HOW I BALANCED LIFE WHILE WEDDING PLANNING
If you have ever been around anyone who was in the middle of wedding planning, you may have wondered, if they even have time to take regular showers. Listen, wedding planning is hard work. Having firsthand knowledge, I will be the first person to admit that.
For those of you who don’t know, I successfully planned my own wedding while working 10 to 14-hour work days as a pharmacist. That meant, I was ON MY FEET working for more than half of the day.
To say I was beyond tired, would be a huge understatement. But one thing I wasn’t, was overwhelmed. You might ask, how in the world could you work such long hours and plan your wedding and not be overwhelmed?
Well, I was very intentional. When I had days off from work, I was very productive. I knew when I decided to plan my wedding, that I had to have a plan in place so that I could not only plan it successfully, but also so I could still enjoy life and my engagement.
So, I’m spilling all the beans today and revealing to you exactly how I was able to plan my own wedding while balancing life and all my other responsibilities at the same time. Let’s dig in!
1| be organized
I knew very early on that I would not be able to get through this if I did not have my ducks in a row. So, the very first thing I did to get organized was buy a binder. It was just a regular 3 ring binder I bought from a drug store. In it I added tabs for the different vendors I knew I would be in contact with.
If you saw me while I was engaged, my wedding binder was always nearby. I know, some of you may be thinking that binders and hardcopies are a bit antiquated, but believe me when I say, there was a method to my madness.
I knew that many of my vendors would be sending contracts electronically, but I made sure to print them out and include them in my binder so that I may refer to them at the drop of a hat. I didn’t have to depend on a wifi connection to pull up something if I needed to access my something quickly.
I also chose the binder route to keep all of my receipts organized as well. Now, I am well aware that there are apps and online tools available where you can upload your contracts and scan in your receipts, but this is how my brain works. And like I mentioned, this method eliminated me from being unable to get to my documents if for some reason, I was having connection issues.
I will say, that I did save all my contracts and proposals in folders in my email, so I did have a digital copy of everything as well, but my first point of reference was my binder.
The method you choose doesn’t matter, it just has to work for you and your brain. The point here is to come up with a way to keep track of all of your documents and be able to access them easily.
2| prioritize tasks
After I got my binder organized with the tabs I needed to keep everything in order, I needed to decide how would I prioritize where my focus would be on any given day. So, I found some wedding planning checklists online to give me some guidance. The problem with most of those checklists is that they are usually miles long and included a whole bunch of stuff that wasn’t relevant to my wedding.
So, I decided to narrow down those checklists and come up with my own that highlighted the major things I should be focused on month by month. Once I had the main 2 or 3 things I needed to focus on that month, I added the smaller tasks associated with those things to get them accomplished.
Doing this allowed me to focus on what was on that list for that month. I didn’t need to see or worry about all the other tasks that were coming up in future months.
I have a little surprise for you at the end of this post 😉
Knowing that I had a bunch of decisions to make, I knew I had to find a way to delegate those tasks that needed to be done, but didn’t necessarily need to be done by me. For instance, when my stationer notified me that my invitations had been addressed and were ready, I knew they needed to be picked up and brought to the post office.
I had already seen the invitations and knew exactly what they would looked like, so I didn’t need to be the one to bring them to post office. I delegated that to one of my bridesmaids. That took that task off of my plate and allowed me to focus on something that only I could do.
Having your checklists here really comes in handy. You can see what tasks need to get done for the month and have an idea what only you can do vs. what you can hand off for someone else to complete.
The art of delegating, though, is to communicate exactly what needs to be done and by when. Remember, your bridal party and families have lives and other responsibilities also, so you have to be mindful of that when you are asking them to complete tasks on your behalf.
4| schedule time for planning
Now, if you are working a full time or even part time job, you have to really come up with a schedule. My work schedule was very regular, so I knew what days and times I would be working and what days I would be off.
On my calendar every month, I would schedule wedding planning tasks that I had to complete that month. I treated wedding planning like a second job. This meant that I had to be doing what was on my calendar on the days I planned to do them.
Sure, crap comes up, this is life, but because it was on my schedule, I never had to wonder what needed to be done and when.
5| schedule appointments strategically
So, every month when I would fill out my calendar with everything that needed to be done that month, I would intentionally schedule my appointments on the same day. For instance, if I had to meet with my florist for a design appointment, I would schedule my venue visit and stationer meeting for the same day. In my world, this I called, batching.
Doing this allowed me to get all of those meetings done in the same day and I wouldn’t need to interrupt my days where I needed to be at my computer doing my guest list or writing thank you notes.
