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How to Not Hate Your Own Wedding

25/08/2013 23:05 BST | Updated 25/10/2013 10:12 BST

Just this week American Idol winner and angsty songbird Kelly Clarkson called off the big wedding she and her fiance were planning this October, because she was 'so overwhelmed' and 'so over' planning it.

Instead, they told their guests and the world that they changed their minds and are going to elope.

Eloping is something most nearlyweds will half-joke about at some point while trying to juggle vegan guests, overbearing family members and ever-stretching budgets, but quickly laugh off. Even for us, despite having planned a dozen weddings before my own, we still felt the pressure.

Planning a wedding is stressful, and it can be so tempting to run off and get hitched under an oak tree in the South of France. For some couples, like Kelly and her beau, that works - more power to them.

But for most couples, it's simply not possible. So if you've got to knuckle down and get it done, how do you manage to not hate your own wedding?

Make your own timeline

There's no rule about the length of your engagement. A year seems like the average for most couples, but you have to do whatever works for you.

If you just want to get it over and done with and just be married as soon as possible, who says you can't plan a wedding in a matter of months? Not just an option for shotgun weddings, if people even do that anymore.

Or you could take your time and enjoy being engaged for a few years - take mini-breaks, have a weekend where you don't discuss waistcoats and flavours of sponge. You won't need to rush to make any decisions, but don't leave it all until the last minute either!

Delegate

Yes, this is your day, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything yourself.

Biased but still true, getting a wedding planner can be a fantastic option for brides who just want to hand stuff over to a professional. We hire people to wash our cars, fix our clothes and cut our hair - why should the most important day of your life be any different?

Let a wedding planner do all the legwork for you and leave you with more time to go to dress fittings. Use their industry knowledge and discounts to get good deals - our kind is not afraid to haggle.

If budgets are tight, find a wedding planner who will charge by the hour so you can just hand over a few hours worth of fiddly admin (see our Pay As You Plan service....yep, I went there)

If professional planning still isn't in the budget, ask friends. You'll be surprised at how willing people are to pitch in. Got a friend with gorgeous handwriting? Set them to work on envelopes. Know someone who really, weirdly likes spreadsheets? Ask them to manage your RSVPs.

Set boundaries

One of the biggest reasons couples will want to elope is the pressure of having to please everyone. Your whole family will put in their two-cents about what colour the napkins should be, which aunt can make the favours and who should be seated next to who.

The trick is to set boundaries from the outset. Smile and nod at any unsolicited advice and requests, and then calmly explain that the two of you will talk it over and decide together.

It can be difficult if you're not the ones paying, and not knowing how much say you can really have in your own wedding. Have an honest conversation with your benefactors as soon as they offer you any money. You need to know what they expect in return, and not be surprised later down the line when you find out more of your mum's friends are coming to the wedding than your own.

Hindsight

In the stress of planning, it can be hard not to see how the number of peonies in your bouquet or the colour of the uplighters are the most important things in the world.

You need to stop to ask yourself some questions - Will this make or break the day? Am I going to look back and remember that in 10 years? Or even 1 year?

Ask married friends what they regret spending so much time on, looking back, and what elements of the day really stick out in their memory. Then you'll know what to focus on and what to palm off to someone else.

Look at honeymoons

If all else fails, concentrate on the honeymoon. Santorini or Cancun. Sun or ski? Hotel or villa? Now, these are decisions you can get on board with.

Keep that image in your head of just the two of you in a faraway place, sharing a giant bottle of wine and finally able to laugh about how crazy things got in the last few months. If it helps your stress levels, adjust your calendar to countdown to the day you leave on honeymoon, instead of the wedding...

Remember why you're doing this

Look at your fiance. Just really look at him. That's why you're doing this. You're planning a wedding because you want to be married to that face.

Of course the wedding is important, it's a day to celebrate the start of your lives together, but it's one day in a million that you'll get to spend with the love of your life.

Remember that next time you're shouting down the phone because your caterer ordered round plates instead of square.