How to Plan a Wedding Without Losing Your Mind

Set Aside Time for Soul-Searching

We asked New York City event designer Marcy Blum to break down the planning process to keep you sane.

When a girl first gets engaged, she’s over the moon—and rightfully so! But before you start devoting your life to Pinterest boards, ask these questions: What kind of people are you and your fiance? Do you love formal affairs, or are you more comfortable at casual gatherings? Who will make up your guest list—mostly old college friends or extended family members? These are the kinds of decisions that come first because they’ll determine the tone and even the setting of your wedding.


Make a Budget

Money is never a fun topic, but you have to know how much you can spend before you start calling up a 15-piece reception band. Once you and your fiance determine that number, the options available to you in terms of venue, vendors, and attire will become much clearer. After that, if you’re like most couples, you’ll have to choose between having a smaller wedding with every single thing you’ve dreamed of, or a larger event that means cutting out some extras like Champagne toasts or a photo booth.


Ponder Working with a Planner

Obviously, I’m biased! But when you hire a full-service planner, you’re getting an advocate, too. They not only collaborate with you on the design of your wedding, they negotiate with and hire vendors and deal with those contracts; liaise with the venue; and troubleshoot things like how many bathrooms or generators you’ll need. If you prefer to take on those responsibilities yourself, you can still hire an on-site coordinator to make sure everything runs according to schedule the day of.


Select Your Setting

Picking your venue is the trickiest piece of the puzzle around which everything will fall into place: catering, décor, you name it. And since popular spaces can get booked up to a year in advance, you’ll want to decide on your location and date as soon as possible. Choosing a site also means you’ll know whether you have to pony up more cash for tent rentals, extra bathrooms, and the like, which could affect your overall budget.


Hire Your Vendors

Good photographers’ schedules also fill up quickly, so reserve your shooter early. Next, decide on the music and the officiant. Because caterers, cake makers, and florists can do multiple weddings on the same weekend, their schedules are more flexible, but you should still aim to sign those contracts with several months to spare. The last big purchases you’ll make are invitations and your dress.


Don’t Second-Guess Yourself

Asking friends and family for advice is fine, but weddings do tend to bring out the know-it-all in everyone. So once you’ve done your research and made a well-considered decision, let it go. The biggest misstep I see brides make is losing track of the wedding as a whole and becoming obsessed with the minutiae.

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