1 Don’t waste time.

The earlier you start planning, the better—and the less stressful your planning will be. Developing a clear, focused plan for your wedding before you start the process can help you keep up with the many tasks you’ll have to complete.

2 Be creative.

Your wedding is about you and your fiancé and the love story you share. The details of your day should reflect the details of your relationship. Find inspiration in your favorite things and the time you’ve spent together and use those personal details to make your wedding uniquely you.

3 Know what you can spend.

You can’t do much planning until you have a firm grasp on how much you can spend. Break down your budget and know how much you can spend in each category before you spend thousands on your dream reception venue.

4 Don’t invite everyone you know.

Your guest list will help determine your venue and catering costs. Trimming down your guest list will be a hard decision, but it’s yours and your husband’s alone, so don’t let family members guilt-trip you into inviting people you’d rather not.

5 Keep it close.

When choosing your location, think about the distance from your guests. Keeping your wedding more centrally located will allow more people to attend.

6 Get organized.

Create a three-ring binder to keep track of vendor contracts, budget details, and even inspiration images from magazines and online. Having all of your wedding info in one place will keep you from misplacing important documents.

7 Ask lots of questions.

The vendors you choose should be experts in their field, so don’t be afraid to ask them questions and tell them exactly what you want for your big day. They’ll help you understand what will work with your budget.

8 Follow the rules.

Ask both your ceremony and reception venues for a list of restrictions. For example, some churches don’t allow flash photography. Know what you can and can’t do before making plans for setup and décor.

9 Keep the groom involved.

This is his wedding day too, so make sure he has a say in the planning. Go over major decisions together and be willing to compromise.

10 Avoid overwhelm.

Take your wedding tasks one at a time, so you don’t get buried. Focus your time, energy, and most of your budget on your most important priorities. You’ll feel less stressed if you’re not obsessing over every single detail.