Stress Free Wedding Planning Tips - According to 3 Brides
Whether you’re planning a wedding in two months or have a little more time on your hands--planning a wedding can be difficult. Where do you start and how do you manage all of that information? If you’re having a large or small wedding, you still have to juggle the costs, numbers, and schematics of the event. It may sound easy because it’s just choosing your favorite vendors but even with that, you have to choose quality ones that can do their job appropriately and professionally and that comes at a price. It’s a price that we are happy to pay because when the day is over and it’s all said and done, you’re left with the memories of the best day of your life with your absolutely favorite person.
I interviewed some past brides on how they managed and planned for their wedding. The one thing that they all shared is that they remained organized under a system that made sense to them. Cara used a color coded planner that broke down every task, meeting, and item that the wedding entailed. Claire, who has a business degree, used an advanced spreadsheet that she created that allowed her to plug in her numbers for total cost with guests that was easy for her to manipulate so she knew the final cost projection and could save and plan for it. Dawn said that she kept all of her information in a notebook with cost lists, ideas, dreams, and inspirations.
So where do we begin with your wedding planning (or what can we do to make it even better now that you’ve started?)
Create an organizational system. Everyone’s brain is wired differently and to be honest, I am not the forerunner of organization. That medal and honor goes to my wife, who does an exceptional job of it. I do, however, know that if I can keep things together in one space for one specific idea, that works well for me. Your best bet is to create a wedding e-mail through Gmail. This will allow you to respond to vendors timely and to keep all your correspondences organized. The best part is it is free and it comes with 15GB of storage so when your wedding is over you have a place to backup all your wedding and engagement photos too! Your system should include one main page for your entire budget, cost break down of vendors, and guest count with cost per person listed for catering. Even if you don’t create an excel sheet with the functions already plugged in, you can easily crunch the numbers on paper or in your calculator to see the cost of food and drink per person.
Plan for greatness! I recently watched Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School share in about an hour, the absolute easiest way to make the most of your time and to conquer everything you’ve ever wanted to do but can’t seem to find the time because we’re too ‘busy.’ This particular episode resonated with me because I am someone who uses the word ‘busy’ as a badge of honor. My thought is that if I’m busy, then I’m successful. She goes on to share that busy isn’t good but rather a state of chaos and poor planning. Putting aside all of my pride and my badge of busyness, I continued on to learn that if we make a schedule for literally everything we have to do and put it on our calendar, we will do it. I mean, you have to have enough self-starter in you to do it but once you’ve begun, you have a start and finish time--a deadline if you will. You’re going to get done what you can or will complete that task within that time frame because your brain knows that at 6:30PM, you have to start dinner and what you’re doing the rest of the evening as well is planned. My brides also shared that their best planning came when they set aside time to work on their wedding planning. Dawn and Neil work weekdays so they would make it a date every week to sit down for a few hours on the weekends and plan for their wedding. During that time, that is all that they did and in whatever phase they were in, they were able to tackle it. Claire also set aside time to work on her planning. It was especially difficult for Claire who was planning a wedding 5 states away and had to not only set aside time, but also contact people in a different time zone. Her few trips home meant a lot of meetings but her wedding to Ed was perfect and executed perfectly.
So my challenge to you for your wedding planning--and just life in general--is to schedule our your day. I too am working on scheduling out every moment of my day and setting deadlines so that I don’t just work for hours on a single project because I am constantly getting distracted. I know that I want to have this blog up and live by 9:30AM today which means I have to respect my time and focus in because I have a meeting at 11:30. But I also want to start editing a wedding to ideally deliver to my clients before they return from their honeymoon too.
3. Take care of yourself. Whether you’re getting married in two months or 12, everything during the wedding planning process feels like it’s constantly on fire. “Oh you haven’t booked your XYZ?! OMG YOU HAVE TO BOOK THEM YESTERDAY!” That mentality, while common, is super toxic (which is not a word I prefer to use unless it’s in Britney’s 2003 Smash Hit). So in between planning out your wedding planning with deadlines and timelines and weekends or week evenings spent on deciding if fuschia or mauve is a more acceptable bridesmaid color, (I’d go mauve), be sure to stop and date one another. I wrote a blog awhile back about enjoying just being engaged. This stands true and relevant at all points during your engagement. If it’s 2 years or 2 months, you need to enjoy this time before you step into marriage. I’ll have a link at the bottom that you can stop in and check out when you’re done. Taking care of yourself can mean going out with your friends, having a romantic evening in and binging the entire latest season of Stranger Things, or simply by pouring yourself a glass of wine and having a moment to yourself. Whether you do this together or you do this apart, it’s important that you remember that you are amazing and that while there is a lot of planning, it shouldn’t be hell. It should be wonderful and joyful and that your love is bringing together an entire group of people to witness in your marriage.
I’ve compiled some resources and information here so you can make your planning easier.
If you’re a fan of technology, here are a few apps you can use to make life easier.
This app allows you to plan for your guests, budget, and timeline. It also has vendor references if you’re in need of those as well.
Use Etsy to find unique and colorful additions to your wedding.
Use Pinterest if you’re in need of visual inspiration. Just a word of caution, however, that things placed on Pinterest are beautiful and wonderful, you don’t need to screenshot 50 portrait images and send them to your photographer. If you feel like you just cannot live without something, send a max of 2 or 3 images. Trust your vendors and we will take care of you. I know what’s going to look amazing in our venue and light because this is my job--to ensure your day is the best. But I’m open to inspiration you might have but I don’t want you to worry about it too much. I promise we’re going to get some amazing shots that will have you featured all over wedding blogs across the world.
Palette Cam for iPhone is a great resource if you need help picking out other colors or have a specific decoration but don’t have any idea on what might look good with it.
I’m going to be working on finding some other cool goodies as I go and will be sharing them with you soon. I may make an updated post about this later with specific things that can help you stay focused and organized. In the meantime, check out the apps above and be sure to read about how to enjoy your engagement and to schedule time to just be engaged.