A life for two is a pretty picture, isn't it? But, who would have thought the road to that life together would be so stressful.

A wedding is essentially a mosaic of high-pressure decisions. Many brides can feel almost crushed under the weight of the choices to be made and made quickly!

If you are recently engaged, here are some of the decisions you will need to make in the coming months:

* Ceremony - to get married in a church or not.
* Marriage celebrant - who will marry you is pretty darn important.
* Wedding location - especially tough when the families of the bride and groom live in different states (or countries!).
* Reception venue - a rather monumental decision as it obviously shapes everything to follow.
* Guest list - warning: this particular topic can result in many disputes. A tip for those looking for an "intimate" wedding against the wishes of your family: select a small venue and blame the limited invite list on the room capacity. ;)
* Wedding Gown - tip: to limit expensive alterations, select something as close to your size as possible.
* Attire (Groom, Groomsmen, Bridesmaids).
* Rehearsal Dinner location & menu.
* Lodging for self and family - a destination wedding adds more decisions like this to the plate, including planning activities and entertainment.
* Lodging options for other guests.
* Table decor and decorations.
* Invitations - make sure you pay attention to etiquette rules for the language of the invite and how you are addressing guests.
* Flowers - color, type, quantity.
* Honeymoon Destination & details.
* Menu - with a fun tasting!
* Beverages - which wines, beers and cocktails.
* Wedding rings.
* Guest favors & gifts for VIPs.
* Ceremony details - readings, prayers, poems, vows, etc.

And that's just some of the preliminary work! You can see from this list why a wedding coordinator or planner might come in handy.

My advice to anyone about to embark on this journey is to learn to make gut-reaction decisions. Try not to get stuck in convoluted back-and-forth self-lobbying because it will only create a slug-like feeling that disrupts the rest of your life and ultimately leads to major anxiety. Also - rent funny movies and read the daily news. Laughter is so very important and realizing that there are other more pressing issues in the world than your wedding is a powerful reminder to keep it simple and light. And finally - remind each other to make it about more than the party. To remember that the most important parts of the day are the vows and your time with loved ones.

And if all of the above don't work, ELOPE!