Planning a wedding is no joke. Weddings can involve multiple events, dozens (even hundreds) of invitees to manage, logistics galore, and an endless parade of vendors to coordinate. Layer on the deluge of targeted, aspirational social media content, well-meaning but constant "how is the wedding planning going??" questions, not to mention tricky family or friend dynamics, limited availability of favorite vendors, and of course, daunting expense – and you've got a recipe for burnout.
It is completely and totally normal to feel overwhelmed. The stress is real. Anyone who says they're actually having fun planning their own wedding is lying. (Or else destined to become a professional wedding planner.)
If you're looking for quick tips on how to reduce the wedding planning overwhelm and cut back on stress, look no further!
Compartmentalism is fantastic when it comes to planning a wedding while maintaining some semblance of a life. Ah, the old, "easier said than done" advice. There are a few ways to do this, though, and they all work really well together.
1. Create a new email address for wedding related emails
By creating a separate email address for wedding-related communications, you get more control over how and when you engage with said communications. Instead of feeling bombarded every time you open your inbox, you can choose when you want to look at everything. Plus, keeping all wedding-related communications in one place helps you stay organized, and reduces the possibility of missing something important.
With destination weddings that involve vendors in foreign countries, this approach also starts you with a completely empty spam folder, where many responses may end up trapped. Instead of looking for a needle in a haystack combing through your existing email's spam folder, you'll be able to see right away if something important didn't make it into your inbox.
Already receiving emails to your "real" email address, and the switch feels like too little too late?
I'd still recommend making the switch. You can set up an auto-forward for the existing vendor communications to keep everything organized in one inbox.
With one wedding account, partners who are co-planning can both access and respond to wedding-related emails from one place without sharing personal email passwords.
Finally, a separate account will save you from managing post-wedding unsubscribes.
2. Batch outreach to vendors
This ties into choice paralysis (see below). Batching your outreach encourages you to narrow down your top 3-4 vendors in each category before you contact them. This makes it easier to rule out a vendor before a long chain of back-and-forth communications, and helps cut back on the general amount of email clutter.
Of course, batching isn't always possible. With so many vendors getting booked 12+ months in advance, just figuring out if someone is even available for your date requires mass outreach.
But that's where that separate email address comes in. As you get flooded first with auto responses and then with actual replies, having a separate login can keep your own email account separate from the deluge.
3. Designate time each week for interruption-free planning time
Setting aside specific planning time helps keep wedding planning from completely taking over your life. Again, this isn't always possible – especially if you don't have a planner and have to handle all the early international vendor calls, making it harder to control your schedule.
But, allocating some time where you can "think about it later" can help you focus on the other aspects of your life. As things arise, you can set them aside, knowing you have specific time blocked to handle them.
Tackle First Things First
Check out my blog So You're Engaged, Now What? to discover the three key vendors to prioritize booking before you become overwhelmed with stationery design or sourcing the perfect pair of wedding shoes.
Hire a Professional Planner
Some people fall into the "I'll know it when I see it" category (I happen to be one of them). This means hours and hours (days? weeks? years?) or researching looking for that perfect thing. The thing is, some things become perfect for you once a little more magic is worked. In the attempt to optimize – "I love it, but is there something better?" – the perfect thing may just be overlooked.
This can be completely overwhelming (suddenly, nothing feels quite right), and choice paralysis sets in.
What is choice paralysis? When there are too many options to choose among, it becomes almost impossible to make a decision at all.
One of the best parts about having a wedding planner is they do all that initial research for you. After getting to know you as a couple, what you already know you want (and what you want to avoid), any aesthetics you're drawn to, and inspiration you like, your planner will put together a wedding design for you.
Once you're all on the same page, they will source venues and vendors appropriate for your event (filtering out all the venues that can't accommodate your crowd or wouldn't spark joy), and tailored to the look/feel of the party you want to throw.
By weeding out the noise, you'll get a cohesive list of vetted vendors that will work for your wedding. Then, you get to pick what you like and they'll handle the rest.
Decision burnout and choice paralysis can easily stall wedding planning, so having someone on your side who can narrow down decisions, help prioritize, and keep the project-planning on track is key.
Physically Try On Dresses Before You Spend Hours Researching Them
Save your thumb from the endless scroll. Materials feel completely different in person from how they look on your phone.
The style you fall in love with on the screen may not live up to expectations. And the dress you would otherwise overlook may look and feel spectacular on.
Before doing a ton of research on wedding dresses, select a few styles you know you want to try, and then make a few appointments and go in with an open mind. Materials hang differently in person, after all. Styles you think you'll love may not make you feel as special as something you discover during your appointment. Trust your gut above all else, and give the gowns the stylist picks for you a chance.
I also always recommend booking a venue before selecting your dress. Imagining how your dress will look in a real environment can bring it to life, and knowing your date will help inform seasonality, too.