Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Sharon Hanby-Robie's new book, A Simple Wedding, (GuidepostsBooks, 2007). 

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the enormous responsibilities of planning a wedding. As you and your fiancé’s families prepare to unite, it may seem like everyone has an opinion or expectation to express, compounding the pressure you face.

But you can find the peace God wants you to have if you simplify your wedding plans.  Here’s how:

Invite God to guide you. Rely on God’s unlimited wisdom and power to help you prepare for your wedding. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed; stay connected to God through frequent prayer about all the details. Expect God to inspire you and your fiancé with many wonderful ideas as you go through the planning process. Recognize that God wants to use your marriage to help both you and your future spouse grow and serve Him through serving others. Make a commitment to view your upcoming marriage as a ministry and ask the Holy Spirit to help you see ways your marriage can contribute to the world. Ask God to help you see your fiancé as God sees him, and to value his input as you plan your wedding together. Establish a habit of praying with your future spouse often.

Celebrate your engagement. Before announcing that you’re engaged, decide who should be told first. Once you’ve revealed the news to both sets of parents, help them get to know each other better. Have them participate in an interactive activity like a barbecue or sports game, to encourage conversation. Be prepared for the many questions people will ask you once they hear you’re engaged, and practice giving your answers in advance so you won’t be caught off-guard. Throw an engagement party for people who will also be invited to your wedding.

Learn all you can. Begin premarital counseling to think about, discuss, and pray through important issues you’ll need to deal with in your marriage, such as: communication, conflict resolution, personality issues, financial management, sexual expectations, marital satisfaction, leisure activities, children and parenting, family and friends, role relationships, and spiritual beliefs. Seek to create a framework for merging your separate lives into one shared life. Read books about marriage together. Ask a couple with a strong marriage that you admire to mentor you and your fiancé. Consider whether or not a prenuptial agreement would be wise for you and your fiancé.

Do it your way. Don’t feel pressured to please your family and friends if they don’t agree with some of your choices; remember that your wedding should reflect what’s most important to you and your fiancé. Work with him to decide what type of wedding experience best symbolizes the kind of life you want to share together. Privately discuss what’s important to you, and then present a united front to your family and friends. Be clear and upfront, yet respectful, when communicating your desires to them. Keep in mind that if your parents are paying for the wedding and insist that something be done their way, you may need to pay for the wedding yourself to avoid conflict. Pray for peace as you make your plans. Incorporate some old traditions that are meaningful for you and your fiancé into your wedding plans, and feel free to start new traditions as well. Consider creating a theme for your wedding.

Look to the future instead of the past. Deal openly and honestly with the baggage you and your fiancé are bringing into your marriage: Perhaps one or both of you has been married before, you and he might have issues from your backgrounds that require healing and reconciliation, or maybe you all have divorced parents who don’t get along and could spoil your wedding plans. Ask God to give you realistic expectations and help you resolve conflicts.