Planning the Wedding of Your Dreams: How to Decide What Matters Most

I remember well the process of planning my own wedding. I remember agonizing over small decisions like “do I like the blue-green bridesmaid’s dresses or the soft green color better?” And “Do I want wooden or clear signage?” “Candles or lanterns for the centerpieces?” And there were plenty of big decisions to be made, too. Like who was going to marry us, or where we wanted to go on our honeymoon. The details and decision-making of wedding planning can be truly exhausting and, if you’re not careful, they can add a lot of tension to your relationships. So what can be done about this?

Since planning my wedding, I’ve learned about a principle that I think would have made a WORLD of difference in alleviating stress from our decision-making. It’s called “naming what matters most.” (Now, I have to give the credit here to Kendra Adachi at The Lazy Genius for breaking down this principle and I highly recommend checking out her work if you’d like to break things down even further!) But for now, I’m going to do my best to help you ask the question “what matters most?” when it comes to planning the wedding of your dreams.

Why naming what matters is important

As I already mentioned, wedding planning tends to be pretty overwhelming! And when you haven’t narrowed down what matters most, what happens is you’re allowing EVERYTHING to matter. This is what leads to making a decision just to please someone else, overspending on things that you think will make your life easier, or trying to control every single outcome of the day. Or wedding planning feels like putting out fires because you only know to focus on the most urgent thing in front of you at the time. Suddenly, wedding planning isn’t sounding like much fun, is it?

However, when you’re able to prioritize what matters most, and START SMALL, suddenly you have a more clear path to making the best decisions and you’re also able to let go of the things that don’t matter as much.

How to name what matters most

Even naming what matters most can feel like a daunting task. My advice? Brainstorm and then NARROW DOWN so you can start small. Small problems often require easier solutions and that is going to make things more manageable in the long-run.

So, let’s start with the area that we’re going to narrow down. In our case, it’s planning a wedding. Planning YOUR wedding day. This is a big deal, right? You’re allowed to have this matter to you because it’s one of the most important days of your lives!

The first question we need to ask is “What COULD matter?” What could matter about your wedding day? Go ahead and brainstorm this out. You can make a list on a piece of paper or just verbally process everything with your fiancé. Some example would be: the flowers, the dessert, food, music, having a stress-free day, being mostly outdoors, or even something sentimental like including your grandparents in a bigger portion of the day. Once you’ve completed this list, it’s time to discuss what DOES matter and what matters MOST to you.

This is where the fun part comes in. If it matters most to you to feel comfortable and relaxed on your wedding day, then when you go to pick out your wedding dress, you can keep this principle in mind and go for the dress that allows you to move and sit down easily. Maybe you choose shoes with a shorter heel or no heel at all. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable in a fancier environment, and so you choose to plan a more casual wedding outside under a big white tent. Or when you’re planning the timeline, maybe you decide to do a first look with your fiancé, knowing you’ll feel a lot more relaxed after seeing them earlier in the day. Do you see how a lot of decisions automatically become more clear?

Quick disclaimer: Just because you’re naming what matters most doesn’t mean that the other things DON’T matter. They absolutely factor into the process, but they are not the number one factor in influencing your decisions. For example, if you’ve decided that having a stress-free day matters most to you, it may follow that you decide to hire a wedding planner or even a wedding coordinator to make sure that happens. Of course, budget will factor into this decision but at the end of the day, you know that having someone in charge of all the details will accomplish your goal of lowering stress and you can find another area to spend less money on since sticking to your budget also matters.

If this approach sounds like to much to start with, you could ask what matters most about EACH PART of the wedding day, instead. Ask yourself, “What matters most about the morning?” or “What matters most about the ceremony?” And repeat the process from there. However you do it, make sure you don’t just go back to “everything matters” because then you’re back to where you started.

More ways to decrease stress with wedding planning

A few other principles from The Lazy Genius that I’ve found helpful are 1) Decide once and 2) Asking the magic question.


Deciding once is just what it sounds like. Make one universal decision and stick to it when you have other decisions come along that could affect it. For example, maybe you decide once that all the food is going to be breakfast-themed. So when you’re faced with what to serve your guests for dessert, your choice is much easier because you’ve already decided it’s going to be something you could eat for breakfast. Cinnamon rolls. Done! Or maybe you’ve decided once what your wedding colors are going to be. And so whenever there’s a question that’s color-related, you already know what your options are and you can stick to it without having to second-guess. Does this mean you can’t change your mind? Of course not! But overall this should help you not have to overthink certain decisions.


What can I do now to make ____ easier later? This is a great question to ask when it comes to preparing for a big even like a wedding. Maybe the answer to this question is simply hiring a wedding planner or coordinator. This will make the events of the day easier later because you won’t have to worry about who’s in charge of what on the day-of or make a last-minute call when your outdoor ceremony is looking like it’s going to be rained out. I’ve seen brides have blank envelopes at their bridal shower for guests to fill in their addresses so that when it comes to writing thank you’s, she has one less step in sending them out.

Remember, what you decide matters most is up to YOU and your fiancé. It doesn’t have to be the same thing that matters most to your mom or someone in your wedding party. Of course I don’t recommend just dismissing family member’s opinions (this could be a whole other post/discussion!), but that’s the beauty of making this decision. When you know what matters most, you can often let other little things go that might matter to other people.

Quick story. For my own wedding, one of the biggest conflicts my (now husband) and I had was whether or not to have an actual wedding cake. I was set on having a unique wedding dessert. He wanted a more traditional element. In the end, what mattered most was having a unique dessert for the guests while also being cost-effective. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t also have a wedding cake to cut (and also serve to our families who were excited about a traditional cake). So we ended up making cookies (and enlisted friends to help with this task!) and renting a soft-serve ice cream machine as our main dessert, and then we had a small cake made that was set aside just for us.

So, I hope this was a helpful exercise for you as my goal is to help you decrease stress when it comes to wedding planning and that you’re able to be fully present on your wedding day!

  1. Karen Maurer says:

    Very helpful post!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *