bride and groom wedding rings

Photo: Vitaly M Photography

When you’re planning your wedding, you’re bound to run into some road bumps along the way. There are a lot of opinions to consider and, with the average U.S. couple spending $28,000 on a wedding, substantial money being invested. It’s an instant recipe for wedding planning stress. In some situations, you and your fiancé(e) might feel like you’re about to crack under the pressure of it all.

If you’ve ever felt like giving up during wedding planning, read this list for our tips on how to make the most out of a stressful situation.


When you’ve had a long day at work

Maybe you’ve been working continuously on a huge project for weeks, or you just spent the last 12+ hours working the night shift. You’re exhausted, and planning the wedding feels less like a celebration and more like a looming deadline that you won’t meet. There are vendors to hire, invitations to order, and a budget to stick to. It would be enough to stress anyone out on a good day.

How to handle: Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. Prioritize your to-dos, follow a wedding checklist and take things one step at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. If you have to, block off a few hours on your calendar each week so you know in advance when to focus on planning. If you’re completely overwhelmed, it might be a sign that you need to hire a wedding planner (if you don’t already have one). Whether you’re months or weeks away from your wedding, a planner can help you sort through all the important details and will ultimately make your life so much easier—trust us. You got this!

When you get an estimate back from a vendor

Hold on. A wedding bouquet costs how much? When you first start planning and looking at inspiration, it’s easy to envision your wedding with the most elaborate and extravagant details out there. A 10-foot flower wall. A monogrammed dance floor. A ballroom filled with crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling draping. And then? You see the price tag for what it would actually take to bring your vision to life, and...OMG.

How to handle: Wedding sticker shock is a real thing, so don’t feel bad if you slightly (or seriously) underestimated how much it will cost to get everything you want. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you compare your budget to that inspiration board you’ve been obsessing over for weeks, but don’t lose hope. The first thing you need to do is have a talk with your future spouse and anyone else who is contributing money to the wedding. Create a wedding budget breakdown and make a list of your must-haves versus your wants. See where you can compromise—maybe you skip the late-night reception snacks and put that money toward your overall budget instead. Using a budget tool and working with a wedding planner are two ways to make sure you’re spending smart and getting the most bang for your buck.

When the guest list just keeps on growing

It’s hard enough to narrow down the guest list on your own, but when parents and friends start trying to invite more people, things can get out of control. Costs start adding up fast, and then one day you look at your guest list and wonder: “Who ARE these people? I won’t even know anyone at my own wedding!” While it’s not okay that your guest list has been hijacked, it’s perfectly normal to feel frustrated and even overwhelmed by the situation.

How to handle: If you suspect that someone’s been handing out courtesy invites to your wedding (we’re looking at you, mom), talk to them about it as soon as possible. You don’t have to be aggressive, but make it clear that this isn’t a free-for-all—the same goes for anyone who assumes they’re guaranteed a plus-one. Remind your guests that the invitation is only extended to the name(s) on the envelope. A polite way to break the bad news is by blaming your budget, but you’re not obligated to give a reason unless you want to. If you’re dealing with pushy in-laws, ask your partner to step in and handle the situation to avoid bad blood. And no, you don’t have to feel guilty about kicking your future MIL’s fitness instructor’s cousin’s neighbor off the guest list.

burgundy bridesmaid dresses

Photo: Olli Studio

When your relatives have no chill

What is it about a wedding that makes everyone and their grandmother (literally) turn into self-proclaimed experts overnight? You’re suddenly getting unsolicited advice and criticism on menu choices, traditions, money, colors, decor, and even your honeymoon from all corners of your family. With overbearing relatives—or future in-laws—getting on your case, you start to wonder why you’re even bothering with a wedding if everyone is complaining about your choices. Eloping under the cover of darkness sounds pretty great right about now.

How to handle: Take a deep breath, and then shake it off! As long as you and your fiancé(e) are happy, you don’t need to worry about what anyone else says or thinks of your choices. The one caveat here: if someone is paying for part of the wedding, they’re allowed some input. Have them contribute to a specific vendor or service, such as the food or wedding cake, and let them weigh in on that category.

When a wedding party member goes rogue

Weddings bring out the best in people, but they can also bring out the crazy. You thought your friend from college would be totally cool as a bridesmaid, but now she’s acting like someone you don’t even know. She rudely complained about the bridesmaid dress you picked out (even though you love it), doesn’t get along with the rest of the gang, and continues to make comments about what she would do if this were her wedding. Sigh. You don’t need bridesmaid drama right now, but kicking her out of the wedding would ruin your friendship.

How to handle: Like we said, you can’t ask her to step down from her role as a bridesmaid without causing some serious damage to your friendship from here out. The best solution is simply talking to her. Ask to meet her one-on-one for a casual hangout and spend time chatting about things other than your wedding. This should help you get to the root of the problem—maybe she’s stressing about something in her personal life that could explain her recent behavior. Enlist your maid of honor to help keep her in line, and then plan a bridesmaid bonding activity so you can all have fun together.

When you have a fight with your S.O.

We hate to say it, but it happens. You and your fiancé(e) will inevitably disagree on something during the planning process, whether it’s a minor detail, such as your wedding cake flavor, or something more important, like your venue. An argument can really throw you off the course, especially when you start thinking about the engagement period as a precursor to your future together (“Is this what it’s going to be like when we’re married?!”).

How to handle: While it’s important that you’re both on board with the wedding plans, you need to choose your battles. It’s not worth it to argue over silly things or pick a fight every time your opinions differ. Divide and conquer—handle the details that are most important to you, and let your S.O. do the same. Your wedding should reflect both your personalities, so do your best to find that balance and reach a compromise. At the end of the day, you’re engaged because you love each other. The wedding is just a bonus!