.

We just celebrated our 6 month anniversary (some may tell you that isn’t a real anniversary, but we love making up reasons to celebrate life), and all I can say is, life is so much easier post wedding.

With that being said, the months leading up to your marriage are such an exciting time in your life, and you should do your best to enjoy every second of it.

I was described as an “easy to please” bride by those closest to me. Honestly, I have no idea who that girl is, but I’m glad I was able to channel her for the sake of my relationships.

I’m going to share what worked best for me during the planning process, what I don’t recommend, and what won’t matter when you look back on your wedding day in 30 years.

Art by LA Lettering
Photo by Alanie Sayer Photography

D​on’t Worry About Losing Weight

Listen, I’m all about taking care of yourself and eating healthy; but I can’t think of a better way to be stressed out during wedding planning than to be starving and exercising till you’re dizzy in hopes of shedding a few pounds.

Some women who have an extremely healthy relationship with food and their bodies may be able to lose a little weight without harming their health in the process. If it’s going to stress you out more than you already are, DON’T worry about it.

This may sound silly and obvious, but I believe it’s worth mentioning. The person who wants to marry you, wants to marry YOU. They want you in the body you have now, in the dress size you are now.

Why would we decide that the way we were before we got engaged isn’t good enough? That we should work for months trying to get a new body for a 3-hour event?

You will not be an ounce happier on your wedding day if you lose an inch or two off your waist. You will be a gazillion times happier for the rest of your life if you decide you accept and love yourself the way you were created.

“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.”-Dr. Gail Dines

Photo by Alanie Sayer Photography

Be Open Minded When Dress Shopping

I was the girl who had a Pinterest wedding board since before I was legally old enough to even get married. I’d probably pinned hundreds of dresses, and the dress I got married in, didn’t slightly resemble one of them.

Picking a wedding dress was the easiest, most enjoyable part of planning for me because I decided to keep an open mind and not pressure myself to get a dress the first day I went shopping.

Try not to have a super strong mental picture of what you want to look like on your wedding day. It can lead to disappointment if your “dream dress” doesn’t look how you expected once you try it on.

When my dressing room attendant brought in a blush pink, tulle dress and I said “I can’t wear a pink wedding dress!”, I’m so happy I was open-minded enough to try it on and follow up with, “Of course I can wear a pink wedding dress!”.

I felt gorgeous in my dress, and I knew it would bring the man I love to tears, which was obviously my biggest wedding day goal.

Choose the dress you feel most beautiful in, don’t force yourself to recreate the image you’ve had of yourself since you were 6, and only bring your besties who aren’t going to give you their opinion unless you ask for it. (Kinda kidding, kinda not. We’ve all seen a Say Yes to the Dress episode where that one girl just can’t seem to keep her thoughts to herself.)

Photo by Alanie Sayer Photagraphy
Dress by Rebecca Ingram

Have A Moment Alone Before The Ceremony

This was one of the best decisions I made for my wedding day. I decided not to do a first look to save up the emotion of seeing each other for the first time at the altar, but I loved that with a first look, you get to have a calm before the storm moment with your groom.

Even if you opt out of having a first look, try to set some time aside to talk on the phone, or exchange letters from either side of a door (letters are also a great alternative if you want to write your own vows but not read them in front of everyone you know).

I started to feel really nervous a few hours before the ceremony. I couldn’t move around very well in my big dress in a small room, and I couldn’t relax without messing up my hair and makeup. All I could do was sit up very stiff and try not to throw up. #justgirlythings

I felt so much better once I got to hear my husband’s voice and hold his hand. I was able to remember that this wasn’t some over the top party I had to host- it was about me and him and how much we love each other.

Photo by Alanie Sayer Photography

Roll With the Punches

You will plan for months or possibly years for what is truly one day out of your entire life. I don’t say this to discourage you from going all out, but to take some of the pressure off of you.

​My wedding cake was…uh…not the easiest part of wedding planning.

​We accidentally hired a pastry chef from a reputable bakery under the table. When they were fired two weeks before my wedding, and the bakery had no trace of the order we placed or someone to make it, I was fully prepared to serve Bluebell ice cream and grocery store cake to my guest.

​Thank God the bakery stepped up to the plate and was able to bring someone in to make our cake. It was beautiful, but when we cut it, I realized it was a flavor I’ve never tasted before, and it definitely wasn’t the signature wedding cake flavor I’ve eaten 50 times before.

Guess what? No one noticed. No one cared. Because we were all having a great time, celebrating our love, and eating cake. It put into perspective that I was the only one who knew exactly how things were supposed to be.

Your guests will not notice if your decorations are a little crooked, if the cellist plays the wrong song, or if your hair doesn’t come out the way you wanted it to.

They will see you and your new husband, the couple they love, having the best day of their lives.

Try to remember in the midst of all the craziness and what seems like a life or death matter, no one will ever know if something isn’t perfect.

Like marriage, the tiny imperfections of your wedding day will be overshadowed by immeasurably more joy. You’ve got your whole lives to succeed and mess up together, and this is just the beginning, so embrace it.