happy couple during wedding recessional
Camille Leigh Photography

Raise your hand if movies, TV and influencers on Instagram falsely convinced you that wedding planning would be glamorous, easy and fun. Oh, look, it’s 100 percent of hands! So, yeah, news flash, wedding planning is fun, and there are magical moments, but overall, it can be really stressful, demanding, anxiety-inducing and downright aggravating! Something about spending a lot of money, facing rapidly approaching deadlines, and trying to please dozens of important friends and family members at once just tends to wear on a person. But you don’t have to surrender to the stress entirely. While we can’t teach you how to make your planning process rom com-level carefree, we can share a few tips on how to ward off negativity and keep living that best life as you plan. And we mean beyond staying organized, starting early, and keeping on-budget.

Here’s how to live your best life during wedding planning.

Know your trigger topics and feel free to not discuss them.

In the months between your engagement and wedding day, well-intentioned people will ask you tons of questions about how planning is going, because they’ll want to seem interested, and they’ll think you’re dying to talk about your wedding. And maybe you are, but there are likely a few topics that are causing you major anxiety that you’d rather not discuss (table settings, anyone?). Being reminded of these over and over again by unknowing friends and family will dial up your stress and just make you… pissed off. It’ll help if you identify the stuff you really don’t like talking about early on, and if anyone brings them up, just say with a smile, “That’s actually really stressful for me right now, can we talk about anything but?” Yes, you will have to tackle these problems eventually, but no, you do not have to hash them out over and over again during small talk in the work kitchen.

Set wedding truthers straight.

Another thing you literally do not have to deal with while you’re knee-deep in wedding planning? People talking about how weddings are sooo stuuuupid. You’ll definitely come across people like this during your wedding planning journey, and they definitely are entitled to their opinion, btu their opinion is definitely not helpful for you, a person literally currently planning a wedding. It would be no different than you saying, “Birthday parties are a huge waste of time!” to someone who is stressed out about planning their 30th bash. Just. Not. Necessary. If someone comes to you with this nonsense, feel free to politely shut it down, for the sake of your own sanity. If possible, stay out of their path until after your big day—you don’t have the time or energy to argue about the pros of having a wedding with this person.

Have wedding-free date nights—as often as you can.

Being engaged should be a super-romantic time in a couple’s relationship, but wedding planning can sweep away the romance in short order and replace it with bickering and busy schedules. Which are not romantic. It can be easy to forget all the reasons why you’re marrying your amazing partner to begin with! So do yourselves a favor: Make a day of the week off-limits for any and all wedding talk, whatsoever. Go out on a date, and remember who you once were (and who you will continue to be after your wedding day passes). Have some laughs, talk about life, work, whatever—just stay connected on the much-more-important things going on in your lives. The wedding-free zone will keep you sane, and checking in on one another as life partners once in a while, rather than just as wedding planning partners, will keep the vibes good for when the wedding sh*t really does hit the fan. Finally, you’ll be glad you kept the romance alive once unlock that honeymoon suite—wink, wink!

Don’t go it alone, even if you think you can.

With so many moving parts and so many hands in the mix, you might think it’s easier to just do it all yourself if you want it done right! Do not do this. No matter how great you are under pressure, no matter how experienced you are at event planning, no matter how much you love making decisions and hate being bossed around, make this your mantra: No. Wedding. Can be planned. Alone. Embrace help whenever, however it comes to you—whether your bridesmaids offer a craft night or your future-mother-in-law offers a shopping sesh (trust me, you’ll need the extra arms and set of eyes!). It takes a village, and taking it on all by yourself is a one-way ticket to freak-out-ville—there is almost a 0 percent chance you will get through the entire planning process without eventually losing your mind on someone, or something, or both. That is not living your best life. Find the helpers in your life and let them do their thing—in turn, make sure you’re grateful, loving, and helpful back when they need it someday. Oh, and, addendum: Letting people help you doesn’t mean letting people give you unsolicited wedding advice ad nauseum. See items #1 and #2, above.

Make like Elsa and let it go.

Let me give you an anecdote. To soften the lighting of my barn venue’s ceiling, I became infatuated with the idea of renting cafe lights. I inquired with the owner to see if we could make it happen, and she said… no. I did not take this lightly. I called my mom, my coordinator, my spouse-to-be, all screaming. I emailed people, I wrote Tweets. I complained to friends, coworkers, innocent people who made my salads. I obsessed over string lights. Long story short, I got my cafe lights, but on my wedding day, I don’t even remember seeing them. Were they there? Did they matter? Who cares! I didn’t—I was too busy having an amazing time. What I will never forget, however, is how crazy I felt during the few weeks when “lightgate” was keeping me up at night. Bottom line: The things you obsess over for your wedding will never be as important as the energy and good vibes you waste obsessing over them. Unless the thing in question is a really big deal (like something regarding family), try to let it go if it feels like it’s not going to work out. No light, napkin, candle, flower or song is worth you missing out on one moment of living your best life—trust someone who’s been there.