smiling bride

Photo: Vecoma at the Yellow River

We’ve all seen them. They may be friends, family members, gals you went to high school with who you stalk on Facebook, or posters on wedding message boards. They’re the brides who have it all together, whose wedding planning experience has been easy, breezy, and totally FUN (or at least that’s what they’re telling you). You might be wondering—what’s their secret?

We’re here to dish on the secrets of a happy, stress-free bride-to-be:

Plenty of Time to Plan
Of course, many couples plan their weddings in a few short months (or weeks!), but that tends to be a more stressful experience. If you are able to give yourself more time to plan (the average length of an engagement is about 13 months), you will have more options when it comes to vendors, and the ability to take your planning at a more leisurely pace.

A Clear Vision
Instead of diving into planning as soon as the ring hits your finger, take some time to think about how you want your wedding to look and feel. Write it down. Make this your mantra for the entirety of your planning experience. Whenever things start to get out of control, refer back to your initial vision to keep yourself calm and on track.

Planning a wedding is the perfect opportunity for you and your partner to come together in the name of a common goal. You should share the wedding-related responsibilities, and when disagreements arise, talk them out with kindness and humor, rather than stomping out of the room angrily.

A Fantastic Supporting Cast
Happy brides-to-be usually have friends and family members to provide support and unconditional love, rather than aggressively pushing their opinions or causing drama. Whether it’s to help you stuff envelopes or providing a shoulder to cry on, a supportive inner circle is invaluable.

Hiring the Right Vendors
Take the time to find vendors who you truly trust. Read their reviews and meet with them in person before signing on. The right vendors can help take the stress out of planning—and make the process fun! And if you’re really looking to have a relaxed planning process, hire an experienced planner to take all of the guesswork out of putting together the event.

Healthy Habits
Eating right (breakfast every morning, people!) and exercising will not only help you look amazing in your wedding-day attire, but also maintain your energy level so you’re not exhausted at the end of every day—or worse, always getting sick. You want to look happy and healthy on your wedding day, so take the time to take care of yourself!

Staying Organized
The more disorganized you are, the more stressed out you’ll be. Use online tools, including a checklist, budget organizer, and guest list, to keep all of your important wedding-related information in one easy-to-access place. And it’s not just about setting up these tools and forgetting about them—refer back to them throughout your planning process to keep everything up-to-date.

Flexibility and Optimism
The happiest brides-to-be are often the ones who don’t get easily ruffled. If a problem arises, instead of wasting time getting upset, get motivated to find a solution and be flexible. Is rain predicted for your wedding day? Buy cute rain boots and umbrellas for some amazing photos! Your favorite flower isn’t in season for your wedding day? Talk to your florist to find some gorgeous alternatives. Sure, your wedding may not be exactly how you imagined it when you were five, but it’s still bound to be awesome.

When you make a decision, own it! Of course, do your research and don’t be rash, but once you’ve decided on a color scheme, attire, bouquet style, cake, whatever, be proud of your choice and don’t doubt yourself or change your mind unless absolutely necessary.

Taking Breaks
Wedding planning shouldn’t take over your life, nor should it dominate the majority of your conversations. Set aside at least one date night a week when discussing the wedding is strictly prohibited. A wedding is an important milestone, but it’s not the only thing that makes you an amazing (and happy!) couple.