Tuesday, November 15, 2011
So Busy! How to survive wedding planning "crunch time".
Our wedding is only 52 days away, and we really only started putting everything together for it a couple weeks ago! It is incredibly stressful, and Excel kept crashing on me, deleting whole chunks of the guest list and info for people... ahhhh! I know everything will come together, but with the holidays drawing nearer as well, right now I feel like my brian will explode. Fortunately, Bear is helping me keep things in perspective, and I have an awesome team of ladies helping me out. Everyone is super busy this time of year (imagine everyone who is working on the wedding also working on a holiday show, and you get the idea of "busy") so I spend a lot of time figuring out what is necessary and what is superfluous. I am tapping a lot of resources I have built up over the years, in both people and supplies, and trying to stretch that dollar!
So today I have some advice for people who find themselves also planning a quickly approaching wedding...
1) Ask friends if you can use their talents. I have lots of talented friends who are helping out in every way from wedding planning to DJing to being a human photobooth. For a modest fee and free dinner and because they love you, you may be able to reduce the amount of wedding vendors you have to hire on. Just be sure the people you assemble can do the job you want. That being said, if you have a vendor you really want and can't live without, hire them (don't anticipate your amateur photog friend can produce the same images as that professional photog you've been dreaming of, for example... if they are on par, great! But you don't HAVE to compromise if you can swing hiring the job out).
2) The internet is your friend. I wanted a very handmade wedding, but with the time crunch, I can't afford the hours needed to create it myself. I have outsourced a lot of the handmade details to very talented etsy sellers. Dealing with a site like etsy? A big tip that will help you go further: pay lots of compliments to the sellers you choose, but make them honest ones. Don't say you love something that you don't, and don't tell them you are talking them up when you aren't. If you are genuinely excited about working with a seller and have mentioned them to friends and passed their store name on to others, let them know! People are much more willing to work with you and want to please you when you keep them happy, too. I try never to take any seller I work with for granted, and always reiterate my appreciation. Especially the sellers I have who are making me specialty items in a time crunch... I always try to be appreciative and tell them how awesome they are for all their hard work. I also spend a lot of time corresponding with them, answering their questions, and honestly asking my own. I give as much info up front as I can. As in everything in life, honesty is the best policy!
3) When the stress gets you down, don't cause drama. Have I had freak outs? Yes. Instead of posting my frustrations on my Facebook wall, I talk one-on-one with Bear about it, or write it down for myself. Chances are, when I cool off, I am just stressed with the whole picture, not necessarily a single person, or even a collective of people. Weddings are stressful and a lot of the decisions for details are presented to the couple. If it really gets to be too much to handle, designate elements to your party or planner or someone you trust. The thing you have to remember about that is that if it doesn't turn out the way you had envisioned it, you relinquished that role to someone else, and can't be upset about it later.
4) Take a break. Yes, time is of the essence and the minutes turn to hours turn to days. Before you know it, there is no time left! BUT, it is better to take some time to yourself now, here and there in small portions, or a day off, than to turn into an uber-stressed bridezilla. Because as much as we like to watch bridezillas on TV, deep down inside nobody wants to be remembered as one.
5) BE HONEST. If you really don't like something, speak up. If you let it go on, you can't be mad later. This is the part I have trouble with (I am a people pleaser and hate making people feel their idea is somehow inferior). More often than not, the idea you shoot down won't offend the brainstormer, they were only trying to see if you wanted to go in a different direction.
6) Keep everyone involved. There are a lot of people involved in a wedding... it IS the merger of two families. It's not always easy to involve that super-helpful brother-in-law or the eager great aunt, but they want to help relieve your stress. This is not to say call everyone who may be blood relations for help, but those who are close who express an interest can be involved. Pick tasks that you don't want complete control over and give them to the helpful family members with easy instructions. Ask them to sit in on a crafty day for some detail that requires an assembly line. If everyone is busy, they are typically happy, and the majority of possible drama is alleviated.
7) Take it all with a grain of salt. Weddings are emotional, and emotions can run really high. When news reaches you about a particularly passionate friend or family member, talk to them about their point of view and see how you can soothe the issue. If that's not possible (or the individual just really likes to complain), remind yourself of the things you like about that person. You really don't want to get caught up in the little irritants, especially with such a big event drawing near. It's best to let it go, and have another little chat if a problem gets worse.
8) Make sure your fiance likes where the wedding is going. It's his party, too! If he happens to really hate the grey suits you liked, make a compromise instead. Nobody wants a bitter groom. (Yes, I picked out grey suits, and they wound up being really light grey... and then I realized with a red accent, my boo would look like PeeWee Herman! Now, I love PeeWee, but I don't really want to marry him. We made a different choice and now we're both happy! Live and learn...)
9) Find a groove that keeps you productive but relieves stress. Remember that bit about taking some time to not think wedding? Yes, it's that important. If you are a tightly wound person like me, find some routine that helps you unwind a bit every day. I personally enjoy long hot showers and slow moving mornings. I also read at night, which allows me to escape a little into the story. During the day, I answer emails, check the guest list, and go over the checklist. If I get overwhelmed, I take a break and check my blog list. In this way, I am making headway every day without having horrible stress nightmares!
10) Remember the most important part of the wedding day is marrying your best friend. If everything goes wrong, you will still have said "I do" to the person you love the most... and that makes it all worth while!
These are all lessons I learned, sometimes the hard way, and I hope they help you with your own planning! If this post helps one person, I feel it has done its job!