WITH a gorgeous natural backdrop and a surfeit of fairytale venues, the West Highlands is a renowned wedding destination for local couples, as well as those coming from around the world. A wedding may be the biggest event a couple will ever organise, so nothing should be left to chance. The Autumn Wedding Guide can help the bride and groom plan their perfect day, and a few tips will help make the process even smoother. With that in mind, here is The Oban Times’ six-point plan to help organise the big day with a minimum of stress. 1. Decide on a date. Speak to the celebrant first, whether a minister or a member of the council office, and get the date inked in before making any other plans. Then the venue can be booked and invitations printed. 2. Compromise is an essential part of the wedding planning. This may be bride’s day, but the groom can be involved as well. He may not be interested in choosing colours, the cake or the bridesmaids’ dresses, and, in fact, he may not even be concerned about the details- all he is thinking about is how happy his blushing bride will make him. But by asking him to make some important decisions, such as setting a budget, choosing groomsmen’s outfits, sourcing rings and organising the honeymoon, he gets to put in his two pence-worth. Our advertisers can help make decisions as well, taking some of the strain off the couple. 3. Set a realistic budget. Weddings can be expensive, so make a priority list and be ready to compromise. And remember, years from now, everyone will remember the love and the fun, not whether they ate the most costly cake or drank the finest champagne. If the couple can find ways to cut some costs, they can afford to splurge on the items most important to them, whether it is the music, the food or the venue. 4. Make a plan. By keeping a to- do list- even a binder- and planning well ahead, the busy bride can stay organised and keep on top of tasks. Keep records and receipts of everything, from discussions with the venue manager and caterer to fabric swatches. 5. Divide and conquer. Think about the skills of people in the wedding party and family and ask them to be involved. Does Aunt Mary have mad calligraphy skills? Have her address the invitations. Is the bridesmaid a keen baker? Ask if she can make the cake. And for everything else, the friendly and knowledgeable Oban Times advertisers have all the bases covered- it’s what they do. Enjoy the day. After months of stressful planning, by the time the wedding day arrives, the bride and groom can be at the end of their tether. But if they let the professionals do their jobs and allow family and friends to pamper and assist in the details, the stressed out couple can transform into the happy couple. Just relax, smile and enjoy!