Sameer Borate has an post to his site sharing a library that could help you in creating more complex regular expressions a bit more simply. He introduces the VerbalExpressions library and an example of its use.
Most newbie (and some seasoned) programmers have difficultly constructing Regular Expressions. Many a times one needs to create a Regexp quickly to test a a particular piece of code. However, not being comfortable withe Regexps can be a problem. VerbalExpressions is a PHP library that enables you to construct regular expressions using natural language like constructs. Think of it like a DSL for building Regexps.
His example checks to see if a given string is a valid URL (yes, filter_var can do this too, but stick with him). He shows how to use the library's fluent interface to construct the regexp, export it as a string or just pass in the object as the regular expression in something like preg_match. The VerbalExpressions library is hosted over on Github.