Updated: Nov 12, 2021
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who needs a little pressure to get stuff done. I work well to deadlines. I’m less good at getting ahead of my schedule.
Now I know I could make my life easier if I did that, if I completed things ahead of when I needed them and just had them sitting there, ready to go…what a dream! And yet, I keep falling into those same old traps of working to the deadline and that adds a certain layer of stress that really and truly doesn’t need to be there.
I was the same when it came to planning my wedding. It was a short engagement at just over 4 months so there was a lot to do in a short space of time. That suited me really, given my habits. If I’d had longer I still would have done it all in the last 4 months...
I’m a strong believer that you can plan a wedding in any amount of time, whether it’s 2 weeks or 2 years.
I planned a bloody good wedding in 4 months, but I made mistakes - this is the most important thing I learned… Time Management.
It makes anything possible.
As I’ve previously alluded to, I didn’t implement this well for my own do. The wedding day was the only deadline I set which basically meant it was a crazy scramble in the last couple of weeks to pull it all together.
So how could I have done it better? The answer is so simple...
Set LOTS of deadlines.
I know- it may not seem groundbreaking, but it will seriously revolutionise your wedding planning.
And here’s how I’d do it:
Create a master list of all the things you need to do / get / buy / hire / book - you may well have this already. If you don’t, get it done now - you’ll be needing it.
Start splitting this down into those that need longer to sort and those that are more ‘last minute’.
As a (very) rough guide, the major things will be in this kind of order:
Caterers (if venue don’t provide)
Other service providers (band, entertainment, florist…)
Dress / outfits
On the day stationery / signage
Favours / gifts
And there will be a good few other things on your list too for sure. It will look quite different for each couple so really take some time to think about the things you want for your wedding (and the things you DON’T) and how you are going to get them - will you DIY or get it done professionally? This will have a big impact on your deadlines and how you plan them in.
Then get yourself a wall planner or spreadsheet and start spreading out the jobs - give each one a deadline. Remember that for some items, like stationery, you might have more than 1 deadline, for instance -
1. find supplier and order save the dates (if needed)
2. send save the dates
3. order invites
4. send invites
5. chase RSVPs
6. Order on-the-day stationery – menus, order of service, table numbers
7. Order table plan
If you are getting something made or supplied by a professional, talk to them about what might be a realistic schedule – it’s their job to help you with this. If you are doing it yourself then it will take a little more time researching leadtimes for materials etc and working out how long it might take you to make.
Be fair to yourself and try to even out the deadlines across the time you have - don’t forget to plan in breaks too so that you don’t feel you constantly have something that needs to be ticked off.
The rest really is mindset.
It’s the most important factor in terms of ensuring you achieve what you set out to do, but also in making sure you enjoy it! Planning a wedding doesn’t need to be stressful and should never leave you feeling negative – if that happens it may be time to relook at your plans and assess why you are feeling that way (but that’s perhaps a blog post for another day..). I’m a big fan of using visualisations along with a good dose of PMA to make sure I keep moving forward, and I was taught this fantastic technique by mindset coach, Lauren Malone. Here is how it works:
Focus in on a date, say a third of a way through your planning time when you will have aimed to have some big items booked (venue, catering, photographer, etc).
Now write out your goals as if they’ve actually happened - think about where you will be on that day, and also how achieving those goals will make you feel. Here's an example -
‘It is 17th December 2021, I’m enjoying a date night with my fiancé in our favourite restaurant. We have booked our 1st choice wedding venue and secured the perfect date. We have a tasting booked 8 weeks ahead of the wedding to confirm our menu. Our save the dates have been delivered to all of our guests and invitations designed ready to order and send in 3 months. We have booked an amazing photographer who will be capturing the day in the style we want.
We feel relieved to have these big jobs ticked off the list, and excited about moving onto the smaller details.'
Also think about a way you’ll celebrate these wins - it can be super simple and doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s important to acknowledge and enjoy the moment.
This is a fantastic strategy for any part of life and I use it a lot, but I didn’t know about it when I planned my own wedding. Combining deadlines with intention is a winning strategy and although you might think it’s a bit overzealous when you start, believe me - you’ll thank me for it one day (ie. Your wedding day 😉).
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