You're up in the dark, home in the dark, flat out at work, typing through your lunch break, squeezing in quick gym sessions, running to appointments, trying to eat well, attempting to socialise with your friends, occasionally finding time for your partner and, if you're lucky, looking after yourself in-between... exhausting.
The thought of just one day to yourself with a clear schedule and a good magazine seems completely out of reach.
Then you get engaged.
At first, it's exciting. But, suddenly, what used to be just a lunch break or a few seconds to yourself on the daily commute home has become a time slot to manically search for ideas, call suppliers, organise bridal appointments and create the wedding of your dreams.
Sound just a little like you?
Planning a wedding isn't easy. At times it seems like you're on a really long road and you don't have nearly enough time to get to your destination.
Any bride who says it was 100% fun or completely stress-free is either telling a fib, has post traumatic wedding stress amnesia or was planning the world's simplest wedding.
At Oh Perfect Day we work with a lot of super busy clients. They have made the decision to stop worrying about every tiny little detail and hand their burdens to us, freeing them up to enjoy the engagement journey with a whole lot less weight upon their shoulders. The first reaction we have from brides when they decide to work with us is that of relief. And, as soon as they feel relieved, they also start to get excited about their big day again.
We would encourage anyone feeling overwhelmed and exhausted to get in touch with a professional planner or stylist and explore how they can help. However, whether you're working with a professional or not, today's tips will help you to maximise your enjoyment of the planning process and keep your sanity...
1. Tackle planning steps in the right order
Nothing could be more time consuming than having to reverse planning work or decisions because you have taken a misstep and need to go back.
Avoid this trap by ensuring you move forward in a logical way. Some tasks, in particular, need to be completed as a priority (before you make a decision or sign a contract you might regret).
Important tasks to consider early include:
- Setting your budget
- Deciding on what's most important for you and your partner (your 'must have's' for the day)
- Outlining the type of style and feel you want to achieve and finding inspirational images to convey this style to suppliers
- Drafting up a guest list so you have a rough idea of numbers
- Booking your venue and locking in a date
If you hire several thousand dollars worth of props and furniture without having locked in your venue (or without knowing how many people you're seating), you're going to be in a spot of bother.
2. Making decisions in a rational way
Weddings by their very nature can make us feel more irrational, emotional, overwhelmed and excited (sometimes all at once) than normal. That's why so many brides make decisions that aren't right for them (and then waste precious planning time trying to work around something that doesn't fit or trying to undo it).
You're likely to be spending a whole lot of money on your big day, so we suggest trying to look at planning decisions in a calm and thoughtful way wherever possible.
Sometimes, you need to listen to your heart (especially when deciding on more gut-feeling based elements like your wedding dress). However, many decisions require a little head as well . Techniques for making better decisions include:
- Asking a trusted friend or expert to attend an appointment with you for a second opinion
- Getting a 'details person' to read over your contract before signing
- Preparing a list of questions for your supplier before booking them
- Taking an extra day to think about something (even if you're feeling pressured to jump into it)
And don't feel afraid to take the time you need to shop around and compare options. A supplier that's pressuring you to make a decision you're not sure about may not be the right supplier for you.
3. Focussing on important or high impact things
Without fail, every bride worries about something (or a few things) that no one else notices, wasn't really important to them anyway and/or doesn't ultimately affect the enjoyment or beauty of their day.
Stay focussed by sticking to the top 'must haves' you have identified with your partner, and providing all the basics (great food, great wine, music etc.). Put everything else in the 'nice to do' basket (you may have time to tackle it later).
If stunningly lush and abundant florals are one of your must haves, then put some energy into obtaining them. If personally writing your ceremony start to finish was identified as critical, go for it.
But don't let those 'must have' areas lose out because you're focussing on what colour your bridesmaid robes should be (unless of course that's important to you) - you need to prioritise your time because its precious.
4. Working with absolutely fabulous vendors and suppliers
Never scrimp or compromise when it comes to your vendors and suppliers. A good florist, stationer, stylist or celebrant is going to make your planning process instantly easier and a whole lot more enjoyable. A poor one is going to waste your time.
The last thing you need to be doing is chasing suppliers down, following them up, wondering if they have understood the brief or stressing about whether they'll turn up. After all, you're paying them a lot of money for their services!
If you're not sure about a supplier, request testimonials, ask them if they will provide a referee, look at reviews and ask others you trust in the industry.
This one tip alone could make a huge amount of difference to your sanity.
5. Evaluating the necessity of DIY projects
We love handmade details. They can really add character and personality to your day. They can also be incredibly time consuming, utterly frustrating and surprisingly expensive.
Many DIY projects end up costing as much as buying them, but even if your DIY project is cost effective, ask yourself if you truly have the time required to dedicate to it (and whether you're going to get a big enough return on that investment). Remember to factor in trials, mistakes and re-dos, time taken to order more supplies when you run out etc.
Then, consider whether or not a) you really want (or need) it anyway and b) if you can buy it elsewhere for a similar price. Places like Etsy and Made It are brimming with gorgeous, unique, handmade details that you can order online ... that's hours saved!
The best way to outsource is to get some expert assistance. However, if you're not getting any professional help (and even if you are) friends and family members tend to be really excited by the idea of being involved in the planning process. Flatter your loved ones by giving them a special role that they feel comfortable with.
Select some tasks that you don't feel terribly personal about and hand them over to someone you trust. Examples might be stamping your invitations, being in charge of fielding guest enquiries (mums are great at this), running your post-breakfast brunch or picking up items on your behalf.
Whatever you do to cope with the stress of planning your big day, we encourage each and every couple to take a moment to enjoy being engaged. No matter how busy you are, this special time comes around only once, and you will be surprised how quickly it's all over (everyone says it because it's absolutely true).
What are your favourite ways to save time and improve the planning experience? We'd love to hear your own tips and experiences!