Planning your wedding day can be one of the most stressful moments of your life. But it doesn’t have to be…so long as you know what you’re doing. No matter what type of nuptials you have in mind, there are a few universal pieces of advice every couple should follow.

Designing and producing weddings as an event designer has allowed me to narrow down the most crucial information into five easy steps. Follow them and you’re on your way to the wedding of your dreams. I think you’ll find they’ll not only keep you organized and on top of your budget, they’ll also help you narrow down what’s most important to you on your big day. And from there, you can start making your dream a reality.

Assemble Your Dream Team – Early on, it’s key to identify who your go-to people will be. It’s great if you can assign someone (if not a wedding planner, then maybe mom or a best friend) as your project manager early on. Then, as you select your other team members — caterer, designer, florist, dressmaker, etc. — that person can help you coordinate and handle the details.

Figure Out Your Budget…And Stick To It! There’s no reason to go broke just because you want to get married. Identifying your budget and committing to it when you first start planning will help you avoid anxiety later on. And don’t forget the golden rule: if you can’t afford something, there is always a more creative way to do it.

Lock Down Your Date and Location – Good locations go quickly, so as soon as you figure out where you want to tie the knot, put down a deposit and get it reserved. Before booking, however, make sure the date works for your family and closest friends.

Taste and Sample – Make sure you know ahead of time exactly what you’re paying for. Taste all the food that will be served, including the cake. Schedule an appointment to hear the band or DJ. Plan to see a sample of the flowers. It’s vital you try out each element to ensure you’re not disappointed on your big day.

When The Big Day Comes, Relax – It’s heartbreaking to see brides and grooms who stress themselves so badly that they miss the whole point of a wedding celebration. It’s about you and your beloved making a beautiful, lifetime commitment to each other. Everything else comes second. So go slow and appreciate every moment. Today, the two of you are the stars of the show!

Matthew David Hopkins is the Founder & Creative Director of Matthew David Celebrations.