07/02/2013 03:19 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2013

The Wedding Checklist You Cannot Ignore


If you're engaged, then surely you are surrounded by checklists telling you how to tackle the massive task of planning a wedding. But here's what you might be missing: The bridal checklist for staying emotionally sane and conflict-free as you plan your wedding.

To bring you this comprehensive guide that you must address before you get into the nitty-gritty of wedding planning, I spoke with licensed clinical social worker Clio Garland of Clio Garland Wedding Coach. She is also the relationships expert for Lovepost. Before you pick a venue and schedule the date, make sure you and your future spouse study this carefully!

1. Map Out the Vision You Have for Your Wedding: Before announcing your engagement to family and friends, make sure you are clear and in agreement about your vision. Once you announce your engagement it becomes a public event, and everyone will want to have a say in it.

2. Anticipate Potential Responses to your Engagement: Be as prepared as possible for the questions and different reactions to your announcement and discuss possible responses. If there are family relationships or situations that you think may create a conflict, explore ways to handle the situation before you announce your engagement in order to minimize stress. For example, if you know your parents will say that you are too young to get married, you will not get defensive or reactive if you prepared your answer ahead of time. You might respond, "We appreciate your concern and are aware of some of the difficulties, but feel confident that we are ready. We hope you can support us in this decision." If you can stay strong as a couple, despite their protests, it will set the stage for how things will go during your engagement process and marriage.

3. Discuss Finances: Discuss as a couple how you think the finances should be handled. If you think your families want to contribute, consider what their expectations will be about their involvement in the decision-making.

4. Prepare Yourself to Set Boundaries: Although you need to be sensitive to your family and friends' involvement during the planning process, you will need to set boundaries when someone wants to dominate the wedding planning. Practice with your partner how you are going to communicate that to any overbearing family members or friends.

5. Be Aware of the Top Wedding Stressors: It's helpful if you know ahead of time that certain elements are going to be particularly stressful, so you're not caught off-guard. These stressors are: Honeymoon, menu, table seating, guest list, and venue. Having a clear view of what you want, but also being flexible, will help minimize the conflict that these stressors can bring on.