Planning a wedding is an enormous undertaking that can be exhilarating for some and daunting for others. Add a demanding career on top of planning for your big day, and the task can be downright exhausting. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to let the whirlwind of excitement distract brides-to-be and, unfortunately, performance in the office can slip. Fortunately, there are ways to balance both without sacrificing your wedding day or your career.
Start planning as far in advance as possible.
Like many things in life, last-minute changes to your wedding plans are inevitable. However, give yourself plenty of time to plan out the basics so you can minimize stress when these bumps in the road occur. Keep in mind that almost every engaged couple underestimates how long it can take to make seemingly minor decisions; entire weekends can be spent debating stationary, coordinating floor plans and more. Allowing some wiggle room in your timeline also gives you some space to tackle any unexpected projects or meet demanding deadlines that sneak up on you at the office. Plus, by setting your date far into the future and taking your time with the planning (not to be mistaken with procrastinating), you can take advantage of sales on wedding supplies that might be available during the “off-season.”
Know your limits.
To best manage your time and keep your sanity intact, use a personal planner or web calendar to write out brief wedding to-do lists at the beginning of each week. Real Simple has an ultimate planning guide that shows the bride and groom what tasks should be completed from 9 months prior to the wedding all the way down to the week of. Prioritize these tasks around your workweek demands to ensure you don’t over-burden yourself. On weeks with high demands at work, plan a lighter load on your wedding to-do list; on weeks with fewer pressures at the office, see if you can tackle an extra wedding task or two. One common mistake couples make is staying up into the wee hours flipping through magazines and registry options; never sacrifice eight hours of sleep or else your work will suffer.
You don’t have to make every tiny decision yourself in order to have the wedding of your dream. What’s helpful is to make a list of priorities that you truly care about. Chances are that you care about the wedding dress a lot more than you worry about the napkin patterns. A major decision that will serve as the foundation for the rest of the wedding is your colors. By having specific hues picked out, you can let other people make selections on your behalf without making the overall décor seem jumbled; if you simply provide your florist with a specified palette and budget, the professional can probably wow you; the venue can worry about the lights and, let’s face it, probably have a more practiced eye than yours; and major wedding dress retailers like David’s Bridal will allow your bridesmaid to browse by precise swatches (so you don’t have to worry about featuring varied interpretations of “tangerine.”)
Don’t invite the whole office.
Deciding which of your coworkers to invite to your wedding can be tricky business. Just because you invite one does not mean you have to invite them all. If you have a few colleagues that you consider yourself to be close friends with outside of the office, feel free to add them to your guest list. Do not, however, invite the entire workplace. Your wedding should be a joyous occasion spent among family and friends; do you really want to look back on your wedding photos and not remember who your guests were? If you’re confronted about it by your boss or colleagues, simply explain that you want to keep your invite-list small. Ask those coworkers that you did invite to be mum about it in order to not rub salt on any wounds.
Break down big projects into bite-sized tasks.
When an important work project and a big wedding task collide, the result can be overwhelming. To prevent this stressful conflict, break down your high priority projects into smaller, bite-sized actions. For someone with a career, it is not often that you come across several spare hours of unobstructed time. Utilizing those brief windows of time on your lunch break, during your commute, or while you’re waiting for a meeting to commence can really add up and help you accomplish those big, daunting wedding projects in a few small and easy steps.
Enlist help where you need it.
Many career-oriented individuals tend to be wholeheartedly dedicated to accomplishing any assignment put before them. By singlehandedly taking on every task in your wedding planning, however, you are setting yourself up for a lot of stress and added responsibility. Why not let your groom pick the DJ, your mother-in-law coordinate the wedding favors and your sister send you suggestions for the registry? Don’t let your pride or pickiness be the source of stress and suffering performance at work.
Wedding planning can seem like a job in itself, but it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming or burdensome as you imagine. With these tips, any career-focused man or woman can easily manage their time, minimize stress and handle any unexpected change that is thrown their way. Planning a wedding and maintaining your professional composure should not be a juggling act. Expect the unexpected, maintain a positive attitude throughout the planning process, and have fun with it! The only thing you should have to think about on your big day is spending the rest of your life with the man or woman of your dreams.
Mariko Lamb is a former San Diego newspaper reporter. She has covered myriad topics and won multiple awards for her stories on education, gardening and arts and entertainment. Lamb is now a creative business professional and co-founder of Nashville-based digital branding company, Huckleberry Branding.
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