Hello newly engaged ladies and gents! After all of the excitement and the whirlwind of the holidays, do you find yourself saying now what? Thinking beyond the traditional spreadsheets and checklists I have put together five essential planning musts to set the tone and help you navigate this treasured time.
Write it down. It's a digital world, friends! Beyond the pins, blogs, bookmarks, and screenshots there are e-mails, meetings and phone calls where you will have to clearly describe your vision to prospective vendors to be certain you hire the right people to execute your vision. With over seventy moving parts that need to come together on the big day (yes, I have counted - and that's being modest!) writing down your thoughts and ideas will be your saving grace throughout this process. I prefer a pint size journal for on the go with an itemized desktop version at home with several blank pages in between categories for your evolving plans and notes from vendor conversations.
Schedule. Be extremely selective with the time you allot to planning your wedding. It is easy to get caught up in a world of love letters, gorgeous gowns and stunning florals. Balancing it all over the next year and a half or so will be a challenge and the last thing you want is to start resenting this time. Think about your most productive time outside of your regular work hours. 2-3 hours per week during these peak times should be allotted to planning your wedding. First and foremost this time should be used for bouncing ideas off of your partner and wedding party, setting meetings, e-mailing vendors with questions and updates and tracking your expenses. The rest of your time should be used for gathering ideas and inspiration.
Trust yourself. Throughout this process some things will fall right into place and some things just won't. Chances are, the things that cause you grief are going to be things that you knew weren't right in the beginning. For example, if you leave a meeting with that not-quite-right feeling, trust it. Regardless if it was a referral from a friend or the service comes in right on budget. It doesn't mean that this person doesn't provide an outstanding service it just means that their service isn't right for you. And that's OK. I guarantee another friend has another referral and someone else that better fits your personality and vision and will come in right on budget as well.
Keep it real. This is such an incredible opportunity you have been given to plan a gathering in your own honour, and coincidentally the most difficult aspect will be staying true to yourselves throughout this process. You will be introduced to a world of options and it will be very easy to lose track of your vision and budget in the process. The image you see on Pinterest or the idea your friend executed at her wedding might not match up with your budget and that is ok! Remember that there is a whole lifetime to be lived after this wedding and to stay true to the things you dreamed about before he popped the question.
Be Gracious. If you take anything from this article, I hope it's this. This is the best piece of advice I have received in life, business and especially when hosting an event of any scale. When it comes time to ask your most important people to stand up for you, remember it's a choice and an incredible compliment if they agree. When you're meeting with prospective vendors, know that it's highly likely they prepped for over two hours for this meeting. Follow up, even if it's not the right fit. When you're crafting your thank you speech, think of all of the wonderful people in your life that helped you get to this point.