Exactly three months after our wedding, MT and I got to celebrate the marriage of my brother and his new wife, and it was absolutely impossible not to compare the two. While we planned for 13 months, they planned it all in 6. We had 50 guests; they had double that. But probably the biggest difference was in their level of enjoyment, especially my brother. He was totally stressed and anxious the entire weekend with few exceptions! If I had to give him some advice, this is what I'd say.
How to have a low-stress wedding
1. Give yourself more time to plan if you can wait. That way you're making fewer big decisions at a time.
2. Hire a coordinator if you can afford to. If you aren't naturally organized, hire someone to be organized for you.
3. Put time and energy into your wedding service. Don't wait until the week of the wedding to find out that it's stuffy and impersonal because by then it's too late to change it.
4. Communicate with people before the wedding weekend about when they need to be where. Finding out about family pictures through hearsay isn't the best way to get everyone together and organized.
5. Have an actual count of your guests so you're not surprised when you have more people than you have seats.
6. When it doesn't go according to plan, just take deep breaths and realize you're married and that was the whole point of having a wedding in the first place!