Your wedding is one of the most exciting and memorable events of your life. Whether you’ve been dreaming of your special day since you were young or have only more recently begun to envision your perfect wedding, this moment is one that you want to cherish and share with your closest loved ones.
For couples getting married in 2023, the pressure can feel especially great. Some of these individuals have postponed their special day (perhaps more than once). They may have been engaged for two years or more (longer than most previous generations), have attended many other couples' weddings, and all the while, been inundated by wedding content on social media. This can lead to heightened anticipation and high expectations.
Although throwing a fun event remains one of the biggest priorities, the planning that leads up to the nuptials is not devoid of stress and anxiety. The old adage “it takes a village” applies itself perfectly to the logistics surrounding executing a beautiful wedding. From the fundamentals of booking vendors and organizing your celebration, to ensuring you have ample financial and emotional support, wedding planning becomes far more than a one-person job. The sooner that you and those important to you in your life understand and accept that, the better.
As help for planning a wedding can come in many different forms, below are Zola’s recommendations for who in your life can—and should—pitch in, according to our 2023 First Look Report. You’ll also find tips for how to go about reaching out to your friends and family for support ahead of your wedding.
Who you choose to lean on during the time leading up to your wedding comes down to personal discretion and can be anyone you trust and whose opinion you value. However, there are some important figures that are common sources of comfort and assistance for most brides and grooms.
Your wedding is about you and your partner and the love you share, so it stands to reason that their support and opinions are greatly important in the planning stages, especially regarding a venue, music, and other personal touches to make the day unforgettable. In fact, according to Zola’s 2023 First Look Report, 77.88% of all surveyed engaged couples of varying generations cited their partner as being their “rock” during the planning stages. This percentage was higher than for any other person, even parents and best friends.
Obviously, your partner’s degree of involvement depends on their level of interest. Some partners want to be involved in each small decision in the planning process, while others are content to make the more impactful decisions like band, food, and reception location together and leave other minor details up to the wedding vendors or their spouse.
Those in the wedding business are experts in their field and can be amazing resources in planning the details of your wedding day. From professional florists to event planners, caterers, venue sites, and wedding DJs, these experienced artists have participated behind the scenes in many weddings. They can help you and your spouse realize and execute your creative vision.
If you already know what you want coming in, these vendors will work efficiently with you to take logistical elements off of your plate and make your dreams come to life. On the flip side, if you feel more indecisive, they are wonderful experts to raise questions to or help guide you in narrowing down your wants. A good florist, for example, can suggest flowers similar to other flowers you may already like or provide color palette suggestions that may complement your existing color scheme for the venue and bridesmaid dresses. The amount of creative freedom you want to give these vendors is totally up to you.
No one quite understands the joy (and sometimes pain) of planning a wedding like other engaged couples. If you have friends who have recently gotten married or friends who are getting married around the same time as you, these people may have insights and tips that can improve your experience. Reach out to them—especially for vendor recommendations for anything from hair to food. Good friends know that sharing is caring and will be happy to help you out however they can.
You can also lean on the broader engaged community online for inspiration and advice. Wedding planning Facebook groups, advice articles, and community pages on wedding websites like Zola serve as useful starting points and public forums for specific questions you may have.
Paying for a wedding is no small feat, as costs can vary widely depending on the location, number of guests, and level of extravagance.
If you’re looking to go the traditional route in terms of who pays for a wedding, it’s customary for the bride’s family to cover the majority of the wedding-day costs, such as the reception, and for the groom’s family to pay for elements like the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. However, there is nothing that says you have to go for that exact split.
Many young couples do opt for at least some parental financial support for their wedding, while also pitching in themselves. In fact, 59% of couples getting married in 2023 have parents paying in part or in full for their wedding.
Of course, not every couple has the option to lean on parental support. Planning a wedding without parents can be tough to navigate, whether it's due to illness, distance, strained relationships, or even death.
Although it may be less customary to ask for financial support for your wedding from friends or other family members, it’s not out of the question to do so. Many people in your community may be more than happy to pitch in. This monetary support can come as physical donations, paying for your flowers, cake, or even contributing toward your wedding dress. Keep in mind that every little bit counts, even if it isn’t straight cash. For example, friends, family, or your community can donate items to serve as decor, a backyard for your reception, fold-out tables, and other useful items that will save you money.
A creative way to ask for financial support from your community is to ask that instead of wedding registry items or gifts, your guests donate money toward the actual wedding day. You may also consider starting a crowdfunding effort that you share via Facebook.
Emotional support is perhaps one of the most valuable ways people in your life can support you as you plan the biggest day of your life. The stress surrounding wedding planning can feel intense, so having plenty of shoulders to cry on and loved ones to help you keep a level head is essential.
Close friends provide a safe space to express your feelings during good times and bad. As long as your best friends are available and willing to support you as you navigate the stressful stages of planning, you should feel comfortable to vent to them during moments of need. Although talking about wedding planning may not change the reality of the situation, it can be cathartic and ease some of the emotional burden you feel. Your friends may also supply helpful advice or a fresh perspective on a situation you are too close to for you to see clearly.
Emotional support can come in many forms from your siblings and extended family. You may want someone to just listen as you talk and cry without interjection, give you a hug on a bad day, or jump in with solutions and suggestions. If the stress of planning consumes a lot of your time, your family can also cook you meals to take daily stressors off of your plate or make sure you take breaks and get out of the house to recharge mentally.
Married friends who have already been through the pressure of wedding planning act as your allies and offer an older and wiser perspective. We recommend going to these friends for reassurance when you get overwhelmed or have specific questions and concerns.
The ultimate source of emotional support comes in the form of a therapist. Since they are professionals, you can feel comfortable sharing your feelings with them no matter what, even if your family and friends have grown weary of listening to you vent. We recommend that you ask your therapist to give you stress management and coping strategies to minimize your wedding planning apprehension.
Reaching out for wedding planning assistance may feel tough, however you may be surprised how willing people are to help. Here is how you can navigate the process in the least stressful way possible:
1. Create Message Templates
Texting and emailing friends is an easy mode of gathering support, especially if you’re nervous. Templated texts make the process even easier. For example, if you are in need of emotional support from your best friend you may say: “Hey, I’ve been stressed today about wedding planning and could really use your support. Do you mind if I come over and vent tonight?”
2. Ask Your Wedding Party or Family to Gather People to Help and Delegate Tasks For You
If you’re nervous about reaching out to your community on your own, your wedding party or close family members can take outreach off of your plate. For example, if you simply tell your maid of honor that you need help with wedding planning details, she can relay the message to your bridesmaids and organize a group of people to complete tasks that need to be done. Your parents can perform the same type of labor for you by gathering donations from other relatives for the wedding expenses or asking that family members reach out to you via call or text to provide moral support periodically.
You should never feel embarrassed about asking for help, especially when it comes to such a momentous occasion with so many logistical components. Even telling one person you could use their support can quickly turn into an entire community rallying behind you. Who you choose to depend on and open up to leading up to your wedding day can tell you a lot about the people you most value in your life. Plus, Zola's here for you every step of the way with tools to help you plan your wedding from start to finish.
With the right support in your corner, planning a wedding can transform from a draining experience to one of joy and ease.