Whether you have a year to plan your wedding or you’re trying to organize a last-minute celebration, you don’t have to feel completely overwhelmed by the process.
I’m saying this from experience, because I planned my own wedding in 2 months flat and managed to keep my sanity! Trust me, if I can pull it off, so can you. I know first-hand how stressful it can be when you feel you have an endless list of things that need to be done (many of them NOW!), so I’ll share with you some tried-and-true tips on how to take control and OWN your wedding—not let it own you.
Make your health a priority.
Figure out how you’re going to take care of yourself while you’re in planning mode.
We all know that stress can compromise your immune system, so come up with a game plan for your health and wellness: Drink lots of water. Sleep. Work out. Watch "The Bachelor" in your yoga pants. Take time each day to think about something other than your wedding. And please, if your wedding is coming up soon, avoid new beauty products or at-home facials you’ve never tried before. You’ve got no time for an allergic reaction!
Secure the non-negotiables.
The actual goal of a wedding is to get legally married, right? So handle those critical details first:
Check your state’s requirements ASAP, and get the marriage license and other official paperwork (such as birth certificates and/or passports) squared away.
Other things you NEED to nail down: your budget, wedding date, guest list, venue and officiant. You’ll also want to schedule dress and suit shopping plus alterations (OK, technically you don’t need these things to get married, but I know you’re gonna want them), and hire any necessary vendors (photographer and caterer are biggies). Better yet, hire a wedding coordinator if your budget can swing it—they’ll take on a lot of these responsibilities, saving you time. But they can often save you money, too, by helping source the best and most reliable vendors. (BTW, if you’re planning solo, a comprehensive wedding checklist can be your best friend.)
Block schedule your wedding planning.
Now that your priorities are in order, make a regular appointment with yourself to work on wedding-related tasks.
Focusing on your wedding for a specific amount of time—like a couple afternoons per week or a half hour each night—is much more effective than working on it randomly throughout the week…and you’ll avoid feeling like wedding planning is taking over your life. To learn more about the life-changing benefits of block scheduling, check out this article.
Clear the wedding clutter.
Don’t let wedding clutter take over your home, making you feel frazzled and out of control.
It takes about .2 seconds for that to start happening, so choose one place to put ALL your wedding materials where they won’t be disturbed (e.g. a spare bedroom). Keep things separated in bins or baskets by their use (ceremony décor, reception décor, wedding favors, gifts, etc.). Find a cute box or folder for RSVPs, or log them onto a spreadsheet as soon as you receive them.
And speaking of spreadsheets, clutter can be digital, too! Keep your inbox streamlined by creating separate email folders for each vendor, allowing you to easily reference past conversations. Make a spreadsheet that shows how much you owe and when deposits and payments are due so that all financial info is in one place.
It takes a village, so get help!
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance! If your aunt is an excellent baker, see if she’d be up for contributing some special desserts or a simple wedding cake. If you’ve got a crafty bridal party, open up a bottle of vino and go to town on some DIY decorations or invitation assembly. However, only accept help from and allocate responsibilities to people that you thoroughly trust. Naturally, you love everyone in your family and wedding party, but if one of them doesn’t follow through you could be in for some emotional friction that lasts long after the wedding.
Whether you’re DIYing everything yourself or enlisting the aid of others, you need to prioritize projects in order to make sure your “must haves” get done. Anything else accomplished is just icing on the proverbial wedding cake. Here’s what my DIY list looked like:
- Must Have: Photos of us as kids with nice frames, pretty framed sign announcing food pantry donations in lieu of favors.
- Really Want: Chalkboard sign + baskets to hold gloves during ceremony since it might be chilly. Find cute quote/saying about keeping heart/hands warm.
- Kinda Want: Welcome bags for guests staying in hotel (water, Advil, snacks). Make cute Mr + Mrs signs for the chairs.
(Spoiler alert: I never made Mr + Mrs chair signs, and I didn’t miss them!)
Keep the Big Picture in mind and remember why you’re doing this.
You’re in love, right?! So don’t let this totally amazing, beautiful, fabulous party you’re planning make you lose sight of that. Your life together is way more important than this one wedding day, which is why I offer this last bit of advice: When you run into planning hiccups—and you will—stay positive, laugh it off, and enjoy every minute!
Don’t let her sweet exterior and winning smile fool you. Shannon Montero is a sales and marketing ninja who basically broke every “newbie” record at Here Comes The Guide within her first week. We attribute all that success to her upbeat personality and determination to get the job done…and she gets it done fast. Case in point: She planned her own wedding in less than 8 weeks and was still the most charming bride imaginable! Besides keeping all of us on our toes, she also keeps busy with a husband and adorable baby girl, is obsessed with adirondack chairs and lake living, and gets a thrill every time she checks something off her to-do list.