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We’ve all heard the wedding day horror stories. Stress, tension, and drama are the three wicked stepsisters of your fairytale affair, but it’s your day and your kingdom—banish them forever with these five simple tips. 

1. Make your own rules 

Lay all the old traditions on the table, sit down with your partner, and go through the norms and expectations one at a time to decide what kind of day reflects your personalities best. The worst thing you can do is fill your ceremony and reception with what you think should be done, rather than what you want to do. Traditions can be beautiful and meaningful, and they will be even more so if you’re including them because the meaning is personal. My husband and I had a rehearsal brunch instead of dinner, with the rehearsal afterwards…on the day of our evening wedding. It made more sense for our out-of-town guests, and didn’t add extra stress because it worked for us.

2. Treat your wedding like a party

You’ve probably heard this saying before, but take it literally. While planning my own wedding, I sat down and thought through how I usually approach the planning of a house party. It’s something I look forward to, and I pay attention to all of the details, clean the house, and do everything that I can to make sure everyone’s having a good time. If our house doesn’t look perfect on the day of the party, it’s not the end of the world. I didn’t want to let small details get in the way of fully enjoying my wedding, so I frequently reminded myself that the day was “Just a party.” 

3. Know your priorities

Instead of micro-managing all of the details, take a deep breath and focus on the true purpose of the day: to commit yourself to loving the best man you’ve ever met—and to hear him tell all of your friends and family that he chooses you forever. When you’re feeling frazzled, let that truth melt you a little bit, and relax!

 4. Remember the golden rule

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Never was this more important than at a wedding. Yes, it’s your day, but the easiest way to cut the drama is to treat everyone involved with respect and kindness. In other words, don’t be a Bridezilla. Try not to bankrupt your bridesmaids or snub a family member. As the bride, you have the power to set the tone of the entire affair. Use that power for good! 

5. Have fun!

Maybe it’s just me, but I would regret letting stress or anger cloud my wedding day much more than I would regret having the wrong floral arrangements in the bouquets or watching my bridesmaids walk down the aisle to the wrong song. Everything may not go entirely as planned, but the one thing you have complete control over is how much you let that affect you. Think positively, remember why this day is happening, and smile!

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