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Wedding trends come and go, and it seems the next new thing is always right around the corner. That’s why it’s important to bookmark a go-to blog with advice from wedding planning experts now, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed when it’s your turn. 

The good news: Some planning basics remain constant (whew!) and provide a sturdy foundation on which to build your dream wedding. Here are 7 tips from wedding planning experts to calm your nerves and set you on the path to your perfect day!


Start Early … But Not Too Early

Wedding planning can get stressful, so it’s best to enjoy your engagement for a few weeks before diving into planning! In general, 12 to 18 months is the sweet spot for planning a wedding. This ensures that your preferred vendors are available, and gives you plenty of breathing room for the planning task list. Ultimately, the timing depends on you and your partner. If you got engaged over the summer but always wanted a winter wedding, ask yourself if you want to get married that upcoming winter season or want to wait for the next one. Worth noting: There are often deals to be had for planning a wedding quickly.

Photo by Candid Moments Photography


Stay Organized

This is really the key to a successful wedding. There are tons of resources out there, like The Knot, Wedding Wire and Zola, that provide step-by-step checklists. Your venue, caterer or wedding planner can provide suggested timelines to follow, too, to help you through the planning process. In fact, a good wedding planner will create those tasks with you and continue to send reminders right up until the big day. There will also be a considerable amount of paperwork to complete — and it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to complete everything and turn it all in on time for all of your vendors!

Photo by Karen Ann Photography


Budget First

Your budget is the first thing to think about. It’s best to have a budget range before you consider a venue and vendors. Here’s how:

  • Map out your ideal guest list. 
  • Search the average cost of a wedding in your location. 
  • Once you have an idea of what the cost could be, look at your finances and determine whether or not you’ll have help from your family. 
  • Decide what’s most important to you, and how you would allocate your budget. For example, would you spend less on decor and more on food, or vice versa? 
  • Budget for the unknowns, because there’s going to be an extra cost that you didn’t consider when creating your budget. Budget for it! Your wedding planner can help here, too. If you don’t need that reserve, then great; you can put it toward the honeymoon or add something fun to your reception. 

Luckily, there are a few money-saving tips to put in play: 

  • Weekday weddings and off-season weddings often cost less.
  • Consider reducing the guest list.

Bonus: You don’t have to nail the budget on the first try. Aim for the stars, and then pare down as needed.

Photo by Two17 Photo & Cinema


Craft Your Ideal Menu

If having memorable food is your top priority, then make sure that you’re able to make your wedding day menu uniquely you. Choose a caterer who can handle dietary restrictions and preferences with ease, one that is flexible and open to menu ideas, is trendy and cooks with seasonal ingredients. Talk with your partner and decide if you want to incorporate any ethnic foods, personal favorites or foods that might hold some significance for you two. Do you want to do a sit-down dinner, buffet or multiple food stations? Do you want a cake, cupcakes or multiple desserts? How about a signature cocktail? Map it out for the first conversation with the caterer.


Enlist Help From Others

You’re going to hear, “How can I help you?” Take those inquiries seriously, and accept help gracefully. But remember, less is often more when it comes to helpers. Choose a small group of your inner circle to help with specific tasks; this is often the bridal party! Your wedding planner will handle the big details — and, many of the small ones — but things may come up, especially if you’re going to DYI things like favors or thank-you notes. Remember that list we talked about? Check it twice, and make some assignments.

Photo by Chicka Artistica


Relax the Day Before

Easy for someone else to say, right?! There may still be a number of things to do, but self-care is key, so take a few hours for you. A stress-free wedding starts the day before:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. 
  • Unplug — That’s right, disconnect for a couple of hours!
  • Go for a walk in nature (weather permitting).
  • Meditate, take a yoga class, or enjoy a spa treatment; anything to unwind.
  • Drink a ton of water. Really. A lot!
  • Go to bed early. 


Make It About You And Your Partner

This seems obvious, but sometimes your other half can get lost in the planning. So, make sure that you prioritize the two of you throughout. Plan date nights where wedding talk is off-limits and where the focus is on your relationship and love for each other.

The day of the wedding, plan to carve out a few special moments together. Arrange to spend a little time together after the ceremony to really let your new milestone soak in. Pop into the reception space first to see the room set up with no one else in it. These are meaningful ways to see the fruits of all your efforts — just you two.

Want more ideas? Check out tips from recent brides! 

Photo by Morby Photography, LLC


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Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Nina Malone

Featured photo by Karen Ann Photography