As promised, here is the second installment of wedding secrets to help any stressed out bride-to-be plan her perfect day. Happy planning!

Tip 1: Don’t Force the Fiancé

First of all, doesn’t that word sound fabulous? I loved hearing fiancé. Just wait-husband is even better. It’s tempting to dive in head first together, and present him with a list of tasks to help with the wedding. It’s his day too, you would think he would want to be involved, right? Not so fast. Some guys are excited and interested in music, tuxes, ceremony décor, champagne and seating charts, and some don’t care about anything but the date and time. Yes, you will need his help on a few things, but if he couldn’t care less about the hue of the tablecloths or the color of your bouquet, don’t make yourself (and him) crazy. Pick your battles. The absolute bare minimum that your fiancé must be involved with: his side of the guest list (including addresses!), selection of his groomsmen (at least six months before the wedding), where his parents sit at the reception, choosing your First Dance song(!) and meeting with the officiant. These little tasks can be spread out over several months, and you can remind him along the way. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a flower-interested fiancé, enjoy it! Otherwise, just ask him if there is anything he feels strongly about, stick to the aforementioned list of activities, and make sure he has the time of the ceremony right! Use this opportunity to bond with your mom, maid of honor, or wedding planner.

Tip 2: Problematic Plus-Ones

It’s a hot guest list topic of any young couple: “Do we give our single friends a plus one?”

My opinion: Make a firm guide line, and stick to it. Use criteria like if they will have to fly across the country, if they will know other guests, if they’ve been in a relationship for a year, or whatever you feel fits your friends’ situations. Since we were among the first of our friends to get married, pretty much all of our close friends were single. We opted for plus-one generosity, but I was a bit surprised at how many of the (male) guests chose to come solo. Hey, weddings are a great place to meet people, so make sure to invite an equal number of available guys and gals and sit them near each other if possible. If you’re consistent across the board- family and friends alike- no one will suffer hurt feelings or invite envy. This should be fun, not stressful!

Tip 3:  Invest in Comfy Shoes

I cared more about my wedding shoes than my wedding dress. I am a high heel fanatic, and was adamant about my gorgeous Christian Louboutin wedding shoes. They survived my outdoor ceremony, plus dancing the night away. For our big departure, I changed into another pair of Louboutins-open toe and different pressure points can make a world of difference in your pain relief! Be sure to grab some comfy insoles and gel cushions to slip into your stilettos. No one will know but you, and the additional support (plus the “bride adrenaline”) will keep you dancing all night long! But I did not force this on my bridesmaids or female guests. We included some of those adorable Dr. Scholls fold-out flats in various sizes in the ladies room bathroom basket. Big hit! My mom and her sisters also stowed away some of their favorite flats- I am not a huge fan of this practice, but it’s a million times better than kicking off your shoes and padding around barefoot. Yuck.

Tip 4: Precious Paper Products

I spent a huge amount of time and effort designing our wedding stationary. Your save-the-date or invitation is the first hint your guests have about your wedding- the attire, color scheme, formality, vibe and character. I was lucky enough to find a wonderfully talented artist who custom-designed a monogram for us, that was able to carry through from our escort cards, dinner menus and thank you notes. Paper is an area where some people will tell you to cut costs or skimp, but I think they are very important because they last past midnight on your wedding day. A copy of your invitation and ceremony program will forever have a place in a frame in your home. This is a wise place to invest your time- you can really make your stationary your own to reflect your couple style, favorite colors and important traditions. My personalized menus were in French, to add a Parisian flair to the evening. I received so many compliments on all my stationary- everyone loved how it was unique and fresh. Some people freak out about the wording of the invitation, regarding who is “hosting”, etc. There are millions of etiquette experts out there, and your stationary designer can help you create your own clever wording to make sure everyone is happy. Have fun here!

Have fun in all elements of wedding planning. Soak up the vendor shopping, cake tasting, dress shopping and other magical moments along the way. Be sure to stop and smell the roses-or calla lilies, tulips, peonies or whatever strikes your fancy for your special day!

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