Now, this didn’t always work out, but for the most part, I was able to complete like tasks on the same day.
6| get sleep
This is obvious, right? Besides the fact that I thoroughly enjoy getting my rest, it’s imperative to know that without adequate rest, your productivity will be reduced.
As I mentioned earlier, I had very long work days. So, when I got home, I didn’t get much done on the wedding planning front. But that was ok because I would make sure to come home and go straight to bed. That way, I would be rested for the next day and I could hit the ground running.
If I had scheduled to do some wedding planning duties after getting off from such a long shift, I would not have accomplished very much. Why? Because I was already tired and probably irritable, so my focus would not have been where it needed to be.
Instead, coming home and getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep, I was able to wake up the next day fully rested and be at my full productivity level.
7| step away
Now in order to maintain my sanity and continue to nurture my relationship, I decided very early on that I would be very intentional to step away from wedding planning every so often. My now husband and I chose to go on date nights a few times a month where talks about wedding planning were off limits.
It wasn’t always out to dinner. Sometimes it was just dinner at home, or watching Netflix. We wanted to continue to grow our relationship because, ultimately, wedding planning was only for one day. Doing what was necessary for days and years after the wedding was very important to us.
So, we also chose to go to premarital counseling where the discussion of the actual wedding rarely came up. The discussions were focused on us, our lives, and the possible challenges that could come up in our marriage. Doing this kept us grounded and focused on our marriage, not just the wedding.
8| Take time off
Now, I didn’t have to take too many days off from work, because, like I said, I did have regular days off during the week. But if you work a literal 9 to 5, you might need to take a few days off for appointments and things that cannot be done on the weekends.
This is where batching will really be helpful. It will limit how much time you would actually need to take off if you were able to schedule everything that needs to be done during the week on the same days.
9| keep a routine
Now, when you are getting your schedule organized for wedding planning, don’t eliminate the things you regularly did before you got engaged. So, if you have a standing hair appointment, or workout class, or massage appointment, keep those things going.
I faithfully get my nails done every week. That is my time where I don’t think about anything else I have going on in life. When I was in the middle of wedding planning, I made sure to keep those appointments on my calendar because I knew it would create that balance I needed.
I couldn’t allow my entire life to be consumed with wedding planning, so it was important that I kept the routine of those things that I enjoyed before all this planning was a part of my life.
10| girls’ night out
Y’all, don’t forget that you have friends. Not every one of your friends is going to be in your wedding, so make sure you continue to nurture those relationships that are important to you.
I had a girls’ night every couple of months while I was engaged. We went to dinner, had drinks, or just hung out at the house so that they knew that, yes, I am in a completely different headspace then I was before, but I’m still here for you and you are still important to me.
The worst thing you could do, is alienate your friends while you are in the thick of wedding planning because they won’t forget it. They need to know that although you are super busy, your friendship is still a priority in your life.
This is a very short time in the scope of your life, so you want to continue to nurture those relationships, so they will still be there once your wedding planning is over.
11| long commutes
This one might seem strange. But give it a chance. So, think about how much time you spend in the car. Whether is going to and from work, to appointments, or just sitting in traffic. Use this time. This is an opportunity where you can destress and collect your thoughts.
Whenever I was in the car, I turned the music down, and just relaxed. There is nothing else you can do while driving, so why not use that time to just be. Don’t think about your to-do lists, the fact that your mom is driving you crazy, or that you need to lose those last 5 pounds.
You can’t do anything about those things while you’re driving, so don’t think about them. Once you park your car and get out, then you can allow your brain to run rapid again. But until then, enjoy the peace and quiet and use that as your “me time.”
Now, I’m sure there are so many other things that you can do to keep some normalcy in your life while you are in the middle of planning your wedding. But these are the things that I did, and they worked for me.
My journey was very enjoyable, and I’m very confident that it’s because I was intentional about having a life while wedding planning. Like I’ve said, it wasn’t easy. It was hard work and required a lot of discipline and dedication on my part, but whenever I look back on that time in my life, I smile.
I hope you find some use from what worked for me, but I urge you to try to come up with a few ways to keep balance in your life. Remember wedding planning only lasts until the wedding, so do what you can to have a life to speak of once it’s all over!
Now as promised, I have a surprise for you. I am giving you the exact Wedding Planning Timeline that I used while planning my wedding. It has the main 2 to 3 things to focus on each month leading up to your wedding. I hope this guide is helpful and I wish you happy wedding planning!
Wedding Planning Timeline
This is the EXACT wedding planning timeline that I used to successfully plan my own wedding.