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How to Give Up Control During Wedding Planning and Just Enjoy the Process

If your Type A personality is making the unpredictable wedding-planning process even more stressful, we’re here to help.

woman writing in notebook
ColorJoy Stock

woman writing in notebook
ColorJoy Stock

If you ask any of my best friends, they’d be quick to say I’m incredibly thoughtful. But also a bit of a control freak. I define the meaning of a Type A personality, making me the kind of bride who planned every last detail months (and months) ahead of time. However, as life often does, it took everything I thought I knew, turned it upside down, and forced me to let go of the envisions of my wedding day. 

Thanks to the global pandemic, my husband and I had to turn our large wedding into two microweddings… in a matter of 13 days. To say it was stressful is an understatement. However, it also turned out to be the most romantic, intimate and memorable experience, even if it wasn’t what we pictured initially.

That’s why now my advice is to do your best to let go of the regions of wedding planning as much as you can. It’s not an easy pill to swallow since type A couples thrive off the nitty-gritty and find comfort in all of their ducks in a row. Plus, they tend to get caught up in the trap of ‘perfectionism,’ which can leave them anxious and ultimately disappointed, says Elyse Dawn, the co-founder of The Wedding Planning Guide. 

“We have seen type A couples get really focused on the smallest of details to the point they worry for months leading up to the wedding,” she shares. “This makes it so they can’t relax and focus as the events unfold.”

So how can you avoid this — and roll with the punches? Try these strategies and tips, straight from wedding experts: 

Hire a wedding planner early into the process. 

According to wedding planner Jen Ganson of A Fresh Event in Chicago, Illinois, the very first thing any type A couple should do is hire a wedding planner. While it may seem counterintuitive to bring in another type A personality, it has the complete opposite effect. “A wedding planner is an expert at planning weddings,” she continues. “And typically, an engaged couple is planning a wedding for the very first time. This allows a wedding planner to step in to offer counsel, advice, recommendations and guidance, leaving the type-A couple feeling confident that they are making the absolute best decisions for their day.” 

Divide and conquer.

Repeat after us: you don’t have to do everything yourself. We’ll say it again since we know type A personality has difficulty grasping the concept: You should delegate duties to your support team. When we were forced to cancel our larger celebration, I texted my bridesmaids and assigned them all tasks. 

Someone found a last-minute hair and makeup person, someone else found videographer options, someone else figured out sandwiches while we’re getting ready on the day of the wedding — and it all worked out just fine.

At the time, it wasn’t a conscious choice but a necessity. My husband and I couldn’t do it all ourselves in a short period, so we willingly asked for the help we needed. Your friends and family members love you, and they want to help, so let them, urges JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli in New York City. “The more you let go and hand over control, the more relaxed you will be,” she continues. “If you tend to internalize all the planning, you will never relax and enjoy yourselves.”

One way to let go while having peace of mind is creating a living-breathing document that houses the wedding weekend timeline. This should be filled with information on when activities begin, when vendors arrive, who is responsible for what, and so on. 

Your wedding planner should be the keeper of this list, but every vendor and member of the wedding party should have access to it. “That timeline will set the tone for the day and keep everyone on track and in the know,” Gregoli continues. “Communication is key with respect to making your wishes known to the vendors. Everything you expect or envision should be conveyed to the vendors ahead of time.”

Pinpoint your triggers and manage them. 

We all have different areas of our life that are more emotionally daunting than others. And since a wedding is a very emotional experience, they may feel more intense as you prepare to wed. That’s why it’s essential to understand your triggers so you can prepare for them and manage your reactions, Dawn says. These may be things like unwanted input from in-laws, feeling rushed, slow communication, and so on. 

“Give parents tasks you are okay with having them being in charge of, like throwing an engagement party or shower that can give them a focus and allow them to feel involved,” she continues. “Pad in extra time on your timeline if you hate feeling rushed. Any stressor you tend to have on a normal day will be amplified on and around your wedding, so plan ahead for that! You will thank yourself later.”

Keep the big picture in mind when making decisions.

As Ganson puts it, yes, the details are essential but keep them in perspective. As an example, when stressing over which napkin color to choose, try to picture the reception space the night of your wedding with the band playing and your guests dancing and having a good time. Where is the napkin? Likely, it is crumpled up on the floor by the table. “At the end of the day, the napkin color doesn’t matter,” she says. “It's the memories you’ll be creating with your friends and family.”

Things will go wrong. That’s okay.

Like, in my instance: the wedding I planned for months couldn’t happen. But the wedding I planned in 13 days? Magical. Things will go differently than you expect, and some things are absolutely out of your control. Rather than fretting about it, accept it so you can savor this particular time of your life. “We’ve seen weather, exceptionally bad traffic and other snafus force plans to change at almost every wedding we’ve worked,” Dawn shares. “Going into your wedding day with a solid plan is important, but just as important to a successful day is embracing that a few things will probably change as the day unfolds.”

Remember, this is when it’s vital to trust your vendors, trust your wedding party… and trust your marriage. The most important part of the day is starting your life with your special person. The rest is just icing on the (wedding) cake.