So you've finally found the one for you and all that stands between the two of you and eternal happiness is the wedding day.
However, most people's idea of the perfect day turns out to have been an idyllic dream by the time they have gone through all the hassles, family arguments and everything else that seems to be part and parcel of tying the knot.
So is there a way to at least get rid of some of these hassles? The good news is that there is - but the bad news is that this entails planning ahead, standing up for what you want and being prepared to grit your teeth where necessary.
When you agree to marry somebody the temptation is to rush out and tell everyone about it straight away. This is all very well but in sharing your news with all and sundry, you may be creating future problems for yourself.
A wedding is very expensive and you may not be able to invite all the people you have told about it, which can be very hurtful to those that are left out. So try just to tell those people that you can't bear to leave in the dark and let the rest wait until you have more detailed arrangements.
If there are people who would love to come but who live in foreign climes, why not do what a lot of couples have done and set up a web page so that they can enjoy the day without ever having to step foot in the country.
There is no doubt that planning a wedding is extremely stressful, but your main weapon against adversity will be your strength as a couple. Before parents and in-laws get a chance to interfere, make sure that you are both singing from the same hymn sheet in your plans for the big day.
One of the best ways to keep the more annoying members of your family quiet is to assign them a task that they can get their teeth into so they feel involved in the wedding. Just be very clear about what you don't want and make sure you have the final say.
Being firm with people who, at the end of the day, probably only have your best interests at heart can be difficult but it could never be more important. And that also goes for the more contentious issues that come to light only at get-togethers such as a wedding.
It is a fact of today's society that many people have step-parents, and any antagonism that exists between them and your natural mother or father can, and often does, come to a head at a wedding. For example, some brides-to-be may actually be closer to their stepfather than their natural father and will have to make a difficult choice about who will give them away.
This situation requires a lot of thought and you may not be able to come to an amicable compromise - such as having your natural father give you away whilst your stepfather makes the first speech at the meal.
There are ways in which you can avoid this situation completely by getting your mother or closest friend to give you away. This is proving more and more popular as some marriage traditions prove to be slightly outdated!
Another potential nightmare in the parent/step-parent situation comes in the shape of the top table. Traditionally the bride and groom are flanked by their mothers and fathers, the best man and the bridesmaids. However you need to go through the seating plan very carefully to avoid the best man's speech being drowned out by a slanging match down the table. It's amazing how alcohol can renew hostilities.
A final word of warning to the bride comes in the choice of bridesmaids. You may have always had your lifelong friends in mind when you were admiring those avocado-coloured puff-ball dresses in the brochure, but you may not be the only one with plans in mind.
You may get harangued by your sister-in-law to be, to allow her darling little children to be your bridesmaids, and you may not want to upset your future family by saying no. Again, look for compromises. Think of another task that the wee ones can perform such as throwing the confetti outside the church.
At the end of the day if something goes wrong and it's too late to do anything about it, just remind yourself it's your day. Ignore the troublemakers and remember that the odd mishap will be laughed about in years to come.