Planning your own wedding can be daunting, but we’ve broken it down to 5 absolutes if you don’t read anything else.

1. A Folder
As you start to get quotes from rental vendors, flower shops and more you’ll want to keep hard copies of important documents in an easily accessibly folder that can close all around (so nothing slips out). Hard copies in this era? Yes, you never know when you’ll accidentally delete that email, or crash your computer. Save some time, get a folder. Also, it’s a great way to store all the envelopes of the tips, final payments to your vendors. While you’re dancing the night away, have someone you trust deliver those final payments and make sure to get receipts for your records.

2. A Theme
This may seem trivial, but it’s very important for the look and feel of your wedding. At their core, weddings are a celebration and a show. As much as I like to deny the performance aspect of weddings, it’s still an important part of the celebration and make the day all the more special. You’ll want to set a theme for your wedding so you keep your budget in line with your vision as well as direct your decor as you pick and choose what is necessary and what isn’t. (Not as easy as you’d think)

It’s easy to say you want a backyard wedding, but if it’s not communicated to the rest of the people helping you may end up with something else. Another reason to have a grand theme or vision for your wedding is so that your guests know what to expect as well. You can set the tone by every correspondence you put out to your guests.

3. Necessity VS. Want
Having a theme for your weddings directly correlates what’s needed and what isn’t. This is great because it solves those back and forth conversations you and your partner might have about flowers, tables, linens, candles or no candles, colors and more. This list can go on and on, but as long as you keep it simple by setting the directive for your budget and your vision, decisions become much easier and you waste much less time.

4. A Wedding Website
A wedding website is your best option for communicating with all your guests at once that isn’t too aggressive. If you’re wedding isn’t traditional (like ours) we found it to be very helpful for people to visit and understand our vision and know our expectations and set theirs. Use wedding websites to create a resource so one gets lost or forgets certain items. Keep your friends and family updated as the day draws near.

5. A Reality Check
Planning a wedding yourself is stressful, so let’s try to be patient with other. That statement alone is powerful, because it sets the stage for you and your partner to know that things might get heated, but both of you are doing your best or at least will try to. Planning a wedding is sort of like the pre-marital test that many could blow off. Take the opportunity of planning and how you get through planning as a sort of crash course for what marriage will be like together.

It’s a great way to have a thoughtful conversation together that acknowledges that amongst the high of getting engaged, the work is just as important and worth the experience, even if it’s stressful.