All the clichés about getting married are true. It will be the best day of your life, it does go by in the blink of an eye, there will inevitably be some sort of drama from friends or family, and you will feel sad when it’s done and want to do it all over again, regardless of all the stress leading up to the big day. You hear all of these clichés from people who have been married and want to give you advice (hi!) and they sound soooo formulaic, but then you look back and realize it’s all completely true.

I’m not here to tell you how to plan your wedding – there are countless magazines, blogs and wedding planners that can do that for you. But I can give you some insight into my experience and how to make the most of it.

If you’re recently engaged and thinking about planning a wedding, then you’re about to embark on one of the most special experiences of your life. Treat it as such, but don’t go overboard. There’s nothing tackier than a Bridezilla! Have the engagement party, post the news on social media, go register for all the things you’ve ever wanted, and dive into Pinterest for inspo. Soak up all the feelings and enjoy every single minute of this time.

People make a big deal about weddings for a reason. They are a special celebration of love with all your favorite people in one place. The flipside to this is that having everyone important in your life in one place can be stressful. This was one of the biggest sources of stress for me, and I carried it with me throughout the whole planning process. But when it came to the big day, everyone behaved, and I felt shielded from any tension that might have been in the air. If you’re worried about parents, friends or other family members misbehaving or not getting along, assign someone who knows them well to manage them during the event, and then let it go!

When it comes to the wedding day, – I can’t stress this enough – be present. (Oh, and don’t drink too much at the rehearsal dinner no matter how excited you are.) It’s all going to fly by so quickly, and you will need to make an effort to really soak up every single minute. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff, keep your eye on the bigger picture and try to spend time with each of your guests. You’re not going to have time to speak to everyone at length so keep it short and sweet with each guest and keep it moving. When it’s all over, be prepared for the feelings that come with that – you’ll be on Cloud 9, but you’ll also feel a sense of loss that it’s done. Try and combat this by looking at your photos. And definitely splurge for the video with your photographer! Trust me, it’s the best way to relive the moments.

I highly recommend not going on your honeymoon straight away, and planning a mini-moon instead. Get away for a few nights to somewhere relaxing where you won’t feel guilty if you want to just crash in your hotel room and rest (you are going to be TIRED! No way around it), rather than exploring whichever far-flung location you’ve chosen. This way you’ll be able to recharge your batteries, and you’ll still have the honeymoon to look forward to.

My husband and I were both wedding skeptics before we got married, but now we are both so glad that we embraced the experience and went through with it. It was truly the best day of our lives and worth every single stressful moment leading up to it.

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