16/06/2014 11:19 BST | Updated 13/08/2014 06:59 BST

4 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Planning My Wedding

I've been married for 8 months exactly today (but who's counting...) and I have to admit, I miss being deep in the throws of wedding planning. Unlike many brides, I really enjoyed the planning process...for the most part. When I look back at the big day, there are some things I definitely wish I could go back and do differently now that I've already experienced it once. But since my husband doesn't seem like he's interested in a vow renewal anytime soon, I'm stuck with all of this wise wedding planning knowledge, the things I wish someone had told me while I was planning the big day and there is no way I am keeping it to myself. If you're engaged, or hoping to be engaged one day, here are the four things I wish someone had told me about planning my wedding.

It's OK To Be Stressed

The moment you get engaged, get prepared to be inundated with everyone and their mom telling you variations of "don''t get stressed." I'm here to tell you that it is perfectly alright if the prospect of throwing a probably huge, definitely expensive party for your closest family and friends while committing your life to another human being feels a tad bit overwhelming and stressful. It is! The more you tell yourself that you shouldn't freak out about something, the higher the chances of it totally taking control of your mind. If you go into planning your wedding with a realistic attitude and don't let yourself feel pressured to be some zen, stress-free bride, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you don't have an epic bridal melt-down, or if you do at least it won't be a total shock.

Do Your Own Research

It might seem easiest to just hire all the same vendors who come highly recommended by your friends or family, but it's always in your best interest to do your own research. You aren't working with the exact same budget, or have identical needs or ideas as any other bride. Consider all of your options before signing any contracts, and try to meet as many vendors as possible in person so you can see if your personalities will mesh well-you're going to be spending a lot of time communicating, it's always good not to totally dislike them.

You Can Cut Costs Without Having a Cheap Wedding

When I got engaged, I had grand plans! "Budget" was a dirty word, one I never wanted to talk about which led to some harsh realities a few months into planning. I quickly had to learn that if I wanted the beautiful wedding of my dreams, I was going to have to get creative. This meant cutting back in certain areas while splurging happily in others. This is where the internet becomes your very best friend, it's full of tricks, DIYs and tips to make your wedding more affordable, and in my opinion, it's a lot of fun to put your own personal touch on some details. I'm the least craftiest gal in all of the land, but even I could print out my own escort cards at a fraction of the cost of having them done professionally done-and nobody was any wiser!

Do What Makes You Happy

I'm sure you're thinking, easier said than done, right? Especially when your future mother in law is breathing down your neck about every minute decision, your parents keep adding to the guest-list and your fiance' only cares about making sure you're having an open bar. Which you should, but I digress. Doing what makes you happy isn't an invitation to be a total selfish jerk to your family, friends and guests, it's just a reminder that there is no reason to do anything that doesn't fill your heart with joy. Toss aside stale traditions that have no meaning and replace them with your own! Select a menu that is anything but typical wedding fare, or if you want to wear a pink dress, rock it! It's your day; it should be a reflection of you and your fiance' and the love you share. Chances are, your guests will probably appreciate you doing things a bit differently-haven't you noticed how weddings can be the same old, same old each time? Don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd and have fun!