Lists are good; short lists are better; short-lists are best.
Research and preparation are key for this one. I am not suggesting you short-list the first options that you come across. Take your time and make sure that your short-list has enough options on it that you do not feel like you might be missing something but not so many that it stops being short. Do not go visit every wedding venue in the country, check out websites and brochures, make a short-list (we only visited 6 venues in person) and, unless they really are not suitable, book one of them. If you really do not like any of them, start a new short-list. Do not keep visiting lots of venues, trying on lots of dresses, listening to bands, etc. ”just in case there is a better one out there”.
Like sex, if you are not having fun, you are not doing it right.
I am guilty of forgetting this myself sometimes but when it comes right down to it, planning a wedding should be fun. If you are not having fun, think about why not and see if you can do something about it.
Pick what is important to you and budget accordingly.
Unless you are very lucky, you are not going to be able to afford to spend unlimited sums of money on every aspect of your day, so decide which ones you are not willing to compromise on. Maybe you really want fantastic photographs but wouldn’t mind a cheaper cake; maybe you want a 5-star chef to cook for your guests but don’t mind not having live music.
Perfection is not the goal!
I am not suggesting you settle for second best or that you should not strive to get your day exactly the way you want it. Just remember that the day is about celebrating the commitment that you’re making and not about the exact colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Sometimes you just need to remember to let go of the reins for a while.
Elope! (or at least think about it)
This is not as silly a suggestion as it might seem. If planning is all getting a bit too much, you can always fantasise about running off and having a quiet ceremony, just the two of you and some witnesses. If it really all gets too much, then go ahead and do it! You can still have the big reception afterwards to let everyone else celebrate with you but it will ease a lot of the pressure. Your families should start speaking to you again eventually.
Keep information on a need-to-know basis.
Families (and friends) love playing Chinese whispers around wedding preparations. What you thought were perfectly innocuous statements will be taken completely out of context, exaggerated beyond all belief and you will end up spending lots of time trying to placate angry family members over things that are not even a problem in the first place. The best time to tell people what you are thinking of doing for any particular aspect of your day is when it is already booked and can not possibly be changed.