How to Plan Your Wedding Without Going Nuts

The Broke-Ass Bride's Wedding Guide empowers couples with the simple philosophy that it's not about how much you spend but how you spend it. As author Dana LaRue says, "You're only planning a party, so have fun with it." You don't need to give up your savings, the possibility of a downpayment on a house, or your sanity to plan a celebration that is meaningful and inspired. Here, Dana shares her advice on how to dive into the wedding planning process with your groom.

After getting engaged, you and your intended need to hash out who wants to be responsible for what parts of the plan, and how involved either of you want to be with respect to the details. "But, Dana!" you scream hysterically. "My partner isn’t interested in any of the details!" Well, I’m sorry, but that shizz is just plain unacceptable.

Okay, fine, that’s not exactly true. If you’re a super–Type A personality, or you’ve been imagining your wedding in great detail from the moment you broke free from your mother’s womb, then that may be exactly what you want — nay, need— from your partner. Hands-off, total agreement, nod-and-smile-style support.

If that doesn’t describe you (we’ll call you "Type Other"), you’ll have to gently introduce your partner to the inevitability of his role in the researching, planning, organizing, spreadsheeting, financing, and handing-you-Kleenex-during-the-meltdowns-of-wedding-planning reality.

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Photo by: Sarah & Rocky Photography on Southern Weddings via

1. Brainstorm his talents and interests and break up the duties accordingly.
Who’s better at organization? Who’s a more skilled haggler? Who can research on the Internet like a boss? Who has a better eye for design?

2. Figure out who cares more about what.
If you’re a major audiophile, it follows that you’d be a better choice to plan the playlist and DJ or band. If your partner is a typography or graphics nerd, let him take the lead on the invitation selection or design. And for the elements that neither of you love, either scratch them from the plan, because you’re allowed to omit anything you wish — it’s your wedding — or suck it up, divide, and plan to mutually conquer. (P.S.: The aforementioned point about it being your wedding will be repeated ad nauseam — get used to it.)

3. Discuss going on a "spending diet" to help you save for the wedding.
Blogger Anna Newell Jones of "And Then We Saved" suggests that you and your partner write down your "needs" for each month (rent, utilities, insurance, groceries, gas, etc.), budget for those, and then give yourselves an allowance for extras such as entertainment, dining out, clothes, and the like. Anything left over each month goes into your savings for the wedding! The website provides excellent budgeting and financial tracking software to help you identify where you’re spending money each month and how to establish limits for yourself. It’s a lifesaver!

4. Remember, you are a team.
Thus, teamwork is to be expected. And there is no i in "teamwork," but there is an ass in "forced assistance." So brace yourselves for the fact that sometimes it will be super fun, and sometimes it will be a total drag, but thems the ropes of planning a wedding. If you’re not in it to win it, maybe elope?

5. If rewards-based systems work for you, work out one of those, too.
Planning can be fun and mutually beneficial!

6. Discuss how to manage any possible disagreements that may come up.
Find me a couple who agrees on every single aspect of their wedding from the get-go, and I’ll show you a purple people eater. As you begin the process, it’s essential to understand that there are two people with two minds that are equally important, and that those minds will sometimes clash.

This brings us to one of my favorite, and most commonly used, words in wedding planning: compromise. This means you’ll have to get great at choosing your battles, and at being generous. And if it comes down to a stalemate between the two of you, find the least biased, most trustworthy third party possible to be your tie-breaker, or flip a coin and suck it up if you lose.

—Dana LaRue, as seen in The Broke-Ass Bride's Wedding Guide. Published with permission from Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York. ©2013 Broke-Ass Media, Inc.

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The Broke-Ass Bride's Wedding Guide approaches wedding budgeting challenges as opportunities to be creative, and teaches engaged couples how to get more for less. In her signature sassy, chatty voice, author Dana LaRue gives hardworking and helpful tips, such as how to negotiate with vendors like a pro, and ideas for inventive (and affordable) engagement parties, DIY recipes, decorations, and more.