Beautiful invitations. Gorgeous flower arrangements. His and Hers signature drinks. Your dream dress that hugs you in all the right places. Oh the ideas are endless! And with Pinterest on your side, your ideas seem to be never ending. Really, they seem to never end. Not to mention the not-so-glamorous task lists, like choosing an officiant, getting venue insurance, payment plans for vendors, etc.
As a self-proclaimed planner, an experienced designer, and an ambitious DIY-er, one would say I took on the world with planning, designing, creating, coordinating my own wedding (and working a full-time job in a crazy deadline driven agency, in addition to helping other brides, as well). And with all this experience, intuitiveness, and creativity, even I was a bit overwhelmed. Well, my dear bride-friend, I am here to bestow upon you some friendly advice to help you enjoy your engagement time and not dread it.
I’m sure you’ve downloaded lists upon lists, purchased binders, printed out to-do lists and you still feel like you can’t grab a hold of the whirlwind that wedding planning brings. Follow along, my bride-friend! I hope to ease your anxiety with these next steps:
1. Use what works for you
If you’re a paper+pen gal, then print out your list and get out your paper calendar/planner to coordinate. If you’re a digital gal, then whip out your laptop and get ready to use your digital lists like Google Docs, Evernote, etc. Personally, I use both. I have an overarching list (Google Docs) and key deadlines (Google Cal) in digital format since it’s easier to adjust from there and I can view pretty much anywhere. Then I have paper planner to write down daily tasks. I find it much more satisfying getting to physically cross out a task!
Using Pinterest? Organize your Pinterest boards so each section is divided up like individual boards for “Bridesmaids Attire,” “Favors,” “Food,” etc. Not into all that social media sharing? Grab your binder and get those tabs ready to label. Place in your physical printouts in each tab like the labels above.
3. Block it out
What’s nice about these pre-created timelines is they block off major tasks and when you should do them. Now, take a look at your month and only that month. Seems a little more feasible now, right? The list of 100 tasks just shrunk down to 6.
4. Baby steps
This is one I’ve done since I was that overachieving twig-like high schooler. It’s really simple, however it does take a little focus at the beginning of each month. Like in the example in Step 3, your current month’s tasks is now down to 6. Here’s where you bring out your calendar/planner. We’re going to cut those 6 tasks down into baby tasks. For example, if you’re task is “MAIL SAVE THE DATES” and all you have done is the printed save the dates, then we have some work to do. Your baby tasks would be:
- Purchase Envelopes + Stamps (You could schedule this after work)
- Print out Guest List with address and Write out Addresses on Envelopes (you could dedicate a weekend to this or do 10 per day)
- Stuff Envelopes + Seal (this could by your fiance’s task)
- Deliver to post office (again, you could do this before or after work)
- When you take those overarching tasks and make them into actionable daily tasks that are doable and not overwhelming, you will surely get through those lists!
5. Gather your tribe
Here’s the fun part or maybe a bit difficult for those who are control-holics, a-hem, I mean perfectionists. If you know friends or family who you know are particularly trustworthy and talented (and more importantly, wanting to help), wrangle those sweeties in! Fun tip here: Have what I called “Production Parties!” I DIY-ed the heck out of my wedding. My sweet bridesbabes (my gals were BABES, not MAIDS) came over for a couple of hours maybe 4 times during the year I was engaged for these Production Parties (for Favors, decoration creating, etc). I’d always provide lunch, drinks, and sweets for them. Not only do you get more done, you also get to spend quality time with your gals!
6. Celebrate your accomplishments
This one might be a little silly, however it boosted our morale. My fiance and I love whiskey. After every huge accomplishment (booking a venue, finishing our engagement photos, booking the DJ, etc), we’d bring out the shot glasses and cheers to one shot of victory! Not a drinker? You could treat yourself to dinner? A Movie? A dessert?
7. Hire a professional
Maybe you don’t want to DIY everything. Maybe you don’t even want to plan all these details. It’s important to know what you like to do and what will make your life miserable. Really consider hiring a professional or tasking one of your lovely bridesmaids or family members with completing something.
8. Get excited!
I mean, really get excited! You’re getting married! You get to plan all the details to your special day to your special someone. It is very easy to get tunnel-visioned by all the tasks, but remember to take a step back and relish in this period–it doesn’t last long! If you think that’s too tough, ask one of your bridesmaids, mom, or even your fiance to remind you (oh-so-gently) that this is a beautiful time.
I hope these 8 little steps help you find some joy in your wedding planning process. If you’d like a printout to remind yourself of these, click here. Chat soon!