By Kendal Perez

I would happily relive my wedding day but never the year leading up to it. I planned our event while juggling class, working 30 hours a week and enduring a sudden death in my husband’s family. Needless to say, I was ready to throw my hands up and scream “I’m done!” If this madness sounds familiar, try not to get weighed down by the drama and details of it all. Consider the following tips for staying sane during the most complicated party you’ll ever plan.

1. Prioritize: The easiest way to cut down on the planning process is to reduce the number of things to plan. Prioritize what you and your future spouse really want for the wedding. Do the invitations need to reflect the latest innovations in origami? Are programs really necessary? Not only will this save you time, but it will save you money, too.

2. Register Online: Online registries are all the rage these days, reflecting the needs and lifestyles of modern couples. Avoid spending your precious weekend in the aisles of Bed Bath & Beyond and create a wedding gift registry at CardAvenue.com. The site allows you to select gift cards from hundreds of favorite retailers, restaurants and even airlines.

3. Delegate: People close to you enjoy being part of your big day, so let them! I relied heavily on my mom during planning and she was thrilled to be involved. Similarly, a good friend of mine asked me to set up her reception space while she prepared herself for the aisle.

4. Get Pinning: The days of shopping for wedding magazines and scouring wedding websites are over, thanks to Pinterest. Ideas ranging from the highly traditional to the totally off-the-wall are all available in one easy-to-use website. Better yet, there are several DIY ideas that help you stay within budget and make your day truly unique.

5. Go All-Inclusive: Depending on your budget, couples might find it easier to select a venue that offers access to music, catering, rooms to get ready in, and all the other details that make wedding planning chaotic. If you can afford it you’ll save a lot of time.

6. Keep it Simple: Avoid pouring over dress styles and let your girls select their own dresses in your preferred color palette. Ditch the formal dinner in favor of a buffet to bypass seating arrangements and dish preferences. And finally, make the reception as carefree as possible.

7. Think Small: It’s much easier to organize a small group of people than a large one. Keeping the guest list small has multiple benefits, not the least of which is saving you money. After the wedding, send a marriage announcement to everyone in your extended network, thanking them for their well wishes.

8. Stay Local: From food to flowers, keeping your vendor selections local will reduce the headache associated with coordinating out-of-town services. It’s easier to have a friend swing by and pick something up rather than hoping it gets shipped on time.

Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money.

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