Post # 1
I’ve been engaged for two weeks, and am already so overwhelmed with getting started on wedding planning. FI and I moved last week so we are trying to get settled in our new home, and I got a huge assignment at work that will last through the fall, so I no longer have time to be surfing the net too much during the day. I’m also overwhelmed with all the choices. Any tips for making time for wedding planning, especially those big first steps like locking down a venue?
Post # 2
I made lots of spreadsheets so that I could compare venues at a glance. They listed things that were included, charges for “extras,” etc. However, I don’t work so I had plenty of time to plan my own wedding. Maybe a wedding planner would be a good investment for you?
Post # 3
- Wedding: October 2014 - UK
Well, I had like two years to plan and a very dull, low-work job, which helped, haha!
That said, I swear by my spreadsheets. I made one to keep track of costs, and another with a month-by-month breakdown to work out when I needed to do what. The second one definitely helped reign me in when I started stressing! As it is, I’ve made a point to try and be ahead of target, but I also tried to build in significant buffer-time in case things didn’t go to plan.
Also, with picking vendors I’d make a new sheet for each thing (e.g. flowers, cake, photographers, venues) and then do a side-by-side comparison of what they offered, as well as prices, with notes on each one so I could ‘talk it out’ with myself and sort out how I felt about it. That was also handy for showing my thoughts to my FH so he could see my processes!
Post # 4
I did the wedding budget and then started to look at vendors, I authomatically eliminated those who did not fall within our budget and then compared prices according to overtime charges, compared what was included etc. Also it helps if you know what you want ex an outdoor venue etc as it will authomatically elimate alot of possible venues/choices. I often research/plan in the eve either while I am eating dinner or while FI is watching a football game etc.
Post # 5
goblueca: Spreadsheets definetely helped me! I also have a wedding binder that keeps all my paperwork in one spot.
The first thing I did was find a budget spreadsheet, which I have changed quite a few times – taking things out, adding things in, customizing it to fit our wedding plans.
I LOVE Google Drive – I have a vendor spreadsheet that has different tabs for Venue, DJ, Photographer, etc. I would jot down the company, when I contacted them, how much they charged, what the package included – this way I could compare. With our venue – we found a few that we narrowed down to our price range, looked at their menu narrowed down some more, looked at pictures online, set up an appointment to see the place, took down notes then decided. We only looked at about 4 venues before deciding on which one we loved. (That was after contacting about 100 or so venues)
chronicwhimsy: I still have another year to get married and have been engaged now for 14 months. I too have a low key job so I do a lot while at work.
Post # 6
Thanks, ladies! We may have to get a planner involved. I love spreadsheets, but am having a hard time finding the time to do the research to actually put in the spreadsheets 🙂 Any advice on the time management piece?
Post # 7
Take one thing at a time. Lock down your venue and work from there. I was completely overwelmed at first too.
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA
Spreadsheets and lists are my first language. Seriously. It helps IMMENSELY. Also, my FI and I have “wedding Wednesday” – this is the evening where we’ll spend several hours planted in front of my laptop looking at wedding stuff (Colors? check! BMs? check! Start contacting vendors? Check!) with a Netflix show playing in the background and we can make decisions. That way we aren’t driving each other crazy all week going “So I had a thought, what if we …?” We save up a list of things to discuss, get it done in a swoop, and get back to our lives. This is sometimes disrupted by curveballs thrown by family, e.g. the Great FMIL Invitation Scandal, but so far it’s worked for us pretty well. We’re far enough out that no one needs an OMG IMMEDIATE RIGHT THIS SECOND answer about anything, so it’s easy to compartmentalize. Then, if we want to look up things during non-WW hours, we can, and just save it to a bookmark folder and whip it out the next Wednesday.
Planning a wedding has been insanely stressful so far, but not for reasons related to organization. The actual nitty-gritty get-it-done is easy.
Post # 9
Wedding planner!!! You won’t regret it! However keep in mind that you still have to do all of the decision making. I would say one tip is to try not to draw out each decision- try to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Like, once you’ve found a great DJ that is in your budget, don’t kill yourself checking out 5 others just to make sure your decision is right. Just go with the first one.
Post # 10
Start with one choice at a time and don’t get over whelmed by too many choices at once. Location and date first, as that really drives everything else. Don’t even look at photographers, caterers, dresses, cake bakers, DJs until it is set. Then pirotitize on what means the most to you, complete that task, and then move on.
For example, after you find your venue, if food is the most important, contact caterers next. If photography is the most important, contact those next. Worry about clothing and decore last. Those things don’t require real people to be at your location on a real date.
It’s really easy in wedding planning to go “I will look at reception venues” and then find yourself an hour later looking into the DJ the one reception venue recomended, when you already crossed the venue off your list! Or start looking at photographers and fall in love with a bride’s dress and spend the next 20 minutes looking for her dress designer on line.
Post # 11
I did ALOT of my planning at the beginning, but I gave myself plenty of time. We had almost 22 months from the time we got engaged – we are now down to about 5 months and the time is really beginning to fly by. I’m SO glad I got so much done when I did, and I LOVED having the extra time. At the beginning it felt like the wedding was so far away, though.
Post # 12
My mom! But seriously, I felt just like you after I got engaged. I had a mini-meltdown 2 months in because we still hadn’t found our venue, and our desired wedding date was 10 months out. BUT once I talked to my parents & my FI and they agreed to pitch in with planning, I felt much better. We secured our venue a few weeks later, and everything has been seemingly falling into place ever since. I give my mom a “mission” every few weeks (i.e. “get quotes from the following officiants,” “get addresses for the following people,” etc.) and she has been awesome. I hate spreadsheets. I look at them all day at work and they are the last thing I want to see when I get home, but I know a lot of people find them really helpful! I love lists. I make lists throughout the week of things I want to tackle on my days off (“contact florists,” “schedule cake tasting,” “print table numbers”) so I can just grab my list and tackle things here and there when I have downtime, or set aside larger amounts of time if I need to. Then I cross-reference my mini-list with my master list and cross off everything that’s done. If you can afford it, I’d hire a wedding planner for sure.
ETA: DUH, totally forgot to mention budget! Before we did anything else, we figured out our budget and what we were willing to spend where. Don’t feel obligated to spend a ton of money on things that aren’t a priority to you, either. We’re throwing more money at our venue, food/drinks, and DJ because we like to eat and party, and not spending very much on flowers because…they die. So figure out what you want to spend, what’s important (and what isn’t) to you and your FI, find your venue, and go from there!
Post # 13
- Wedding: September 2014 - SPRING VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB
I think i have a spread sheet and time line for everything. I couldn’t do it without that. My venue is also doing a lot. And this site has helped me tremendously. I spend most of my weekends doing wedding stuff.
Post # 14
- Wedding: October 2014 - Greenbrier Country Club
I agree with PP. Find you a wedding planner!!
Also like the comment about mothers; mom is a big help for me.
For todo lists try theknot.com, or mywedding.com. Both sites have checklists. They both have budget breakdowns as well.
Post # 15
I do mine at work… sneaky I know but I cant help it. And on my lunch hour I am power calling/emailing like crazy. I started to pack my lunch to help save money anyway so it is the perfect time to email and call around.