Founder of exclusive wedding planning company, Cloud Nine, Mennet Al Hammami shares her insider tips on organising your special day…

Every couple dreams of the perfect wedding and it’s my job to help them bring this to life. I turn their vision into a reality through creative and practical solutions so that, whatever the dream, we can make it come true.

While planning a wedding is one of the happiest times for a couple, it can also be the trickiest with the build-up to the day being anything short of stressful. But that’s where I come in as the wedding planner, coordinator and counsellor.

I’ve been planning weddings for almost two years and have seen it all, from terrorising mother-in-laws to flower mix ups and bride’s zippers breaking on the morning. Some things are simply unavoidable. This is why I’ve decided to use this opportunity to share some advice I’d give couples embarking on a “mission wedding”.

From the couple’s perspective, most wedding-related stress emerges from their difficulty in trying to please everyone involved, namely the family members. Over time, I’ve adopted the Double D strategy. Every couple must learn to be Decisive and Diplomatic! Decisive in knowing that when opinionated personalities disrupt the planning process, the couple makes it clear to all that they are in charge. Doing so in a diplomatic manner by giving consideration to different people’s opinions.

A key element to wedding planning is clear communication and honesty with the clients. As a wedding planner I clearly tell my clients that every aspect of the wedding can become a source of wedding stress! A good wedding planner has to ensure the couple comprehends that mishaps are inevitable even in the best planned wedding. That way, they will feel comforted in knowing they have someone to rely on to provide a solution – if anything goes wrong.

A friend of mine, based in the US, who’s also a wedding planner, worked with a couple who were dedicated fans of a particular baseball team, so much so that they had a live screening of the team’s World Series game outside their reception. The planner asked the DJ to share the score after every other song: a solution that both the bride and groom appreciated.

The wedding industry in the Middle East is witnessing a shift: guest lists are growing and the parties are getting grander. Couples are breaking the rules and demanding out-of-the-box ideas to entertain guests. This naturally brings more challenges for the wedding planners, but also a lot more creative freedom in the planning process.

In the end, my best piece of advice to all soon-to-be-married couples is to take it easy! Yes, you have so much to plan, but remember to stop every once in a while during the process, let go and remind each other what it is you’re planning. Even if it means taking a weekend trip to recoup. Don’t lose that special bond, and allow yourselves to enjoy every moment on the journey to your big day