A problem shared: there’s no time to plan my wedding day

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Something troubling you? Share it with your new BFs, Jo Davison and Nik Brear

Help - I’m a bride on the brink.

I’m getting married in just six months’ time - and don’t know where to start with all the arrangements!

I only got engaged a few weeks ago; the proposal was out of the blue, a complete surprise. And the thing is, I know that my fiancé would love to get married on his birthday - which is in July.

I think this would be a lovely idea and one that I really want to be able to make happen. July would be a lovely month to choose for other reasons, too - for one the weather.

But it seems to be so very near. I’ve heard of couples starting their planning for the big day two years before and I’m worrying that we just won’t have enough time.

I work full-time and I just don’t know when I can fit it all in. The other problem is I have no idea where to start with the preparations. I’d love to have a wedding planner to help me, but our budget is tight and we would prefer to spend the money we have on the wedding itself. Plus I always dreamed of planning my own day.

I want our wedding to be different to everyone else’s. I would like to incorporate lots of personal touches and ideas, themes and details that have personal meaning to my partner and I.

But I don’t know how to transfer what is in my head into the actual thing.

At the moment I am having sleepless nights, worrying about it all. I really don’t want to turn into a bridezilla. I always imagined the lead up to my wedding day would be enjoyable and lots of fun, but my initial reaction is one of dread.

Also, how do I know I am getting a good deal for my money? There is such a variation on prices for what seem like the same products and so many suppliers out there.

I know there are even more on the Internet, but some of my friends who have ordered from websites have been disappointed when their items arrived.

I just want everything to be perfect for me and my fiancé and our families, but it’s just a minefield. What can I do?

Jo advises:

It’s alarm bells, not wedding bells, that are ringing with me.

Slow down, B2B. Some people rush into marriage; you’re like a bull at the lych gate.

Why is it so important that you get married this summer? And why is it so vital the ceremony is on your partner’s birthday? It’s not all about him. You sound very eager to please. Are you so grateful he’s proposed you’re rushing him down the aisle before he changes his mind?

It takes two to make a marriage - and two to make a wedding day. Yet the other thing that’s coming across in your letter is how little you expect him to get involved. A wedding planner? What you need is a husband-to-be helping you make the decisions and sharing the workload. Why are you taking it all on your shoulders? Is he the type of man who leaves all the hard work to you? Or are you secretly a bit of a control-freak who is deliberately not factoring him in so that you can have it all your own way?

Either way, I’d say you’ve got some thinking to do if you’re going to make something a lot more important than your dream wedding day go smoothly... Like the rest of your married life.

If you’re still determined it has to be July, the pair of you should decide where you want the ceremony and the reception and try to get a date set. A warning, though; this could be nigh on impossible. Your dream locations were probably booked up two years ago by all the uber-organised couples who plan years in advance.

Which means you’ll have no option to slow down. Maybe your birthday could be the date. Just a thought...

Nik advises:

Bless you, first thing’s first - stop and take a deep breath. Relax.

You’re right, this should be one of the happiest tasks of your life and, though it’s unrealistic to think you’ll make it to the big day without a degree of stress, you don’t want to be starting off feeling that way.

July sounds like a lovely month to get married, and all the more so if your fiancé loves the idea of teaming this up with his birthday, but does it have to be THIS birthday? Why not give yourself a little more time and set the date for July 2015? You said yourself the proposal was a complete surprise so I’m guessing you’re not desperate to make it official super-speedily? And that extra year will make bookings much easier, as there’s no denying six months is ‘late notice.’

As for being overwhelmed by all the details, that’s to be expected, but now’s the time to get really good at writing lists. Do plenty of research online, particularly scour forums for personal touches and unusual ideas that people incorporated into their own and steal whatever you like the sound of. With your fiance, write down personal details you think would make a nice touch on the day, even if you’re not yet sure how to incorporate them, and then figure that out later. And there’s no reason to go it alone; gather your bridsmaids, your mum and mum-in-law for a brainstorming session and make note of all their suggestions you like the sounds of, before splitting things into lists; dresses, venues, cakes, food, wedding favours, to start researching prices and details. The key is gathering as much information as possible, then turn all the best bits into both of your perfect day.

Karen Bird of Kurly Bird Events is a specialist in wedding coaching. She advises:

Firstly, make a list of everything you want and collect photos of products and weddings to show potential suppliers. Friends and family may be able to recommend good companies. And ask suppliers for samples before ordering so you can judge the quality and style. Alternatively, companies like mine help you plan your wedding and act as bridal coach too. That comes at no extra cost when you order your products and services from us. If you are short of time, working this way enables you to have one point of contact and the comfort of knowing someone with expertise is ensuring you are getting value for your money. Plus your bridal coach will act as your guide and comfort blanket every step of the way, which should take the stress and worry away and allow you to enjoy planning your day.

What would you advise? You can offer your own words of wisdom. Send your 200-word answer to this week’s problem. We’ll publish the best next week. Write to jo.davison@thestar.co.uk (include A Problem Shared in the notes field and add your name, age, occupation and area of

Sheffield you live in).