It would seem that, when it comes to wedding planning, Nick is the fox and I am the hedgehog. Hindsight leaves me with just one piece of advice to offer, but it's a big one:
Don't Stress Out
Let "Don't Stress Out" (and its corollaries: Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously, Be Lazy, and Be Irreverent) be your wedding mantra. The purpose of a wedding is to celebrate your relationship, right? In its essence it's a giant party, and a party should be fun. If, by the time it rolls around, you're sick of thinking about it and just want it to be over, it's not going to be a very joyous occasion. Don't let yourself become so focused on getting all the details perfect that you lose sight of the big picture. Relax, and be willing to relinquish control of the things that don't matter. Here are some good ways to reduce your wedding-related stress:
- Trust your vendors.
This is probably the first time you've gotten married, right? If not, it's probably the second or third. But this is the hundredth time that your vendors have photographed/DJ'ed/catered a wedding. They know what works well and what doesn't, what looks good and what doesn't, and what is supposed to happen when. Unless you know exactly what you want and will be devastated by anything that deviates from that vision, let your vendors know that you trust them to use their good judgment and to work out the details. This takes a lot of trivial decision-making off of your shoulders and transfers it to someone with a lot more experience.
- Keep it simple.
If you have five bridesmaids, you'll end up asking them all to wear the same dress, which at least four of them will inevitably resent. Why not just have one? Now she can buy her own dress, get something she likes (and feels pretty in), and that's one less process that you have to be involved in. Too lazy to decide between truffles or monogrammed shot glasses? Skip the party favours altogether! Is the presence or absence of table confetti going to significantly impact your enjoyment of the evening? If not, save your time (and money) for something that really matters.
- Disregard 85% of your family's advice.
When your grandmother insists that it would be a social faux pas not to invite her college roommate to your wedding, tell her she's wrong. When your aunt insists that not having assigned dinner seating will be a disaster, tell her you're doing it your way. If you don't capitulate to everything they tell you—and believe me, people love to give tons of unsolicited advice about your wedding—you'll be able to tell when someone is actually giving you good advice (it'll be during that ~15% of the time when they say "Actually, this one really is important...").
- Don't forget to laugh.
As Hedwig says: "I laugh, because I will cry if I don't." If you don't want to turn into a blubbering mess during your ceremony, go ahead and laugh. But Susan, you're saying, I can't laugh during a wedding! That's irreverent! Yes you can, dammit. It's your wedding, you can do whatever you damn well want to. You can stop in the middle of the aisle to tie your shoe if you want to. (Remember what Nick said about not having someone else's wedding?) Also, laughter sends you good endorphins and reminds you not to take the whole thing too seriously. If you need some comedic inspiration, check out Godawful Wedding Crap (a must-read for every discerning do-it-yourself bride or groom).