Unplanned children, an embarrassment of families, and the mother who has appointed herself as a lead planner. Jade Beer has seen and done it all. She is the editor of Conde Nast Brides, author of The Almost Wife, and a Conde Nast Brides contributor. She shares her wisdom on how to make the wedding countdown easier.

All these scenarios and more inspired me to write my debut novel, The Almost Wife. The women are resourceful, and they’re impressive. But perhaps not more than when in full planning mode. The stories I have heard have left me in tears. It didn’t take long for me to realize that there would one day be an excellent novel in this book!

“Everything MUST be perfect”

One bride I worked with hated that her blush pink couture gown clashed severely with the orange carpet in the church aisle. She had it torn up. Some brides spend thousands of dollars on their wedding cake, while others fly to Paris to have gowns custom-made. One bride had to replace every rose bush in her parents’ garden with the desired color. One woman grew her wedding flowers in a windowbox at her London apartment and on a borrowed plot.

It is a joy to see this devotion. Accept that things may not go as planned. I spent months worrying that I would fall down the aisle, but the only thing to do so was my wedding cake falling over when my husband knocked into it. You can’t plan for that!

I’m engaged. . . oh, pregnant’

It can be stressful to choose a dress for two people. My fashion desk has some suggestions if having something made bespoke doesn’t work for you. Check out Minna.co.uk to find lovely, loose dresses with vintage inspiration. Tiffanyrose.com has affordable pregnancy gowns perfect for brides, maids, and guests. Seraphine.com has a wide range of full-length lace styles and a collection of occasion wear perfect for those who want to embrace color. Meanwhile, bridal designers Alice Temperley and Jenny Packham have loose empire dresses in light fabrics.

“My dad isn’t here to walk up the aisle”

How will you honor him? One bride placed beautiful flowers where her mother would have sat. One bride had flowers from her late mother’s dress embroidered into her gown. Another secured her bouquet with her father’s wristwatch. A third had a Saville Row suit tailored for her. Consider the readings you choose, speeches given, or using their birth flowers.

Every week, I witness weddings in which couples perform the aisle walk differently – the bride may do it with her mother or by herself, sometimes with her maids or flower girls, and other times with a group. It has never been less memorable because there was no father figure. Accept and celebrate whatever makes your wedding unique, even if it is more emotional.

Everyone wants to go dress shopping

When shopping for a wedding dress, some simple rules always seem genuine.

Take someone you can trust or know has your best interest at heart. You can always leave. You can always pull out your “I’ll sleep it over” card. The stylist who fits you will know what looks best on each body shape. Listen to her. 4) your partner’s opinion is as essential or insignificant as you wish. Some brides have a long discussion with their partners about what dress they should wear. Others are amazed. 5) Do not be influenced by the fashion sense of your friend.

This dress is different from any other you may buy. It can’t be dictated to by fashion. It’s got a bigger job to perform. You need to move and photograph well if you want it to flatter you. It would be best if you felt 100 times more yourself.

No one can understand my vision

It’s much easier to communicate your ideas when you can show them. What you consider understated, someone else may find opulent.

This advice should be multiplied tenfold if you’re marrying abroad, where there are different styles, cultures, and traditions. Every conversation I have with stylists or photographers I’ve worked with for years begins with a mood board of images defining my vision.

I don’t know which suits me best

Who hasn’t gotten dressed in the early morning and then changed before leaving home (i.e., Most of us know how difficult this can be. It can take years for you to learn what suits your body type. It’s then a tricky task to translate that into a dress for your wedding (or a skirt, bodice, tuxedo, or, if you prefer, i.e., converting it from lingerie). This could explain why some women have more than one dress. Just recently, I interviewed a bride with eight dresses. There are seven more chances for you to get it wrong.

Look at your dresses. Are they sharply tailored, or are they more romantic and pretty? You can use this as your starting point and then work to take the dress to new heights. Add some volume, sparkle, or a darling neckline to make it a dress that is not only special but also indisputably yours.

“Mum has appointed herself as my wedding planner”

A part of me wants just to say let her go! It’s best to give her a big, meaty job you know she will love. It would be best if you gave her something to keep her busy. She can grow all the herbs she needs for your guests, compile a list of local B&Bs and hotels, or interview several caterers before presenting her shortlist. All of the above is even better.

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